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Monday, February 28, 2022

| February 28, 2022

Monday Memo: Read Me, Please! “Few opportunities to engage are more powerful than the ongoing email conversation you have with listeners.” Consultant Holland Cooke calls it “a relationship that Pandora and Spotify and your robotic AM/FM competitors can’t emulate.” In this week’s column, HC shares tips for the most important words of your email: its subject line. Read about it here.

 

Pending Business: Sell Carefully. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says the war in the Ukraine has the potential to bring more information and opinion-hungry listeners to your news/talk station and provides a sales opportunity. “The loyal audience base your station has worked hard to develop will lock in regularly for information updates and the clarity your air talent can bring to a complex and intimidating situation that could affect everything from the price of gas at the local pump to a roller coaster ride in their stock portfolio.” He offers six tips for selling during this historic news storm. Read more here.

 

KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco Promotes Adam Copeland to Afternoons. Sports talk radio pro Adam Copeland is promoted to co-host of the afternoon drive with longtime host Tom Tolbert on Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco. This comes after Cumulus parts ways with Tolbert’s former co-hosts Larry Krueger and Rod Brooks. Tolbert tweeted last week about their departure, saying, “Rod and Larry are no longer on the show. It sucks. I’m always saddened when something doesn’t work. I love both of those guys. I consider them friends. I can’t tell you why some things work and some don’t work. It’s a bummer. It stinks.” The new “Tolbert and Copes” show airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Copeland joined KNBR as an intern in 2009 and was hired in 2016 as a board operator. He eventually became the producer of “KNBR Tonight with Ryan Covay.” In 2018, after time as a fill-in host on the station, Copeland was named host of his own talk show, “The Lead Off Spot with Adam Copeland,” airing weekday mornings from 5:00 am-6:00 am. He also served as a producer of the “Murph and Mac” morning program.  Copeland says, “Having the opportunity to host ‘The Leadoff Spot’ and hang with Murph and Mac for the past four years has been a dream come true since I was 16 years old, and I’m forever indebted to all the loyal listeners, callers, and guests who made the show as fun and engaging as it was. It’s been the honor of my life. I look forward to bringing that same energy and enthusiasm to afternoon drive with the legendary Tom Tolbert. I know I have big shoes to fill, and I hope to make my fellow Bay Area sports fans proud. Onward and upward.”

 

Round Four of January PPM Survey Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s January 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2022 sweep covered January 6 – February 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In the Raleigh market, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM jumps 1.1 shares for a 7.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish and the #3 rank in the market, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF tacks on nine-tenths for a 3.3 share finish good for the #11 rank. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis recaptures 1.8 shares to wrap the survey with a 10.6 share and climbs to the #2 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM leaps to #1 after adding nine-tenths for a 9.7 share finish, while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ-AM rises half a share for a 7.2 share finish good for the #4 rank. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville tacks on eight-tenths to put up a 6.9 share that gives it the #2 rank in the market. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is back at #1 after shooting up 2.6 shares for a 9.6 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

 

Nielsen Holdings Reports 2021 Q4 Revenue Up 2.5%; Full Year Revenue Rises 4.1%. Ratings giant Nielsen Holdings plc reports its financial data from the fourth quarter of 2021 and for the full year, revealing Q4 revenue was $894 million, an increase of 2.5% over the same period in 2020. Revenue of the whole of 2021 was $3.5 billion, a year-over-year increase of 4.1%. For the full year of 2021, Nielsen reports net income from continuing operations attributable to Nielsen shareholders was $551 million, compared to $191 million in 2020. Nielsen CEO David Kenny says, “We delivered strong results in 2021. We successfully sold Nielsen Global Connect, hit significant product milestones, and exceeded all of our original 2021 guidance metrics despite facing some unanticipated challenges. We are strongly positioned within the media ecosystem, with growing relevance as audiences shift to streaming, and we are delivering value to clients across our three essential solutions. We made measurable progress toward becoming a digital-first company, and our strategy aligns with where growth in the industry is coming from. We are piloting the first iteration of Nielsen ONE, which we launched in January, with a representative group of clients across media buyers and sellers and feedback has been positive. We also made progress on strengthening our balance sheet, reducing our net debt leverage by over half a turn in 2021. We now have the flexibility to return more capital to shareholders while continuing to invest in organic growth initiatives and pursue strategic, tuck-in M&A. Our $1 billion share repurchase authorization reflects our board’s confidence in both our short and long-term growth prospects and enables us to deliver value to our shareholders.” The company reports its financial position, stating, “As of December 31, 2021, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $380 million and gross debt of $5.626 billion, resulting in net debt of $5.246 billion.”

 

Russian Ukraine Invasion, COVID-19, The Economy/Financial Markets, CPAC 2022/Trump & the GOP, William Barr Book, State of the Union, and SAG Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the domestic and global responses to Vladimir Putin’s gambit; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the relaxation of mask mandates, and the U.S. trucker convoys destined for Washington, DC; the state of the U.S. economy as the Ukraine invasion affects global markets, the ongoing inflation affecting consumer retail prices, and the financial markets activities; the weekend’s CPAC 2022 conference and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; former Attorney General William Barr’s new memoir containing criticism of Donald Trump is teased; anticipation of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address; and Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild 2022 awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Sell Carefully

| February 28, 2022

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — As I write this week’s column, events in Russia, the Ukraine, and around the world are driving the content on news/talk radio stations everywhere. Whether it’s all-news, a local talk show, or a nationally or regionally syndicated program, the world is talking, watching, listening, posting, tweeting, documenting and sharing.

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Pending Business: It’s a Matter of Trust

| January 31, 2022

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Disclaimer: For the purposes of this column, please understand there is no hidden political agenda.

The headline for the January 16 article in The Wall Street Journal said it all. Paraphrasing here, “Trusted Local Voices Are Deployed….on Radio.”

The article describes the efforts of doctors and health officials located in rural areas to get the word out on getting the public to participate in the local covid vaccines initiative.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

| January 15, 2020

iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success.  iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms.  Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours.  As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide.  iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in.  This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies.  During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500.  That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”  Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.

Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show.  Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day).  But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year.  That affected his plans for continuing into 2020.  He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me.  The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots.  But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green.  Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future!  Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”

Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs.  This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs.  This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs.  It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface.  This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers.  Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here.  If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station.  The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years.  WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does.  Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas.  His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!”  Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot.  Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’  I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’  Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”