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Monday, December 20, 2021

| December 20, 2021

Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.

Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of  $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to  $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.

KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”

KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”

Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”

Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

| December 16, 2021

Cumulus to Flip R&B WNBM-FM, New York to Talk as ‘Talk FM 103.9.’ Beginning on January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s R&B WNBM-FM, New York will flip to news/talk as WFAS-FM “Talk FM 103.9.” The station is being billed by Cumulus as “the only all-talk FM station in the New York metropolitan area.” The station will simulcast the programming on WFAS-AM “AM1230Digital” the first all-digital AM station to broadcast in the New York metropolitan area. Programming will be Westwood One’s lineup, including: “The Dan Bongino Show,” “The Ben Shapiro Show,” “The Chris Plante Show,” “The Michael Knowles Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Jim Bohannon Show.” Also heard on the station will be “America in the Morning,” “First Light,” “Red Eye Radio,” “America this Week/Week in Review,” and “Real Estate Today.” Cumulus Media president of operations Dave Milner says, “Extending our marquee talk programming into New York City is a win-win for Cumulus. The addition of the WFAS-FM signal will allow us to reach even more listeners with the well-known talk shows they expect from us and also provide our advertising partners with premium opportunities in the number-one metro area.” Cumulus says that with the addition of WFAS-FM’s footprint, the signal will reach well beyond Westchester County, and into large portions of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan), the north shore of Long Island, and northern New Jersey.

WGN-AM, Chicago and Bob Sirott Sign Extension. WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Bob Sirott and the Nexstar Media news/talk station have agreed to a two-year contract extension to keep Sirott in the morning drive daypart. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Boyle says, “We are delighted to announce that Chicago’s Very Own Bob Sirott and his uniquely entertaining morning show will continue to be heard on Chicago’s Very Own WGN Radio 720. Bob has been an iconic voice in Chicago since 1973 and we’re fortunate to have his voice and talent as we head into our 100th year and beyond.”  Sirott says, “The station calls it work. I call it fun. It’s a forgotten commodity at most radio and TV stations today. But [Nexstar president, networks] Sean Compton, a true fan of radio, gets it. And who knows, someday I may turn into a morning person.”  The one change is that the show will start an hour later, airing from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.

WaPo: ‘Sports Junkies’ Celebrate 25 Years. A piece by Scott Allen in the Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Blog column profiles “The Sports Junkies” radio show as it celebrates 25 years on the air. The WJFK-FM, Washington morning show starring J.P. Flaim, John “Cakes” Auville, Eric “E.B.” Bickel and Jason “Lurch” Bishop began life as a cable access show on Bowie Community Television in August 1995. A year later, after a positive review from the Washington TimesDick Heller, “The Sports Junkies” got picked up for a weekend show on WJFK-FM. From there they transitioned to AM drive after Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio. Flaim recently authored a chronicle of the program titled, Still Barking. Flaim tells the Post, “The book is about the radio show and friendship and brotherhood, but none of it would’ve happened but for having an amazing audience. We have been very lucky to have people that have followed us and supported us for 25 years. Without them, we’re nothing.”

FOX News Channel Tops Competitors for 2021 in Nielsen’s Primetime and Total Day. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the highest rated cable news channel for 2021 (12/28/20-12/09/21) in both primetime and total day. In primetime, FOX News Channel averaged 2,365,000 viewers and 374,000 with A25-54 along with 233,000 in A18-49. Meanwhile, in total day, the network delivered 1,328,000 viewers and 223,000 in the younger 25-54 demo and 135,000 in A18-49. Also, according to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, this year, “more independents and democrats tuned into FNC than CNN while delivering the largest independent audience in cable news, making FNC’s audience the most politically diverse in cable news.” FNC holds 44% of the cable news audience in total day viewership and 41% of the audience with A25-54. In primetime, the network holds a 47% audience share in total viewers and 43% in the younger A25-54 demo. As a result, FNC increased its share of the cable news audience with A25-54 from 2020 to 2021. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “As we embark on our 20th year as the leader in cable news, the last six of which as number one in all of cable, I am incredibly proud of the unrivaled success we’ve had at FOX News Channel. Not only were we the only network to grow our audience share, but we did so while changing our lineup and transforming the entire late-night television landscape in the process, ensuring our continued momentum for many years to come.”

Newsmax Names Rich Grenell VP, Analyst. The former Acting Director of National Intelligence and U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is joining Newsmax Media as a national security contributor and executive for international partnerships. Newsmax says that Grenell, a former FOX News contributor, “will play a key role in offering security and international analysis for the network.” He’ll also serve as vice president for international development, helping the company’s foreign branding and content expansion. Newsmax currently licenses its brand and content in eight European nations. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Ric Grenell is a master of politics, media and government and we believe our viewers will gain great insight from his broad experience and public service.”

The ‘Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network’ Launches. “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory and Premiere Networks are partnering for the launch of the Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network.  This new project will focus on producing a slate of podcasts focused on the paranormal, supernatural, and unexplained. Co-produced by Noory and his long-time “Coast to Coast AM” senior producer Tom Danheiser, the network debuts with three new podcasts: “Shades of the Afterlife with Sandra Champlain,” “Strange Things with Joshua P. Warren,” and “Dark Becomes Light with Heidi Hollis.” Noory comments, “With these new programs, and more to come, we’re focused on producing the best content for paranormal fans. There’s so many facets of this entertaining and intriguing format, and we’re excited to kick off the network with three fan favorite guests from ‘Coast to Coast AM’ who are experts in their fields – Sandra Champlain, Joshua P. Warren and Heidi Hollis.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “We’re excited to partner with George to expand the ‘Coast to Coast AM’ brand with this new podcast network, creating a platform for new programing focused on the fascinating world of the paranormal. This new network will provide us with the opportunity to further engage and entertain George’s broad-reaching, worldwide audience.”

KBOI, Boise and USMC Collect Toys and Cash in 10-Day Drive. Pictured above is an unidentified staff member of Cumulus Media’s news/talk KBOI, Boise at the fifth “Idaho’s Largest Toy Drive” done in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps. Held November 26 through December 6, this was the longest toy drive of the past five years, collecting 38,822 toys and $36,213. KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “With supply chain concerns and inflation being possible negative factors, we decided to extend this year’s efforts. The Treasure Valley residents came through in fine fashion to support the USMC and kids in the area.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Economy/Supply Chain, Software Flaw, Build Back Better Negotiations, S.F. Mayor Actions/Urban Crime, and Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The spread of the Omicron variant, vaccines, and mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, the release of media personalities’ texts, and the contempt of Congress charge against former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; the high rate of inflation, the Fed’s plan to raise interest rates, and the supply chain breakdown; a pervasive software flaw that’s giving foreign hackers an entrance into crucial systems; the negotiations between the Biden administration and Senator Joe Manchin over the Build Back Better plan; San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s promise of strong actions to combat crime issues and urban crime spikes in other cities; and the aftermath of the Kentucky and Illinois tornadoes and the threat of more violent weather were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 8, 2021

| October 8, 2021

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, “Floors and Ceilings,” looks back at this past week of 10/4 – 10/8. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, professor of Law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Ken Coleman, talk show host, Ramsey Solutions; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

WPHT, Philadelphia Promotes Greg Stocker to Brand Manager. Executive producer and assistant brand manager Greg Stocker is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210,” effective immediately. In this role, Stocker will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. Stocker assumes the brand manager role for the station previously held by Spike Eskin, who left the Audacy Philadelphia operations to become program director for the company’s WFAN, New York. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m so pleased to see Greg earn this well-deserved recognition for his hard work and commitment to WPHT. Greg brings a passion for talk radio to his role and is the perfect manager to lead WPHT and our newly expanded local lineup along with some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stocker joined the company as an intern in 2003 after obtaining a degree in TV/radio from Northampton County Community College. From 2005 through 2013, he was producer of “The Michael Smerconish Show” and since 2014, he has been executive producer of “The Rich Zeoli Show.” In 2019, he was named assistant brand manager in addition to his producing role. He comments, “It’s truly an honor to be leading this legendary radio station. I have an amazing team and I’m excited to guide us all into the next phase of WPHT’s evolution.”

Round Four of September PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 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 September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds 1.6 shares to finish with a 6.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises from #7 to #4 while Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF-AM declines 1.2 shares for a 2.4 share finish and falls to the #14 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is at #1 after adding nine-tenths for a 9.1 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN is close behind at #2 after adding 1.7 shares for an 8.9 share finish. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” is steady with a 7.8 share but rises to the #1 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WLAC is up eight-tenths for a 2.9 share and wraps the survey at #14. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

WABC, New York to Celebrate 100 Years of Broadcasting. New York City news/talk WABC is celebrating 100 years of continuous broadcasting. John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media, announces that WABC will celebrate its “rich history and the cultural impact that the iconic station has had on the lives of its listeners” throughout the next year, kicking off this month. The celebration will feature guests, interviews, milestones, remembrances, and more. You can visit the 77 WABC Celebrates 100 Years webpage here. The special retrospective series airs every Sunday in October, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Last Sunday featured Rush Limbaugh’s first show on 77 WABC and talk radio pioneer Bob Grant. This Sunday spotlights Dan Ingram, the thinking man’s DJ. Catsimatidis states, “With 50,000 watts of clear channel power, 77 WABC represents the many and diverse communities in New York and America with a common sense approach to the issues that confront our world, along with music and entertainment on the weekends. Looking forward to the next 100 years, we’re reaching our listeners on every available platform – broadcast, podcast, streaming, and mobile – and we’re thinking beyond radio. We’ve built a state-of-the-art audio/visual facility, which we call Studio 77. Our morning show is available for our fans to watch, as well as listen, and we’ve hosted live broadcast events such as a mayoral primary debate and special 9/11 programming that included the leaders of New York then and now. We’re developing new talent and exploring new ideas.” WABC launched in 1921 as WJZ. On May 1, 1953, the station changed its calls to WABC.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Talks Idaho Politics on CNN. Pictured above is KIDO-AM, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) appearing on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo (left) discussing the recent political theatre involving the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Karina Farias joins Edison Research as project coordinator. Farias was most recently program director and morning co-host at KUFX-FM, San Jose. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “Karina’s experience in audio combined with her passion for research will be a great fit, and we’re excited to have her join the team.” In her new role with Edison, Farias will be directing an array of market research projects with a focus on audio and media clients. She will also take a role in Edison Research’s election research…..Focus 360 adds of two national personal finance shows to its roster. “Real Money Pros” and the “Jared Dillian Money Minute” are now being repped by Focus 360 for network advertising and affiliation sales. Focus360 founder and CEO Phil Brown says, “As the country continues its climb out of the employment and economic disasters of last year, we wanted to expand our network to help listeners where they need it most – their bank accounts! Jared Dillian and the ‘Real Money Pros’ have been helping people through tough money issues for years and I am extremely excited to have them join the Focus 360 financial lineup!”…..ESPN releases VOL 1 of “Shots of Hype,” a new digital spoken-word audio series of motivational speeches. The three-part series is comprised of 15 tracks written and performed by well-known ESPN on-air personalities, including former athletes, coaches, and analysts. VOL 1 is now available via Hollywood Records across all major digital music platforms globally…..Sports USA reaches an agreement with the NHL to be the league’s exclusive live national radio play-by-play partner through the 2024-2025 season. The broadcasts will include select regular season games and continue through the Stanley Cup Final each year. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We look forward to building on the success we had during our coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and are thrilled to expand upon this partnership. The NHL has a loyal and passionate fan base and we couldn’t be more excited about the next four years.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway interviewed former President Donald Trump this week ahead of Trump’s planned rally in Iowa this weekend. During the 15-minute conversation, they discussed the Durham investigation, the border, the economy, inflation, Afghanistan, Iowa and it’s first in the nation status, crime and much more. Conway’s show is also heard on WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities.

The Budget Debate, Debt Ceiling Negotiations, and Infrastructure & Reconciliation Bills Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 4-8. The negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling and the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about COVID-19 boosters and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack tied with former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud at #3. 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.

 

 

Audacy Seeks Co-Host for Boston Red Sox Podcast. A podcast co-host is being sought for a yet-to-be-titled Boston Red Sox show that will launch as a result of Audacy’s partnership with Major League Baseball and the launch of Audacy’s third podcast studio 2400Sports. The co-host will be paired alongside newly hired host Steven Perrault, who joins Audacy from Barstool Sports, and will be counted on to provide their unique, engaged, and passionate perspective during each show. The show will break down some of the top storylines, rumors, and subplots happening in and around the team. Additionally, with access to current and former Red Sox personnel, the show will look to reach fans with unparalleled affection and vigor. See more about the position and apply here.

Alpha Media Portland Seeks Content Director. There’s an excellent opportunity for an experienced content director at Alpha Media Portland. The company is looking for a content director for news/talk 101.1 KXL, sports talk 750 KXTG – “The Game” and talk 970 AM KUFO – “Freedom” and for a corporate executive with involvement of key talk talent and stations. Alpha says, “We’re looking for someone with experience programming winning news/talk, talk and sports stations that thrive with content and entertainment in the digital world. The ideal candidate must possess an extremely good work ethic, be a self-starter who is highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and have strong leadership skills. Alpha Media owns or operates 207 radio stations in 44 markets across the United States and is a diverse, multimedia company sharing music, sports and news across a variety of platforms. We believe in creating progressive products, world-class events and building strong relationships in our communities. See more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

| August 5, 2021

Beasley Broadcast Group Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 96%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent company of Beasley Media Group) indicates net revenue was $59.6 million, an increase of 96.1% over the same period in 2020. The company posts operating income of $5.8 million compared to the $17.6 million operating loss it reported in Q2 of 2020. Station operating income also rebounded to $11.1 million compared to the $11 million SOI loss it posted in the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong 2021 second quarter financial results reflect growing momentum across our media platform, as the continuing broad-based economic recovery accelerated demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and marketing and advertising services. With the significant rebound in the commercial advertising market, second quarter net revenue of $59.6 million increased 24% over first quarter 2021 levels and 96% over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant rebound in net income to $0.2 million and SOI to $11.1 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.0 million. Throughout the second quarter, the resumption of advertising in key categories combined with the success of our content monetization strategies resulted in year-over-year revenue growth across all fifteen of our markets, with healthy double-digit revenue increases in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Notably, our continued emphasis on strong local content and consumer engagement drove best-in-industry ratings performance for our station clusters, according to Nielsen. Our cumulative on-air audience share approached pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter, having grown consistently since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While second quarter non-traditional revenue (NTR) and events revenue was minimal, we made the strategic decision to fully re-open our events business in the third quarter, given the continued strengthening of commerce and consumer activities in our markets, and expect incremental revenue from this source in the second half of 2021. As we work to return all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels of operation, we are closely tracking potential impacts from the Delta variant and the uncertainty it may bring to businesses we serve and our future operating results. Our ongoing focus on digital innovation and the strategic investments we are making in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities are delivering positive results and continue to highlight the value of our long-term revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 96% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for approximately 13.4% of total second quarter revenue, compared to 13.4% in the prior year period and 12% in the 2021 first quarter. With growing audience share and engagement, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions in the second quarter, with total digital impressions growing 29% over the prior year period.”

Salem Media Group Q2 2021 Total Revenue Rises 20.6%. The total revenue for Salem Media Group’s second quarter of 2021 was $63.8 million, an increase of 20.6% over the same period in 2020. Salem posted operating income of $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to the operating loss of $900,000 it reported during the second quarter of 2020. The company’s net income for Q2 of this year was $2.3 million compared to the net loss of $2.5 million it reported for the second quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports data for its three business segments and the Broadcast segment’s net revenue for this quarter was $46.8 million, up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Station operating income rose 66.6% to $10.6 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue rise 9.5% to $10.3 million and the Publishing segment revenue was $6.7, an increase of 68.3%. As of June 30, 2021, the Salem Media Group had $216.3 million outstanding on the 6.75% senior secured notes due 2024, no balance outstanding on the Asset Based Revolving Credit Facility, and $11.2 million outstanding on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans from the Small Business Administration.

Saga Communications Q2 Net Revenue Up 49.7%. Second quarter financial data from Saga Communications, Inc. reveals that the company’s net revenue was $28 million, an increase of 49.7% over the same period in 2020. The company posted operating income of $4.6 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million it reported in the second quarter of 2020.  Station operating expense increased $2.4 million to $21.0 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Station operating income was $8.4 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $181,000 for the second quarter of 2020. Free cash flow was $4.2 million for the quarter compared to a negative $1.8 million for the same period last year. Saga’s balance sheet reflects $59.4 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2021 and $59.6 million as of August 2, 2021.  The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the second quarter 2021.

Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Climbs 41.6%. Today’s second quarter 2021 financial report from Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, indicates the company’s net revenue was approximately $107.6 million, an increase of 41.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.6 million, an increase of 64.3% from the same period in 2020. Urban One reports operating income of approximately $37.9 million for Q2 of 2021, compared to approximately $20.4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $17.9 million compared to approximately $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall we had an extremely strong second quarter; not only was Adjusted EBITDA up 82.4% year-over-year, but we also surpassed our Q2 2019 pre-pandemic Adjusted EBITDA. We are experiencing unprecedented advertiser interest in our audience across the entire Urban One platform. The radio advertising business saw a robust rebound from the worst impacts of the pandemic in Q2 2020, with segment revenues up by 73% and radio syndication revenues up 50.2%. We also benefitted from strong TV scatter markets, with TV advertising revenues up 21.3% in the quarter; furthermore, registered interest in our 2021-22 TV upfront sales presentations has also been extremely encouraging, which will help our fourth quarter revenue performance. Demand for our digital products remains high, with digital revenues up by 147.9% for the quarter and Adjusted EBITDA up by over $6 million; a significant help to our top and bottom-line growth. For Q3, our core radio business excluding political is currently pacing up by over 40%, and we are comfortable increasing our FY21 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to mid-$130 million, excluding casino chase costs. During the quarter we completed the second tranche of our Class A ATM share sale program, which yielded $21.2 million net of fees. This cash influx further strengthened our balance sheet, and we ended the quarter with $129.8 million of cash on hand, which is a healthy place to be ahead of the exciting new investment opportunity in the One Casino & Resort in Richmond, Virginia.”

Ralph Nader is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legendary consumer advocate, political activist, prolific author, Pacifica radio talk show host and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Nader engage in a fascinating discussion about “left/right political thinking” in America as well as social and business changes influenced by advancements in technology, plus more. Nader says working class Democrats and Republicans alike have far more in common than they have differences and that unbridled corporatism is the true enemy of the poor and working class regardless of race or political ideology. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

NAB Announces 2021 Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the 2021 Marconi Awards have been announced. The news/talk Station of the Year finalists are: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WTOP-FM, Washington; KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and KNX-AM, Los Angeles. (NAB lumps all-news and news/talk stations into the same category.) WSB-AM, Atlanta is also up for Legendary Station of the Year. Talk radio hosts making the finals include, for Major Market Personality of the Year, George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith from sports talk KTCK-AM, Dallas “The Ticket.” In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: WFLA-AM, Tampa’s Jack Harris; WBAL-AM, Baltimore’s C4 and Bryan Nehman; WHPT-FM, Tampa’s Mike Calta; and WWTN-FM, Nashville’s Dan Mandis. Medium Market Personality of the Year category finalists include: KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter; KIDO-AM, Boise’s Kevin Miller; KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas’ Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob; and WHO-AM, Des Moines’ Simon Conway. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (8/10), McVay Media’s Mike McVay is joining Loyd Ford from Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works, LLC for “The Radio State Of The Union Live Event” on The Encouragers on Clubhouse. It’s being billed as “a frank discussion about employment, job search, career management, corporate & local radio and the future” and takes place at 7:00 pm ET. Ford says, “We have been discussing the people we love in this business, the talent. This is a unique time in our history. If you are on the talent side of the business, it takes some skill to navigate your way through what is happening. I reached out to Mike because he really does have such deep experience and knows radio as a talent, a consultant and someone who ran programming for one of the largest broadcasters in the country. Plus, he’s willing (like I am) to be candid. This will be a conversation with red meat and a lot of helpful hacks to get ahead, stay balanced and help others.”…..Legendary WGN-AM and WGN-TV sports producer Jack “Rosey” Rosenberg will be recognized by the City of Chicago with an honorary street sign. The southeast corner of E. Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive will double as “Jack Rosenberg Way.” Rosenberg’s career at WGN began in 1954 where he was a producer, news writer, and sports editor and worked with celebrated sports voices including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and others. WGN says, “Rosey was a pioneer in modern sports production and broadcasting and is credited with its development. While Rosey himself was rarely heard on-air, the sound of his typewriter clacking in the background was unmistakable.” Rosenberg died December 26, 2020 at the age of 94…..Futuri announces the launch of AdMatic, “a revolutionary system that helps podcast platforms and creators make their content more discoverable and monetizable using advanced metadata sorting and deployment.” Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig adds, “Two million podcasts all have the same problem: poor metadata sorting that leads to mismatched recommendations for listeners and ineffective advertising for businesses. AdMatic solves this by using Futuri’s AI-driven technology to individually categorize podcast episodes and align with the businesses and products that best match on a case-by-case basis, rather than the hopelessly broad one-size-fits-all approach we currently see in the market.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Outbreaks & Mask Policies, Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations-Impeachment Possibility, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, the Tokyo Olympic Games, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in numerous U.S. states, governors under fire and mask policies; President Joe Biden’s moratorium on evictions; the allegations of sexual impropriety against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the possibility of his being impeached; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the Tokyo Olympics; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 11, 2020

| December 11, 2020


NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” looks back at this past week of December 7 – December 11, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston /  Michael Berry Radio NetworkGrace Curley, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio Network;  Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; and Robbie Stevens, record producer / commentator, TalkersRadioThis acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer 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.

NYPost: Craig Carton to Host ‘Responsible Gambling Show.’ According to a story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York afternoon drive co-host Craig Carton will host a Saturday show called “Hello, My Name Is Craig” that is being called a “responsible gambling show.” The show is a partnership between Entercom’s sports talk WFAN and problem gambling help network 1-800-GAMBLER. Carton said on WFAN, “They’re going to bring their expertise into it. I’ll tell the stories of gambling and the way my addiction manifested itself in the bad decisions I made, which became criminal.” It was the need to pay off gambling debts that caused Carton to create a phony concert tickets brokerage scheme that put him in prison for fraud after a November 2018 conviction.

WJR-AM, Detroit’s Mitch Albom Radiothon Raises $1.5 million for Local Charity. During Thursday’s daylong radiothon, WJR, Detroit afternoon drive host Mitch Albom helped raise more than $1.5 million for SAY Detroit – a local organization that helps the needy with health care, housing, food and education. The “9th Annual Mitch Albom SAY Detroit Radiothon” included appearances by special celebrity guests including Kate Hudson, Hugh Jackman, Katie Couric, Lily Tomlin, Hank Azaria, Tim Allen, and Anderson Cooper.

WGN-AM, Chicago’s Dean Richards to Return to Air After COVID Case. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media personality and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards is returning to the air after a couple weeks off due to a bout with COVID-19. The 66-year-old Richards will broadcast from his home for the next week or two before returning to the Nexstar Media Group station’s studios. Richards tells Feder his symptoms were relatively mild and adds that he’s not sure how he caught the coronavirus because he was being very careful. “The moral of my story is no matter how careful you think you’re being, be ten times more careful than that. Because I thought I was being super careful. I know I was being super careful.”

News/Talk KBOI, Boise Holds Successful Toy Drive for Marine Corps Reserve Campaign. Last Thursday through Sunday (12/3-6), Cumulus Media’s news/talk “NewsTalk 670” KBOI, Boise and Idaho Central Credit Union hosted Idaho’s biggest toy drive to benefit the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program for Treasure Valley children in need this holiday season. The event helped bring in more than 70,000 toys and $27,000 in cash donations. Pictured above (from l-r) are: US Marine Corps Reserve Charlie Company Marines Elmore and Perez, a smitten stuffed bear, Miss Idaho USA Katarina Schweitzer, and KBOI’s Mike Kasper and Nate Shelman.

WMAL-FM, Washington Fisher House Radiothon Raises More Than $360,000. During last weekend’s annual two-day WMAL Operation Fisher House Radiothon, the Cumulus Media news/talk station helped raise $368,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. WMAL listeners have donated more $7.5 million dollars over the last 15 years to support the efforts of the Fisher House Foundation to provide housing to families of injured military members who are undergoing treatment. Cumulus Media VP of news/talk and WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are humbled by the response of our listeners each and every year. Their response is incredibly heartwarming.”

COVID-19, Vaccines, Stats, and Protection Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 7-11. The fast-rising number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., the status of hospitals, hope for effective vaccines, and warnings about holiday get-togethers combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing efforts to overturn the election results. Coming in at #3 was Joe Biden’s transition appointments and nominations, followed by the Georgia senate runoff elections 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Milwaukee urban contemporary “HOT 105.7” (WXSS-HD2) adds two air talents to the program schedule. Entercom announces that former crosstown WKKV-FM personality Promise is now hosting mornings while DJ Gee A moves from sister CHR WXSS-FM to afternoons on “HOT 105.7.” Entercom Milwaukee market manager Andrea Hansen says, “We’re excited to welcome Promise and DJ Gee A to our on-air lineup and introduce them to our listeners. Both have deep roots in this community with valued experience entertaining and connecting with the listeners of this city. We trust that combination will quickly resonate with our fans and round out our locally focused programming lineup.”…..The nationally syndicated “Ashley & Brad” show – hosted by Ashley Paige and Brad Abrell and produced by Skid Trax and distributed by Sun Broadcast Group – adds new affiliate stations as KFLX-FM, Chino Valley, Arizona; KPPT-FM , Depoe Bay, Oregon; KQBG-FM, Rock Island, Washington; and KHKM-FM, Hamilton, Montana add the program to their schedules.