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Tag: "Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers"

Monday, November 9, 2020

| November 9, 2020

Pending Business: Sales Lessons from the Election Cycle. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that presenting a concise, targeted message of your station’s benefits to prospects is crucial to making the sale and is ultimately more important than how many prospects you toss into the hopper. Read his column here.

Biden Declared 46th President/Trump Refuses to Concede, Georgia Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, the Economy/Stimulus Deal, Tropical Storm Eta, and Alex Trebek Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Democratic challenger Joe Biden is declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and President Trump’s refusal to concede the election; the January run-off elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the rising number of COVID cases in the U.S. and Europe, projections for the fall and winter months, and Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID vaccine appears to be 90% effective; the state of the U.S. economy and anticipation of a new stimulus deal; the arrival of Tropical Storm Eta in Florida; and longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek dies among top news/talk stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: 20-20 News. With the holidays looming, and as we are prepping perennial year-end retrospectives, it’s easy to wonder what-the-heck-NEXT? In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke offers a wider-angle shot, and simple suggestion for radio. Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Down 15.3%. Third quarter earnings from Townsquare Media indicate the company is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic better than some of radio’s larger firms. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $95.4 million, a decrease of 15.3% from the same period in 2019. While advertising revenue was down $16 million or 17.2%, Townsquare Interactive net subscription revenue increased $2.3 million, or 14.5%, to $18.2 million. For obvious reasons, live events net revenue decreased $3.5 million, or 98.2%, to $0.1 million. Townsquare was able to post net income of $1.3 million for the quarter (compared to the $7.3 million in net income in Q3 2019) whereas many broadcasting companies are posting losses for the quarter. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “I am proud to share with you today that Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, driven by sequential net revenue improvement throughout the quarter as our business continued to accelerate despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Third quarter net revenue improved to a decline of -15.3%, as compared to the third quarter of the prior year, which was up from a decline of -34.5% in the second quarter. This translated to a strong increase in Adjusted EBITDA from $2.1 million in the second quarter to $17.5 million in the third quarter. Our better than anticipated third quarter results were due to gains in both our Townsquare Interactive and Advertising segments. Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing subscription business, has delivered net subscription revenue and subscriber growth each and every month of 2020, demonstrating its recession-resistant characteristics and proving to be valuable and a tremendous resource to local businesses. In the third quarter, Townsquare Interactive’s net revenue increased 14.5% over the prior year period, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, and added approximately 1,150 net subscribers, marking the 10th consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions and the most quarterly net subscriber adds in nearly six years. Improvement across our Advertising segment was broad based, as revenue declines improved from -37.5% in the second quarter to -17.2% in the third quarter, each as compared to the prior year. Broadcast advertising net revenue sequentially improved throughout the quarter, with and without political revenue, and digital advertising net revenue returned to growth in the third quarter, driven by positive net revenue growth from Townsquare Ignite (+10% year over year), our digital programmatic advertising solution, and AMPED (+9% year over year), advertising revenue associated with our owned and operated local websites. In total, our digital net revenue exceeded 44% of our total net revenue in Q3 2020, and we remain confident that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million of annual net revenue in two to three years… Although 2020 has been a challenging year, we are proud that we did not need to alter our core strategy.  Rather, we believe the pandemic has allowed us to separate from our local media peers by placing a spotlight on the success of our strategy.  Our focus on underserved small and mid-sized local markets, our investment and commitment to our ‘Local First strategy, and our investment in world class personnel, technology and infrastructure that allowed us to build a strong digital platform with best of breed products, services and solutions that contributes 44% of our total revenue, have all contributed to our ability to mitigate revenue declines and manage quite effectively through this downturn. We believe these actions will position Townsquare to quickly emerge from this crisis and return to our market leading performance quickly once this crisis abates.”

iHeartMedia Cuts Hit WLW, Cincinnati’s Steve Sommers. WVXU, Cincinnati’s John Kiesewetter reports that longtime “America’s Truckin’ Network” host Steve Sommers is a victim of the current downsizing taking place at iHeartMedia. The overnight program has aired on WLW, Cincinnati since it was launched by Sommers’ father, Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers, in 1984. As Kiesewetter notes, Steve Sommers joined his father on the program in 1996 and took over the program in 2004. Sommers posted to Facebook: “I have been DISMISSED from I-Heart Radio… I’m sorry my friends… 2020 is a bitch!!! I will not have a chance to say GOOD-BYE!!! Thanks for 25 years of friendship!!” It’s unclear what the status of the overnight program is as the “America’s Truckin’ Network” – along with Sommers’ photo – is still listed on the WLW website.

TALKERS News Notes. Washington, DC’s WTOP is partnering with longtime market crime reporter Paul Wagner for a new podcast titled, “Murder in a Safe Place.” Wagner has worked for WTTG-TV “FOX5 News” for the past 20 years covering cases including the murder of Congressional intern Chandra Levy to the Mansion Murders and the police-involved shooting of motorcyclist Terrence Sterling. He served as a reporter at WTOP from 1989 to 1999. In this series, Wagner examines a local cold case from 22 years ago: the murder of Sherry Crandell, a 50-year-old hospital worker who was brutally assaulted and later found dead in her office at Prince George’s Hospital Center. WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “Paul is a part of the WTOP family, and we are so excited to partner with him on this project. This 22-year-old cold case is a horrific and baffling one that will have listeners asking questions. Our hope is that through the reach of this podcast, we can bring closure to this case and the Crandell family.”…..iHeartMedia and the Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg-co-founded Pushkin Industries enter into a co-production and distribution agreement that will make iHeartMedia the exclusive sales partner for Pushkin’s catalog of podcasts that includes “Revisionist History,” “Broken Record,” “The Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos,” and many others. As part of this deal, iHeartMedia and Pushkin Industries will co-produce a slate of new, original podcasts over the next two years. Gladwell says, “We started Pushkin to share the joy Jacob and I have found in creating and producing podcasts. Working with the team at iHeart will allow us to spread this joy at an even bigger scale.”…..AdLarge Media and National Sports Network unveil their slate of NCAA basketball games for the 2020-2021 season for radio. Last month, AdLarge was announced as the exclusive ad sales partner for the NCAA basketball games on the National Sports Network. The networks will air the Creighton Bluejays vs the Kansas Jayhawks on December 8 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes on December 19.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Zannie Glover, a.k.a. Zannie K, is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 the BOUNCE” and urban contemporary WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM,” effective December 1. Zannie K was most recently program director at non-commercial KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis as well as was the associate program director and nationwide night talent for Westwood One’s classic hip hop format…..Urban One Columbus enters into a Local Marketing Agreement with Southern Ohio Broadcasting to operate WWCD-FM, Columbus and launches a regional Mexican/tropical format branded as “La Grande 102.5 FM.” Urban One RVP Eddie Harrell Jr. says, “We are pleased to expand our footprint again in Central Ohio by reaching the fastest growing segment of the population, inclusive of the Mexican community and growing Central and South American communities. Combined with our African American targeted radio/television assets, we are now the largest single source provider of content to African Americans and Spanish speaking residents in Central Ohio.”…..Entercom’s rock outlet KISW-FM, Seattle is presenting the sixth annual “Live Day” tomorrow (11/10). This year’s completely live, virtual event will feature broadcasts of the station’s morning show “BJ & Migs” and afternoon show “The Men’s Room” with no recorded commercials, sound effects or music. Fifteen bands from across the Northwest and multiple voices from across the country will perform throughout the 12-hour program. KISW brand manager Dave Richards says, “For the KISW audience, 2020 wouldn’t be complete without the annual entertainment spectacular, ‘Live Day.’ This year, every artist and performer will participate virtually and distanced. Thank you, technology.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

| August 27, 2012

Talk Hosts and News Operations Deal with Logistical Issues and Weather as Republican National Convention Begins in Tampa Today.  The Republican National Convention, a huge “radio row” and live broadcast draw for many radio stations and networks around the country, begins today and talk hosts, programmers and news staffers are dealing with what is already a complex couple of days of remote broadcasting being amplified by the threat from Tropical Storm Issac.  Today’s first day of the RNC is being canceled due to the storm and broadcasters are having to make contingency plans as a result.  From a logistical standpoint, hosts and news staffers may be forced to cram planned interviews and guest appearances originally scheduled across three days into two days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  As for live broadcasts scheduled from the convention center for today, that will depend on how quickly the storm moves through the area.  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS SRN’s equipment on radio row is set up but its two early Monday shows – Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager – will originate from Salem Communications O&O WGUL, Tampa and the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt programs will broadcast from the convention center radio row later today.

Lincoln Financial Media Buys Miami FM for Sports Talk Simulcast with WAXY.  West Palm Beach FM WMSF at 104.3 will change hands from Palm Beach Broadcasting to Lincoln Financial Media for a reported $13 million and the latter will use the signal to give sports talk “790 The Ticket” WAXY an FM presence in the South Florida market.  Palm Beach acquired the station from CBS Radio earlier this year.  Palm Beach has applied to move the 104.3 signal from West Palm Beach to Miami and that application is still pending the FCC.  LFM will begin operating the station under an LMA prior to FCC approval of the sale.

Program Director Jay Bohannon Exits Clear Channel’s WPGB, Pittsburgh.  When Clear Channel fired up the Pittsburgh FM talk outlet in January 2004, Jay Bohannon was named the program director.  During his tenure at the station, he was responsible for working with morning show team Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent and bringing the program into syndication.  He also led news/talk branding and imaging for the company.  Bohannon is available for his next opportunity.  Reach out to him at radiojaybo@comcast.net.

Salem Communications to Buy WMUU, Greenville from Bob Jones University.  The station – owned by the Christian college’s Gospel Fellowship Association – currently programs a combo of Christian teaching and beautiful music but that will end when Salem Communications takes over and turns the Greenville, South Carolina FM at 94.5 into a news/talk outlet using programming from the Salem Radio Network.  No price has been announced nor has a start date for an LMA.

WOR Low Price Tag Cause of Angst for AM Radio Owners.  As the dust settles in the aftermath of the recently announced sale of Buckley Broadcastings’ heritage outlet WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, the cold hard reality of the low price tag is beginning to settle in and it is being perceived as a seriously bad indicator about the value and future of AM sticks.  Industry observers and players alike remember stories about the late Buckley Broadcasting CEO Rick Buckley turning down offers as high as $150 million for the station as recently as a decade ago.  In 2001, Disney paid then-owner The Forward newspaper $78 million for WEVD (1050 AM) to find a New York City outlet for ESPN Radio – a station with a significantly inferior signal than WOR’s.  An article in the New York Daily News reports on the topic: “One of the many nervous discussions in radio these days revolves around the future of AM stations — that is, if they have a future.”  Perhaps the revelations of the WOR deal will usher in an industry station deal cycle marked by what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as the “lesser fool” theory.

Former Eagles Star Brian Dawkins Joins 97.5 The Fanatic for NFL Coverage.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Dawkins will be part of the Friday coverage of NFL football on Mike Missanelli’s program each week at 4:10 pm on Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia.  Program director Matt Nahigian says, “There is no one that Eagle fans love and relate to more than Brian Dawkins.  We had him on our air about a month ago and the response we received via Twitter and Facebook about wanting to hear him each week was staggering.  I am thrilled to bring his passion and insight to the Delaware Valley on a week to week basis.”

KLIN, Lincoln Nebraska Names David Dwinell AM Drive Co-Host; Kevin Thomas Promoted to PD.  Dwinell has been working at KLKN-TV, Lincoln as promotions director.  He leaves that position to return to radio where he’ll take the radio moniker Dave Miller as he sits beside Jack Mitchell on NRG Media’s Lincoln news/talker.  The slot on the station’s morning show opened up when John Bishop left the show to go across the hall and join NRG’s 1620 The Zone for its “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” program.  At the same time, KLIN PM drive host Kevin Thomas takes on the program director duties at the station that were previously held by John Bishop.  He’ll continue to host the 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm “Drive Time Lincoln” show.  Also, the sports director post – also previously held by Bishop – goes to Chris Whitney.

Buckley Broadcasting Flips KYZZ, Salinas, California to Sports.  The classic hits format disappears from KYZZ as the former “Z97.9” becomes part of the simulcast of “630 ESPN” KIDD, Monterey and becomes known as “97.9 ESPN Central Coast.”

Programmers Owe it to Themselves to See Obama Movie.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke says of the new movie “Obama’s America 2016,” “If you work in talk radio, you owe it to your audience to understand what all those network commercials in your show are selling.  And as an insider, you’ll recognize the event you’re attending as a theatrical ‘infomercial,’ a rented theater.”  Cooke says that regardless of your personal political viewpoint, as a content creator the film is instructive in numerous ways.  Read Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Cuts Ribbon at NJ 101.5 Studio.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 celebrated the opening of its refurbished main studio on August 23 and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on hand to cut the ribbon.  NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson reports the main studio got some brand new carpeting and – more important – new broadcasting equipment to bring the station into the digital era.  PM drive hosts Deminski &Doyle were on the air when the switch was made and the monthly “Ask the Governor” program followed.  Christie was there for the program and made the new studio “official” with his gubernatorial ribbon cutting and he even worked the new digital board (pictured here) during the station’s 8:00 pm newscast.

Dale “The Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers Dies at 68.  The cause of death is not yet public but Dale Sommers had been dealing with unspecified health issues since he left the WLW, Cincinnati overnight program in 2004.  Although he retired from the show at that time, he resumed the program on satellite radio and hosted it until earlier this year when he again gave it up.  As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports, Sommers’ program made national news twice when it helped solve crimes.  The first time was in 1984 when he was talking off the air with a regular caller who went by the name of “Mississippi Lady,” a convenience store clerk in Camilla, Georgia “when he heard her tell someone, ‘You can’t come back here’ before quickly hanging up the phone.  Sommers called Camilla police, who were familiar with his ‘Bozo Show’ and a store clerk known as the ‘Mississippi Lady.’ Within minutes, an officer apprehended the robber.”  His program was also credited with assisting police is catching the DC sniper in 2002 after a listener heard Sommers give the car’s license plate number over the radio.