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The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 5. Today (11/6), TALKERS magazine concludes its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we sum up the opinions and philosophies and ask what does it all really mean? TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says management often makes the mistake of trying to duplicate a successful artistic product – whether it is movies, television shows, books, or, in this case, radio programming – by approaching it formulaically… a mindset that totally misses the point. “When Rush Limbaugh became a phenomenon by talking conservative politics, corporate focused on the conservative aspect of his stunning success as the magic formula and a whole slew of talent-challenged Rush wannabes spewing conservative talking points just for the sake of ‘being conservative’ were unleashed upon the airwaves. Only a relative handful of them who were truly ‘talented’ have withstood the test of time.” And so it is with women on talk radio. The problem is not so much an equal opportunity “employment” issue as it is the larger question of where “news/talk radio” is willing to go to increase its audience, broaden its demos and insure its viability to survive in the years ahead in what is clearly becoming a brave new world… while remaining an “issues-oriented” medium. One answer may be to find “magnetic” women and see what they can do in news/talk radio versus laying out the formula for a news/talk show and filling the job with a woman. Read the entire piece here.
Rumors of Cuts at Hubbard’s WTOP and WFED in Washington. TALKERS sources in the Washington market tell us that budget-related cuts are taking place today at Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP and its sister station WFED. Some of the staffers reported to be exiting are traffic reporter Ari Ashe, digital manager John Myer, and WFED afternoon personality Francis Rose. TALKERS is also hearing that the company will not fill the role vacated recently by reporter Andrew Mollenbeck and that there may be an unnamed sales staffer who is also out.
Entercom Q3 Report: Up 3% on Same-Station Basis. This quarter’s financial report from Entercom reflects the new income from its deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville International that saw Entercom add stations in major and large markets — Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego. As a result, the company posts a net revenue increase of 15% on $114.7 million compared to the same period a year ago. Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report an outstanding quarter for Entercom driven by strong organic revenue growth across our station group and the seamless integration of our new acquisitions in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego and Denver. While we are delighted with our progress and opportunities at the new stations, we are particularly pleased by our strong market share gains in the rest of our markets which enabled us to post approximately 3% same-station revenue growth for the quarter, and just over 4% growth when excluding the impact of political advertising. We also achieved strong double-digit growth in free cash flow and adjusted net income per share and believe we are very well positioned for continued strong performance in 2016 and beyond.”
New Cumulus CEO Mary Berner Reports Q3 Financial Data: Net Revenue Dips 7.8%. Chief executive officer Mary Berner has been on the job for less than a month after replacing Lew Dickey and her first quarterly report was full of financial challenges for the company; but as a board member since the spring, she knew all the figures. Cumulus Media stock has been beaten up over the past year, and not without cause. The 2015 Q3 net revenue was $289.4 million, that’s a 7.8% drop versus the same period a year ago. For the first three quarters of the year, net revenue was $859.9 million, down 8% year-over-year. Cumulus also recorded an impairment against intangible assets and goodwill of $565.6 million. For the quarter, broadcast advertising was down 4.3% while digital advertising sunk 35.4%. Berner says, “Despite Cumulus’ recent challenges, my early experiences have reinforced my appreciation for the strength of the company’s aggregate assets, including its people. I was hired by the company’s board of directors to maximize the value of those assets and I believe that, through focused execution, we will be able to capitalize on the operational leverage that appears to exist in the company. While such efforts will not be easy nor, in many cases, immediate, I intend to institute a relentless commitment to improvement over the coming months to drive results for all stakeholders.”
E.W. Scripps Radio Segment Flat in Q3. The Cincinnati-based company got into the radio business as a result of the merger with Journal Communications, acquiring its TV and radio properties (with Journal getting E.W. Scripps’ publication segment). In this third quarter report, Scripps president and CEO Rich Boehne says the radio segment was flat. “Radio revenue and expenses of $20.4 million and $16.3 million were essentially flat with the prior period. Segment profit in the radio division was $4.1 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $4.5 million in the 2014 quarter. The company is committed to its digital segment and recently acquired podcast platform Midroll earlier this year. “Digital revenues were $10.9 million, up $3.7 million from the prior period. Excluding Midroll, revenue increased 25%…Segment loss in the digital division was $3.6 million in the third quarter of 2015, compared to $5.6 million in the 2014 quarter.”
iHeartMedia Partners with FOX Business Network and FNC for GOP Debate Coverage. The means that audio of the November 10 GOP primary debates in Milwaukee will air on 130 iHeartMedia-owned news/talk stations. FOX Business Network and FOX News Channel are producing the debate in conjunction with The Wall Street Journal. The FBN primetime debate will be moderated by managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto and global markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with WSJ’s editor-in-chief Gerard Baker. iHeartMedia says that radio stations broadcasting the event will also host debate parties highlighted by pre and post-event coverage from local personalities.
Radio Personalities Visit White House for ObamaCare Event. The White House calls it the “latest installment of ‘Live from the White House’” with President Obama conducting a round of interviews with radio personalities on the topic of the Affordable Care Act and the importance of reducing the number of people without health insurance. The radio news anchors spent Thursday, November 5 with Obama Administration advisors and the president himself. Taking part were: Mary Shedden of non-commercial WUSF, Tampa; Alice Rios of news/talk KRLD, Dallas; E.J. Becker of news/talk KMBZ, Kansas City; Dave Ross of news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle; and Ryan Cameron of urban contemporary WVEE, Atlanta “V103.” Pictured here is KMBZ’s E.J. Becker (left) interviewing President Obama (right) in the Oval Office. Becker says, “It’s not every day that you get a call from the White House, asking if you can be in Washington the next day. With the current political landscape, the importance of so many issues affecting Kansas Citians, along with the honor of interviewing a sitting President, who could say no!”
Bob Kevoian Announces Retirement at National Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. One half of the Bob & Tom Show morning team took the opportunity of last night’s induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to announce his retirement from the business. Bob Kevoian told the gathering in Chicago that he will retire from the nationally syndicated radio program by year’s end. Kevoin said, “I always thought you had to die or be retired for five years to be considered for any hall of fame. Thank God I’m not dead, but I am going to retire at the end of this year and walk away from the mic.” Partner Tom Griswold commented, “It was a huge thrill to be inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame with my partner Bob. He will always be a part of the Bob & Tom Show, and his presence will continue to be felt as we broadcast the show for many years to come.”
Dave Ramsey Inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last night (11/5). Although Dave himself was unable to make it to Chicago for the ceremony, his daughter, New York Times best-selling author Rachel Cruze (pictured), was there to accept the award on his behalf.
2016 Presidential Race and Trump’s ‘SNL’ Appearance Tied for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the controversy over Republican hopeful Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance on “Saturday Night Live” tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the crash/possible bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. Coming in at #3 was the military relationship between Russia and Syria followed by the UC-Merced stabbings at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.