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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

| February 23, 2021

Cumulus Media Reports 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 13.9%; Net Revenue for Full Year of 2020 Declines 26.7%. The second major radio company to report financial figures from the fourth quarter and the full year of 2020 (Beasley was first back on February 10), Cumulus Media reports net revenue of $245.8 million for the fourth quarter – a decline of 13.9% compared to the same period in 2019 – and full year 2020 net revenue of $816 million, down 26.7% from $1.1 billion reported in 2019. For Q4, Cumulus posted a loss of $249,000 a year after 2019’s Q4 income of $1.6 million. For the full year of 2019, the company posted a loss of $57.9 million compared to 2019’s full year income of $62.2 million. On the positive side, Cumulus reports that quarterly revenue improved sequentially from Q2 to Q4, both in total and excluding political; it achieved 9.4% year-over-year digital revenue growth (12.1% on a same station basis), driven by podcasting growth of nearly 40%; it generated $33.2 million of cash from operations for the full year; it completed two significant M&A transactions generating aggregate gross proceeds of $282 million; paid down $54.3 million of term loan and retired $47.2 million of senior notes; and finished the year with $271.8 million of cash on hand (an increase of $256.6 million compared with December 31, 2019). President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “Given 2020’s extenuating circumstances, I am extremely proud of the company’s performance and the efforts of the entire Cumulus team to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. In the face of the pandemic, we maximized revenue performance, materially reduced expenses, generated cash through strong working capital management, and executed highly accretive divestitures that strengthened our balance sheet. As a result of these efforts and with a recovering economy, we believe that we are well-positioned to return our business to its pre-pandemic trajectory and to capitalize on strategic and financial options to best drive shareholder returns.”

Chad Benson Welcomes New Affiliate Stations. The Radio America-syndicated “Chad Benson Show” welcomes four new radio stations to its roster of affiliate stations: WP Broadcasting’s news/talk KRSY-AM, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WCED Rsdio’s news/talk WCED-AM, Du Bois, Pennsylvania; Fieldview Broadcasting’s news/talk KWBG-AM, Boone, Iowa; and VP Broadcasting’s news/talk WHOL-AM/W295CR Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Chad Benson Show is also heard on such signals as Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix; iHeartMedia’s KSTE-AM, Sacramento; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. Radio America says, “Listeners love Chad’s explanation of the day’s hard news delivered in a thoughtful and entertaining way. And that explains why Chad is featured on some of the most highly rated talk stations in the country and delivers the demos that talk radio needs most.”

Entercom and Pro Sports Teams Cooperate on ‘Vaccinate Michigan’ Effort. The Entercom Detroit station cluster that includes sports talk WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket,” all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950,” and three music brands are partnering with the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Pistons to launch a new community initiative called “Vaccinate Michigan.” All five stations are airing state-approved public service announcements about the COVID-19 vaccination and its availability for Michigan residents. The “Vaccinate Michigan” announcements are voiced by various Entercom Detroit on-air personalities, show hosts, and news anchors, as well as some of the city’s key sports figures, including Tigers manager AJ Hinch, Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, Lions head coach Dan Campbell, and Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Our company and sports partners understand the importance of getting Michigan businesses open, as well as the need of our listeners and fans to get back to work and feel some sense of normalcy. Radio serves as a crucial lifeline for the communities it serves and we’re proud to lend our influential voice in the community and our citywide footprint to deliver the important message of COVID-19 vaccinations to our listeners and fans.”

SummitMedia Enters into Podcast Deal with CurtCo Media. This strategic partnership between SummitMedia and CurtCo Media is SummitMedia’s first formal alliance with a third-party content creator for the podcast audience. SummitMedia owns and operates 47 radio stations in nine states. Los Angeles-based CurtCo Media currently produces cutting-edge quality scripted and unscripted podcast programming. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer comments, “SummitMedia’s partnership with CurtCo Media provides us with an exciting opportunity to develop and explore the rapidly growing podcast medium. We’ve known and watched CurtCo create engaging and innovative content for years, and we value the integrity and quality they bring to the media industry.” CurtCo Media CEO Bill Curtis says, “Having a strategic alliance and investment from SummitMedia makes this partnership the most powerful moment to date in our business development. We’re so excited to work with Greg Kelly, Carl and their team to create new dynamic programming and combine Summit’s powerful radio platform with CurtCo Media in the fast-growing world of podcasting. We believe this strategic partnership will provide sustainable value for our business and expand our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime radio and television consumer advocate Clark Howard will receive the 2021 “Andrew Ashwood Award” at the 12th annual Talk Show Boot Camp, presented by Don Anthony’s Talentmasters and Gabe Hobbs Media being held virtually this year on March 18 and 19.  Howard, who wrapped his nationally syndicated radio program after 23 years at the end of 2020, will be presented with the award by last year’s recipient, Greg Moceri. He says, “When I was given the privilege of selecting someone who exemplified the positivity that Andrew did for our industry, it took me two seconds to say Clark Howard. Having worked and associated with him for 30 years, he was an instant selection on how many ways he has demonstrated that positivity and has helped millions through the years. ‘In Clark we trust’ impacted his knowledge and authenticity in our industry for decades and it continues today. Clark was an instant choice to carry on this great tradition of honoring Andrew.”…..The 2nd Annual Radio Cares – Feeding America is off to a great start with new and returning partners signing on in support of the nationwide radio event that raises money to provide meals for individuals and families facing hunger in America. Radio Cares is presented by Feeding America and the Independent Broadcasters Association and takes place on April 14 on radio stations across the country. Last year, in its inaugural event, Radio Cares raised enough money to purchase 5 million meals.”…..The Philadelphia Phillies and Entercom announce a new, multi-year radio deal with the MLB’s Phillies to keep sports talk WIP-FM the flagship station for the club’s radio broadcasts. The play-by-play team of Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will be joined by Kevin Frandsen this season. Entercom Philly SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re eagerly awaiting the return of Phillies baseball and are happy to announce a new broadcast extension with the club. As the undisputed voice of the Philadelphia sports fan, we look forward to putting listeners right in the middle of the action through premier game day coverage and keeping them caught up with their favorite team throughout the season.”

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, SCOTUS Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Capitol Riot Investigation, Cabinet Confirmation Hearings, Dominion Sues Mike Lindell, and Facebook Australia News Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22). The United States passes the 500,000 COVID death mark and the rollout of vaccines continues; the Supreme Court rules New York prosecutors can have access to Donald Trump’s tax records; today’s first Senate hearing on the January 6 Capitol insurrection; Monday’s first confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, and the coming hearings for embattled White House budget office nominee Neera Tanden and Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland; voting systems firm Dominion sues MyPillow chief Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion for defamation; and Facebook agrees to Australian news deal that will pay news organizations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 23, 2020

| October 23, 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, “Dead Lives Matter,” looks back at this past week of October 19 – October 23, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Mike Siegel, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Bob Costantini, chief correspondent, Ear on the White House; and Victoria Jones, executive editor, DC Radio Company. This 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.

iHeartMedia Acquires Voxnest. This acquisition brings podcast programmatic platform Voxnest into the iHeartMedia fold (iHM previously owned a minority stake in Voxnest). Voxnest is described by iHeartMedia as “the leading consolidated marketplace for podcasts and the best-in-class provider of podcast analytics, enterprise publishing tools, programmatic integration and targeted ad serving.” iHeartMedia says that now it is able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory at scale by allowing the effective and efficient monetization across an entire range of podcast inventory on this one-of-kind programmatic platform. This additional inventory will increase the monetization of iHeartMedia’s full range of podcasts and advance the podcast marketplace for both buyers and sellers. iHeartMedia will also be able to drive greater monetization for creators of podcast content – wherever they currently publish their shows – by connecting Voxnest’s advanced ad technology with multiple publishing platforms across the industry. Voxnest ad technology capabilities also includes: Dynamic ad insertion; audience and content targeting to the right listeners based on demographics, territories, devices and interests; programmatic podcast buying across all audio platforms by providing native support of VAST and OpenRTB. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “This is an important addition to the iHeart digital product ecosystem, which includes our SmartAudio suite of data-driven broadcast radio advertising solutions; our position as the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher with massive distribution and promotion across all our broadcast assets; and the iHeartRadio digital platform. The addition of iHeart’s offerings to Voxnest will ensure critical mass for the platform and accelerate its growth.  As we continue to invest in podcasting and lead the industry, we anticipate this acquisition will have an important impact on iHeart’s ability to more fully monetize its podcast inventory, and will also benefit the other podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network and the advertisers who are using it.”

KZRG, Joplin Adds Two to News Department. KZRG, Joplin, Missouri program director Peter Thiele says that in a continued commitment to Joplin and the Four-State area, the Zimmer Radio news/talk outlet is expanding its news team with the hiring of multimedia journalists Steve Scott and Dalton Evans. Thiele says Zimmer Radio is committed to local news on-air, online, and on app, focusing on breaking news, severe weather, and operating a 24-hour newsroom. Market manager Chad Elliot states, “We are excited to grow our news team at a time when other media companies are cutting their commitment to local news. Zimmer is making a stronger commitment to breaking news and weather coverage for the communities we serve.” Thiele adds, “The long-term growth of KZRG is tied to being the first stop for news, weather, and opinion and being a listener-focused destination.”

VP Broadcasting Launches New Talk Outlet in Allentown. The simulcast of WHOL-AM and W295CR in Allentown, Pennsylvania flips from a tropical music format to news/talk featuring local personality Joe Ligotti in morning drive, followed by Radio America’s Chad Benson from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Dana Loesch from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Mark Levin from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The station will air classic rock on weekends. VP Broadcasting CEO Victor Martinez names “Diamond Boy” Luis Torres program director for the station. Torres says, “I’m excited for the trust Victor has in me and for the opportunity VP Broadcasting is giving me to bring a new outlet and style to the Lehigh Valley. I believe this mix of the new generation of talk combined with classic rock music is what the area had been missing.”

SiriusXM’s Jim Meyer Confident in New Howard Stern Deal. During Thursday’s third quarter earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the current contract negotiations with Howard Stern. He said, “Howard tells me he’s never been happier. And our relationship with Howard is very strong. He is producing fantastic content and his show has never been better. We had very productive conversations regarding a long-term renewal of this agreement. From my perspective, we are far along, but it’s never done until it’s done. I am very confident we will have an agreement soon to announce shortly.” When asked for details on what a new deal might entail, he said, “I can tell you that where we are in the discussions today, we have a set of economics that Howard’s team is happy with and I’m happy with. Obviously, we’ve got to get the deal completed. And it would certainly be a long-term arrangement.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read or listen to the entire earnings call here.

TALKERS News Notes. A message to subscribers from Nielsen Audio notes that the October 2020 PPM survey is the first monthly PPM data release that will see the results of its headphone adjustment and outlier mitigation enhancements. Nielsen will host a client webinar on Tuesday, October 27 to review the data (set to be released early next week). Nielsen will also spotlight insights from the October data, along with a recent consumer sentiment study “to provide context for the organic growth we’re seeing beyond the headphone enhancement.”…..Sun Broadcast Group announces two new additions to its staff. Amanda Stetzy joins the company as media research analyst and Alyson Tiller is named assistant traffic coordinator. SBG says the new hires come on the heels of the recent expansion of the sales team, with the addition of Jackie Cardillo and Angela Codella. Chief operating officer Danno Wolkoff says, “As advertising demand continues to grow at Sun, we needed more people to support the sales team and ensure that our advertisers’ and agencies’ needs are met, and campaigns run as ordered. Amanda and Alyson will help our salespeople deliver exceptional client service and 100% accountability. I am delighted to welcome them both to Sun.” Previously, Stetzy served with Regional Reps and Tiller served with CBS Radio.

Presidential Election Issues Top News/Talk Story for October 19-23. The related presidential race, Thursday’s debate, ballot issues, the polls, and foreign election tampering all came together to make the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19 stats & projections, health care, vaccines, and psychology. Coming in tied at #3 was accusations, scandals & corruption, the Hunter Biden emails, and Donald Trump’s Chinese bank account, followed by the economy, stimulus package, business openings, and the education crisis all tied 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. The new chairman of the BMI board of directors is Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley. Beasley, who joined the board in 2014, most recently served as vice chairman of the BMI board. She succeeds Michael J. Fiorile, chairman of the Dispatch Printing Company, who has been elected presiding director of the BMI Board. Beasley says, “It is truly an honor to have the privilege of serving as chair of the BMI board of directors. Many thanks to Michael Fiorile for his innovative vision, tireless collaboration, and insightful leadership over the past several years in his role as chairman of the organization. I look forward to working together with the board, Mike O’Neill, and the outstanding BMI team to continue to serve the evolving needs of music creators, publishers, and licensees in today’s dynamic marketplace.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee’s urban contemporary WKKV “V100.7” is hosting “Your Vote is Your Voice,” a special broadcast with vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris on the importance of voting, what to expect at the polls, deadlines for voting absentee, and more. The special airs Monday (10/26) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and is being hosted by “V100.7” air personalities Bailey Coleman and Reggie Brown.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

| September 30, 2020

Round One of September PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR is the only spoken-word commercial station to notch a sizable increase over its August weekly AHQ share number, rising a half share to finish with a 2.3 share and the #17 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacks on one-tenth to wrap the September survey with a 4.0 share and the #5 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN falls a half share to post a 3.1 share and dipping to the #11 rank while Entercom’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM sheds nine-tenths for a 6.4 share and slides to the #2 rank after holding on to #1 for the past seven PPM surveys. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report here.

FOX News Channel’s ‘Hannity’ Top Cable News/Talk Show. According to a report by The Hill, FOX News Channel’s “Hannity” finished the recent July-August-September quarter as the most-watched cable news/talk program averaging approximately 4.45 million viewers, based on data from Nielsen Media Research. FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” came in second with 4.35 million viewers, followed by FOX’s “The Five” with 3.48 million, and “The Ingraham Angle” with 3.43 million viewers. The piece notes that the ratings period was marked by a heavy news cycle that included the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the national political conventions, the civil unrest, and the presidential race. As a result, FOX News Channel beat out legacy broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC in total viewers for the first time and became the most-watched network on television during the quarter.

NYPost: Carton and WFAN Very Close to a Deal. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand is reporting that Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and former “Fan” morning personality (and convicted fraudster) Craig Carton have been in regular talks about his return and that a formal offer is expected to be made by the station “by the end of the week.” Marchand says the offer is to host the afternoon drive program but that it’s not a done deal yet. The Post has also reported that Carton has a legitimate offer on the table from Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM, “97.5 The Fanatic” to host morning drive there. Currently, WFAN afternoons are being hosted by former midday team Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno. At WPEN-FM, Marc Farzetta hosts the morning drive show.

Former Entercom/CBS Radio Exec Andy Bloom Gaining Traction as Political Writer/Commentator – Available for Interviews About Mail-in Voting Issue. After a long career as an accomplished radio programming, research and management executive, Andy Bloom has been finding traction lately as a political writer and talk media guest discussing the hot issues. Following a colorful career that most recently included serving as OM for Entercom’s three-station cluster in Minneapolis-St. Paul – WCCO-AM, KMNB-FM, and KZJK-FM – and prior to that, nine years as OM for CBS Radio in Philadelphia overseeing news/talk WPHT and sports/talk WIP, as well as EVP at Coleman Research and VP for radio programming at Greater Media, Bloom currently runs his own media research and consulting firm, Andy Bloom Communications, based out of Minneapolis. Since 2015, he has also developed a growing following as a writer of political and public policy articles for Newsmax Media. His latest research and analytical piece delves into the issues and complexities surrounding the mail-in ballot controversy. Read it here. The piece contains information of value about the issue to talk show hosts and Bloom has begun doing bookings on the subject and is available to do more. He can be contacted via email at andy@andybloom.com or by phone at 612-644-4737.

Gen Media Partners Forms IBA Radio Sales. The Independent Broadcasters Association and Gen Media Partners announce the formation of the new national sales and marketing team exclusively for IBA members called IBA Radio Sales. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “This is an incredible opportunity for Gen Media Partners and for IBA member stations. Gen Media Partners was built on the strength of independent broadcasters and creating IBA Radio Sales is a natural extension of that. Uniting as members of the Independent Broadcasters Association, owners and operators retain their independence while gaining the advantages of scale, allowing them to compete more effectively with large corporations. I encourage every independent broadcaster to contact [IBA president] Ron [Stone] about joining IBA to take advantage of the significant benefits that membership provides, including the IBA Radio Sales national platform. We look forward to growing as the IBA grows in membership and scope.” Stone comments, “IBA membership has been growing exponentially. To date, we have 900 members and more stations are joining every day. The number one request from prospective IBA members from our survey, conducted a few weeks ago while we were gauging interest for an IBA, was ‘we want our own rep firm.’ This opportunity with Gen Media Partners, known for successfully representing independent broadcasters in all size markets, is the ideal national sales partner to represent IBA member stations with this creation of a rep firm dedicated solely to IBA members. Our goal is for every independent operator to join IBA and reap the benefits of being represented by IBA Radio Sales. The board and I are very excited about working with Gen Media Partners to build our national sales platform and the opportunities IBA Radio Sales will bring to our members.”

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast studio for Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is being named “The Samuelsen Studio” in honor of the station’s late air personality Jamie Samuelsen, who died on August 1 after a year-and-a-half battle with colon cancer. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jamie meant so much to our station and was a key part of our listeners lives. We want to honor him in a special way, not only as a great broadcaster, but an extraordinary person. We hope the renaming of the studio will serve as a way to keep his memory alive and add to his incredible legacy here in Detroit.”…..Radio America’s nationally syndicated  “Chad Benson Show” is added to the program schedule at Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot. KXL joins recently added affiliate stations KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; and more…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One drops the first episode of its seven-part podcast series titled, “5-4,” that addresses the Supreme Court’s role in the November presidential election. The show is hosted by by legal commentators Peter (better known as Twitter’s @The_Law_Boy), Rhiannon (@AywaRhiannon), and Michael(@_FleerUltra). The first episode focuses on nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Other topics will include: the electoral college, gerrymandering, and campaign finance…..iHeartMedia unveils a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast called “The Ten News” targeted to kids ages 8 – 12 and hosted by comedian and storyteller Bethany Van Delft. The podcast is produced by Small But Mighty Media and Next Chapter Podcasts. Van Delft says, “I’m excited to be part of a show that’s not only cool and fun to listen to but speaks to kids as smart and curious people. ‘The Ten News’ helps amplify kids’ voices and empowers them to take action.”…..SiriusXM will air a new weekly show, “Forward Progress,” across several of its channels. The program focuses on race, society and sports and is co-hosted by SiriusXM’s Jason Jackson and Kirk Morrison. SiriusXM adds that the show will address “the continuing push for racial equality and justice – from the pioneering civil rights efforts of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Bill Russell to the historic recent player protests and the groundswell of support for today’s Black Lives Matter movement across sports leagues. They will be joined by guests from around the sports world each week, including current and former players who are using their influence as public figures to create change, to discuss what more needs to be done.”…..Pictured below is KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller hosting his presidential debate watch party. More than 500 people attended the event at the Terrace Drive-In in Caldwell, Idaho.

Entercom and Clark Atlanta University Announce Partnership. This relationship between Clark Atlanta University and Entercom Atlanta will “provide students a unique and unprecedented opportunity to gain access to one of the nation’s leading media and entertainment companies. The partnership will expose students to top representatives in programming, sales, administration, and on-air talent, among others. Additionally, it will create a pipeline for future job opportunities.” The initiative launches tonight (9/30) with a private, virtual event for students. Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field will also attend. CAU president Dr. George T. French says, “This is an exciting opportunity for our scholars. Partnerships with media conglomerates such as Entercom are a continuation of Clark Atlanta University’s Mass Media Arts Department’s legacy and dedication to ensuring our students are prepared and globally competitive in the communications industry.” Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey comments, “This partnership with Clark Atlanta University builds on our focus to create a more inclusive and diverse team and workplace. We’re excited to share our resources and insights in the form of real-world learning, beginning with this first virtual event on the future of audio.”

The Presidential Race/Tuesday’s Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Breonna Taylor Case, Stimulus Deal, Jobless Numbers-The Economy, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The November presidential election and Tuesday night’s first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths and cases, the rising number in the Midwest, and projections for fall-winter outbreaks; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various U.S. cities, as well as the grand jury process in the Breonna Taylor case; negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin for a new stimulus deal; the U.S. jobless statistics and economic indicators; and the status of the deadly California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WPOC-FM, Baltimore morning show personality Laurie DeYoung celebrated her 35th anniversary hosting the program on the iHeartMedia country station. The station says DeYoung “has been a staple of the Baltimore radio scene throughout her career since she began broadcasting on WPOC in 1985. Laurie has interviewed many country music icons over the years, including Dolly Parton, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood and more. For more than three decades, she has also maintained an unmatchable relationship with her local listeners, country music industry tastemakers and artists.” DeYoung was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2010 and named CMA Large Market Personality of 1994 and CMA Major Market Personality in 2014…..Beasley Media Group announces that the new “MJ Morning Show” on 80s hits-formatted WRBQ, Tampa Bay will include MJ’s former co-hosts Froggy and Fester, plus new addition Roxanne Wilder. MJ, a.k.a. Todd Schnitt, says, “I’m ecstatic to bring the ‘MJ Morning Show’ back to Tampa Bay on the world famous ‘Q105.’ I love morning radio, and with Fester, Froggy, and Roxanne, we’ll provide must-listen content every day.”…..Entercom Riverside is inviting listeners to remember those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival. To honor the 58 lives lost and the survivors who still live with the trauma, country KFRG-FM “K-FROG” is hosting a virtual candlelight vigil via Facebook Live. The event will also include a reading of the victims’ names tomorrow night (10/1) at 8:00 pm PT…..Cumulus Media names Chad Heritage program director for country WGKX-FM, Memphis “KIX 106” and for adult contemporary WKIM-FM, Memphis “98.9 The Bridge.” Heritage joins Cumulus Memphis from iHeartMedia where he was national brand coordinator since 2009 and SVP of programming for iHeartMedia, Little Rock since 2006. Cumulus Memphis VP/market manager Morgan Bohannon says, “We knew Chad was a good match the first time we talked to him. He’s from the region, has had a very successful programming career and is the perfect fit to lead one of America’s best country brands with ‘KIX-106.’ He’s just the perfect fit for us and we’re excited about his joining the Cumulus team in Memphis.”…..Key Networks enters into an exclusive partnership agreement with Clear Media Network to manage all network advertising sales and network advertiser inventory operations for the new 24/7 music radio network. Dallas-based Clear Media Network was launched on September 1, 2020, and offers AC, country and adult R&B formats that are “uniquely positioned, formatted and dynamically programmed for the unique needs of the independent radio operator.”

Thursday, January 9, 2020

| January 9, 2020

Chad Benson to Join KTAR-FM, Phoenix for Afternoons.  Nationally syndicated talk radio host Chad Benson is not giving up his Radio America-syndicated show – he’ll continue to host it at its new live feed time of 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET (beginning January 20) – but he’s joining air personality Larry Gaydos on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix “News 92.3 FM” as co-host of the station’s 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show, effective January 21.  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “Chad is one of the most talented and energetic talk show hosts that I’ve ever seen.  I can’t wait for he and Larry to inform and entertain the KTAR audience on their way home each day.”  Mac Watson had been hosting the KTAR afternoon show with Gaydos, but he exited the station in October.  Speaking about his new gig, Benson says, “I am beyond excited to be partnering with Larry Gaydos – one of the most talented men in radio – on one of the most iconic stations in the country.  Here we come Phoenix.”  At the same time, Bonneville says KTAR-FM is adding “Arizona’s Evening News” to its daily lineup – a full hour of news, traffic, and weather starting each weeknight at 6:00 pm.

Report: 60 Million U.S. Adults Own Smart Speakers. According to the latest edition of The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 from Edison Research and NPR, 24% of U.S. adults own a smart speaker device.  That’s about 60 million people 18+.  That’s up from 21 million at the end of 2018 and 7 million at the closing of 2017.  The report includes video interviews with study panelists who explain how they acquire new smart speaker skills and from where they get recommendations about new content.  As far as discovery is concerned, 45% of those surveyed say they get new skills or actions for their smart speaker from family and friends.  Many panelists said that after the initial ownership period passed, they stopped trying to see what else the smart speaker could do and now rely on it for a handful of the same tasks.  The report found that 69% of smart speaker owners agree they don’t know enough about them to use all of their features.  See more about the study here.

Emmis Communications 2019 Fiscal Q3 Net Revenue Flat.  Issuing financial data for its 2019 fiscal third quarter, Emmis Communications reports net revenue of $10.7 million, flat compared to the same figure in the fiscal third quarter of 2018.  Net revenue for the first three quarters of fiscal 2019 was down 5.3% to $29.3 million, compared to the same period in 2018.  For the fiscal 2019 Q3, Emmis posted an operating loss of $6 million, up 61% from the $3.2 operating loss posted in Q3 of fiscal 2018.  During fiscal 2019, Emmis closed on its sale of its 50.1% interest in Emmis Austin Radio Broadcasting Company, L.P. to Sinclair Telecable for $39.3 million and the sale of its controlling interest in New York’s WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM that netted $91.5 million in cash, a $5 million note, and a 23.72% stake in Standard General’s Mediaco Holdings – the new controlling owner of the stations.

U.S.-Iran Relations/Soleimani Killing, Iran Plane Crash, Trump Impeachment, 2020 Presidential Race, Megxit, Puerto Rico Earthquake Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8).  The relations between the U.S. and Iran after the U.S. killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; the deadly crash of a Ukrainian jet in Tehran and speculation about the cause; the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” from senior royal duties; and the conditions in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of recent earthquakes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The newest addition to the ESPN podcast lineup is Scott Van Pelt, who launches “SVPod” on January 14.  The late-night “SportsCenter” host’s weekly podcast will include long-form interviews, commentary, and expanded takes on his “One Big Thing” segment on SportsCenter.  Van Pelt says, “As much as I enjoy the ‘SportsCenter’ show we get to do at midnight, it doesn’t always provide the time and space for all I want to get to.  I look at interviews we had with Patrick Beverley, Matthew McConaughey, or Rakim as examples of times when the conversation was so interesting to me that it went on far beyond what we had room for on TV.”…..Compass Media Networks announces its slate of top-ranked, exclusive college basketball broadcasts that begin Sunday (1/12) with defending Big Ten Tournament champions Michigan State taking on Purdue.  Compass general manager for sports Michelle Salvatore says, “Our 2020 college basketball schedule continues Compass Media Networks’ decade-long reputation of excellence.  The teams, storylines, and rivalries cultivated and offered year in and year out are incomparable.  We are proud, once again, to offer our affiliates and corporate sponsors the best of college basketball and look forward to continuing this decade-long distinction.”  Find out more about the entire schedule of games here…..Two new episodes of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein” debut today (1/9).  They are hosted by ABC NewsMark Remillard and are available on numerous platforms.  Also, the two-hour primetime television special, “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” airs tonight from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm on ABC TV.

Newsmax President/CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The journalist and entrepreneur who launched Newsmax in 1998 and built it into one of America’s most successful and influential multi-media platforms, Christopher Ruddy, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Newsmax.com ranks consistently as one of the country’s most-trafficked news websites and Newsmax TV has enjoyed a rapid ascent to prominence in the cable news/talk TV arena with a current presence in 70 million cable homes across America. Harrison and Ruddy discuss today’s politics including the election, the state of cable news/talk television and insights drawn from his personal friendship with President Donald Trump. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The urban morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” (pictured below), syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks, adds 10 new affiliates in the New Year, including: WJXM-FM, Meridian, Mississippi; WIBB-FM, Macon, Georgia; and WMNX-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina.  The program — hosted by Angela Yee, Charlamagne Tha God, and DJ Envy — is now heard in 90 markets across the country…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is re-branding its evening country radio show, changing the “NASH Nights Live” show starring Shawn Parr and Elaina Smith to “Nights with Elaina,” hosted by Smith.  The program will launch on February 3.  Smith says, “I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last six years of my life with the best country music fans in the nation every single weeknight, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to continue connecting with them with a new show, ‘Nights with Elaina.’  If there is one thing I’ve learned that listeners and stars have in common, it’s that we’re all just trying to figure out life and have fun while doing it.”  Shawn Parr is exiting the network…..The nationally syndicated urban show “DeDe in the Morning” adds eight new affiliate stations.  The program, starring DeDe McGuire, is a syndicated effort from Service Broadcasting Group’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and Compass Media Networks.  Service Broadcasting director of operations and GM and brand manager for the program Geo Cook says, “DeDe’s unique content and strong connection to culture and community are fueling a revolution of perception about how women can lead and dominate ratings in morning drive.  We are thrilled that DeDe’s show is growing rapidly and spreading more laughter and fun in new markets.”  The show is currently heard on 35 affiliate stations…..Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is now airing on oldies WHRY, Hurley, Wisconsin and oldies WVVE, Grand Marais, Minnesota – home of the “World’s Tallest Indian” – a 52-foot fiberglass statue of tribal leader Hiawatha.  Envision says, “Listeners to the stations are hearing the legendary Wolfman Jack’s famous antics, crazy characters, celebrity interviews, and comedy bits every Saturday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm.”…..All Pro Broadcasting names Santiago Romero afternoon drive host at hot AC KHTI, Riverside “Hot 103.9.”  He was most recently with Entercom’s CHR KLUC, Las Vegas handling on-air, imaging and production duties…..On-air pro Eva Matteson is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” at the end of next month.  Matteson has been dealing with health issues and told listeners she wants to focus on those and spend more time traveling.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

| May 9, 2019

Emmis Revenue Down 4% in Fiscal Q4.  Radio revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018 for Emmis Communications was $22.2 million, down 4% pro forma for the sale of its Los Angeles and St. Louis radio stations.  For the full fiscal year of 2018, pro forma revenue was $108 million, down 2% in markets that were down 1%, according to Miller Kaplan data.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While the fourth quarter didn’t finish as strongly as we would have liked, we are seeing significant strength as we commence the new fiscal year.  Emmis’ first fiscal quarter is pacing up 5%, and ticket and sponsorship sales for Hot 97’s Summer Jam, Emmis’ largest event which occurs in June, are pacing well ahead of last year.  Our renewed focus on digital is bearing immediate fruit, with Q1 digital revenues pacing up 50%.  Ratings remain strong across all our brands and I’m confident that our ratings success will allow us to sustain this growth.  With the scaling down of NextRadio that occurred last year, coupled with the company’s recent refinancing, Emmis has one of the best balance sheets in the radio industry, which has been enhanced by our strong operational start to this fiscal year.”  In the report, Emmis noted that it completed a refinancing of its credit facility on April 12.  The refinancing lowered the company’s cost of capital from 10.5% to 5.8%.

Urban One Q1 Broadcast and Digital Net Revenue Up 6.1%. First quarter financial data from Urban One, Inc. shows the company as a whole posted net revenue of approximately $98.4 million, a decrease of 1.2% from the same period in 2018.  However, the broadcast and digital sector’s operating income was approximately $34.5 million, an increase of 6.1% over Q1 in 2018. Operating income during 2019’s first quarter was approximately $16.1 million compared to approximately $7.3 million for the same period in 2018.  Net loss was approximately $6.7 compared to net loss of approximately $22.6 million for the same period in 2018.  Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III comments, “While our radio division finished the quarter a little softer than expected, the Q2 pacings show a strong rebound, with April up mid-teens and Q2 overall pacing up high single-digits.  TV One advertising revenues performed nicely, with ratings remaining relatively stable, and subscriber churn was largely offset by contractual rate increases. Our digital segment was impacted by the timing of a tent-pole event, which caused some revenue to spill over into Q2, however the reorganization of expenses that occurred at the end of 2018 meant that the division delivered a much-improved EBITDA performance. Our investment in MGM National Harbor continues to perform well, with first quarter net gaming revenues up by 5.6% year-over-year. We remain focused on deleveraging, and during the first quarter we reduced indebtedness by $21.8 million.”

Beasley Ups Heidi Raphael to Chief Communications Officer. Corporate communications pro Heidi Raphael is promoted to chief communications officer at Beasley Media Group.  Raphael had been VP of corporate communications. She joined Beasley in 2017, coming over from Greater Media – where she’d been for two decades – after Beasley acquired its assets.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Heidi has proven time and time again that she is most deserving of being promoted to the position of chief communications officer. While she’s only been at our company for two years, she’s accomplished more than others would in five!  We are so very proud and lucky to have her in our Beasley Media Group family.”  Raphael currently serves on the boards of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters.  In addition, she is a member of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group executive committee.

Chelsey Waddell Named Director of Marketing for iHeartMedia Raleigh. Marketing pro Chelsey Waddell is appointed director of marketing and promotions at iHeartMedia’s Raleigh station group that includes WTKK-FM “106.1 FM Talk” and four music-formatted stations.  Waddell previously served in marketing and promotions positions with Radio One in St. Louis and Cumulus Media in Melbourne, Florida.  In this position she’ll work closely with the promotions, events, sales, and programming teams in developing and executing marketing for the Raleigh market’s iconic brands and franchises and will be responsible for developing and creating marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, enhance business relationships, and will assist with increasing revenue growth for the market. She says, “I’m excited to join the iHeartMedia market-leading team in Raleigh.  I’m looking forward to growing brand engagement among our audiences while driving continued revenue for the stations.”

Shosh Abromovich to Lead iHeartMedia Toledo. Radio sales pro Shosh Abromovich is promoted from SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Toledo operations to market president.  iHeartMedia region president Paul Corvino says, “Shosh has done an excellent job at leading our sales teams in the Toledo market.  She truly understands the value of iHeart’s full spectrum of services and unmatched assets, including radio, podcast, digital streaming, social media and mobile as well as OTT in relation to creating effective branding and results-driven marketing programs.”  The Toledo cluster includes news/talk WSPD-AM/W225AM and sports talk WCWA-AM “FOX Sports Toledo” in addition to five music brands.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it adds a number of affiliate stations to its roster.  Recently adding the Radio America-syndicated show to their program schedules are: Hubbard Radio’s WFTL-AM, West Palm Beach and KSLM-AM/FM, Portland and Townsquare Media’s KKAM-AM, Lubbock, Texas; KTPI-AM/FM, Lancaster, California; and WNWF-AM, Evergreen, Alabama…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the PGA Championship taking place next week at Bethpage Black Course on Long Island. Live hole-by-hole coverage, which SiriusXM will co-produce with Westwood One, will air starting at 12:00 pm ET all four days of Championship play. The broadcast will be hosted by Brian Katrek and Taylor Zarzour who will handle the play-by-play.

The Mueller Report/Trump’s Executive Privilege, NYTimes Trump Piece, 2020 Presidential Politics, U.S.-China Trade War, Facebook Bans; Gaza-Israel Violence, and the Royal Baby Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The claim by President Trump that the release of the unredacted Mueller Report is up to him; the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses from 1985 to 1994; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the reactions of the world’s financial markets; Facebook’s ban of “dangerous individuals and organizations”; the violence between Gaza and Israel; and the birth of the royal baby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio programming pro Dustin Kross joins Radio One to serve as CHR format director in charge of the company’s WNOW-FM, Indianapolis “RadioNOW 100.9” and KROI-FM, Houston “RadioNOW 92.1.”  Kross comes to Radio One from his most recent position as program director and morning host for Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner says, “We are excited to be working with Dustin, his expertise and passion for the top 40 format is just what we need in Houston and Indy.”…..The WHQC, Charlotte-based, regionally syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces it has officially named Laura Vinson, a.k.a. Intern Sass, a permanent member of The Ace & TJ Show.  She began her career with The Ace & TJ Show as an intern in January 2018.  Vinson says, “I’m excited and honored to be the newest member of ‘The Ace and TJ Show.’  I’m thankful for the overwhelming amount of support.  I can’t wait to bring more sass and continue this journey with our radio family.”…..United Stations Radio Networks is distributing “The Summer of 1969,” produced and hosted by Dick Bartley, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1969.   The radio special will be available for air this summer and is perfect for classic hits/oldies-formatted stations.  Music in the special will include many of the biggest songs of that summer, including major hits from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Creedence Clearwater RevivalBlood, Sweat and Tears, and Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as great novelty hits like “Sugar Sugar” from The Archies.