Tag: "cross-ownership ban"
FCC Bids Adieu to Cross-Ownership Ban. As expected, at yesterday’s meeting of the Federal Communications Commission, the 42-year-old regulation that prevented (in all but a few grandfathered cases) the cross-ownership of broadcast facilities and newspapers was eliminated on a party line vote of 3-2. The majority under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai say the change will “provide broadcasters and local newspapers with a greater opportunity to compete in the digital age.” The Commission also struck the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the Television Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. In his statement, Chairman Pai says, “It’s a simple proposition: the media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017. That’s the proposition the FCC vindicates today — nothing more, nothing less. And it’s about time. For few of the FCC’s rules are staler than our broadcast ownership regulations. Notwithstanding the congressional command that we review and update these rules every four years, they have remained stuck in the past. After too many years of cold shoulders and hot air, this agency finally drags its broadcast ownership rules into the digital age.” Lastly, in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission decides to establish, and seeks comment on how to implement and structure, a new incubator program in which established broadcasters would help facilitate entry by new voices into the marketplace by providing access to capital and/or technical expertise to new entrants and small businesses. The program has broad support and will help promote ownership diversity in the broadcast industry.
The Entercom-CBS RADIO Merger Closes. The deal that merges the venerable CBS RADIO stations with Philadelphia-based Entercom has closed. The merger that’s been the subject of so much industry news – and a lot of speculation throughout the process – creates a new Entercom that operates 235 radio stations. For some industry watchers, the fact that it also means the end of the CBS RADIO company as we’ve known it for all these years brings about some mixed emotions. Though certainly the end of an era, the general consensus is that the CBS radio stations were languishing in a company whose stated main focus is video content. In announcing the closing, Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are thrilled to officially close our transformational merger with CBS RADIO and welcome their talented employees and iconic brands to Entercom. We look forward to capitalizing on our unique positions in sports, news, music, podcasting, live events, digital and more to provide outstanding experiences for our listeners and compelling integrated marketing opportunities for our advertisers. We now have the scale and capabilities to drive meaningful growth and to compete more effectively with other media for a larger share of advertising dollars. We also look forward to helping to elevate the radio industry, which remains massively undervalued by advertisers despite having emerged as America’s #1 reach medium, delivering outstanding ROI to customers.”
Entercom Grabs Twins Baseball for WCCO-AM. After several years airing on alternative KQGO (owned by the Pohlad family’s Northern Lights Broadcasting), Minnesota Twins baseball play-by-play is returning to news/talk WCCO-AM, beginning with the 2018 season. The Pohlad family also owns the team and apparently was ready to admit that their own alt rock station and Twins baseball weren’t a great match. Entercom says that sister stations adult hits KZJK “104.1 Jack FM” and country KMNB “BUZ’N @102.9” will also cover Twins’ players, coaches and broadcasters year-round. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee states, “We are thrilled to welcome the Twins back to their iconic home on WCCO. As the unrivaled leader in local audio sports rights across the nation, Entercom is committed to growing our play-by-play roster where it makes smart, strategic sense. Clearly the Twins are a blue-chip franchise on the rise. As a newcomer to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market, we are especially grateful to the Pohlad family and [Twins president and CEO] Dave St. Peter for their confidence in us. With the addition of the Twins, we are proud to be the flagship home for 45 professional teams across the four major sports, including 14 in Major League Baseball.”
Entercom Unveils New Business Practices. Among the numerous press releases regarding format flips on the first day of the new Entercom (see those below in the music radio section), the company says it is implementing three new business policies which “better reflect radio’s strong value proposition as America’s #1 reach medium and Entercom’s position as the leading provider of live, original, local audio content. These policies will enable the company to provide greater value for advertisers while improving the listener experience.” The changes are: 1) Reduce commercial advertising inventory by 5% in order to improve the listener experience and increase the entertainment to ad ratio for Entercom’s advertising partners; 2) Prohibit cash infusion advertising deals which the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals; and 3) Eliminate future sales of advertising with spot resellers which like cash infusion deals, the company views as a poor business practice and inconsistent with its strategic goals. Entercom COO Weezie Kramer adds, “With our enhanced platform and scale, Entercom is committed to evolving our business practices for the benefit of Entercom’s listeners and advertising partners.”
Matt Shepard Returns to WDFN, Detroit. As reported by the Detroit News, Motor City sports media personality Matt Shepard is returning to the airwaves at iHeartMedia’s sports talker WDFN, some seven months after he exited the station. His “Shep, Shower ‘N’ Shave” program will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am daily. Shepard had been on the station since 2001, but was ousted in a round of budget cuts back in April. iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto states, “We’re excited to have Matt back on WDFN. Nobody in Detroit sports radio has more access to what’s really happening in the locker rooms than Matt.”
ESPN Wraps 18 Years of ‘Mike & Mike.’ Industry eyes are all over the Entercom–CBS RADIO closing and some of the immediate changes the new Entercom is making, but another end-of-an-era event took place today as Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic did their last morning radio show together, signing off the ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show. In addition to talking sports, the duo also aired messages of well-wishes from fans, including Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Michael Strahan, Adam Schefter, Dick Vitale, Dan Patrick, President Bill Clinton and more. ESPN president John Skipper appeared on the program to announce that ESPN and The Walt Disney Company will build a children’s playground in honor of Mike & Mike at a location to be determined, in collaboration with the non-profit organization KaBOOM. On November 27, the new “Golic & Wingo” show will debut featuring Mike Golic, Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. (who joins for the 6:00 am hour). Mike Greenberg is staying with ESPN for television duties.
Emmis Names New Indy Execs. In its home-base market, Emmis Communications announces Bob Richards is the new vice president and market manager for Indianapolis. The city is home to heritage news/talk WIBC-FM, sports talk WFNI “1070 The Fan,” country WLHK “97.1 Hank FM,” and adult contemporary WYXB “B105.7.” At the same time, Taja Graham rises from director of sales for music to vice president and director of sales for the entire cluster. Emmis president Patrick Walsh comments, “Bob’s leadership has been instrumental in building our dominant position in the Indianapolis market. His reputation for building great teams and winning content strategies is legendary. We look forward to Bob applying his ample skills to fortify our culture and performance in the coming years.” Richards takes over for Chuck Williams who had joined Emmis Indianapolis as VP/market manager in August of 2016.
Courtemanche Appointed DOS at Alpha Media West Palm Beach. At the West Palm Beach cluster of Alpha Media stations, Jason Courtemanche is named to the director of sales position, effective December 4. The station group includes news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN “640 The Hurricane.” During his career, Courtemanche has been a VP of sales for Cumulus Media in Los Angeles and iHeartMedia in Chicago. He also held the sales manager title at WBBM in Chicago. Alpha Media West Palm Beach market manager Elizabeth Hamma says, “Jason is a natural leader who brings a depth of knowledge in marketing, digital and events that will help us further drive results for our listeners and clients. His vision, leadership, enthusiasm and innate ability to coach will take our cluster to the next level.”
Kilmeade at WPHT Speaker Series. Pictured above is WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli (left) chatting with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) before a live audience as part of the 1210 WPHT Speaker Series. In addition to talking about issues, Kilmeade promoted his new book, Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017). Kilmeade signed every attendee’s copy of the book.
Roy Moore Sexual Conduct Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 13-17. Accusations of sexually predatory behavior by Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, ranking #1 on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week is the various celebrities and Al Franken sexual assault allegations. Number three on the chart is the Republican tax reform plan, followed by the GOP proposal to eliminate the ObamaCare individual mandate 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
New New Entercom Flips Two CHRs – WBMP, New York and KVIL, Dallas – to Alternative. Two of its first major moves post-closing for Entercom is to drop the CHR format on WBMP “AMP 92.3” and KVIL “AMP 103.7” and replace them with alternative rock. Regarding the NYC flip, the company announces, “Alternative rock returns to radio for the first time since 2011 in the largest media market in the country with the launch of ‘ALT 92.3 FM, New York’s New Alternative.’” Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “In a city where alternative music is a way of life, we are thrilled to finally fill the void in radio in New York City. With the launch of ‘ALT 92.3,’ we will cater to the passionate audience who have helped define the genre for decades – and we couldn’t be more excited to turn up the volume.” KVIL is being branded “ALT 103.7” and both stations are playing 10,000 commercial free songs in a row.
Chicago’s WJMK Drops Classic Hits for Classic Hip Hop. Another format flip by post-merger Entercom comes in Chicago where WJMK becomes classic hip hop and R&B as “The New 104.3 JAMS, Chicago’s #1 for Throwbacks.” The station aims to “capture the essence of Chicago from when the Bulls won six NBA championships, to when locals like Oprah and Barack Obama became homegrown heroes.” Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton says, “The time has come to usher in a brand new chapter in Chicago radio — a station that is designed by Chicagoans exclusively FOR Chicago.”
John DeBella Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Philadelphia radio legend John DeBella – pictured above with the staff of Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM – celebrates 35 years on the air in the City of Brotherly Love. The staff, led by program director Bill Weston and Beasley Media Group Philadelphia vice president/market manager Joe Bell burst into the studio and surprised DeBella while he was on the air. Weston says, “It’s a testament to John’s talent and passion that he continues to connect with his audience in such a powerful way and is still going strong 35 years into the game.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Des Moines CHR KKDM “107.5 KISS FM,” iHeartMedia names Eric White afternoon personality, music director and imaging director, effective November 27, 2017. iHM Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Eric has skills in a lot of different lanes of our business. We look forward to working with him, driving his passion for radio and to build his career. I trust this will be another great chapter and member of ‘107.5 KISS FM.’” White has been serving the company at its Philadelphia cluster…..Bonneville International – operating CHR KMVQ, San Francisco “99.7 NOW” under an LMA from the Entercom Divestiture Trust – names “Jazzy” Jim Archer program director. He’s been serving as APD and music director of the station since 2011…..The results of the #Change4Change Radiothon produced by the Premiere Networks-syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” are in and more than $700,000 was raised to benefit the The Gathering for Justice social justice advocacy organization. The radiothon featured on-air personalities DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God encouraging listeners to donate in support of the organization that sponsors movements including The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp…..SiriusXM announces the coming launch of a classic hip hop channel programmed by LL Cool J. The channel, expected to launch in early 2018, will feature a wide range of classic hip hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated and presented by LL Cool J, as well as other innovators of hip hop music.….ABC Radio is offering a three-hour, country music special, “My Kind of Christmas Countdown,” hosted by Grammy Award-winning country superstar Reba McEntire. In the program, McEntire will count down to Christmas by looking at seasonal favorites, including traditions, decorations, presents, and some of this year’s best holiday music. In addition, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brett Eldredge, Kelsea Ballerini, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood share their own holiday favorites and memories.
Duane Doobie Jr’s Occasional Picks: Don’t Miss This Exciting New Christmas Album from Australian Sensations, The TEN Tenors – and the Proceeds Benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital. When Australia’s world famous musical export, The TEN Tenors, decided to make a Christmas album, they weren’t content with just putting out an album of their wildly popular blend of traditional and seasonal favorites – they decided to make it a fundraising tool to help children. Partnering with Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, the album shot to #1 and has gone on to raise over $1 million. Now, the group brought the project to America, partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital contributing to their joint mission as well as charting top 10 on the Billboard classical and crossover charts. St. Jude Children’s Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Support from musical groups like The TEN Tenors helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. The Ten Tenors are returning to the United States this December for an 18-date tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The Australian vocal group, whose voices generate “pure electricity and undeniable drama” according to the Los Angeles Times, will be performing repertoire from their album Our Christmas Wish. Selections from this great and timely album include traditional standards such as “Joy to the World” and “O Holy Night,” as well as John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Feliz Navidad” by José Feliciano, “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, and “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” the Mariah Carey hit that’s become a holiday evergreen. Watch TTT perform a medley of songs from Our Christmas Wish by clicking here. Now enjoying their 20th year together, The Ten Tenors playfully blend rock, pop and opera, and are “truly incandescent when performing at the full strength of 10,” according to Variety. The New York Times says their “unique mix of the traditional and unconventional offers a fresh and highly-original take on the staid traditions of opera.” To download songs from Our Christmas Wish for airplay on your station, please click here.
Entercom Announces November 17 Likely Day for Merger Closing. After yesterday’s ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO, Entercom issues a statement that it “continues to expect the merger to close as early as November 17.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “We are energized and excited by today’s announcement from the FCC. The Commission’s approval marks a significant milestone on our path toward completing the transformational combination of Entercom and CBS RADIO. This brings Entercom an important step closer to our goal of delivering greater value for our listeners, customers and shareholders as a leading media and entertainment company with national scale and the No. 1 creator of live, original and local audio content.” As previously announced, CBS Corporation launched an exchange offer for the separation of its radio business as part of the agreement to combine CBS RADIO and Entercom, which is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on November 16, 2017, unless the exchange offer is extended or terminated. On February 2, 2017, Entercom announced an agreement to combine with CBS RADIO in an all-stock transaction which is expected to be tax-free to CBS and its shareholders. The new Entercom will operate 235 radio stations.
iHeartMedia Recognizes WBZ-AM Union Representation; Will Employ Current Staffers. According to a report in the Boston Herald, iHeartMedia has altered its course with respect to the acquisition of all-news WBZ-AM, Boston in a swap with Entercom. Initially stating that the company would not take on the SAG-AFTRA-negotiated contracts of the station’s union staffers and that all employees would have to re-apply for their jobs, the company is changing its strategy. As part of an iHM and SAG-AFTRA interim agreement reached Wednesday night, the former “agrees to recognize the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all full-time and regular part-time announcers, producers, editors, writers and production assistants employed by WBZ-AM.” iHeartMedia will also “offer employment to all current union represented employees of WBZ-AM…at their current salary or hourly rate of pay.” iHeartMedia could begin its LMA of WBZ-AM as early as next Friday (11/17).
FCC’s Pai Makes Case for Eliminating Cross Ownership Ban in NYTimes Op-Ed. Not that regular readers of TALKERS magazine need any convincing, but Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s op-ed in The New York Times makes an elegant case for eliminating the 42-year-old rule preventing cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast operations. Democrat FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has publicly stated that she fears for the diversity of news sources and a reduction in news content overall if the ban is lifted. But Pai points out that in the few markets where newspaper-broadcast operations exemptions have been grandfathered for years, there’s no evidence of that diversity being affected. He writes, “Multiple studies have found that, on average, a cross-owned TV station produces more local news than comparable non-cross-owned stations. And a cross-owned radio station is four to five times more likely to have a news format. This makes sense, because a company that owns both a newspaper and broadcast outlet is able to gather the news and distribute it more cost-effectively across its multiple platforms.” Read his piece here.
Cox Names Four Execs for Atlanta Operations. These changes at Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations are designed to allow these “highly talented and proven leaders” to “work together to fully integrate CMG’s portfolio of traditional and digital media platforms in the Atlanta area beginning in 2018.” First, Moya Neville is named the new VP of sales. She moves over from sister company Cox Communications. Donna Hall is CMG Atlanta’s new VP of marketing. She’s been VP and market manager for CMG Atlanta and Athens radio stations since 2014. Mark Medici is the new VP of audience and newspaper operations. And the new VP of content and broadcast operations (TV and radio) is Paul Briggs.
TALKERS News Notes. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting on the recent rumors that job cuts are coming to ESPN. In the piece published yesterday, Deitsch reports that sources say some 100 staffers will be let go after Thanksgiving. The cuts will “hit positions across ESPN including front-facing talent on the television side, producers, executives, and digital and technology staffers. The ‘SportsCenter’ franchise is expected to be hit hard—including on-air people—given the frequency of the show has lessened considerably on main network ESPN.” It was in April of this year that ESPN eliminated the positions of about 100 air personalities and journalists…..Former NFL and college football coach Charlie Weis is joining SiriusXM’s roster of NFL analysts for its SiriusXM NFL Radio channel. Weis will be heard every Friday on “Airing it Out” with co-host Bruce Murray…..Radio traffic pro Jim Battagliese joins iHeartMedia’s Total Traffic & Weather Network to serve as regional director of operations for the New York market. He moves up the East Coast from Washington where he’s been director of traffic and weather operations at Hubbard’s all-news WTOP since 2010…..ABC Radio says the ‘No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis’ podcast – a show that focuses on the most-impressive women in the world letting down their guard and sharing honest stories about what it really takes to build an empire – is launching a new monthly bonus segment titled, “RJ Answers.” Host Rebecca Jarvis – who serves as chief business, technology & economics correspondent for ABC News – will answer questions directly from callers during the segment.
President Trump’s China Visit Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 6-10. The presidential trip to China and Donald Trump’s meeting with Xi Jinping was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear program. Coming in at #3 was former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign detailed in her new book, followed by the GOP tax reform plan 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Las Vegas CHR KLUC, the morning drive program re-brands from the previous “Chet Buchanan & the Morning Zoo” to “The Chet Buchanan Show,” effective immediately. The program features Chet Buchanan, Spence, and Kayla, with producer Davey the “Showkiller.” CBS RADIO Las Vegas operations manager JB King comments, “Chet’s work on air and in the Las Vegas community is second to none; coupled with Spence’s creativity and passion for radio, I am thrilled that they will continue to be an integral part of the KLUC lineup.”…..In Detroit, the Detroit News is reporting that classic rock WCSX afternoon personality Doug Podell has exited the Beasley Media Group cluster. He’d worked in the market for the past 23 years with WCSX and rock WRIF…..Hubbard Radio country outlet WIL, St. Louis “New Country 92.3” names “Stacey and Jonah” the new afternoon drive program, taking over for Bo Matthews. Stacey K. Boyer and Jonah Griss-Bush had been with Amaturo Media Group’s CHR KHTH “Hot 101.7” hosting the morning program for the past six years. Boyer also served as program director of the station. WIL program director Scott Roddy says, “Hubbard is the platinum standard for live and local talent. While most radio companies are reducing local talent, Hubbard is adding diversity and experience to our stable of show hosts. Stacey and Jonah’s charm, wit and humor make them the perfect companion while sitting in traffic on Hwy 40 during the drive home!”…..The “Greg & The Morning Buzz” show at iHeartMedia’s rock WGIR-FM, Manchester, New Hampshire “Rock 101” is holding a “Lend A Helping Can” radiothon on November 16 and 17 to benefit 11 New Hampshire charities working to combat local hunger and homelessness. “Greg & The Morning Buzz” is syndicated across the state on: WHEB-FM, Portsmouth; WLKZ-FM, Wolfeboro; WHDQ-FM, Claremont; and WRFK-FM, Barre, Vermont…..Beasley Media Group adult contemporary WPBB, Tampa-St. Petersburg “b98.7” announces that new morning personalities Chadd and Kristi Thomas will host their 17th Annual Toys for Tots Marathon Toy Drive on Friday, December 1 to benefit needy families. They’ll broadcast live and collect new, unwrapped toys at a Walmart Super Center…..During the month of October, Alpha Media markets across the U.S. raised funds for the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” campaign. The company held an internal competition to see which market could donate the most to the cause. The total donated was $13,546 with Portland in the lead with $9,391. Mitch Elliot from 101.9 KINK FM joined the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. “I was so frustrated that so many loved ones had been diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted badly to do something, I just didn’t know what. When I heard about Real Men Wear Pink, I knew I could use my giant ‘megaphone’ at KINK to raise awareness and money. My initial goal was $2500, but our listeners came through in droves and we were able to raise over $9K! I am so thankful that folks responded in such a big way.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative rock WRFF, Philadelphia “Radio 104.5” is presenting “Winter Jawn ‘18” at XFINITY Live on January 18 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. It’s a free, outdoor show featuring live performances by: Dashboard Confessional, The Struts, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, and AJR. The event includes a New Music Discovery Stage featuring: SYML, The Glorious Sons, and Welshly Arms.
PPM Analysis: Alternative Rock. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of alternative stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey. Looking at 6+ ratings from last month’s survey and October’s, “nearly as many stations on our alternative sample are up from September 2017 (41%) as are down (44%); the remaining 15% are flat.” A year-over-year comparison shows “slightly more than half the stations on this alternative panel are down year-to-year (52%), while 45% improve; the remaining 3% are unchanged.” Not being known as a high-cume format, it’s not surprising that no alt rocker ranks in the top 5 (6+) in its market. However, iHeartMedia’s KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” and KTCL, Denver “Channel 93.3” ranked #6 in their respective markets in October. See the whole report here.
Will November 16 Be the Day the Radio-Newspaper Cross-Ownership Ban Dies? Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology yesterday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai explained that serval proposals to ease regulations on broadcasters will be taken up at the Commission’s November 16 Open Meeting, the cross-ownership ban among them. Radio operators and newspapers have long sought to end the ban on cross-ownership of their media platforms and it seems likely – with a 3-2 Republican majority on the Commission – that the 42-year-old rule will be eliminated. Arguing that the rule – designed to ensure a diversity of news sources for consumers – is outdated, Pai told the subcommittee, “If you believe as I do that the federal government has no business intervening in the news, then we must stop the federal government from intervening in the news business.” Pai said the media landscape has changed dramatically over the years and pointed to Google and Facebook and an example of that. “Online competition for the collection and distribution of news is greater than ever and just two internet companies claim 100% of recent online advertising growth. Indeed, their digital ad revenue this year alone will be greater than the market cap of the entire broadcasting industry.”
Westwood One Unveils Radio’s First ROI Guarantee. In an effort to build confidence in the power of radio to give a return on investment to advertisers, Westwood One is announcing the “first-ever, industry-wide ROI Guarantee in the audio space based upon irrefutable evidence of radio’s powerful return on advertising spend.” WW1 says that “the results, as proven by Nielsen, have continually shown exceptionally strong evidence of radio’s positive ROI across 23 national studies measuring sales results for multiple brand category campaigns.” The press release explains how the program works. “Westwood One will partner with qualifying clients to accomplish their business objectives. Additionally, because campaign creative influences 50% of sales lift, the commercial creative will be pre-tested and benchmarked against industry audio creative test norms to ensure consumer impact and resonance. Nielsen will measure return on advertising spend on behalf of the radio campaign, which includes all media that run across the entire broadcast radio landscape, as well as Westwood One, by matching Media Monitors ad occurrences with Portable People Meter listening, Nielsen credit card data and in-store CPG purchase data from Nielsen Catalina Solutions. If ROI is not positive, Westwood One will run no-cost supplemental media weight sufficient to deliver the guaranteed ROI.” Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “We have seen stunning radio ROI data across the board and are convinced of radio’s ability to generate a positive return, so much so that we are offering the ROI Guarantee to our advertisers. Given secular trends across the media landscape, brands are deeply concerned over ad fraud, viewability, and questionable metrics. Marketers demand solutions that reach their target customers and generate results. The Westwood One ROI Guarantee elevates radio as the measurable mass reach medium that, simply put, delivers.”
Cumulus Offers Preliminary Operating Results for Third Quarter. Ahead of the November 9 release of official financial figures and the subsequent investor conference call, Cumulus Media is presenting some “preliminary operating results” along with some commentary from CEO Mary Berner. Today’s press release says the company expects to report net revenue in a range of $286 million to $288 million with net income in a range of a loss of $0.3 million to a gain of $1.7 million…Adjusted EBITDA performance for the three months ended September 30, 2017 is expected to show growth in a range of 3% to 6% year-over-year. Berner states, “The strong preliminary results for the third quarter provide further evidence that our turnaround plan is taking hold. We are encouraged by our continuing operating and financial momentum in the face of negative industry trends. This quarter, we delivered our seventh straight quarter of ratings share growth at the station group along with revenue share gains for our fifth straight quarter at the station group and third straight quarter at Westwood One. Most importantly, it was the second straight quarter of year-over-year growth in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. While the company has ample cash to operate our business, Cumulus continues to be constrained by an excessive debt load. With the assistance of outside advisors, we are proactively exploring a range of alternatives with our lenders and noteholders to restructure the balance sheet and reduce debt. Our objective is to be able to redirect more of our time and resources to where they can have the greatest impact on our future – investing in our employees, in key technologies and in initiatives that drive growth.”
SiriusXM Q3 Revenue Up 8%. Reporting on third quarter results, SiriusXM announces that its revenue for the period was up 8% over the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $1.4 billion. The company reports, “Net income totaled $276 million in the third quarter 2017, up 42% from $194 million in the third quarter 2016….free cash flow in the third quarter 2017 grew 22% to $434 million, compared to $357 million in the third quarter 2016.” SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “SiriusXM delivered a very strong third quarter despite headwinds from slowing auto sales and the impact of severe weather in many parts of the United States. We recorded our best-ever quarter for adjusted EBITDA and its corresponding margin — which reached 39.9%. SiriusXM is pleased to once again raise our full-year guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. In September, we also completed our $480 million strategic investment in Pandora and recently announced a 10% hike in our quarterly dividend.” SiriusXM says total subscribers reached 32.2 million during the quarter and 27 million self-paying subscribers.
Radio Talent to Appear on C-Endorsement Videos for Cumulus. The power of radio talent endorsements is being harnessed by Cumulus Media for its C-Endorsement Videos – “local personality-branded video endorsements will appear as pre-roll video ads before content on popular and reputable third-party websites visited by consumers within a local advertiser’s specific target audience including age, gender, geography, and behavioral characteristics.” Cumulus VP, digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky states, “Radio personality endorsements are effective marketing solutions because of the trusted relationship listeners have with their favorite local DJs and hosts. With audiences spending up to four hours every day with these personalities, research shows that nearly 80% trust on-air personalities like friends. Given the combination of the time spent and the trust built, it is no wonder that over 50% of the audience reports their favorite personalities influence their opinions. Now is the perfect time to harness the tremendous influence our talent has with local audiences into the digital world via C-Endorsement Videos as part of the growing Cumulus Digital C-Suite.”
Sean Hannity Executive Producer of Faith-Themed Film, Let There Be Light. Actor and director Kevin Sorbo tells FOX News about his new film called, Let There Be Light, a production involving FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks superstar Sean Hannity. Sorbo tells FOX that he and Hannity have known each other for years and Hannity approached him about doing a project together because he likes Sorbo’s movies. Sorbo says the protagonist is an atheist who undergoes a transformation after the death of his son and his failed marriage. Hannity calls the film a real-life emotional rollercoaster. “If you want to avoid the typical formulaic Hollywood movie model of sex, violence and cartoon characters and watch a movie that can truly impact your life, this is the movie for you and your entire family.” See the FOX News piece here.
Menendez Promoted at WGN, Chicago. Windy City news pro Stephanie Menendez is being promoted by Tribune news/talk WGN to director of news and operations for the station. Menendez joined the station in 2008 as a producer. She then was elevated to executive producer, assistant program director and operations manager. She is quoted saying, “I am excited for this opportunity to lead our news team as we continue to curate strong content 24/7. We have the best team of journalists, hosts and producers in the city and I look forward to seeking innovative ways to further expand WGN Radio’s presence in the digital space.” WGN vice president of content & programming Todd Manley states, “Stephanie has the zest our team needs to tell remarkable Chicago stories. Every day I’m grateful for the way she leads and collaborates.”
NPR Seeing Growth in Content Consumption. It wasn’t that long ago that The Current, the trade publication that reports on public media, wrote a piece detailing the listenership woes the content provider was experiencing: an aging listenership to NPR Member stations and five years of declining listenership to its morning and afternoon programs. That article was published in October of 2015. Today, NPR is gleefully reporting that via radio, podcast listenership and visits to NPR.org, it is reaching 99 million people per month. Moreover, NPR states that, based on spring 2017 numbers from Nielsen Audio, “the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations reached an all-time high of 37.7 million.” The Fall 2016 election cycle brought a lot of listeners to news and news/talk radio stations. NPR says it still isn’t seeing any falloff almost one year later. “Both ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘All Things Considered’ retained the remarkable growth seen during the Fall 2016 election cycle. Their weekly audience is at 14.63 million and 14.6 million listeners, respectively. NPR is also happy with its younger demos, reporting that 28% of all 25-54 year olds listened to an NPR Member station at least once a month, 16% listened at least once a week, and 6% of all 25-54 listened at least once a day.” Read more here.
Clinton-DNC Trump Dossier Case, Trump Tax Overhaul, Sexual Harassment Accusations, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Uranium One Investigation, Deadly Niger Ambush, and MLB World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25). The revelation that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the Trump-Russia dossier; the Trump-GOP tax overhaul process; the numerous public allegations of sexual harassment; North Korea’s nuclear threats against the U.S.; the investigation into the Obama Administration’s deal with Russia-backed Uranium One and whether the Clinton Foundation benefitted from the deal; the aftermath of the ambush on U.S. troops in Niger that left four dead; and the Dodgers-Astros World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WHO, Des Moines’ Van Harden and Bonnie Lucas Spend Night in Scariest Place Ever. Pictured here are WHO, Des Moines morning personalities Van Harden (right) and Bonnie Lucas (left) broadcasting from the place Google ranked the scariest place in America. The two spent the night in the Villisca, Iowa home of the Moore family who, along with two house guests, were bludgeoned to death with an axe in 1912. The killer(s) of the eight victims were never found. Harden tells TALKERS, “Very odd things have been happening in the house ever since the murders. We were not allowed to sleep on the beds, so we slept on the floor in sleeping bags, although between creepy sounds, unexplained happenings and the radio engineer’s loud snoring, there wasn’t much sleep. Axe marks still remain on the walls and the case remains unsolved. Footsteps were heard in other parts of the house when all the broadcast crew was accounted for. Weird things popped up on cell phones, including a picture of a room ceiling with 2 arms hanging out of it. And when play balls were put on the floor, they mysterious started moving on their own in different directions.”
Kelsea Ballerini Thanks the NASH Folks! Country sensation Kelsea Ballerini is pictured above on the NASH Campus of Cumulus Media in Nashville presenting a platinum record in recognition of her debut album, The First Time (Black River Group). Pictured here are (from l-r): John Shomby, NASH director of programming and PD for WKDF “NASH FM 103.3”; Ballerini; Mike McVay, EVP, content & programming, Cumulus Media and Westwood One; and John Kilgo, VP, label relations, Cumulus Media.
FCC Commissioner: It Is Time to Update Our Rules to Reflect the Current Media Marketplace. Those are the words of Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in his FCC blog post titled, “Thoughtfully Modernizing the Commission’s Media Ownership Rules.” In the post, O’Rielly points to reforms already made under current Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and names the reforms he thinks should be adopted next. He writes, “If a form is not needed, it should be eliminated. If a study is duplicative or useless, it should be junked. When public notice requirements are outdated, at the very least they should be modified. And when FCC rules are no longer necessary, they should be removed from our books.” Noting that for almost 10 years the FCC has failed to adequately complete the Quadrennial Review, O’Rielly states, “It is time we fulfilled not only a congressional mandate but the congressional intent of keeping our rules current. And this can and should be done thoughtfully, consistent with the fundamental propositions of localism, diversity, and competition. We owe this not only to our broadcasting industry but more importantly, to the American people, who are paying for – in one form or another – market inefficiencies resulting from our rules.” Among the five principles he outlines for media ownership reform are the elimination of the cross-ownership bans. “As consumers demand innovative platforms and seamless experiences to consume content, the FCC imposes bans preventing broadcasters and newspapers from delivering synergies that could result in innovative products and more, not less local content. Eliminating the restrictions on newspaper/radio, radio/television, and newspaper/television combinations is a crucial step. Previous commissions and bipartisan legislation from Congress already recognized the need for an update. It’s time to act.” Read O’Rielly’s entire post here.
NYT: Former FOX News Channel Star Bill O’Reilly Paid $32 Million to Settle Sexual Harassment Case. In an expose published in The New York Times over the weekend, it’s being reported that former FOX News Channel star Bill O’Reilly in January agreed to pay $32 million to longtime network analyst Lis Wiehl to settle sexual harassment allegations, a month before the network agreed to a contract renewal with O’Reilly that was to pay him $100 million over four years. The paper reports that O’Reilly settled five other harassment allegations in years prior. FNC tells the Times it was aware of Wiehl’s allegations against O’Reilly but says it was unaware of the amount of the settlement as that was a matter between O’Reilly and Wiehl. The NYT piece notes that News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James had been working to convince both staffers and the public that they were trying to clean up the cable news channel’s image and had recently fired FNC president Roger Ailes in the wake of his sexual harassment troubles, and would let O’Reilly go as well. This latest matter of workplace sexual harassment in the entertainment world comes as Hollywood is reeling from the Harvey Weinstein harassment scandal. See the Times piece here.
Bruce Kelly Joins Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, AZ Cluster. Radio pro Bruce Kelly is named director of programming and operations at Grenax Broadcasting’s Flagstaff, Arizona station group that includes news/talk KBTK “97.1 The Big Talker” and music outlets classic hits KFLX “Rewind 92.5/104.1,” country KSED “107.5 Kolt Country,” and classic rock KWMX “96.7 The Wolf.” Grenax general manager Stan Pierce says, “[Kelly] is a talented programmer with a long history of on-air success and a creative thinker on the marketing front. Bringing in someone of Bruce’s caliber reflects our commitment to provide our community of Northern Arizona with top-quality radio.”
Changes at WFOM, Atlanta ‘The Fan 2.’ According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, the pairing of Larry Wachs and Bob Whitfield on Dickey Broadcasting-owned sports talker WFOM, Atlanta “The Fan 2” has ended with owner David Dickey stating he’s looking for a new show partner for Wachs on the newly reconstituted “Regular Guys” show on WFOM (2:00 pm to 4:00 pm). He also says he wants to build a show around Whitfield with the possibility of adding local programming to WIFN “The Fan 3.” Read Ho’s piece here.
Westwood One Unveils Kurt Warner Podcast. New to the Westwood One Podcast Network is a weekly show featuring NFL great and football analyst Kurt Warner, titled “The Kurt Warner Quarterback Podcast.” The program is delivered fresh every Tuesday morning during the NFL season and features Westwood One play-by-play voice Kevin Harlan.
North Korea War Talk, Trump Tax Plan, McCain-Trump Feud, New O’Reilly Settlement Allegation, Carter NYT Interview, Potential Uranium One Probe, James Toback Harassment Accusations, Mueller Investigates Podesta Group, Astros Win AL Pennant, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The saber rattling between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump; the Trump Administration’s tax reform plan; the ongoing feud between Trump and John McCain and McCain’s shot at the president over Vietnam War draft deferments; new allegations of a $32 million settlement between Bill O’Reilly and a sexual harassment accuser; Jimmy Carter’s New York Times interview; Robert Mueller’s investigation into an Obama-era deal with Russian firm Uranium One; director James Toback is accused of sexual harassment by numerous actresses; the Houston Astros beat the Yankees to win the American League pennant; and Sunday’s NFL action and poor attendance at a number of stadiums were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Sally Quinn Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. Longtime Washington Post journalist, columnist, television commentator, Washington insider, author and legendary social hostess, Sally Quinn is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” She candidly discusses her Watergate-era, wildly romantic, extra-marital love affair, and subsequent enduring marriage of more than four decades to legendary Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, as well as her idiosyncratic relationship with religion, sexual harassment in politics as well as media… and much more. (She claims the late U.S. Senator John Tower tried to rape her in the back of a taxi.) Quinn is currently promoting her new book, Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir (HarperOne, 2017) and Harrison was granted one of her first interviews. To hear this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s Detroit country station WDRQ “NASH FM 93.1,” Jessica Poxson exits her role as midday personality, assistant PD and music director…..There’s a new CHR station in the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina market as Curtis Media Group flips modern rock WXNR “99X” to rhythmic CHR as “HOT 99.5.”…..The morning duo of Jake and Tanner are back together at Woodward Radio’s WKSZ, Appleton, Wisconsin “95.9 Kiss FM,” effective today (10/23). Jake Kelly and Tanner Jay joined E.W. Scripps’ country WKTI, Milwaukee for mornings in October of 2015. Tanner Jay left the program earlier this year for family reasons and Kelly stayed on solo for a while before exiting the station as well. The two were hosting the morning show on WIXX, Green Bay prior to joining WKTI…..Radio One celebrated the 40th career anniversary of legendary Washington, DC radio and television personality Donnie Simpson last night (10/22) at the Warner Theatre. The star-studded concert featured Simpson’s favorite regional and national artists, including: Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, BBD, Chante Moore; and Rare Essence…..The Cumulus Media “neXt2rock 2017” national search for the nation’s newest rock star has so far drawn more than 1,800 submissions. Emerging artists are being rated by Cumulus listeners through October 25. Ultimately, the winner of this four-month-long competition will receive a record deal with Big Machine/John Varvatos Records and exposure via Cumulus radio stations nationwide. Mentor judges for the competition’s finale include Big Machine Label Group president & CEO Scott Borchetta; musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child; record producer Bob Ezrin; Sex Pistols guitarist and host of “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” Steve Jones; and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale.
FCC Will Seek Public Comment on Ownership Rules; Reversal of Cross-Ownership Bans Appear Unlikely. Reports are circulating in the media trades that senior FCC officials say FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will propose relaxing cross-ownership bans, but in a blog post dated March 6, that tone is not expressed. Wheeler writes about the Commission’s duty to undertake and complete the 2014 Quadrennial Review. He discusses some of the proposals regarding maintaining current ownership rules that will be open for public comment but many industry watchers say this should not be cause to think a Wheeler-chaired Commission will ultimately relax current cross-ownership bans. Much of Wheeler’s concern in the blog is with television joint sales agreements and he’s clearly out to change those. You can read Wheeler’s entire post here.
Newsmax Chief Chris Ruddy Announces Cable TV News/Talk Project. In a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, Newsmax founder and CEO Chris Ruddy announces his plans for a new cable news/talk network with Fox News Channel as his target. Ruddy is quoted asking, “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share? It defies reason.” Ruddy tells Bloomberg Businessweek his goal is “to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing.” He says that if he can get 10% to 15% of FNC’s audience, he’s going to be “hugely profitable.” The piece states FNC bills $1 billion a year. He understands the cable carriers don’t want to pay new networks and believes even if he has to pay them to carry the network, he’ll make money. Currently Newsmax TV is online featuring talk media personality Steve Malzberg. Ruddy does not say what the programming will look like when he’s ready to launch in June. Read the entire Bloomberg Businessweek story here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated “America Tonight” talk host Kate Delaney keeps her sports talk chops sharp as she sits in on the NBC Sports Radio Network this weekend hosting the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot both Saturday and Sunday this weekend…..In honor of Women’s History Month, SiriusXM host Julie Mason (left) sat down with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (right) before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 4. It’s part of the “SiriusXM Leading Ladies” series of candid conversations with influential and inspiring women who have forged their own paths to leadership and success.
Dave Ramsey Deep in the Heart of Texas. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio as he presented his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” on Thursday (3/6). Ramsey talked about how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with L&L Broadcasting’s news/talk KTSA to promote this event. KTSA GSM Coreena Hazelett comments, “L&L Broadcasting and ‘550KTSA’ are thrilled to partner with the Dave Ramsey team in bringing life-transforming content to entrepreneurs and leaders as well as teaching families how to live now so you can leave a powerful legacy for your family. We, along with our sponsors, sincerely believe in the importance of contributing to the growth of business and the quality of life for families here in San Antonio.” Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” on Wednesday along with Cruze and speaker Chris Hogan. The content of that presentation was how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 team members.
LaNeve Named to Entercom Board of Directors. From the sales and marketing world comes the newest member of the Entercom board of directors as Mark LaNeve joins immediately. He has served as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford – an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally. During his time as chief marketing officer at Allstate Insurance, he led the marketing for the company and developed the long-running “Mayhem” campaign. Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Mark LaNeve is a tremendous addition to Entercom’s board of directors. He has led some of America’s most iconic brands and ad campaigns. He will bring a new and fresh perspective to the Entercom board.”
Michael Medved Broadcasts from CPAC. Seattle-based Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Medved (right) is pictured here interviewing Republican Senator from Utah Mike Lee (left) at the radio row at CPAC 2014 taking place in Washington, DC. The event is the American Conservative Union’s annual confab of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord Hotel & Convention Center.
Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Unrest Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The political crisis in Ukraine and Crimea and the scrum between President Obama and Vladimir Putin were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was ObamaCare Criticism. At #3 was the Israel-Palestinian talks followed by the 2016 presidential race at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. ABC News Radio adds WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte to its roster of affiliate stations…..Yahoo! Sports Radio announces KXFN, St. Louis flips to sports and takes its lineup of national sports talk hosts.