Cumulus Renews Rush Limbaugh Through 2019. The news/talk icon is heard on 33 of Cumulus Media’s news/talk outlets across the country and today’s announcement insures he’ll be heard there through 2019. Premiere Networks and Cumulus Media are extending the affiliation agreement for the Rush Limbaugh show and the deal is what the latter calls a “multi-million dollar” one that “represents Limbaugh’s increased power and audience appeal as the most-listened-to national radio talk show host in America.” Cumulus throws some ratings data into the presser as well, noting that the Limbaugh show “experienced combined audience growth of +49 % with Persons 12+ and +23% with Adults 25- 54 on Cumulus-owned stations in Chicago (WLS-AM), Detroit (WJR-AM), Washington, DC (WMAL-FM), Dallas (WBAP-AM) and San Francisco (KSFO-AM). Nationwide, the program has experienced significant year-over-year audience growth in 2016 with Persons 12+ (+21%), Adults 25-54 (+13%), Adults 18-34 (+12%) and Women 25-54 (+17%).” All data is credited to Nielsen Audio. Cumulus Media SVP of operations and co-head office of programming Bob Walker comments, “Rush is a unique and true broadcaster, and we’ve had a successful partnership for many years. We’re pleased to continue offering the Rush Limbaugh show on our market-leading brands, which connect with millions of consumers and drive positive results for our partners.”
KABC, Los Angeles and Doug McIntyre Ink Two-Year Extension. Los Angeles radio personality Doug McIntyre and Cumulus Media sign a deal that will keep him hosting the “McIntyre in the Morning” show on KABC-AM for at least two more years. KABC operations director Drew Hayes comments, “We’re thrilled Doug will be with us for at least another two years given the dramatic growth he has achieved for us over the past year.” In the press release, Hayes says McIntyre has achieved “an impressive 61% increase in weekly listeners in the third quarter of 2016 over 2015 and 70.6% growth year-to-year in the key 25-54 demographic. Doug has also been a hit with women listeners.” McIntyre says, “I think we’ve found success by evolving talk radio away from stridency; by striking the right balance between today’s headlines and laughs without beating people over the head with ginned-up outrage and demoralizing partisanship.” McIntyre also writes a popular weekly column for the Los Angeles Daily News and is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast and numerous other publications. He is also a much-in-demand emcee, helming the annual “L.A. Political Roast,” “The Cinema Audio Society Awards,” and the annual “Timothy Coughlin Dinner” in New York, a 9-11 related charity. Next month, McIntyre will host four evenings with comedy legend Steve Martin as part of the Southern California Distinguished Speakers Series. In past years he has performed with Monty Python icon John Cleese, Betty White, Ron Howard and Robert Redford among others.
Joe Bell Returns to Beasley to Lead Philly Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Joe Bell worked for Beasley Media Group for 16 years leading its Fort Myers and Miami operations. Now, almost three years after leaving the company, he returns to serve as market manager of the Philadelphia station group. Beasley president Bruce Beasley states, “Joe made us proud as he served at the helm of our Miami cluster in charge of an iconic heritage sports station WQAM, in addition to his experience with major personalities at WPOW ‘Power 96,’ and Miami’s ‘Kiss Country.’ As our company has grown, we have benefitted tremendously from Joe’s successful team management skills. Joe will hit the ground running in Philly!” In Philadelphia, Beasley operates sports talker WPEN-FM and WTEL-AM, rock WMMR, adult hits WBEN-FM, classic rock WMGK, and talk WWDB-AM.
Cumulus Suing JP Morgan Chase for Hindering Refinancing. In this suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, Cumulus Media is asking the court to take action forcing creditor JP Morgan Chase to follow through on steps that will allow Cumulus’ debt-for-equity refinancing to happen before the January 27 deadline. Cumulus recently announced that it has reached an agreement with bondholders that would allow it to deleverage by as much as $305 million. But the refinance of those senior notes requires borrowing from Cumulus’ $200 million revolving line of credit and JP Morgan has not allowed the transfer of the revolving line of credit to the new lenders and extended a loan amendment giving the company access to the credit line. In the suit, Cumulus says it is being affected by an industry-wide decline in business and its heavy debt load is affecting its prescription for improving ratings and revenue. This refinancing would help ease that burden. There’s been no public comment by JP Morgan Chase on the suit.
iHeartMedia Announces Strategy in Not Repaying 2016 Legacy Notes. Saying that as part of its “ongoing efforts to proactively address its capital structure,” iHeartMedia reports that a Special Committee of independent directors has decided not to repay the $57.1 million of the 5.50% Senior Notes due tomorrow (12/15) held by affiliate Clear Channel Holdings, Inc. It says it will pay the $192.9 million of 2016 Legacy Notes held by other holders. With this, iHeartMedia will continue to have at least $500 million of legacy notes outstanding on December 15 and will therefore not be obligated to grant certain additional security interests in favor of certain of its debtholders under a so-called “springing lien” set forth in relevant debt agreements. The company announces that it also filed lawsuits in the State District Court in Bexar County, Texas, seeking a declaration that the $57.1 million of 2016 Legacy Notes remains outstanding and that the Company is not currently obligated to grant any of its debtholders the “springing lien” on any of its assets.
Baltimore Talk Personality Allan Prell Dead at 79. Longtime WBAL, Baltimore radio personality Allan Prell passed away on Saturday (12/10) at the age of 79. Prell worked at several stations in Baltimore but made his mark in the talk radio business hosting a show in middays on WBAL from 1982 through the early 2000s, according to Prell’s obit on WBAL.com. Prior to his talk host career, Prell was a newsman who won two Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative journalism. As a talk show host, Prell was named to the TALKERS magazine Heavy Hundred (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) for three years straight (1999, 2000, and 2001). He also co-hosted a specialty weekend program called “The Movie Show on Radio” for several years in the early 2000s. Check out David Zurawik’s memories of Prell in the Baltimore Sun here.
David Field Sells $1.2 Million of Entercom Stock. In a legal filing disclosed to the SEC, Entercom Communications Corp. reports that company president and CEO David J. Field sold 79,607 shares of Entercom stock in a December 12 transaction valued at $1,268,935.58. Field sold the shares at an average price of $15.94. After the transaction, Field’s stock ownership stands at 2,053,161 shares valued at $32,727,386.
Odds & Sods. Last month, programmer Bob Shomper quietly exited CBS RADIO’s Twin Cities news/talk WCCO-AM. The company is presently searching for WCCO’s new program director…..Westwood One is now serving as the exclusive ad sales rep for the weekly podcast “The Pollsters,” featuring Democratic pollster/political consultant Margie Omero and Republican pollster/political consultant Kristen Soltis Anderson. The program is available via audioBoom, iTunes, Google, Spotify, and others…..College basketball legend John Calipari is the host of a new, weekly podcast on the Midroll platform, owned by E.W. Scripps. The “Cal Cast” gives Calipari “a new way for me to connect with people and to talk honestly with high profile guests who all have very interesting stories and bold opinions.”
Trump Transition/Kanye West Visits Trump Tower, Trump Cabinet Nominees, the Syrian Civil War/Allegations of Atrocities in Aleppo, New Abortion Legislation, Election Recount/Russian Influence Allegations, New Star Wars Flick, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The transitioning of the Trump Administration and rapper Kanye West’s visit to the Trump Tower in NYC; President-Elect Donald Trump’s choices of ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Energy Secretary, and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke for Secretary of the Interior; the Syrian civil war and allegations that Bashar al Assad’s forces are randomly killing civilians; the 20-week abortion limit passed in Ohio and an attempt to put restrictions on abortions in Oklahoma; the failed election recount started by Green Party candidate Jill Stein and questions about the extent of Russian influence in the recent elections; chatter about the new Rogue One installment in the Star Wars film franchise; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.