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Monday Memo: Freebie-of-the-Year? Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke points to a research report “that recommends specific, tested guidance for crafting messages to convey our clients’ – and our stations’ – concern for listeners in a way that will resonate long after the pandemic passes.” Read it here.
The U.S. Coronavirus Cases and the Death Toll, Weekend ‘Reopening’ Activities, Presidential Race/Biden Accuser, CCP’s Coronavirus Response, ‘SNL,’ and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll from the pandemic; the “re-opening” activities taking place in some states; the November presidential election and case of former Joe Biden senate staffer Tara Reade who claims Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993; scrutiny of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; Brad Pitt plays Dr. Tony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live”; and the 2020 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Seven Simple Steps. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s not easy doing business in this uncertain time. Yes, audience levels for news/talk are up! But, “you know ad sales are down. More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off. Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through. All markets hate fear and uncertainty. Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know.” Read Lapa’s suggestions for helping you adapt here.
Investor Leases XEPRS; Will Launch ‘The Mightier 1090’ This Summer. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Flagstaff, Arizona ad agency owner Bill Hagen is signing a five-year lease with XEPRS, Rosarito, Mexico owner Interamericana de Radio to operate the station. The signal – for some 16 years a San Diego sports talk station branded “The Mighty 1090” – stopped airing sports talk after previous lessee Broadcasting Company of the Americas was unable to renegotiate its lease. Hagen tells the paper that former “Mighty 1090” sports talk host Scott Kaplan will rejoin the station but the soon-to-be-rebranded “The Mightier 1090” will not be 24/7 sports talk. Hagen says the station will be about “lifestyle.” He has no specific date for launching the format but tells the Union Tribune, “We have a ton of work to do.”
PodcastOne Subscribes to Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Service. Podcasting firm PodcastOne announces that it has entered into a deal with Nielsen to use the ratings giant’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service. As part of the deal, PodcastOne will “have access to podcast insights spanning 18 genres and numerous listening preferences that can be cross-referenced among a variety of consumer purchase behavior patterns and services usage.” Nielsen says its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service (launched last August) allows clients to see the qualitative profile of their shows using program titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with advertisers and key brand categories. PodcastOne EVP of sales Sue McNamara says, “Nielsen represents the addition of another powerful tool to our arsenal of research resources. With these insights, we’ll be able to use podcast listener analytics to provide ourselves and our clients with information that will accelerate monetization opportunities. With programming in virtually every content category, this information will provide us invaluable research to communicate our importance to podcast advertisers, as well as our partners.”
Emmis to Voluntarily Delist from Nasdaq. The company says in a statement that it plans to voluntarily delist its Class A Common Stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market, and based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record, deregister its Class A Common Stock and suspend its public reporting obligations. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve undertaken a detailed and thoughtful review of the costs and benefits associated with being a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company. After careful consideration, our board of directors unanimously decided to voluntarily delist from Nasdaq and deregister with the SEC as we believe the expected savings of more than $1 million per year outweigh the advantages of continuing as a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.” After the delisting takes place, Emmis’ Class A Common Stock is eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market, if one or more brokers choose to make a market for the Company’s Class A Common Stock, however, there can be no assurances regarding any such trading.
BIA Advisory: Radio to Take $1.7 Billion Ad Hit Due to COVID-19. Revising its advertising revenue projections for 2020 that were originally laid out in November of last year, BIA Advisory Services now expects the total for all U.S. local advertising across all platforms to be $144.3 billion, down 10.6% from its November 2019 projection of $161.3 billion. Over the air radio is expected to lose $1.7 billion as it and local television are being hit hard by “decreased ad spend by Leisure and Entertainment, Restaurants and Retail companies, as well as sports cancellations.” The report goes on to say, “One encouraging element is that political advertising will keep the decrease in both local cable and local OTA television smaller than other media. Other media, without that buffer, will see larger percentage decreases from what BIA originally projected for 2020.” For radio, political advertising is situational – stations in swing states tend to get more presidential advertising than those in non-swing states.
TALKERS News Notes. Some of the hosts of the New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” talk radio program attended a rally at the state house in Concord to protest the social distancing measures in place. Hosts including show founder Ian Freeman, Nobody, Vincent, and Captain Kickass were there. Freeman reports that the local police ignored the event. He was quoted by the Associated Press in its national coverage, saying, “Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home. I’d rather take the risk and be a free person.”…..This Thursday (4/30), a national radiothon will take place to raise funds for Feeding America and its 200-member network of local food banks across the U.S. It’s called, “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,” and is open to any radio station wishing to join……Condolences to the family and friends of WNYC, New York personality Richard Hake, who passed away on Friday (4/24) at age 51 from natural causes. He as most recently serving as the local host of WNYC’s “Morning Edition.” He also worked on the national; editions of NPR programs “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Protest Parade. Pictured above is Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root thanking participants in Friday’s “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan.” Root organized the parade of vehicles that drove down Las Vegas Boulevard to protest the business shutdowns due to social distancing that has all but shuttered the tourist-reliant economy there. The Las Vegas Sun estimates 500 cars took part in the event but Root says there were “thousands and thousands of cars!”
PPM Analysis: Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the rock format. In this report, you can see which stations improved from the February survey, how their weekly, 6+ AHQ shares changed from a year ago, and how some of the format’s best performers ranked in their local markets. See it all here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, “Lady B in the Afternoon” debuts on Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WPPZ-FM “Classix 107.9” today (4/27). Station program director Jay Dixon says, “Afternoons is where Lady B shines. Philly radio grew up on Lady B. We’re so happy to have her back in this time slot – bridging music, the community, and people – every weekday. With her team, DJ Touchtone and Roxi Fab, Lady B is like medicine for the soul.”…..Alpha Media’s country KGNC-FM, Amarillo, Texas adds the “Big D & Bubba” show for mornings, starting today (4/27). The duo say, “It is such an honor to be given the reigns of such a legendary station! We appreciate Alpha and their leadership giving us this opportunity.” The “Big D & Bubba Show” is distributed nationally via a partnership between Silverfish Media and Compass Media Networks…..This Wednesday (4/29) “The iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm” will launch, featuring some of the biggest artists in music. The series will video stream and broadcast every Wednesday to celebrate the importance of community and being a “good neighbor” through the power of music during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wednesday’s performance will feature country artist Thomas Rhett. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube Channel and broadcast across iHeartRadio stations nationwide at 7:00 pm local time. iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “The living room has become the new stage. Until our live music events return, this is a way for millions of fans to stay connected to their favorite artists, while staying safe at home. We are excited to partner with State Farm on this new music series.”
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now. But as we watch television, we’re seeing local TV advertisers emulate the pertinent, tasteful way national commercials acknowledge what’s happening, and convey that “we’ve got your back;” or, simply, “Be safe.” And radio must too.