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Thursday, March 3, 2022

| March 3, 2022

NAB Takes Stand on Russian-Sponsored Programming. As Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine continues, the National Association of Broadcasters issues a statement from NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt. He says, “The National Association of Broadcasters is a fierce defender of the First Amendment and the critical importance of the ability to freely express views, both popular and unpopular. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, however, it does not prevent private actors from exercising sound, moral judgment. To that end, given the unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents. While we know that airings of such programs are extremely limited, we believe that our nation must stand fully united against misinformation and for freedom and democracy across the globe.”

 

FOX Audio Network and Spotify’s Megaphone Partner for Advertising & Distribution. A new partnership is announced between the new FOX Audio Network, which combines all of FOX’s news, sports, and entertainment podcasts into a scaled, diverse portfolio of original audio content, and Spotify’s Megaphone for advertising and distribution as the exclusive hosting platform for their growing slate. FOX Corp says, “The outsized reach of the FOX Audio Network’s 60-plus podcasts creates a unique opportunity for advertisers to access the broadest possible audience across all of the hottest FOX original audio content efficiently and effectively.” FOX News Media SVP, digital ad sales Dan Realson states, “The establishment of the FOX Audio Network provides unique opportunities for advertisers to reach a broad audience of our loyal podcast listeners across a diverse range of programming genres from our entire portfolio. Podcasts continue to be a popular and rapidly growing medium and we’re excited to collaborate with Spotify’s Megaphone to bring this opportunity directly to the advertising marketplace.” The press release goes on to say that FOX Audio Network advertising will be managed by the FOX ad sales team with additional inventory being sold through the Spotify Audience Network. Podcast publishing platform Megaphone will empower FOX Audio Network to monetize, measure, and grow FOX’s podcast content and audiences through best-in-class publishing and monetization tools.

 

Urban One 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Rises 15.3%. 2021 Fourth quarter financial data from Urban One, Inc. is being reported and the company says net revenue for the period was approximately $131.0 million, an increase of 15.3% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $44.1 million, a decrease of 14.9% from the same period in 2020. For the full year of 2021, net revenue was $441.4 million, an increase of 17.3% over the full year of 2020. For 2021, Urban One posted consolidated net income of $40.7 million compared to the consolidated net loss of $6.5 million it reported for 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III comments, “We had another very strong quarter, with revenue exceeding expectations, allowing us to significantly exceed our previous Adjusted EBITDA guidance for the year of $140-$145 million. There was some noise in the expenses, predominantly related to returning events, TV programming amortization and annual staff bonuses, all of which were anticipated and factored into our guidance. Demand for our audience remains extremely robust across the platform, and, excluding political, advertising revenues for the quarter were up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 42.9%, and we exceeded $50 million in annual digital revenue for the first time. Cable TV revenues were up 43.6% helped by strong upfront demand and higher average unit rates across both TV One and Cleo. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 25% compared to Q4 2019, and Adjusted EBITDA up 21%. We expect to continue to exceed pre-pandemic revenues and Adjusted EBITDA in 2022, and this is supported by first quarter 2022 core radio pacings up low double digits, and up mid-teens including digital revenues.”

 

100 Points! Impossible! Yesterday, March 2, marked the 60th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. The game has taken on a mythical quality, with the details seemingly lost in the mists of time. Talk radio host and voice artist Mark Wainwright discovered that the actual backstory of the game – and how the precious final minutes of the radio broadcast were discovered and preserved – is a long saga and even more remarkable than the myth and legend. It was once thought that all evidence of one of the greatest individual performances in the history of sport was lost forever, and it almost was…except for one Philadelphia radio station and two alert listeners. Read Mark Wainwright’s complete feature story here. Photo: Paul Vathis/Associated Press

 

TALKERS News Notes. A new iHeartRadio original podcast debuts as “The Important Things with Bobbi Brown and Anjali Kumar” joins the company’s podcast network. The new program asks the age-old question: how can you lead a life of fulfillment? The ongoing pandemic has required us all to reexamine what matters most and prioritize what brings us true contentment. Through candid conversations with friends, thought leaders, creators and entrepreneurs, beauty industry titan Bobbi Brown and best-selling author and attorney Anjali Kumar explore the strengths, skills, habits, and mindsets that have helped their guests live their most authentic and gratifying lives. The inaugural episode will feature renowned activist Gloria Steinem, followed by upcoming guests such as designer Jennifer Fisher, soccer legends Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris, philanthropist Christy Turlington Burns and “Jeopardy” champion Amy Schneider…..SiriusXM is recognizing Women’s History Month across SiriusXM, Pandora, and Stitcher with special themed programming and limited-engagement channels. SiriusXM will ensure “She’s Got the Mic” by raising the voices of both prolific and up-and-coming female artists in honor of Women’s History Month. Four limited-engagement music channels will launch in March, spanning genres and representing artists from across the decades, including channels curated and presented by Avril Lavigne and Maren Morris, as well as a full channel dedicated to the iconic Tina Turner. There will also be a channel devoted to the defining, female-led festival tour of the 90s, Lilith Fair…..The Freakonomics Radio network is expanding on its growth with the hiring of a new editorial director, Gabriel Roth, alongside consultant Jared Hohlt. Before joining the Freakonomics Radio team, Roth worked at Slate for seven years, where he oversaw podcasts and helped launch the groundbreaking series “Slow Burn,” along with many other shows. Roth says, “I’ve been a fan of the Freakonomics Radio team’s work for more than a decade, and I’m thrilled to get the chance to work on their terrific podcasts and help grow the network.” Hohlt, Slate’s former editor-in-chief, has also begun helping Freakonomics Radio as a part-time consultant. Roth will oversee all existing and future shows in the network, with a special concentration on the flagship show, and Hohlt is focusing especially on two new podcasts, one in the early stages and the other in piloting mode, while helping with the existing shows as well.

 

Russian Ukraine Invasion, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, State of the Union, The Economy/Inflation, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, and MLB Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/2). Russia’s continuing invasion of the Ukraine and the West’s reaction; the White House issues its National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as the next step in dealing with the pandemic; the January 6 House select committee alleges that former President Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman took part in a “criminal conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 election; reactions to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address; the turmoil in the world’s financial markets and the soaring prices of consumer goods and gasoline; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the stalled negotiations between the MLB’s owners and players that’s put the 2022 season in jeopardy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.