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Tag: "Chapter 11 reorganization"

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

| May 22, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The performance of the all-news format is very important to Entercom as it owns nine of the 12 all-news stations in our panel.  Almost 60% of these stations went down (weekly, 6+ AQH share) from the March PPM survey to April.  Comparing April 2018 to this year, 6+ ratings movement was even, with half the stations going up and the other half going down.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington again ranks #1 in its market (the only all-newser to do so this month), while Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco and WWJ-AM, Detroit both ranked #2 in their markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s full report here.

Cumulus Asks FCC to Allow Up to 100% Foreign Investment.  The FCC has a rule that no more than 25% of an American broadcast entity can be owned by foreign investors.  As Cumulus Media emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in 2018, foreign ownership of its voting stock was no more than 22.5%.  The company made sure of that in order to facilitate the proceedings. Now, Cumulus is asking the FCC to allow foreign investment of up to 100%. The FCC public notice states, “Cumulus now requests approval to permit up to a 100 percent aggregate foreign investment to enable holders of warrants and non-voting stock to convert or exercise these instruments in exchange for voting stock and allow non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to 100 percent of its voting stock and capital stock generally in the future.  Specifically, Cumulus explains that upon grant of the Petition, the special warrants would be automatically exchanged, and foreign ownership of Cumulus immediately following such exchanges would then be approximately 34 percent on a voting basis and 31 percent on an equity basis.  Notwithstanding that the foreign ownership which would result from exercise of the special warrants is expected to be much less than 100 percent, Cumulus states that it is requesting a ruling that would permit non-U.S. persons or entities to hold up to and including 100 percent of its voting stock and 100 percent of its capital stock generally.  Cumulus believes that elimination of the overall limitation on foreign ownership of its shares will, inter alia, enhance the market liquidity of its stock and ‘provide the Company with the greatest degree of flexibility in accessing foreign investment capital.’  Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is entirely consistent with the public interest. In support of the Petition, Cumulus asserts that grant of the Petition is consistent with the reorganization plan, which has enabled Cumulus to emerge from bankruptcy in a stronger financial condition, and which, in turn, will enable Cumulus to raise capital, enhance its programming, better serve the public, and compete with non-FCC regulated entities on a more level playing field.  Cumulus also maintains that grant of the Petition aligns with U.S. foreign trade policy and the U.S. government’s desire to ‘promote inbound foreign investment’ and encourage reciprocity with U.S. trading partners.”  The public comment period is open through July 8.

Alpha Media Stations Moving into Chicagoland Mall. After almost two years of negotiations, the local village board in Gurnee, Illinois (near the Illinois-Wisconsin border) has voted to pay Alpha Media $200,000 to assist in the cost of moving its four north suburban stations – news/talk WLIP-AM, Spanish sports talk WKRS-AM, rock WIIL-FM, and hot AC WXLC-FM – into space at the Gurnee Mills mall complex.  According to a report in the DailyHerald, mall owner Simon Property Group is paying Alpha $600,000 to help with the cost of the estimated $847,000 renovation project.  In return, Alpha will produce at least 32 public events at the mall to drive foot traffic and will air ads for the mall.

TALKERS News Notes. The Kirk MinihaneEntercom relationship appears to be turning sour again with the sports media personality now threatening to take legal action to get the platform he desires.  Brandon Contes at Barrett Sports Media writes an account of Minihane’s displeasure over his situation at Entercom that he expressed while broadcasting recently on Periscope.  Minihane wants his own “network” on Entercom’s Radio.com platform within a month or he says he’ll sue.  Minihane officially left the WEEI, Boston morning show last fall.  At the time, Entercom said it wanted Minihane to do a show on Radio.com…..Media personality Michele Tafoya – whose work includes serving as co-host of “The Tom Barnard Show” on Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis – was honored Monday at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York with the Outstanding Sports Personality award for her work as an NBC Sports sideline reporter for NFL games.  Tafoya also won the award in 2012 and 2014.  Cumulus VP, classic rock and Twin Cities operations manager Scott Jameson says, “All of us at Cumulus Minneapolis are very proud of Michele winning this prestigious Emmy award.  We’re quite fortunate having her on our legendary morning show hosted by National Hall of Fame inductee Tom Barnard and the rest of the morning team.”…..Westwood One News picks up another honor for exceptional reporting as the organization and correspondent Jim Roope receive a Deadline Club Award for best “Radio or Audio Feature Reporting.”  The award recognizes Roope’s 2018 report, “Las Vegas: Remembering and Healing,” in which he returned to Las Vegas one year after the deadly mass shooting and spoke with the community and the victims about how they were remembering, coping, and healing. The Deadline Club Award is bestowed by the NY Society of Professional Journalists for reporting across all media platforms, including newspapers, magazines, radio, digital, and TV…..Radio personality Walter Sterling is guest starring on news/talk KFBK, Sacramento this holiday weekend.  He’s sitting in for Pat Walsh on both Friday and Monday from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Sterling’s syndicated program is heard Sunday evenings on the iHeartMedia station…..Forever Media closes on its acquisition of the 10-station group in Delaware and Maryland it purchased from Steinman Communications for $18.5 million. The signals include news/talk WDEL-AM/FM, Wilmington and news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes, Delaware.  Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the exclusive broker for the deal.

ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER:  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Nearing a Sellout!  The 22nd annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention is on the verge of being sold out.  The final deadline for registrations being accepted is this Friday, May 24 at 5:00 pm ET.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In order to maintain the intimacy and effectiveness of this heritage event, it must be open only to members of the media industries and be in a special type of venue with limited seating and capacity.  We have resisted the impulse to grow this event beyond that level of efficiency.  That is one of the reasons it is so popular and has enjoyed such amazing longevity.”  To obtain registration information and avoid being shut out before the deadline, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  For an up to the minute agenda, please click here.

Trump Financial Records Subpoena, Dems Impeachment Talk, U.S.-Iran Tensions, U.S.-China Tariff Battle, 2020 Election Politics, New Anti-Abortion Laws, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21). The request from congressional Democrats for President Trump’s tax returns and financial records; key Democrats battle House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over impeachment possibility; Iran’s increased production of enriched uranium and the possibility of U.S. military action against it; the trade war being waged between the U.S. and China; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the new, restrictive anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and NBA/NHL playoffs action 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. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia names programming pro Brandon “Buster” Satterfield program director for CHR WIOQ-FM “Q102,” effective June 17.  Satterfield moves north from his most recent position with the company as APD for CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP for programming Brian Check says, “Brandon brings a unique combination of top 40 radio experience on and off the air, as well as knowledge of the market and passion for everything Philly.  His dedication to the brand and keen eye for programming and the latest music make him the perfect fit.”…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” brings two-time Grammy nominee and radio personality Monie Love aboard to host the 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm show, effective today (5/22).  Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “We are so excited to have Monie Love join the ‘KISS 104.1’ team.  Her love of hip-hop, entertaining personality and star power make her a great addition to our afternoons here in Atlanta.”…..Westwood One’s internationally syndicated “The Ty Bentli Show” announces Adrian Kulp joins the show as senior executive producer.  WWO says Kulp brings a wealth of creative experience across multiple entertainment mediums to the show.  He served for almost 10 years as a television executive with positions including vice president of TV development at Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, vice president of TV development at Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing, and a stint at CBS’s “The Late Late Show.”  NASH Network director of programming John Shomby says, “Ty Bentli continues to build a team that is focused on maximizing creativity!  Adrian brings a different perspective to the table that will help the show build a unique vision and bring that to our listeners each morning!”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

| November 14, 2018

Laura Ingraham to Transition Radio Show to Podcast in January. Talk media personality Laura Ingraham will end her 17-plus years of hosting a live radio talk show in January and launch an original podcast via PodcastOne.  Ingraham, who joined FOX News Channel’s prime-time lineup last fall, has also been hosting her late morning radio show syndicated via Courtside Entertainment.  She says, “While hosting a prime-time television show and raising three children on my own, continuing a three-hour morning radio show was no longer feasible.  Although I will greatly miss my radio listeners and affiliates, working late nights and early mornings has taken a toll on my family life.  Plus, my radio audience is smart, savvy and committed, and I know most will follow my new show in the format that is revolutionizing the audio world – digital podcasting.”  She adds, “Without phenomenal producers, a committed sales team, great station managers and program directors — and of course my loyal advertisers – this show wouldn’t have been possible.  Now it’s time for a new adventure.”   PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “Due to her HUGE success on the FOX News channel, daily podcasts are a much better fit for Laura’s hectic schedule and provides her listeners in all markets access at any time to the new Laura Ingraham show podcast.  She’s at the top of her game and her new original podcasts will fit perfectly on PodcastOne.”

Cumulus Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.7%. The third quarter financial numbers for Cumulus Media have been released and the company reports Q3 net revenue of $282.3 million – an dip of 1.7% from the same period in 2017.  Net income was $12.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was $62.1 million.  Due to its emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this year, the company notes in its report that “for the purposes of the analysis of the results presented herein, the company is presenting the combined results of operations for the period June 4, 2018 to September 30, 2018 of the Successor Company with the period January 1, 2018 to June 3, 2018 of the Predecessor Company.  Although this presentation is not in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, the company believes presenting and analyzing the combined results allows for a more meaningful comparison of results for the nine month period ended September 30, 2018 to the nine months ended September 30, 2017.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In our first full quarter of operations since emerging from Chapter 11, our positive momentum continued and we remain focused on the path ahead.  We delivered another quarter of Adjusted EBITDA growth – approximately 50 basis points on a reported basis and 3.9% when adjusting for the impact of USTN and our exit from WLUP-FM in Chicago.  Additionally, in early October, we completed a $50 million prepayment of our term loan using cash generated from operations, demonstrating both our ability to produce significant free cash flow and our commitment to pay down debt with that cash.  We continue to believe that our key growth initiatives, including our digital businesses at the Cumulus Radio Station Group, our rapidly expanding podcast business and pricing and inventory management improvements across the Company, as well as our substantial free cash flow generation, position the Company well to create value for all our stakeholders.”

iHeartMedia Names Future Board of Directors.  When iHeartMedia emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization, it will have a new board of directors and today the company announces who will sit on the board.  Current board chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and current president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will continue to serve on the board with five new board members.  They are: former Walt Disney Company executive Jay Rasulo; Spyglass Entertainment co-founder and former MGM Inc. chairman and CEO Gary Barber; Altimeter Capital founder and CEO Brad Gerstner; private investor and director for both Aptiv plc and Arconic Inc Sean Mahoney; and Drawbridge founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.  Bob Pittman comments, “We are excited about both the depth and range of our new board members.  We know our ability to draw on the experience of this unique combination of leaders in their respective fields will give us an unparalleled competitive advantage as we build our next level of growth.”

Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity Hits 600-Affiliate Mark. After a little more than 17 years in national syndication, Premiere Networks talk radio superstar Sean Hannity reaches the milestone of 600 affiliate stations.  Premiere states, “Hannity’s provocative, informed, and passionate commentary on news and politics has amassed a loyal following of more than 18 million listeners monthly.  Broadcasting live on weekdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, the 2017 National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Marconi Award winner is one of the most prominent and influential talk radio hosts in the country, whose political foresight and focus on the American agenda has made him the second most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S.”  Hannity comments, “I am humbled and appreciative to not only our 600 amazing affiliates, but also to the listeners of this radio show in each and every city. Thank you for this honor!”

Good News for Comrex ACCESS and BRIC-Link II Users; HotSwap Feature Now Available.  This new HotSwap feataure allows users of Comrex’s IP audio codecs ACCESS and BRIC-Link II to back up dedicated links.  This long-sought reliability feature allows users to back up their studio-to-transmitter link or other dedicated link with a wireless modem.  CrossLock is Comrex’s powerful technology for increasing network reliability and allows codecs to use multiple IP networks at once.  CrossLock lets users bond networks together so that more bandwidth is available.  Alternately, in redundancy mode, users can send identical streams down both networks.  Until now, however, it hasn’t been possible to designate one network as primary and a second network to be used only when the primary fails.  HotSwap lets users select a network that will only be engaged if the primary network fails.  The system will warn of this status with a contact closure, and automatically fallback to the primary once it’s restored.  Fall-over to backup happens in a matter of seconds, and fallback is seamless.  For ACCESS codecs, any supported modem can be used as a back-up.  For BRIC-Link II, only Comrex Connect Modems are supported.  4G LTE Comrex Connect Modems are available for purchase through any Comrex dealer.  When ordering, ask for the NX model of Connect Modem.  Verizon, AT&T, and International versions are available.  HotSwap is included in firmware version 4.3, which is available now for all ACCESS and BRIC-Link II codecs.  Users can download it for free using Device Manager.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Orlando “Big O Alzugaray exits Entercom’s WQAM, Miami after a four-year stint hosting the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm program.  He’d previously served with the station from 1997 through 2010…..The National Radio Hall of Fame announces it is creating a new award called the “One to Watch,” chosen by the NRHoF nominating committee.  It was inspired by radio legend Art Laboe, the active radio performer with the longest continuous period of service on air for 75 years and a 2012 National Radio Hall of Fame Inductee.  The inaugural “One to Watch” award will be given to Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro…..At Salem Media Group’s Pittsburgh cluster, Brad Marshall is named general manager.  The station group includes news/talk WPGP “1250 The Answer” and its two Christian-formatted outlets.  During his career, Marshall has served with iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media in Youngstown, Ohio…..In more Salem Media Group news, the company chooses software provider Aptivada to power the company’s contesting, promotions, database management, and newsletters…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio advertising unit cabana adds the investigative podcast “Bear Brook” from New Hampshire Public Radio to its content portfolio.  The podcast, hosted by NHPR reporter Jason Moon, centers around a decades-old mystery involving four unidentified bodies found in two barrels in New Hampshire’s Bear Brook State Park in the 1980s. The first six episodes of “Bear Brook” garnered more than 1.1 million downloads…..NuVoodoo Media Services promotes Eric Cohen to the newly created position of executive vice president, finance. New York-based Cohen joined NuVoodoo Media Services earlier this year as vice president of finance…..iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME, Houston re-ups with the Houston Astros to continue serving as the ballclub’s flagship radio station for play-by-play broadcasts.

Deadly California Wildfire, CNN-White House Suit, Florida Recount/Kemp-Abrams Contest/AZ Senate Race, Melania Trump-Mira Ricardel Matter, New Amazon HQs Revealed, Dow Dips Again, Michelle Obama Book Tour, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/13). The California wildfire that has claimed 48 lives so far; CNN’s suit against the White House requesting the return of Jim Acosta’s WH credentials pass; the re-count troubles in Florida, the Stacey AbramsBrian Kemp Georgia governor’s race, and Kyrsten Sinema’s AZ senate seat victory; Melania Trump’s move to oust deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel; Amazon reveals new HQ locations; the Dow loses another 100 points; Michelle Obama’s Becoming book tour; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Program director Derek Harper announces Jarard J is the new evening personality at Urban One’s urban AC WAMJ-FM, Atlanta “MAJIC 107/5/97.5,” effective November 19.   About his new gig, Jarard J says, “When Hurricane Dave and Derek Harper chose me, it illustrated the confidence and faith that the leadership team has in me and I was both humbled and honored.  I feel like a first round draft pick.  I am excited and ready to ball.”…..On-air pro Karen Blake exits Cape Cod Broadcasting’s hot AC WQRC, H “99.9 The Q” after five years as the morning personality…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” joins the program schedule at AJG Corporation’s rock WCLG-FM, Morgantown, West Virginia to air from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on Fridays.  And check out host Jackie Kajzer at right holding her KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year award.