Monday Memo: Sound Bites. After major radio networks have rebranded as “Audio,” and the third-biggest station owner changed its name from one made-up word to another, consultant Holland Cooke reckons that, “you might be wondering what business you’re in.” In this week’s column, he recommends channeling the timeless wisdom of Yogi Berra. Read it here.
Pending Business: New and Improved. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about promoting the value of your new talent to advertisers and asks if there is any language in your sales sheet that explains why this new and improved talent is good for the advertiser’s business. He asks six questions to help you illustrate the value of your talent to advertisers. Read it here.
Marty Bannister Joins iHeartMedia Chillicothe as News & Sports Director. Ohio sports and news media pro Marty Bannister is joining iHeartMedia’s Chillicothe station group that includes news/talk/sports WBEX-AM and six music brands as news & sports director. Bannister has served with the Ohio News Network and ESPN Radio in addition to being a former Ohio State University announcer and sideline reporter. He currently works with the Ohio University Bobcats. He comments, “I started in the business in 1981. I’ve worked on Ohio State games. I do a lot of work now for Ohio University on ESPN3 on their football and basketball radio networks. I’ve been a part of ONN, the Ohio News Network for many years. I’ve called Wittenburg football and basketball and have been on the Ohio High School Athletic Association radio network for years. I’ve worked pretty much about everywhere in the state, and there’s no place I would rather be than doing this. I’m excited about this. People rely on their radio stations in communities this size for their information.”
New Executives Named to Positions with LiveXLive. Three new executives are joining LiveXLive Media – owner of PodcastOne, Slacker Radio, React Presents, and Custom Personalization Solutions. Nikki Hart Caldeira joins as SVP of strategic development and Ari Molovinsky is named SVP of corporate development and strategy. The company says both will focus on expanding LiveXLive’s “industry leadership through the expansion of relationships with global consumer brands, monetization of programming and content, business development and unification of new and existing assets that align with LiveXLive’s flywheel — listen, watch, attend, engage and transact — through lifestyle, music, pop culture and exceptional content and tech across all platforms.” Nikki Hart Caldeira most recently served with AXS Group LLC, AEG’s now wholly-owned ticketing company that services worldwide music venues and live sporting events. Molovinsky joins LiveXLive from SiriusXM Radio where he was instrumental in the launching of their streaming service. Additionally, Jonathan Flax joins LiveXLive as vice president, social media and marketing and will “oversee and drive the brand’s continued growth across social channels via the creation and execution of multiplatform content strategies for both earned and owned media.” Prior to joining LiveXLive, Flax was VP, Howard Stern Video where he directed video content strategy and social media programming for Stern at SiriusXM. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Robert Ellin says, “The hiring of Nikki, Ari and Jonathan comes at a time of significant growth in our flywheel of businesses and divisions. LiveXLive’s expansion has come from offering exceptional content, providing a talent platform that allows us to maximize social visibility, sponsorship opportunities and new business development while growing our employees by over 220% in less than three years and expanding audiences across our platforms organically and globally.”
Tomorrow Is Deadline for Radio Cares: Feeding America Radiothon. Tuesday (4/13) is the deadline for radio stations to join more than 200 stations and several major networks already signed on for Wednesday’s “Radio Cares: Feeding America Radiothon.” The grassroots charitable radiothon to relieve hunger in America is presented by the Independent Broadcasters Association and Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S., with a member network of 200 local food banks. Radio stations do not need to be IBA members to participate and all donations go directly to Feeding America. IBA president and Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone says, “Last year’s inaugural ‘Radio Cares: Feeding America Radiothon’ helped provide 5 million meals to people experiencing food insecurity in America. As little as $1 can provide 10 meals! People who were making ends meet before the pandemic now find themselves in a perilous situation, unable to feed themselves and their families. Over 3,000 stations participated last year. This is radio’s chance to participate in a nationwide event for a great cause. Radio, working together and executing locally, can drive listener donations to help feed families in America.”
FCC Opens iHeartMedia Request for Increased Foreign Equity for Public Comment. The petition filed with the FCC by iHeartMedia requests that the foreign equity and voting interests in it held by Bahamas-incorporated Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd be increased up to a non-controlling amount not to exceed 9.99%. On November 5, 2020, the Commission granted iHeart’s July 25, 2019, petition for declaratory ruling, authorizing up to and including 100% aggregate direct and/or indirect foreign investment (voting and equity) in iHeart and specifically approving two groups of foreign entities not including GMEI or the GMEI reporting persons to hold more than 5% of voting and/or equity interests in iHeart. That ruling included the provision that iHeartMedia must obtain Commission approval for any new or additional foreign entity to obtain more than 5% of equity and/or voting interests, or a controlling interest in the company. GMEI’s recent acquisition of 8.7% of iHeart requires it to seek approval from the Commission. Interested parties must file comments no later than May 10, 2021.
COVID-19, Minneapolis Police Shooting-Protests, Derek Chauvin Trial, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Border Crisis, BLM Founder’s Real Estate Portfolio, Strike on Iranian Nuke Site, and Death of Prince Philip Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the deadly weekend Minneapolis police shooting and the protests that followed; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan; the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sexual relations with a minor; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; criticism of Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors’ acquisition of several high-priced real estate investments; the weekend strike on an Iranian nuclear site; and the death of England’s Prince Philip at 99 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.