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Thursday, October 12, 2017

| October 12, 2017

Emmis Reports 2nd Fiscal Quarter Financials – Pro Forma Revenue Up 2%.  Today, Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan reports earnings for the company’s second fiscal quarter (ending August 31).  Year-over-year figures are not comparable due to the sale of KPWR, Los Angeles in August and January’s sale of its Terre Haute, Indiana stations.  Net revenue for the period was $41.8 million, and that compares with $46 million a year ago.  However, the company reports that pro forma radio revenue for the quarter was up 2%.  Emmis’ New York, Austin, and St. Louis clusters gained market share during the quarter.  Smulyan says, “There were bright spots this quarter, especially in New York, as our second quarter results were buoyed by record-setting ticket sales for Hot 97’s marquee event, Summer Jam, and ‘Hot 97’ has been the #1 rated station in the 18-34 demo for each of the last three months.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second of four analyses of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk.  In markets affected by the recent spate of hurricanes, listening to news/talk radio spiked, as is often the case. Across the board Kinosian reports that “slightly more than half of this news/talk sample is up between August 2017 – September 2017 (54%, 6+); 29% of the stations highlighted here are down; and the remaining 17% are flat.”  When looking at year-over-year changes, “basically, one of every two stations on our news/talk sample registers an August 2017 – September 2017 increase (51%, 6+), while 42% decline; the remaining 7% are unchanged.”  A total of 13 news/talk stations in PPM markets ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the September survey, with four – Cox’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; CBS’ KMOX, St. Louis; iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati; and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton – ranking #1.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Trump’s Attack on NBC Spurs Rebuke by RTDNA, Letter to FCC’s Pai by Senator.  The Twitter attack on NBC’s reporting by President Trump caused the Radio Television Digital News Association to condemn the president’s words.  NBC reported that the president requested a “ten-fold” increase in the U.S.’ nuclear arsenal.  In denying the report, Trump questioned whether it was “appropriate” to challenge NBC’s license for spreading “fake news.” The RTDNA responded with a statement from executive director Dan Shelley that reads, in part, “Today’s call by the President of the United States to challenge the licenses of networks is not only dangerous to the American people’s right to access responsible journalism, it represents a clear misunderstanding on his part of how much control the federal government can exercise as it relates to networks and cable channels.”  Meanwhile, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) fired off a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to “maintain the Federal Communications Commission’s charter as an independent agency and withstand any urges from President Trump to harm the news media and infringe upon the First Amendment…I ask for your commitment to resist the President’s request and call on you to publicly refuse to challenge the license of any broadcaster because the President dislikes its coverage.”  He also asks for copies of any correspondence in which the White House has requested action against a broadcaster.  Pai’s office has not issued a public response.

‘ESPNLA’ Adds Eric Davis to Afternoon Show. Former NFL star and sports media pro Eric Davis joins the afternoon drive program on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPNLA.”  He joins show co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and Kelvin Washington on the newly renamed “Afternoons with Marcellus, Kelvin and Eric” program, effective today (10/12).  Davis continues his position with Travis Rodgers and Kirk Morrison as hosts of the pre- and post-game programs surrounding Los Angeles Rams radio broadcasts.  Davis also currently works for FS1.

TALKERS News Notes. A leadership change takes place at Entercom’s San Francisco station group as vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo exits after five years with the company.  The move comes as Entercom announces that it is divesting of urban AC KBLX, adult contemporary KOIT, and classic rock KUFX ahead of the CBS RADIO merger.  After the deal is consummated, Entercom will operate sports talk KGMZ, all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM, hot AC KLLC, rhythmic AC KRBQ, and alternative KITS.  Currently, the CBS RADIO market manager is Doug Harvil…..In Cincinnati, iHeartMedia promotes D.J. Hodge to market president for the cluster that includes news/talk WLW, sports talk WCKY, news/talk WKRC and sports WSAI.  Chuck Frederick exited that position earlier this year…..AudioHQ and TuneIn announce a deal in which the former will be the exclusive U.S. re-seller of TuneIn’s audio advertising inventory.  TuneIn VP/head of global revenue and partnerships Bill Hartman says, “TuneIn’s audience is growing and our inventory continues to scale.  We’ve been hyper-focused on content and creative solutions for our brand partners, including live-streaming music festivals, custom podcast series, and an emphasis on exclusive.  Plus, we’re now producing a variety of content with our league partners as well as human-hosted, curated radio which are focal points for our selling efforts.”

Harvey Weinstein Scandal, Trump Attacks NBC, Deadly California Wildfires, Trump-North Korea Rhetoric, Iran Nuclear Deal, Boy Scouts to Admit Girls, MLB Playoffs, and NFL Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The escalating scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein; President Trump’s attacks on NBC and threatening to revoke its “license”; the wildfires in California’s wine country that have taken the lives of 23 with hundreds more reported missing; Trump’s exchange of war rhetoric with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the Iran nuclear deal and President Trump’s inclination not to certify Iran’s compliance with the pact; the Boy Scouts of America’s announcement it will allow girls to join; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the controversy over NFL national anthem protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Delmarva’s Damien Buck Passes at 58.  Radio pro Damien Buck died on Monday (10/9) at age 58 after a long illness.  He’d been serving as production director at Delmarva Broadcasting’s news/talk WDEL-AM/FM and sister CHR WSTW, Wilmington, Delaware.  WDEL states on its website that Buck had been with the company for 30 years.  He also operated his own Buck Productions and did voiceover work for The Disney Channel.

Providence Radio Icon Jimmy Gray Dead at 72. Providence market radio personality Jimmy Gray, a.k.a. James Hargraves, died on Monday (10/9) at a nursing home at the age of 72.  During his long career, Gray worked at WOR-AM, WPRO-FM, WHJJ-AM, WEBE-FM, and WCTK.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Rock icon Nikki Sixx announces he’s leaving his syndicated radio shows at the end of December in order to focus on new projects.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated “Sixx Sense” nightly show, along with “The Side Show Countdown” and “The Side Show Classic” will end December 31.  Sixx has been working with Premiere on the syndicated programming since 2010.  He’s stepping down to work on new projects that include his blossoming photography career, TV endeavors and the Broadway adaptation of his best-selling memoir, The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life of a Shattered Rockstar.  Premiere president Julie Talbott states, “When we first partnered with Nikki in 2010, we set out to create a unique program from the perspective of true rock star, and that’s exactly what we did.  We’re proud of the work we did together to make ‘Sixx Sense’ one of the most widely syndicated rock radio programs in the country, while establishing the ultimate platforms for rock music fans, as well as new and established artists.  It’s been a pleasure working with Nikki, and we wish him all the best.”…..Last month it was announced that Chris Randolph would be joining Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis to host the midday show.  Now, Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch breaks the news that he will not take over that position after all, due to family reasons.  Thompson reports that sister WNNF afternoon host Amanda Orlando will cover the midday show in the interim.  Randolph had most recently been morning host at Alpha Media’s hot AC WXMA, Louisville…..At Cumulus Media’s country KUBL, Salt Lake City, “K-Bull 93,” program director Travis Moon is now hosting the afternoon drive show, moving Matt Ramone to the midday shift…..Pop superstar Ed Sheeran is seen here holding up a t-shirt he customized at iHeartMedia’s CHR WRVW, Nashville “107.5 The River.”  Program director Jonathan Shuford tells TALKERS/RadioInfo that the station is auctioning off the t-shirt with 100% of the proceeds going to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Westwood One Official Radio Partner for American Music Awards.  Radio syndicator Westwood One announces American Music Awards programming as part of its deal as official national radio partner for the awards ceremony.  The 2017 American Music Awards will broadcast live from LA’s Microsoft Theater on Sunday, November 19 from 8:00 pm to – 11:00 pm ET on ABC-TV.  As part of Westwood One Backstage, more than 25 local stations and national programs will take part during rehearsals and event night for the awards show.  Other programming will include: 30-second branded highlights, airing November 6 through November 19 that include format specific versions for hot AC, AC and CHR stations hosted by WPLJ, New York’s Jayde Donovan.  Urban and urban AC versions are hosted by WNBM, New York’s La Loca.  A two-hour nomination special will air the weekend of November 11.  The Westwood One Backstage Radio Row Remote takes place on Friday and Saturday (11/17-18).

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

| October 19, 2016

Melanie Morgan to Leave KSRO, Santa Rosa.  Bay Area news and talk pro Melanie Morgan tells her listeners that she will be stepping down from her position hosting the “Sonoma County’s Morning News” at morganmelanieAmaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned news/talk simulcast KSRO/K278CD, Santa Rosa, California before the end of the year.  Telling her listeners that she’s basically tiring of the lifestyle of a morning radio personality, i.e. getting up hours before dawn, she wants to spend more time with her husband – KCBS, San Francisco director of news and programming Jack Swanson – and dedicate more time to her Move America Forward group.  Morgan, who co-hosts the program with Larry Olson, has not set a specific date for her exit.

The Presidential Race, Trump’s Rigged Election Claim, the Hillary Clinton Document Dump, Battle with ISIS for Mosul, Ecuador Restricts Assange’s Internet Access, Philippines Anti-U.S. Protest, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame Nominees, MBL Playoffs, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18).  The race for president and the build-up to this evening’s final debate; Donald Trump’s ongoing claim that the election is being rigged; the effects of the Wikileaks document dump on Hillary Clinton’s campaign; the campaign against Islamic State in Iraq to take control of Mosul; the restricted Internet access of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by the Ecuadoran embassy; anti-U.S. demonstrations in the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte courts China for a new military partner; debate over which nominees for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame should be included; the Major League Baseball playoffs; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

NPR Reporting Big Ratings Increases in 2016.  From a story posted at NPR.org, the public media organization is announcing that multi-platform journalism efforts have seen across-the-board audience growth this year.  President and CEO Jarl Mohn is quoted saying, “NPR’s increased ratings and digital engagement can benpr attributed to first-rate journalism, riveting storytelling, revamped newsmagazines, live reporting, and better user platforms.  And that means we are all doing a far better job of our public service mission, community engagement and local impact.”  Mohn concedes that the unusual election cycle is certainly part of the reason for the growth but says that NPR stations have outperformed many of their commercial news counterparts, who’ve also experienced growth during the period.  “Commercial news radio, which operates in the same news cycle and is affected by the same events, is up 15% in the morning; NPR is up 26%.  In the afternoons, commercial news radio is up 19% in the top markets; NPR is up 43%.”  NPR says that “All Things Considered” hit an all-time weekly audience high of 13.3 million, and “Morning Edition” is at its second-highest at 13.5 million.

Talk Radio Pioneer Barry Farber Being Honored by Hungarian Government for Role Assisting Refugees of 1956 Revolt.  This Saturday, talk radio pioneer Barry Farber is being honored in Budapest, Hungary for his role in helping Hungarians revolting against Soviet oppression escape from Hungary into Austria.  farberbarryFaber was one of two correspondents for the Greensboro Daily News at the Austro-Hungarian border in October of 1956.  Farber met an old friend from Norway who was part of a team of Norwegians assisting fleeing Hungarians.  Farber volunteered on the spot to work the “Freedom Navy” – an old rubber raft with two oars.  When the refugees, about forty at a time, would gather on the Hungarian side of the border canal the two oarsmen would row across, load the boat with about five refugees at a time.  They would pull the raft over to the Austrian side.  Then the oarsmen would row back and repeat the process. Farber and the others helped about 200 refugees out on Christmas night of 1956.  Hungarian Consul-General Ferenc Kumin reports that the government asked Hungarian communities around the world to look for people who’d taken part in the refugee exodus.  Of all the names on the 60th anniversary, Barry Farber is the one still alive!  Farber, who still hosts a show on CRN Digital Talk Radio, says, “We owe the Hungarians big time.  That heroic freedom fight marked communism’s high-water mark.  Things went steadily downhill from there.”