Cumulus Media | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "Cumulus Media"

Thursday, August 4, 2022

| August 4, 2022

Richard Neer is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York sports talk show host/rock radio pioneer Richard Neer and TALKERS founder Michael Harrison have been close friends and radio colleagues for more than half of the medium’s 100-year history. Needless to say, they always have plenty to talk about regarding media and popular culture – past, present, and future. Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview” marking his record-breaking seventh visit since the program debuted as one of the platform’s earliest offerings in 2015. In addition to his rich on-air history, Neer is the prolific author of 10 Riley King murder mystery novels and his historic overview of album rock radio, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) remains a literary milestone chronicling the golden days of the AOR era. On this podcast, Harrison and Neer talk about a wide variety of topics including Joni Mitchell’s recent performance at the Newport Folk Festival, the high cost of Bruce Springsteen concert tickets, the controversial LIV Golf tour backed by Saudi Arabia, changes in the record business, the challenges of writing and publishing historical fiction, movies, TV, CGI and a whole lot more. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Rises 5.4%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2022, Cumulus Media reveals net revenue of $236.7 million – an increase of 5.4% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports net income of $8.7 million for the quarter after posting a net loss of $5.9 million during Q2 of 2021. Total broadcast revenue for Cumulus fell 0.3% to $175.7 million compared to the second quarter of 2021. While radio spot revenue was $127 million – up 5.1% over Q2 2021, network revenue slipped 12% to $48.7 million. Cumulus Media’s digital segment rose 20.3% to $37.8 million. CEO Mary Berner comments, “Our ability to deliver yet another quarter of strong results is testament both to the quality of our strategic plan and the discipline and relentlessness with which we implement it.  Specifically, we have deployed our multi-platform audio-first content strategy, developed multiple digital businesses, significantly reduced fixed costs, undertaken high ROI internal investments, and created a best-in-class balance sheet that gives the company substantial financial flexibility and capital allocation optionality. Given our track record, we have tremendous confidence in our ability, under this plan, to grow shareholder value. Despite the challenging macro environment, we increased revenue in the quarter by more than 5%, driven by our digital businesses whose growth accelerated in Q2 to 20% year-over-year. Additionally, bolstered by our ongoing focus on fixed cost reductions, this quarter we generated additional cash from operations and increased net income, EBITDA and EBITDA margins vs. the same period last year. We also efficiently executed nearly half of our $50 million share repurchase authorization and bought back $50 million of bonds at a discount, while simultaneously reducing net leverage to 3.8x, the lowest it’s been in more than a decade. With a robust political spending season anticipated, we are on trend toward achieving our net leverage target of less than 3.5 times and EBITDA at the low end of our 2022 guidance range.”

Conservative Media Figures Gather at CPAC 2022. Pictured above (from l-r) are WMAL-FM, Washington, DC morning drive personality Larry O’Connor, Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup, and author and TOWNHALL.com contributor Kurt Schlichter in Dallas for the first day of CPAC 2022. The annual event runs through Sunday and speakers scheduled to address the gathering include: former President Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, British conservative leader Nigel Farage, and Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Former WFTL, Fort Lauderdale Talk Host Rich Stevens Passes. TALKERS magazine has learned that former WFTL, Fort Lauderdale talk host Rich Stevens died on July 30 at the age of 68 after suffering a heart attack. Stevens worked in music radio prior to hosting his talk show on WFTL, serving at such signals as WPLJ-FM, New York and WJHM, Orlando. He also served at WABC-TV, New York as an entertainment reporter.

TALKERS News Notes. As part of RAB’s Radio Works initiative, the next live presentation in the series titled, “Radio Works for Restaurants,” takes place on Wednesday, August 17 at 1:00 pm ET and will provide industry insights and trends intended to help broadcasters gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the restaurant industry and how radio can continue to serve this category. Since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants have endured closures, staffing shortages, product supply strains and inflationary pressures making for a challenging business environment. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, research & knowledge group at the National Restaurant Association, will provide an update on the “State of the Restaurant Industry” to help radio sellers understand the areas where businesses in this category need support. It’s free for RAB members and they can register here…..ESPN and Omaha Productions are expanding their relationship in the audio space with the premiere of a new show, “Kyle Brandt’s Basement,” led by NFL Network “Good Morning Football” host Kyle Brandt. The daily show debuts August 8 and “explores the ins and outs of the NFL through lively guest interviews with the top voices in the sport and inventive segments unique to Brandt to bring fans closer to the action on and off the field.” Brandt comments, “I’m thrilled about this show, and I’ll be shot out of a cannon every single day. It’s in my own basement and I’ve got games, toys and takes. I can promise one thing: it will not be boring.”…..Pictured at left is WGKB-AM/W269DL, Milwaukee “101.7 The Truth” talk host Tory Lowe during last weekend’s 7th Annual Stop the Violence Peace Walk during which he walked from Milwaukee to Chicago (more than 80 miles) to “raise awareness and bring an end to violence in our communities.” Lowe says, “It is important for us to build a bridge between Milwaukee and Chicago, open the lines of communication, and bring awareness to the violence that plagues our communities.”

Kansas Abortion Vote, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Pelosi Taiwan Visit, January 6 Investigation, Russia-Ukraine War, The Economy, COVID-19, and U.S. Rep. Walorski Killed Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. Kansas voters elect to keep abortion rights in the state’s constitution; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s angry response; the January 6 investigation and the DOJ subpoenas issued to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former deputy counsel Patrick Philbin; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the impact on the global economy; the falling price of gasoline and the still-high cost of food in the U.S. and concerns about a recession; the rate of BA.5 subvariant cases in the U.S.; and U.S. Rep Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and two staffers are killed in a car accident were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

| August 2, 2022

Townsquare Media Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 13.6%. For the second quarter of 2022, Townsquare Media is reporting net revenue of $121.9 million, an increase of 13.6% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports net income of $4.9 million, a decrease of $5.2 million from Q2 of 2021. Townsquare’s financial data is broken in to three primary segments: Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions, Digital Advertising, and Broadcast Advertising. The Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions segment includes its subscription digital marketing solutions business, Townsquare Interactive. The Digital Advertising segment, marketed externally as Townsquare Ignite, includes digital advertising on the company’s owned and operated digital properties and its digital programmatic advertising platform. The Broadcast Advertising segment includes its local, regional, and national advertising products and solutions delivered via terrestrial radio broadcast, and other miscellaneous revenue that is associated with the broadcast advertising platform. The Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions segment’s net revenue rose 13.7%, the Digital Advertising segment’s net revenue was up 25.4%, and the Broadcast Advertising segment’s net revenue rose 1.0%. Company CEO Bill Wilson states, “I am proud to share that the Townsquare team delivered another quarter of strong revenue and profit growth, and in doing so, we achieved all-time record highs for both net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. Our performance clearly demonstrates the strength and differentiation of our digital businesses and our legacy broadcast business. Townsquare’s second quarter net revenue increased year-over-year by 14%, exceeding our guidance range, and Adjusted EBITDA increased 7% year-over-year, meeting our guidance range. In addition, our digital revenue growth accelerated from the first quarter (Q1 +16% year-over-year), with second quarter total digital revenue increasing 21% year-over-year. Our strong top-line growth, margin profile, and cash generation characteristics have contributed to the reduction of our net leverage, now at a historical low of 4.65x as of June 30th, including the repurchase and retirement of $19 million of our Senior Secured Notes at or below par in Q2. We are also pleased to announce that we are raising our FY 2022 guidance following the close of the Cherry Creek acquisition on June 17th. Our updated full-year guidance reflects the ongoing momentum of our business and the strength of our performance to date, fueled by our differentiated digital platform. As a Digital First Local Media Company focused principally on markets outside of the Top 50 in the United States, we have a resilient digital growth engine supported by subscription digital marketing solutions, with a large addressable market and limited competition. As we move forward, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue at strong margins, reaching our digital revenue target of at least $275 million in 2024. With half of our total revenue and profit coming from digital today, it is our belief that over time as digital continues to meaningfully grow, Townsquare should and will be afforded a sum-of the-parts valuation that our digital assets deserve.”

70 Years of WGN-AM, Chicago Audio Archived at Northwestern University. As the result of a gift from WGN-AM, Chicago’s parent company Nexstar Media Group, a 70-year swath of the radio station’s audio archive now resides at Northwestern University Libraries in the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections and University Archives. The station says, “The archive, with materials covering 1941 to 2011, includes more than 15,000 items, primarily magnetic media (open reel tapes, compact cassettes, continuous-loop “carts,” U-matic videocassettes and VHS tapes) as well as other media such as grooved discs, CDs and minidiscs. The bulk of the audio dates to the 1980s and 1990s, a period of innovation and surging popularity for the station.” Scott Krafft is curator of special collections at Northwestern and he says that the archive contains thousands of hours of audio that will need to be cataloged and, where necessary, digitally preserved before they can be made publicly available. He adds, “It’s a remarkable collection that represents a significant sampling of Chicago history, including local and national news. In addition, the voices of WGN Radio’s most popular programs are represented here, making this an important archive for the history of the entire field of radio broadcasting.” WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle comments, “Given the long and storied connection between WGN Radio and Northwestern University, it is most fitting that this audio collection, drawn out of 70 years of our broadcast history, will be under their care. While digitizing it will be a substantial undertaking for the Northwestern Libraries, ultimately, this will be a permanent and invaluable repository and resource for years to come. We trust their expertise and are proud they are the caretakers in this endeavor.”

Triton Digital Streaming Ranker for June 2022 Released. The monthly ranking of the top-performing streaming audio stations has been released for the month of June by Triton Digital. The ranking is based on Average Active Sessions which is calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period. In the period of 6AM-12AM Mon-Sun, iHeartRadio is far and away the #1 streamer again this month with 301,251 Average Active Sessions. Continuing in the #2 spot this month is NPR Member Stations (72,476 AAS), followed by Audacy at #3 (68,570 AAS), and Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (41,562 AAS). Other streamers of note in the top 25 include Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (18,663 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (15,151 AAS), and Salem Communications at #11 (8,677 AAS). See the complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Former WTMJ, Milwaukee air personality Jane Matenaer, who exited the station last month after six and a half years with the Good Karma Brands news/talk outlet, is staying with the company as producer and news reporter for sister progressive talk WAUK-AM/W266DR, Waukesha “The ‘Sha 101 FM” on the “As Goes Wisconsin” early afternoon program hosted by Kristen Brey…..Cumulus Media appoints Derek Falter VP/market manager for its Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan markets that include sports talk WJRW-AM, Grand Rapids “The Ticket” and seven music-formatted stations. Falter, who was most recently regional VP for Curtis Media Group, comments, “I’m beyond excited about the opportunity the leadership team at Cumulus Media is giving me to work alongside the dynamic crews in Grand Rapids and Muskegon! Thanks to Mary Berner and Bob Walker for bringing me back to a part of the country that is so meaningful to my family.”

Al-Zawahiri Killed, Pelosi’s Asia Trip, Biden’s Climate/Health Bill, Manchin-Schumer Bill, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, The Economy, January 6 Sentencing, Deadly Kentucky Floods/Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/1). 9/11 orchestrator Ayman al-Zawahiri is killed in drone strike in Kabul; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s expected visit to Taiwan and China’s threatening response; the fate of Joe Biden’s climate and health bill; the Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer-authored Inflation Reduction Act; November’s midterm elections and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; the still-high price of gasoline and food and concerns about a recession; Guy Reffit is sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in the January 6 Capitol attack; the deadly Kentucky floods and threats of more rain to the region plus the ongoing wildfires in Northern California were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

| July 28, 2022

WFAN And Yankees Extend Their Partnership. A multi-year extension is announced between Audacy New York sports talk WFAN-FM & WFAN-AM and MLB’s American League East New York Yankees. English-language broadcasts will continue to be heard on WFAN and streamed digitally on the Audacy app for those within the team’s broadcast territory. WFAN will also continue to produce the Spanish-language broadcasts for local radio affiliates, as well as for the Audacy app. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero declares, “The New York Yankees are the city’s premier sports franchise and WFAN is the city’s premier sports platform. Together, we form a potent combination for fans and client partners. [This – 2022] is our 21st consecutive season of broadcasting the ‘Bronx Bombers.’ We look forward to continuing to have the honor of being the soundtrack to more memorable and historic pinstripe moments.” New York Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost notes, “The Yankees are excited to extend our longstanding relationship with WFAN and Audacy. WFAN has been our flagship station for over two decades, and we look forward to fans continuing to enjoy Yankees baseball over its airways and on the Audacy app.” From 2002 to 2014, Yankees games were heard on WFAN’s sister station, all-news WCBS-AM (currently the flagship of the New York Mets); WFAN has served as the Yankees flagship since 2014. John Sterling, (class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee) Suzyn Waldman and Sweeny Murti are the English-language broadcasters, while Spanish-language broadcasts will be handled by Rickie Ricardo, Francisco Rivera and Rene Luna. As part of Audacy’s MLB partnership, WFAN and the Yankees will produce co-branded podcasts.

Newsmax, Verizon Sign Multi-Year Carriage Agreement. The deal between Newsmax and Verizon extends distribution of news channel in HD on Verizon Fios. Newsmax Media chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy remarks, “Verizon has carried Newsmax for many years. We are delighted to be extending our distribution through the Fios platform. We have found them to be outstanding partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the presentation of diverse, independent voices through their programming. We’re glad that we are continuing with this new agreement.” Newsmax will retain its broad distribution on the Verizon platform, which reaches approximately 3.5 million subscribers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Increases. While revenue was up 4% year-over-year to $2.25 billion in this year’s second quarter, SiriusXM’s net income declined from $433 million to $292 million (11 to 7 cents/basic share, 10 to 7 cents/diluted share). Adjusted EBITDA was off 3% to $679 million. SiriusXM chief executive officer Jennifer Witz notes, “We are pleased with our results in the second quarter, and while we continue to navigate an uncertain economic environment, we delivered strong financial performance and continued to make strategic investments in our business that will set us up for an exciting new era. We remain committed to creating compelling experiences for our listeners by investing in innovative technologies to deliver best-in-class, curated, comprehensive audio entertainment. Most recently, [we expanded] our relationship with the NFL to deliver the most extensive sports lineup in audio entertainment; we will continue to enhance our platform to ensure broad appeal.” Executive vice president/chief financial officer Sean Sullivan adds, “[Our] churn was steady at approximately 1.5% in the quarter, underscoring the strength of our business, products, and loyalty of our customers. In the second quarter, we delivered focused expansion in key streaming offerings and maintained a strong balance sheet. This quarter, we returned over $300 million in capital to stockholders, comprising $217 million in common stock repurchases and $86 million in dividends, and ended the quarter with net debt to adjusted EBITDA of 3.6 times.” Self-pay subscribers increased by 23,000 and paid promotional subscribers increased by 54,000. Satellite and streaming division totaled 34 million subscribers at the end of the quarter; self-pay churn was flat at 1.5%. The division’s revenue rose 5% to $1.7 billion, and gross profit rose 6% to $1.1 billion.

Marketron Releases Political Advertising Toolbox. Per BIA Advisory Services, political advertising will raise $8.6 billion for local media companies. Marketron’s collection of online resources combines all the political advertising content the company has developed at a single location for companies interested in increasing their share of political advertising. Marketron senior vice president/client success Christian Kligora opines that, “Political advertising is an important category for local media. It’s much different than any other and that requires a unique approach. We’ve been developing content on the topic all year long with a focus on how to support media sellers. Bringing it together in one spot makes it easier to learn from and access.” Each resource will reportedly provide media salespeople with tips, strategies, and insights for political advertising. Included are specialized considerations such as the “overall trends in the advertising ecosystem; the need to reach different demographics; the objective of persuading people to vote; and the regulatory compliance requirements” for how media companies price/offer inventory to candidates.

TALKERS News Notes. Changes at Audacy Philadelphia sports talk WIP “Sports Radio 94” find the station’s fill-in host Jody McDonald and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski co-hosting weekend shows with Glenn Macnow. McDonald will partner with Macnow on Sundays (10:00 am – 1:00 pm), while Sielski joins Macnow in the same time slot each Saturday. According to Macnow, “I have a comfort level with Jody. He’s the guy I broke in with [and] the guy our listeners heard me with from 28 years ago. Working with Jody is like an old pair of shoes – it’s easy and I like it. The Saturday show will now be me and the best damn sports columnist in town, Mike Sielski.” … Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM.” According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.” … After eleven years with Nashville’s WPRT-FM, midday co-host Darren McFarland departs the Cromwell Radio Group sports talk outlet. Program director Chase McCabe confirms to The Tennessean that “Sports Radio 102.5 The Game” decided to part ways with McFarland, who formerly worked at Cumulus Media’s cross-town/similarly-formatted WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” McCabe, Willy Daunic, and Derrick Mason continue in middays on “The Game.” … Effective August 22, Cheddar News Washington bureau chief Megan Pratz will join NPR as political editor. In addition, NPR promotes congressional correspondent Sue Davis to political correspondent and interim congressional correspondent Dierdre Walsh gets to remove “interim” from the title. … Skyview Networks’ sports talk program “OutKick 360picks up three Withers Broadcasting-owned affiliates: KYRK, Marble Hill, Missouri; WGKY, Wickliffe, Kentucky; and WFRX, West Frankfort, Illinois. Skyview Networks is the exclusive distributor, affiliate sales representative and network sales partner of Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow & Paul Kuharsky-hosted “OutKick 360.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

| July 20, 2022

Michael La Crosse to Lead Programming at iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group that includes news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE and five music outlets. La Crosse will continue to oversee the iHeartMedia Portland market as vice president of programming and will serve as program director for adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.” iHeartMedia National Programming Group EVP Maynard says, “Michael is an outstanding programmer and human. He has worked closely with Sacramento and many other iHeartMedia markets over the past few years and I couldn’t be more excited to formally expand his leadership responsibilities and influence.” La Crosse comments, “I’m very humbled to get the chance to work with the amazing team in Sacramento. With a brand-new station like ‘KISS 107.9’ and a station like NewsRadio KFBK, that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, our stations are as diverse as Sacramento itself.”

Ernie Brown Moves to Morning Drive on WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. News and talk radio pro Ernie Brown moves from his late morning daypart to morning drive on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. Brown joins Hal Jay as co-host of “WBAP’s Morning News” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. WBAP program director Bruce Collins says, “Ernie is exactly what we were looking for. He’s the ultimate professional broadcaster that knows how to relate to the audience and understands the biggest stories of the day that resonate with our target audience. We’re excited to have him as our new morning show leader.” Brown comments, “We’ll talk about the issues that matter to WBAP listeners: inflation, gas prices, grocery prices, supply chain shortages, your money, covid, and of course the Cowboys! I’ve worked at great stations and organizations all over the country including KOGO in San Diego, ‘America’s Radio News’ in Washington, D.C., Western Journal – Phoenix, and KOMO in Seattle and hosted a national late night talk show called ‘America at Night.’ This is an incredible opportunity to get to work with Hal Jay and the talented WBAP morning team. I want to thank Cumulus DFW RVP/market manager Dan Bennett and PD Bruce Collins.”

Podtrac Announces Top Podcast Publishers for June 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers for June of this year from Podtrac based on unique monthly audience (UMA) has been released and iHeartRadio holds down the top spot with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 30.3 million. At #2 is Wondery with a UMA of 23.8 million. NPR follows at #3 (UMA 18 million), The New York Times is #4 (UMA 11 million), and NBC News is #5 (UMA 9.1 million). You can see the complete ranking of the top 20 here.

Audacy Unveils Updates to App and Website. The company announces that it has begun to make updates to its digital platform in the form of new features on the Audacy app and website. The company says, “We’ll be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks and months, with each release focused on positively impacting Audacy’s digital, podcasting, data, analytics, and ad tech capabilities. At the heart of these updates lives truly interactive radio. We’re giving our listeners even more control over streaming radio with additional interactivity to both live and on-demand content. We’re also improving the discovery and curation of our radio and podcast content, presented seamlessly together within an evolved interface and user experience.” Initial updates include: 1) enhanced rewind in which listeners can rewind live news, sports, and news/talk stations and hear it all again; 2) curated discovery of content in which listeners are immersed into a personalized, interactive experience that is customizable, based not just on their favorite stations or podcasts, but also on their topical interests across news, sports and music; and 3) enriched podcast listening giving listeners access to nearly 3 million podcasts plus exclusive binging of Audacy Originals. The app also now presents radio and podcast content together, allowing listeners to consume the latest content from the shows they love along with the topics they’re interested in.

NAB Reveals 2022 Marconi Award Finalists. The finalists for the NAB’s 2022 Marconi Awards in numerous categories have been revealed. In the category of Legendary Station of the Year, three spoken-word stations made the cut: Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; Audacy’s all-news KRLD-AM, Dallas; and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year nominees include: Ramsey Media’s Dave Ramsey, Premiere NetworksGeorge Noory, and Premiere’s Dan Patrick. News/talk and sports talk personalities making the finalist round include, in the Major Market Personallity of the Year category: Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston; and Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago. In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore and Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. In the Medium Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas and Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho. The five finalists in the News/Talk Station of the Year category are: Audacy’s KNX-AM, Los Angeles; Hubbard Radio’s KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton; iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. And the five finalists in the Sports Station of the Year category are: Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM, San Francisco; Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Audacy’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Mike Missanelli to Co-Host Eagles Postgame Show. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime Philadelphia sports media personality Mike Missanelli, who exited Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in May of this year, is working with JAKIB Media Partners to co-host a Philadelphia Eagles post-game show beginning this fall. The paper says that Missanelli and former NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Seth Joyner are joining Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney on JAKIB’s YouTube channel. The program will stream after each Eagles game this fall. As the Inquirer notes in its story, JAKIB Sports streams three daily live programs including “Birds 365,” hosted by John McMullen and WIP host Jody McDonald; “Sports Take,” hosted by Gunn, Barrett Brooks, and Rob Ellis; and “The National Football Show” hosted by Dan Sileo.

Audacy: Study Confirms Ad Engagement Increases with Each Audio Exposure. The results of an audio study conducted by independent market research consultancy Alter Agents in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, show that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. Audacy says that this distinctive content peak study shows that “exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign.” Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services and QSR industries. Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times. The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix. Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”

Squad SCOTUS Protest, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Probe/Bannon Trial, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/2024 Race, The Economy, House Same-Sex Marriage Bill, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Heatwave/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest at which U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others were arrested; the ongoing January 6 hearings, the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 election results, and the contempt of congress trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2024 presidential nominees; the state of the U.S. economy as inflation and falling financial markets affect Americans; the U.S. House passes a bill protecting same-sex marriages; the rising rate of BA.5 subvariant COVID-19 cases; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the record-setting European heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, July 18, 2022

| July 18, 2022

Pending Business: SiriusXM’s Chutzpah. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says AM/FM radio needs a stronger response to attacks like the broadside leveled at it by SiriusXM last week in its “Why waste your time with AM/FM radio? campaign. “Timing is everything and as much as it hurts, the “Why waste your time?” ad was well played. AM/FM radio can’t afford to ignore a broadside attack. Playing the local, free and emergency cards is a solid first step. Every AM/FM radio listener and advertiser can use a reminder. Just like a utility, we take it for granted until it’s not there when you need it.” He offers three concepts for development that support radio’s value. Read it here.

Monday Memo: Dine with Seinfeld’s Parents. Consultant Holland Cooke continues his month-long series “Inflation Hacks, money-saving tactics for your listeners (and yourself).” In this week’s column, HC offers “escape from Ramen, and your dentist!” Read it here.

‘The Big Picture’ Panel Video from TALKERS 2020 Posted. Today (7/18), the video of the panel discussion titled, “The Big Picture,” from the recent TALKERS 2022 convention at Hofstra University is posted. The panel was moderated by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (who was introduced by Dottie Herman, vice-chair, Douglas Elliman Real Estate and host of “Eye on Real Estate” heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer”) Panelists included: Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Lee Habeeb, host/producer, “Our American Stories”; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; and Chris Oliviero, president/market manager, Audacy New York. See the video here.

Salem Rises to Prominence in Conservative Media. In a profile piece published in TALKERS magazine today (7/18), executive editor Kevin Casey chronicles some of the history of Salem Media Group and highlights the company’s steadily growing prominence in the conservative media universe. At the very heart of Salem Media Group is its philosophy and mission. Co-founder and executive chairman of the board Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s leadership enthusiastically embraces the concept of American exceptionalism – that America is unique in human history as a place where no matter your social status, your ethnicity, your religion, or your country of origin the American dream is available for the taking. Today there are ideologies conspiring to tear us apart by promoting identity politics under such euphemisms as ‘critical race theory.’ Salem is committed to do all that we can to counteract the forces that would tear us apart, and we have created a company uniquely positioned to achieve that goal. Fortunately, there are enough Americans committed to religious faith and conservative values to help us achieve that goal.” Company SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “When I joined Salem’s team in early 2012, I had no idea the company was positioned to explode onto the conservative landscape like it did. My 14 year’s experience programming WABC in New York – the most-listened-to news/talk station in the nation – had prepared me well for the explosive times we were about to enter at Salem. We’ve been in a culture war for years in this country, and Salem is able to use its assets to further the cause, doing good, while informing and entertaining our audience.” Read the entire story here.

LiveOne to Spin Off PodcastOne into Separate Company. On Friday (7/15), LiveOne revealed its intention to spin off wholly owned subsidiary PodcastOne, as a separate public company to be listed on a national exchange and its plan to dividend a portion of PodcastOne’s common equity to LiveOne’s more than 15,000 stockholders as of a future record date. LiveOne says it hopes to complete the spin-off be year’s end. Related to the anticipated spin-off, PodcastOne closed a private placement financing of convertible notes and warrants totaling approximately $8.1 million prior to offering expenses, including $3 million invested by LiveOne, whereby the terms of the financing value PodcastOne at a pre-money valuation of $60 million. LiveOne CEO Robert Ellin states, “The goal of both our management team and board of directors is to maximize stockholder value. PodcastOne has been a tremendous addition to LiveOne since our acquisition in 2020, and we feel strongly that the market value of our stock dramatically undervalues the sum of our parts, which includes our PodcastOne subsidiary. Upon the successful completion of the spin out, we believe PodcastOne will be the only major pure play podcast company trading on a national exchange.” PodcastOne president, Kit Gray comments, “The podcasting business has exploded over the past five years and PodcastOne is one of the largest independent podcast companies in the world. The company is one of only two independent podcasting publishers in the top 10 of Podtrac’s list of Top Publishers. We believe that by trading as a separate public company, PodcastOne will have the opportunity to access the public capital markets as well as be better positioned to both acquire podcast platforms and attract significant podcast talent.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2022 sweep covered May 26 – June 22. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds eight-tenths to finish the survey with an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) that lifts it to the #3 rank, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF is up two-tenths for a 1.7 share good for the #17 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee solidifies its #1 finish after adding 1.1 shares for an 11.4 share finish, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN sheds six-tenths for a 9.0 and falls back to the #3 rank. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville adds a full share for a 6.9 share finish but remains in the #4 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville remains ranked #2 after dipping four-tenths for a 9.2 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

Up on the Roof.  Posing for promo shots on the roof of the Imperial Square Building (that housed the radio station) in Hempstead, Long Island during the Winter of 70-71 is the original airstaff of the legendary progressive rock station WLIR. Pictured (l-r): Richard Neer, Pete Larkin, Don K. Reed and Michael Harrison. All went on to colorful and groundbreaking careers in the media. Reed, who would serve for many years at WCBS-FM, New York, died over the weekend. His cause of death was not reported but it is believed he had been battling heart issues. You can see the memorial tribute video created by Art Vuolo here.

KXEL, Cedar Rapids Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above is Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signing the document declaring Thursday, July 14 “KXEL Radio 80th Anniversary Day” in the state. Standing next to her looking on is KXEL host and program director Jeff Stein. The NRG Media news/talk station was the first station in the U.S. to sign on with the maximum 50,000-watts on a clear channel signal. It first took to the air at 5:30 am on July 14, 1942, from studios in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. It was founded by Joe DuMond, a Waterloo native who came to national prominence portraying “Josh Higgins of Finchville” on NBC Radio in the 1930s and 1940s.

Biden in Middle East, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, The Economy, Uvalde Report, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, European Heatwave/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East and his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for president in 2024; the high inflation rate, unstable stock market, and fears of a recession; the release of the Uvalde School Shooting report; the ongoing January 6 hearings; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the global economy; the climbing rate of subvariant BA.5 COVID cases in the U.S.; the intense heatwave gripping Europe and the Mediterranean wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.