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Thursday, June 25, 2020

| June 25, 2020

BIA: Local Radio Advertising to Fall by 10.7% in 2020. Revising its beginning-of-the-year projection that U.S. local radio advertising revenue (consisting of AM/FM, digital, and streaming) would be $14.3 billion, BIA Advisory Services reports that projection to now be $12.8 billion – a decrease of 10.7%. BIA breaks it down this way: $11.4 billion is expected to come from over-the-air sales and $1.4 billion should come from digital sales. BIA says, “By comparison, in 2019 local radio stations generated $12.8 billion in over-the-air revenue and just over $1 billion in digital. This was a 1.6 % decrease in total revenue from 2018.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “In 2018, we projected that radio’s digital platforms would reach $1 billion by 2019 and last year the industry hit this mark. For 2020, our ad forecast shows that digital sales, including streaming, will stay steady. Then by 2021, Radio online revenue will start to climb back up again. On the over-the-air side, we see a bigger COVID hit, with a steep drop in 2020 and some recovery back by 2021.” What sectors will make up the bulk of radio’s revenue? BIA says the finance/insurance industry will make up $2 billion, retail will account for $1.97 billion, automotive will contribute $1.5 billion, and technology accounts for $1.3 billion. BIA explains, “These industries may benefit from the continuing shift in radio listening from the car to the home as at-home audio environment features give consumers multiple opportunities to consume promotions. Streaming has become a major growth opportunity for broadcasters to maintain existing audiences and attract new, younger listeners. BIA’s revenue estimate drops to $12.5 billion when streaming ad revenue is not included.”

Suit Challenges USAGM Exec Michael Pack’s Firing of Agency Organization Heads. In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Open Technology Fund and four individual members of its board of directors are asking the Court to declare null and void U.S. Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack’s recent firing of Open Technology Fund and news outlet leaders. The complaint argues that “Although funded by Congress through grants administered by the Agency, the four organizations targeted by Mr. Pack are not part of the government. Their employees are not government employees. They are private, nonprofit organizations with their own leadership and independent boards of directors. That is by design. Their mission, collectively, is to promote the free flow of information worldwide, especially in countries where authorities restrict freedom of expression. They do this through global efforts to combat online censorship and news broadcasts in 61 different languages, reaching 400 million people each day. But they can only be effective in countering disinformation and censorship if they are rightly perceived as independent, professional, and fact-driven—not as official mouthpieces for some partisan agenda.” Open Technology Fund chief Libby Liu tendered her resignation to take effect at the end of July but was terminated immediately by Peck. Also fired were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

Cumulus Closes on $74.1 million Bethesda Land Sale. The deal to sell a 75-acre parcel of land in Bethesda, Maryland to developers Toll Brothers has been in the works for some time and yesterday (6/24) Cumulus Media was finally able to announce the $74.1 million deal has closed. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion.” Net proceeds from the sale are expected to be $71.3 million after transaction fees and expenses. Cumulus anticipates achieving minor expense savings from the elimination of real estate taxes after the closing and does not expect any tax liability as it relates to the transaction. Net proceeds from the sale are required to be used to pay down debt, unless otherwise reinvested in the company’s business over the next 12 months.

PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today presenting part two of his look at cume changes for news/talk stations. In this report, Kinosian presents charts showing news/talk stations ranked from highest cume to lowest, cume increases from the April 2020 PPM survey to the May 2020 PPM survey, decreases from April to May, and a chart displaying the cume for all stations on our panel in the all-news, sports talk, and news/talk radio formats. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Movement/Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, Seattle CHOP Situation, Second Stimulus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Flynn Charges Dismissed, Bubba Wallace Case, and MLB Season to Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The explosion of new COVID-19 cases in some states and projections of future cases and deaths; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the related move to take down statues of Confederate and Colonial-era statues; Seattle asks CHOP protesters to leave the area and local business consider suing the city; the debate over a possible second COVID-19 federal stimulus package; the world’s financial markets react to COVID-19 data; Democrat Joe Biden enjoys positive poll news in his race against Donald Trump; the DOJ officially dismisses the charges against Michael Flynn; the FBI concludes the Bubba Wallace “noose” incident was not a hate crime; and the MLB prepares to open on July 1 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Today (6/25) at 2:00 pm ET, Cumulus Media | Westwood One is presenting a live webinar to release “brand new insights and studies on the state of the American consumer.” Covered in today’s event will be: Just-released J.D. Power automotive sales data for the week ending June 21 indicating it was one of the strongest auto sales performance weeks for new sales; new “Share of Ear” data from Edison Research on the audience duplication between AM/FM radio and Pandora and Spotify; how advertising can help businesses recover and reopen using a powerful new visual from marketing pro Les Binet; and more…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” – syndicated nationally via Talk Shows USA – announces the addition of Free Fire Media’s KCNR-AM, Shasta/K243CT, Redding, California and WCJU Incorporated’s WCJU-AM, Columbia, Mississippi to its roster of affiliates…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-FM, Tulsa and KOKI-TV “FOX23” are partnering with the American Red Cross in a two-day “Red, White and You” Blood Drive today and tomorrow (6-25/26). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “This is one of our favorite events every year because it unifies our listeners in Green Country to work as a group to help people who live and work in their communities. Every pint donated to the American Red Cross can help save three lives. That’s a pretty impressive return on 30 minutes of your day.”

International Rock Musician/Impresario Leslie Mandoki Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Munich, Germany-based, Hungarian rocker Leslie Mandoki is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Mandoki is a seasoned professional forged by experience, passion and life, who is keeping the spirit and quality of the progressive, jazz rock era alive and well for generations old and new. His ensemble, MANDOKI SOULMATES, is a long-running loosely knit association of some of the greatest big-name musicians on the planet. Their brand-new release, “Living in the Gap & Hungarian Pictures,is a double album that expresses their ideals of socially aware lyrics and complex musical arrangements – basic tenets of the progressive and jazz rock era. In his youth, Mandoki escaped from communist Hungary to West Germany where he built one of the finest studio complexes in Europe, produced and performed on records, became friends with a wide network of great musicians including the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and launched a progressive rock juggernaut. Countless gold and platinum records decorate his walls. He also wrote, produced, and performed the superb charity song dedicated to the heroes of the coronavirus titled #WeSayThankYou with Ian Anderson that has garnered positive attention on international radio and on YouTube. Harrison and Mandoki discuss the music, social issues and politics that make Leslie Mandoki a fascinating individual – largely unknown to Americans. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Entercom Partners with Analytics Firm Deep Root. In what Entercom calls part of its “commitment to data-driven capabilities,” the company announces a partnership with audience-powered analytics company Deep Root that will allow Entercom to offer advertisers expanded targeting options. Entercom says, “This partnership will enable agencies, advocacy groups, and political campaigns to identify and reach Deep Root’s custom voter audience segments when advertising throughout Entercom’s robust portfolio of broadcast and digital assets. This includes access to Deep Root’s issue advocacy and political audience segments such as swing voters, blue collar voters, and environmentalists.” Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney adds, “Expansive reach and national scale allow radio and digital audio to serve as a reliable platform for brands and political campaigns to reach engaged consumers. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to support these advertising partners with increased targeting to accomplish their specific goals. Partnering with Deep Root will allow us to better serve our trusted partners and enhance their capabilities when leveraging our audio assets to reach voters nationally and locally.”

New RAB ‘Open for Business’ Series Announced. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, a new Open for Business live-video series titled, “Getting Your Billing Back On Track,” hosted by RAB SVP of professional development Jeff Schmidt takes place on July 14 at 11:00 am ET (a repeat viewing is available July 16 at 4:00 pm ET. RAB says, “As businesses across the country are reopening, it is time for sellers to rebuild their selling strategy. In this live-video presentation, Schmidt will share proven tools and resources account executives and managers can utilize to increase stations’ revenue and income at their stations and radio companies.” Registration is free to RAB members. To register, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated urban contemporary “The Deja Vu Show” adds five new affiliates including: KBXT-FM, Bryan, Texas; KISX-FM, Tyler, Texas; KSSM-FM, Waco, Texas; KMJI-FM, Texarkana, Texas; and WRKA-FM, Louisville. The WBLS-FM, New York based afternoon drive show is syndicated via ABC Audio, whose executive director of business strategy Heidi Oringer says, “Throughout her career, Deja has drawn high ratings in every market where she’s heard. We’re thrilled that in syndication ‘The Deja Vu Show’ followed suit and is experiencing the same level of success and rapid growth. Deja’s insightful content and her standout personality draw large, diverse audiences. We’re excited that stations are adding ‘The Deja Vu Show’ to their lineups and equally excited that she is so favored by advertisers as well.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network announces new affiliation deals with more great radio stations. Adding Tom Kent’s “Ultimate Party” is Midwest Communications classic hits WBOW, Terre Haute, Indiana; Draper Communications classic hits WTDK, Salisbury, Maryland adds “My 70s Show” and “Super 60s with Steve Kent”; and Delta Media’s urban AC KFXZ, Opelousas, Louisiana adds “Sweet Soul Weekend with Jeff Foxx.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

| March 4, 2020

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey, 71% of news/talk stations realized a ratings improvement in January, led by iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento (+2.7) and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM (+2.2).  Comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 55% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with 37% down and 8% unchanged.  Leaders in this group included iHeartMedia’s WOR in the Long Island market (+2.2) and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+2.1).  Three news/talk stations ranked #1 (weekly, 6+ AQH share) in the January 2020 survey: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM put up a 10.0 share, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento notched an 8.6 share, and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville garnered a 9.8 share.  See the entire report here.

ESPN to Rep ABC Audio’s Podcast Network. A deal between ABC Audio and ESPN Audio will have the latter’s ad sales team representing ABC Audio’s podcast network.  The press release states that this arrangement “by the two business units reflects a strategic collaboration to further grow the podcast business across The Walt Disney Company.”  Prior to this announcement, ESPN handled ad sales for podcasts produced by FiveThirtyEight, National Geographic, and its own network.  ESPN Audio VP of digital strategy and marketing Tom Ricks says, “Adding ABC Audio’s podcasts under the ESPN Audio sales umbrella will provide advertisers with one-stop shopping, enhancing the value and efficiency they receive from a larger stable of premium and compelling content.  We reach complementary audiences – adding even more value for advertisers.”  Broadcast network radio sales for ABC Audio are represented by Skyview Networks.

Edison Research: Two-Thirds of American Homes Have at Least One Radio. In advance of the March 19 Infinite Dial webinar, Edison Research and Triton Digital tease that their inquiry into home radio ownership in the U.S. reveals that 68% of American homes have at least one radio.  However, just 12 years ago, the mean number of home radios Americans reported owning was three.  Back in 2008, just 4% of households reported owning no radio at all; the figure for 2020 is 32% owning no home radio.  Edison asks, “What has replaced these radios?  Do those who have no radios instead have smart speakers in their homes?  Tune in to The Infinite Dial webinar for the answer to these questions and many others.”  You can find registration information for the webinar here.

Entercom Signs Up with LiveRamp. Broadcaster Entercom announces it has entered into a deal with LiveRamp to become a LiveRamp Destination.  Entercom says, “Advertisers and media buyers will now have the ability to find and activate their own audiences interacting with the company’s robust portfolio of audio assets that reach over 170 million consumers monthly. In addition, advertisers will benefit from the company’s full suite of first party data and attribution solutions through Entercom Audience & Attribution platforms.”  Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney says, “As the No. 1 reach medium in America, radio and digital audio should be vital parts of every brand’s media strategy.  Audience-based media buyers nationwide who turn to LiveRamp to find and activate their audiences across digital and television publishers will now be able to do so across all audio platforms – from streaming, to podcasts, to over-the-air inventory – giving them over 90% reach in the top 50 markets.”  The press release adds that LiveRamp has over 500 integrations with leading platforms in the industry, offering advertisers an omnichannel solution for activating their data.  As part of the partnership, Entercom’s portfolio of assets spanning across broadcast radio and digital will be featured among hundreds of leading media and entertainment companies.

Appeals Court Nixes Ref’s Suit Against Kentucky Sports Radio. College basketball referee John Higgins lost his Appeals Court suit against Lexington-based Kentucky Sports Radio and talk hosts Matt Jones and Drew Franklin. Higgins had sued alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, tortious interference with a business relationship, and civil conspiracy.  However, the Court ruled against him on First Amendment grounds.  Higgins refereed the 2017 Elite Eight game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament between the Kentucky Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels.  Kentucky lost a close game and many of its fans blamed Higgins’ refereeing for the loss.  Naturally, Kentucky Sports Radio, including Jones and Franklin discussed the loss and Higgins’ role in it.  After a fan learned that Higgins owned a roofing company in Omaha, angry Kentucky fans began leaving poor reviews of his business on social media, causing his reviews to plummet from highly positive to very negative and, he says, causing him financial losses.  Higgins argued the hosts at KSR were in part to blame for this.  The Court’s ruling is interesting, and you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The new television talk show starring former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer debuted on Newsmax TV last night (3/3), in time for coverage of Super Tuesday elections.  “Spicer & Co.” airs nightly at 6:00 pm from studios near the White House and includes co-host Lindsay Keith…..Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is co-sponsor of a Change.org petition to end Daylight Saving Time.  Wachs, a board-certified family physician, has talked on her radio program for years about the medical issues that are associated with the semi-annual time changes.  See the petition here….. ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis is hosting the 30th annual First Amendment Awards Dinner & Show on March 5 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.  Davis will lead the ceremony in which the RTDNA recognize seven honorees who “represent the valuable role journalists play in local and national media by practicing their constitutionally guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.”  Davis joined ABC News in 2007 and works as a correspondent filing reports for “World News,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Nightline” as well as an anchor for “Prime” on ABC’s streaming channel, ABC News Live…..As the result of deals with audio play-by-play producers and syndicators ESPN Radio, Westwood One, Compass Media Networks, and Learfield IMG College, SiriusXM is broadcasting games from 26 different NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, offering live play-by-play of more than 120 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to subscribers.  They’ll get games from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, and Mountain West conferences, and every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments.

News Opportunities with FOX News Radio. There are a number of open news positions with FOX News. They are: Radio News Anchor, FOX News Headlines 24/7 – This is a full-time radio anchor position as an air talent for News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Overnight Freelance Anchor, FOX News Radio – This is a freelance position open at the company’s Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC bureaus. Please be sure to include a link or MP3 file of your demo reel/ air check to be considered for this role. Apply here; Producer/News Editor – This is a Friday through Tuesday position supervising the staff for FNR’s network radio news operation, Fox News Headlines 24/7 (Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this post you’ll work with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here; and Freelance Producer/News Editor – This position is in New York City in which you are editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. See more and apply here.

KLIN, Lincoln Has Rare News Anchor Opening. NRG Media news/talker KLIN, Lincoln, Nebraska has a rare opening for a news anchor/reporter. NRG says: “This is your chance to be part of an amazing team in Nebraska’s Capital City and the Radio Home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers! At KLIN, the local news drives our talk, and does it in a fun and entertaining environment. If you are energetic, love radio, are passionate about local news, know how to enterprise, can connect with the community, are able to create compelling & award-winning content, we want to talk with you! You will share the mic with a talented group of professionals who all love radio and each of its digital platforms.” See more about this position and apply here. NRG Media is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Now it’s confirmed that former longtime KROQ, Los Angeles program director – and most recently SVP of programming for Entercom Los Angeles – Kevin Weatherly is joining Spotify as head of North American programming.  Weatherly had been with KROQ for 28 years.  He also programmed the company’s adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM” and CHR KAMP “97.1 AMP Radio.”…..The YEA Networks syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” is returning to Houston on Radio One’s CHR KROI “RadioNOW 92.1,” effective March 9.  The show features Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, and Big Al Mack, along with recently announced correspondent Jenna Owens.  Radio One Top 40 format director Dustin Kross says, “I’m really excited to bring the legendary ‘Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’ back to Houston on ‘RadioNOW 92.1.’  They still have a great streaming presence in Houston from when they were here before.  So, I have no doubt they’ll be welcomed with open arms.”