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Urban One First Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 23%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One – says its net revenue was approximately $112.3 million, an increase of 23% from the same period in 2021. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $48.4 million, an increase of 33% from the same period in 2021. Net income was approximately $16.4 million or $0.32 per share (basic) compared to $7,000 or $0.00 per share (basic) for the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III, states, “We had extremely strong first quarter performance across the platform, with advertising revenues up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 49.5%, cable TV advertising revenues were up 46.9%, and radio advertising, excluding political and digital, was up 17.4%. This enabled us to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 38.9% year-over-year, and by $14.3 million or 51.6% vs. Q1 2019. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 11.5% compared to Q1 2019. Second quarter core radio advertising is pacing up mid-single digits, as we start to lap the tougher comps from 2021. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, with $166.4 million of cash and net leverage down to 4.07x.”
Cumulus Announces $25 Million Stock Buyback. On the heels of yesterday’s first quarter financial report and the board’s authorization of a $50 million buyback program, Cumulus Media Inc. announces its intention to commence a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase up to $25 million of shares of its Class A common stock, or such lesser number of shares of its Class A common stock as are properly tendered and not properly withdrawn, at a price not greater than $16.50 and not less than $14.50 per share of Class A common stock, to the tendering shareholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest (the “Offer”). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Following yesterday’s announcement of the board’s authorization of a $50 million share buyback program, we are launching this tender as a first step in our capital return plan. This action is underpinned by our strong financial and operating momentum, our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued and our desire to allow shareholders who seek it the ability to take advantage of the liquidity we can provide them. It is also our expectation that, even with this tender offer, we will be below our target of 3.5x net leverage by year end with significant continuing liquidity and financial flexibility for accretive M&A.” Cumulus will conduct the Offer by means of a procedure commonly called a “modified Dutch auction.” This procedure allows shareholders to select the price, within a price range specified by Cumulus, and the number of shares they are willing to sell at that price (or, should a higher price be determined as the “purchase price,” such higher price). The Offer is being made under Cumulus’s previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.
Saga Communications Net Revenue Increases 12% in Q1 of 2022. For the first three months of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc. net revenue increased 12% to $25 million compared to $22.3 million for the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 17.8% to $5.6 million and operating income was $1.7 million compared to $883,000 for same period a year ago. Saga reports net income of $1.2 million compared to net income of $758 thousand for Q1 of 2021. The company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on April 8, 2022. The aggregate amount of the quarterly dividend was approximately $970 thousand. Additionally, the company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share and a special dividend of $0.50 per share on January 14, 2022. To date Saga has paid over $78 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. Saga Communications reports that it had $55.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2022.
Russia-Ukraine War Correspondent Gregg Stebben is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran media editor/reporter Gregg Stebben is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Stebben is a former longtime editor of Men’s Health magazine who served 20 years as its radio spokesperson. He is currently reporting on a volunteer basis back to the U.S. via the beamz.live platform from Poland and Ukraine where he has been interviewing refugees and local citizens in both adjacent nations in addition to doing whatever he can to provide comfort and support to the frightened, displaced people in conjunction with international humanitarian groups. Harrison caught up with Stebben on the Ukrainian side of the border on May 2. They discuss the human element of the crisis and the catastrophic impact and escalating deadly potential of the war. Harrison states, “Not only is the information being gathered by Stebben of great value, he is a shining example of independent talk radio reporting in action serving as a one-man field unit reporting on the war while supporting Ukraine as a volunteer. I find his effort truly inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Premiere of 2,000 Mules Takes Place at Mar-a-Lago. The premiere of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film 2,000 Mules took place last night (5/4) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida as former president Donald J. Trump presided over the event. The film was executive produced by Salem Media Group and a number of its current and former talk hosts appear in the documentary. Pictured above are (from l-r): D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka, Eric Metaxas, Trump, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk, and Dennis Prager.
Triton Digital Streaming Metrics Ranker for March 2022 Released. The Streaming Metrics Ranker for the U.S. for March of this year has been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions and charts the top 25 performing digital audio publishers. For the daypart 6am-12am Mon-Sun, iHeartMedia leads the pack with 303,162 AAS. Some of the other radio-related companies appearing in the ranker include at #2 NPR Member Stations (81,035 AAS), #3 Audacy (69,281 AAS), #4 Cumulus Streaming Network (42,569 AAS), #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (19,203 AAS), #8 Hubbard Broadcasting (15,233 AAS), #11 Salem Communications (9,591 AAS), #12 Urban One (8,577 AAS), and #13 Bonneville International 7,612 AAS). See the complete ranker here.
WCKG-AM, Chicago Owner Buying Time on WLS-AM to Reach Voters for U.S. Senate Campaign. Chicagoland radio station owner Matt Dubiel – whose company DuPage Radio LLC owns and operates talk outlet WCKG-AM, Elmhurst – is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and is taking an interesting tack in his campaign. He says in a press release that “in the spirit of former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot, Illinois businessman Matt Dubiel has purchased airtime on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.” He will host a two-hour show every Saturday afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm until the primary election on June 28. Dubiel adds, “Nothing can replace the reach of radio. I’m consistently being shadow-banned on social media, corporate media refuses to cover my campaign, and the issues we need to discuss like CRT/SEL in schools, medical freedom, and other hot topics are virtually banned on social platforms that censor We the People, in America! The Illinois GOP even has me blocked on Twitter, and I’m running on their ticket! Hosting my own show on the radio home of Bongino, Shapiro, and Levin will allow Dubiel to speak directly to the people. The people in every county across Illinois need to know they have a guy who will actually represent them for a change. I am looking forward to talking to ALL Illinoisians about the issues that matter to them.” The 45-year-old Dubiel says he began his career in radio at 17, interning for the legendary Steve Dahl. He worked his way up through the radio ranks in Chicago, serving as a producer and talent, before transitioning into management.
Jeff Katz Show Honored by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left) as the governor recognizes the 6th anniversary of Katz’s “Lt. Jan McTernan Blue Friday Honors Program” that pays tribute to Central Virginia police officers by highlighting their positive contributions.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Jon Zaghloul is being promoted to sports director at DuPage Radio LLC’s WCKG-AM, Elmhurst, Illinois. In this new role, Zaghloul will continue to host his weekend program “Sports Talk Chicago” on the station. He says, “I am honored to be a part of this exciting new challenge with WCKG. Over the past two years with the station, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide Chicagoans with hard-hitting sports opinions and insightful interviews. Now, it is time to expand our iconic brand, and I am actively on the hunt for both fresh, and established local sports talent to bolster our daily lineup.”…..Los Angeles Comic Con, partners with iHeartRadio to produce the podcast, “Comic Con Meta*Pod.” The show launched on Wednesday (5/4) with a “May the 4th Star Wars” special featuring “Mandalorian” actor Giancarlo Esposito, “Clone Wars” and “Bad Batch” composer Kevin Kiner, and more. The podcast is hosted by Hector Navarro and art/culture critic Joelle Monique…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” afternoon drive host Shannon Burke (left) with former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik (right). Kerik appeared on Burke’s radio show on Wednesday (5/4) and the two discussed Kerik’s former police chief role in New York City, working with Donald Trump, the January 6 Committee, and more. “Florida Man Radio” is broadcast on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach.
Roe v Wade Leak/Protests, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Economy, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and Dave Chapelle Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade and the protests taking place around the country; the Fed raises interest rates a half percent and the effect of high gas and food prices; the primary elections for November’s midterm races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe and the global economy; Donald Trump Jr. sits for testimony before the January 6 committee; concerns about new Omicron variants causing a summer wave of infections; and Dave Chapelle is attacked while on stage at the Hollywood Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Mandates and Milestones,” looks back at this past week of 9/6 – 9/10. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Dan Mandis, talk show host/program director, WWTN-FM, Nashville; Kyle Bailey, news director, program director, anchor, KQEN, Roseburg, OR; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Claire Carter, health and social commentator, Good For You Radio; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WABC, New York Presents ‘9/11 – 20 Years Later.’ New York City news/talk outlet WABC, in conjunction with Tunnel to Towers, is presenting two days of programming called, “9/11 – 20 Years Later,” in commemoration of the anniversary of the terror attacks. The Red Apple Media-owned station is airing the programming today (9/10) and tomorrow (9/11) on WABC and on WLIF-FM, Long Island. The two days will feature listener remembrances and guests who were on the front lines on 9/11, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New York Governor George Pataki, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and former Fire Department of New York Commissioner Thomas Von Essen. Station owner John Catsimatidis says, “9/11 was the day everyone in America became a New Yorker. We witnessed the tragedy of lost lives and the courage of our first responders as they raced into the burning towers. We experienced the best in leadership from Rudy, George, and Bernie, and I thank them for joining us as WABC remembers 9/11, 20 years later.” WABC will report live audio and video from the St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine at 7:30 pm tonight when the Shrine’s translucent marble dome will be illuminated. The St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is the only house of worship at the World Trade Center and the only one that was destroyed in the attacks on 9/11. It includes a non-denominational bereavement center and is open to everyone of all faiths.
Sean Hannity Celebrates 20 Years in National Syndication. As TALKERS magazine noted on Tuesday when we reported Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Sean Hannity had surpassed the 650-affiliate mark, he is also celebrating his 20th year in syndication today (9/10). Hannity’s program launched the day before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2021. Since that time, Hannity has climbed to the #1 spot on TALKERS magazine’s annual feature, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” (a.k.a. The Heavy Hundred), he’s been honored by the NAB with two Marconi Awards for “Nationally Syndicated Personality of the Year” and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2017. He comments, “But for this audience, I would not be where I am today. I am humbled and grateful for the men and women who give me this microphone every day, and to the greatest country in the world, that allowed me the opportunity to pursue this dream. Thank you.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “Sean is one of the most talented personalities in all of talk radio, and we couldn’t be happier to mark this special milestone with him. His passion for talk radio and dedication to his audience continue to drive growth and success for our station and advertising partners.”
Round Two of August PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s August survey period covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM dips four-tenths for a 3.3 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but moves up to the #10 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds four-tenths for 9.2 share and the #1 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 rank after adding three-tenths for a 3.8 share while sister all-news WBZ-AM rises to the #3 rank on the strength of three-tenths rise and a 6.2 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM continues to hold down the #1 rank even though it lost a half share and finished with a 7.5 share. Meanwhile, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM also loses a half share for a 5.8 share finish but rises from #4 to #3. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.
‘ESPN Chicago’ Names Winner of Small Business Contest. Sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN Chicago,” in partnership with First Midwest Bank, announces that Chicago-based Amani Coffee is the winner of the “Giving a Small Business a Big Future” contest, that awards the purpose-driven company with a customized $50,000 advertising campaign to air on “ESPN 1000.” Amani Coffee was chosen based on its dedication and passion to support its customers and communities. Founded in 2016, Amani Coffee brings organic coffee grown in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Chicagoland area via direct, personal relationships with the country’s farmers. The company operates with a focus on fostering sustainable farming and engages customers in its efforts to give back by donating 10% of every purchase to a nonprofit organization of the customer’s choice and 10% to Amani’s own charity, which builds infrastructure where its farmers live. To date, the company has built a school, created a clean water supply and provided better coffee process equipment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “ESPN Chicago” market manager Mike Thomas says, “We’re excited to offer Amani Coffee the chance to connect with the passionate Chicago area sports fans. ‘ESPN Chicago’ and First Midwest Bank are proud to support a local business, especially one who gives back to others in such a meaningful way. We’re looking forward to meeting with Amani Coffee and helping them continue to do great things in our community.”
Longtime Talk and Music Radio Personality Don Geronimo to Host Mornings on ‘Big 100’ in Washington. Washington, DC-area radio legend Don Geronimo returns to the market to host the morning drive show on iHeartMedia’s classic hits WBIG-FM “BIG 100,” effective September 23. Geronimo was most recently with iHeartMedia Sacramento hosting “The Don Geronimo Podcast” from 2014 to 2019. He’s well known in DC for co-hosting “The Don & Mike Show” based at WJFK-FM from 1991 through 2008 and syndicated nationally by Westwood One for a period. He also worked at WAVA-FM in 1986 and WPGC-FM in 1980. Geronimo says, “I am thrilled to wake up with Washington D.C. on the iconic ‘BIG 100.’ I can’t wait to return to my hometown to host a morning show that engages our DC listeners, allowing them to participate in live show content and games while hearing the best classic rock.”
TALKERS News Notes. The Baltimore Sun names Urban One founder Cathy Hughes its 2021 Business and Civic Hall of Fame honoree. Quoted in the accompanying piece is Emory University senior lecturer in film and media management Nsenga Burton, who says, “Cathy Hughes’ leadership in entertainment is unparalleled and has served as a model for many who have come behind her in the industries she represents. In a world where the term visionary is tossed around loosely, Cathy Hughes is in fact a visionary who helped change the media landscape and made room for women and African Americans as owners where there was previously little to none. She has a legacy that will continue to inform, entertain, influence and uplift well into the future.”…..On Monday (9/13), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and president & COO Rich Bressler will take part in a Q&A session during the BofA Securities “2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference.” The session takes place at 2:20 pm ET and will be webcast live…..Cumulus Media announces a new podcast series for this fall titled, “Voices of Football,” on the “Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen” podcast. The first episode in the series features Al Michaels in “From Sun Devil to Sunday Night Football,” discussing the full span of his career and decades calling football play-by-play. Other episodes will feature sports media figures Joe Buck, Erin Andrews, Kevin Harlan, Jim Nantz, and Michael Strahan…..FOX Sports Radio, a division of Premiere Sports Network, announces its weekend lineup for the 2021 football season and adds some new talent and programs for this fall. First, Joy Taylor – co-host of the “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” – returns to host “The Joy Taylor Show” from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Saturdays. FSR says, “Taylor’s distinctive opinions on the sports world will be on full display, in addition to conversations with insiders, players and experts.” Also, FSR adds podcast/radio show “Covino & Rich” – Steve Covino and Rich Davis – for the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot. FSR VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro comments, “We’re thrilled to add Joy and ‘Covino & Rich’ to what’s already the best live weekend sports roster in the game. No matter what happens on the football field or beyond, FOX Sports Radio features instant reaction 24/7 with the most engaging and credible hosts in the space.”…..Former NFL offensive lineman Willie Colon joins the “Morning Men” show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel alongside co-hosts Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. Colon played with the Steelers and Jets during his career and after he retired, he joined Barstool Sports as a radio host for the “Barstool Breakfast” show on the Barstool Radio channel on SiriusXM.
Philly Sports Talker Big Daddy Graham Dies. Philadelphia television outlet WPVI-TV “ABC 6” reports that longtime market sports radio personality Big Daddy Graham, a.k.a. Edward Gudonis, has died at 68. Although he’d been diagnosed with and beaten cancer in the past, in 2019 the longtime overnight host on Audacy’s sports talk WIP-FM was diagnosed with a blood clot on his spine that caused him to become paralyzed from the waist down and he never recovered from the illness.
COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 6-10. The topic of COVID-19, including vaccines, masks, kids in schools, and mandates combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Joe Biden’s presidential approval rating tied with the economy. Following at #3 was discussion about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.