Townsquare Media 2021 Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 45%. The company releases financial data for the second quarter of 2021 and reports net revenue was $107.3 million, an increase of 45% over the same period in 2020. Townsquare Media says it achieved 99.4% of Q2 2019’s net revenue when excluding Live Events net revenue. Total digital revenue growth was up 36% year over year and contributed approximately 47% of the company’s total net revenue in the first six months of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “Over the next three years, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $180 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of June 30, 2021) to $250 million. Most impressively, I am extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $30.3 million not only exceeded our expectations, our previously stated guidance, and 2019 levels (+1% vs. Q2 2019), but it was also the highest Adjusted EBITDA generated in any single quarter in Townsquare’s history. To accomplish this strong result only one year after the start of the pandemic is a testament to the strength of the Townsquare team, our digital platform and solutions for local businesses, and our careful expense management efforts.” Wilson adds, “As a Digital First Company, our digital revenue and profit growth has accelerated, driving the diversification of our business, total company growth and separation from our local competition. I am incredibly optimistic about Townsquare’s future, and very proud that we are on the path to achieving 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in 2021, on the verge of a full revenue recovery in 2021, and plan on delivering strong revenue and profit growth in 2022.” Townsquare reports in three segments: Townsquare Interactive – its digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising – including broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events – including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Advertising net revenue for Q2 of this year was $85.9 million, an increase of 50.4% over the same period in 2020. The company also reports net income of $10.1 million compared to the net loss of $28.9 million it posted during the same period a year ago. As of June 30, 2021, Townsquare had a total of $25.1 million of cash and cash equivalents and $550 million of outstanding indebtedness.
Jeff Rickard Named Brand Manager for WEEI, Boston; Ken Laird Promoted to Assistant Brand Manager. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI announces that Jeff Rickard is joining the station as brand manager, effective August 11. Audacy says that in this role, Rickard will oversee content operations for WEEI-FM and the WEEI radio network that spans the New England region. Rickard was most recently PD and morning host at Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM, Indianapolis. During his career, Rickard spent almost 10 years in Bristol, Connecticut hosting ESPN Radio’s “Gamenight” program and served with Comcast as managing editor and anchor of the Boston-based “Out of Bounds Latenight” show. Rickard has also hosted shows regularly for numerous SiriusXM channels including: NFL Radio, ESPNU, MLB Network Radio, and Mad Dog Sports Radio. He has served as the host of NFL Radio’s “The Sunday Kickoff” during the NFL season for the past five years and is the host of “College Football Overtime” on ESPNU. He says, “Having worked in sports radio for virtually my entire career, I am thrilled to join the team at WEEI. Its rich history is well documented as is the unmatched passion of the Boston sports fan. I’m looking forward to pairing this talented team with fresh, new ideas to both reflect and match that passion.” At the same time, WEEI executive producer Ken Laird is being promoted to assistant brand manager. He’ll continue his role as update anchor and executive producer of the morning drive “Greg Hill Show.”
Ramsey Network Unveils New Podcast, ‘The Fine Print.’ The newest podcast from Ramsey Network is a show that shines a spotlight on the deceptive methods companies, marketers and scammers use to influence money decisions. ‘The Fine Print’ is hosted by Ramsey personality George Kamel and is “a bi-weekly show featuring interviews with experts and industry insiders about the money traps and trends keeping people broke.” Ramsey Solutions CEO and “The Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey says, “For 30 years, I’ve heard the pain in people’s voices when they call into the radio show because of a money trap that’s left them in a world of hurt. What if we could prevent that pain by empowering people to avoid the trap in the first place? That’s what ‘The Fine Print’ does. George educates listeners to recognize and steer clear of money minefields so they can be the heroes of their own stories.” Episodes of the podcast include: How TurboTax Is Screwing You; Could Bitcoin Be Your Ticket To Wealth?; The True Cost of Credit Card Rewards; The Dirty Truth Behind Your Credit Score; and How the Robinhood App Steals from the Rich AND the Poor. Find out more here.
LiveXLive and PodcastOne Announces Podcast Competition. This competition is called “Self Made Podcast Edition” and is “an audio competition to find the next big podcast star for PodcastOne.” The company says the competition will be driven by fans and PodcastOne’s panel of judges, as they listen to see who will take the top prize, a podcasting contract with PodcastOne and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network which features a roster of celebrity podcasters, including Adam Carolla, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Barbara Schroeder, Michael Irvin, and Jordan Harbinger.” The contest kicks off today (8/3) and is open to amateur podcasters only. The winner of “Self Made Podcast Edition” will be crowned on September 30, 2021 – International Podcast Day. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There are so many wonderfully creative and innovative podcasters out there. We’re excited to be able to offer someone the opportunity to make their dreams of becoming a self-made podcast host come true.” Learn more here.
SiriusXM to Unveil Lucille Ball’s ‘Lost’ Radio Show on New Channel. The legendary comedienne is the star of the new SiriusXM channel called, “Let’s Talk to Lucy,” named after her 1960s CBS Radio program. SiriusXM says, “In between starring in four television series and more than 70 films, Lucy would frequently jump from set to set, tape recorder in hand, and talk about all aspects of life with some of the biggest names in Hollywood history, including Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and dozens more. These recordings eventually made it onto air when CBS Radio broadcast them as ‘Let’s Talk to Lucy’ from 1964-1965. However, for the last 50-plus years they’ve never been heard publicly again – until now.” Ball’s daughter Lucy Arnaz says, “Although I have been care-taking these ancient tapes for over 30 years, I had never really listened to them all and had no idea how many remarkable people Mom had talked to on these radio shows. It’s a treasure trove of personal information from some of the greatest talents of American entertainment and my family and I can’t wait to share them with the rest of the planet.”
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (8/4), a debate among a number of the candidates running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the September 14 recall election will will take place and Salem Radio Network is distributing the event nationally. It’s taking place from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm ET at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. SRN host Hugh Hewitt – who serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation – will moderate the debate along with panelists Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson of KTTV-TV, Los Angeles “FOX 11 News” and former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien. Special radio coverage will be anchored by KRLA, Los Angeles morning host Jennifer Horn and KRLA news anchor Larry Marino. SRN host and candidate Larry Elder is declining to take part saying his goal is “defeating Gavin Newsom not appearing in a circular firing squad with other Republicans.”…..Westwood One is expanding the role of sports media pro Rich Eisen within the network to include pregame and halftime hosting duties for “Monday Night Football on Westwood One.” The Monday night schedule kicks off on September 13, when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Las Vegas Raiders and concludes on January 3, 2022, when the Cleveland Browns battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eisen says, “‘Monday Night Football on Westwood One’ is one of the greatest hosting gigs in broadcasting and I’m honored to have the seat. The fact that I can expand my partnership with Westwood One beyond my daily show and podcast platform by talking even more football thrills me to no end.”…..The application window for programming candidates interested in applying to the “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” is being extended through Tuesday, August 10. The “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” program is a year-long experience for women in music programming, provided by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio and MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music). Personalized conversations with the best programming minds in the business are geared to help advance a career within the radio/audio industry. Additionally, the mentee receives a scholarship to attend Radio Show 2021 this October in Las Vegas. The mentorship is available to one female brand manager, content/program director, assistant program director, and/or music director from any U.S. based music format. To apply, click here…..The popular finance and investing podcast “Pennies: Going in Raw,” hosted by Hugh Henne and Dan, the Deity of Dips, is now a part of the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “With more than 2.3 million downloads, the podcast takes an exciting and informative spin on stock market topics like day trading strategies, volume, price targets, penny stocks, accumulation, reverse splits and much more. The show also features a range of guests from young, successful traders to the leaders of multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, and CEO and founder of Hims, Andrew Dudman…..Today through Thursday, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway (left) is pulling double duty as he fills in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated program. Conway’s WHO show is also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa…..iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s Steelers Radio Network announces changes to its broadcast team. As part of the changes, Craig Wolfley, a former Steelers offensive lineman who has served as a sideline analyst on the Steelers game day broadcast since 2002, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove in the broadcast booth as color analyst. Wolfley takes over for Tunch Ilkin, who retired after 23 seasons in the booth. Former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks is joining Missi Matthews for sideline reports. He recently served as a sideline reporter for Westwood One. Starks will also join Wolfley as co-host of “In The Locker Room, Presented By Neighborhood Ford Store,” a daily, in-season radio program airing on Steelers Nation Radio.
COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Eviction Ban Expires, January 6 Investigation, Voting Rights, Southern Border Policy, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). The rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. and abroad and the issue of mask mandates; the White House puts the onus on states as the federal ban on evictions expires; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the suicide of Capitol police officer Kyle DeFreytag; today’s planned DC rally supporting the For the People voting rights bill; the Biden administration continues the Trump administration policy of deporting illegal migrants; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles returns to the Olympics to win bronze in the balance beam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio Host Karen Hunter Named Recipient of the TALKERS 2018 Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced this morning (4/13) that SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter has been named the 2018 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. Hunter hosts the “Karen Hunter Show” daily between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm on the Urban View channel in which she discusses politics, public policy, and contemporary culture taking listener calls and interviewing guests. The Urban Channel is billed as “African American talk… focusing on politics, race and social justice.” Named one of the “Heavy Hundred” (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America) by TALKERS magazine for a number of years, Hunter has blazed a unique trail inspiring her listeners to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors bringing action as well as talk to the medium. She regularly challenges her listeners to participate in the success they want to be. A former sports and news reporter with the New York Daily News for 16 years, Hunter served four of those years on the paper’s editorial board, where she was a member of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize- and Polk Award-winning teams. She was also the paper’s first African American female news columnist. As the head of Karen Hunter Books, an imprint with Simon & Schuster, she has published several number one New York Times bestsellers including True You by pop icon Janet Jackson, and My Country ‘Tis Of Thee by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. Hunter also published the critically acclaimed autobiographical novel, An Angry-Ass Black Woman, by Karen Quinones Miller, among others. A New Jersey native and Drew University graduate, Hunter taught at New York University and is currently a full-time professor and distinguished lecturer at Hunter College. In June of 2015, Hunter authored a petition calling for the removal of the confederate flag from the statehouse of South Carolina in the wake of the massacre of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Within three days, more than 500,000 people signed that petition. Within a week, Gov. Nikki Haley vowed to take down the flag. Within two weeks, the flag was removed. Past recipients of the Freedom of Speech Award, which goes back 30 years, include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Howard Stern, Thom Hartmann, Joe Madison, Alan Colmes, G. Gordon Liddy, Brian Lamb, Al Franken, Bob Grant and other top figures in broadcasting. The award (officially titled “The Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech”) will be presented to Hunter in New York City on Friday, June 8 at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead!, this year’s installment of the annual talk media convention. The Freedom of Speech Award is the longest-running and most prestigious honor annually bestowed by the publication upon a member of the greater broadcasting community, although not always the most popular. According to TALKERS publisher, Michael Harrison, “The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor presented to a person in the industry who sets a meaningful example of the First Amendment in action, either by having taken a high-profile, risky stand on a controversial issue or working on an exceptional level to make that opportunity available to others. It does not necessarily indicate this publication’s endorsement of the recipient’s position, only his or her right to express it publicly and our salute to them for having the courage to face the consequences. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America is the bedrock of all of this nation’s freedoms and values. Without it, this would not be the country we believe it to be in our minds and hearts. It is clearly the most important element that makes American talk media vibrant, alive, and indispensable.” Harrison continues, “Karen Hunter is a clear-cut champion of this concept and a high-profile example of it in action in the talk media industry today.”
New Affiliate Stations in the Southeast for ‘Stacy on the Right.’ The nationally syndicated “Stacy On The Right” program starring the Project 21 co-chairman Stacy Washington, expands into three Southeast markets. WDDQ-FM, Adel, Georgia; WLBB-AM, Carrollton, Georgia; and WJHC-FM, Jasper, Florida add the daily, two-hour show to their program lineups. The “Stacy On The Right” program is syndicated via Urban Family Radio Network, American Family Radio, America’s Voice TV and now on Talk America Radio, whose owner Ron Phillips says, “We’ve been huge fans of ‘Stacy On The Right’ for a long time. We’re honored to include her show on Talk America Radio. She’s the perfect addition to an already stellar schedule of talk shows. She’s professional and powerful, and she’ll fit right in.” Washington has been a co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network since 2016. In addition to her own radio show, she has been a guest host for shows such as “The Wilkow Majority” on SiriusXM; the Chris Plante and Larry O’Connor shows on WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; “Cam and Company” on NRATV; and “The Dana Show” on Radio America. She is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force whose commentaries have appeared in FOX News Opinion, RealClearPolitics, The Federalist, and the Washington Times.
Suze Orman’s ‘Women & Money’ Launches on PodcastOne. This new PodcastOne show stars personal finance expert Suze Orman. The program, “Suze Orman, Women & Money” is targeted directly to women (and the men who want to understand them) with Orman’s trademark energy and compassion. The series allows listeners to #AskSuze anything. In yesterday’s debut show, the tables were turned as Refinery29 work & money director Lindsey Stanberry interviewed Orman about her own journey. The show is available now on PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and Apple Podcasts, with new episodes every Thursday.
WTOP, Washington Honored with Two Headliner Awards. Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM wins two National Headliner Awards from the Atlantic City Press Club. The Hubbard Radio station picked up first place honors for Best Newscast for coverage the day of the Congressional Baseball Shooting in June of 2017. WTOP national security correspondent J.J. Green won third place in the radio stations news series category for his investigative work in reporting “Anatomy of a Russian Attack,” an in-depth look at what the U.S. Intelligence community has concluded was an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “We feel so honored to be recognized for our efforts to bring breaking news coverage to the nation’s capital at the moments when it matters the most.” Since 1935, the National Headliner Awards are given to outstanding writers, photographers, daily newspapers, magazines, graphic artists, radio and television stations and networks, and news syndicates from across the nation.
TALKERS News Notes. Bay Area Media blogger Rich Lieberman – 415 Media – wrote recently wondering if Westwood One nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage is in contentious contract renegotiations with the company. Citing recent statements by Savage on his radio show that “in case I’m not here” listeners can hear him on his website and via Twitter, Lieberman says Savage could become the “latest cost-cutting victim” by parent company Cumulus Media (a la Don Imus and Ronn Owens) as it works through Chapter 11 reorganization. Lieberman says Savage offered him “no comment” when they spoke and notes Savage has “fairly strong” ratings in San Francisco and does very well in PM drive in New York. He also says Savage’s contract is up this year and suggests both sides may be posturing during contract renegotiations…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that starting in May, it will offer national ad and affiliate sales support for “Remote News Service.” It has also expanded its partnership with Envision Networks and will offer ad sales support for the new feature, “140 Characters.” Remote News Service offers high quality, local, real-time news reports across 14+ major markets with a full team of anchors. Envision Networks’ “140 Characters” is a new service featuring celebrity impersonators, voice and character actors as well as pre-written scripts to use for topic starters, phone scams, parodies and more…..A new memoir titled, Lucky from Virgin: An Unlikely Story (2018, CreateSpace), has been published by 40-year veteran network TV correspondent Lucky Severson. The book tells “the inside stories of some of the world’s more interesting people, told by a kid who grew up in the tiny Mormon town of Virgin, unaware of the world outside.” In the book, Severson interviews serial killer Ted Bundy in a jail cell in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, just weeks before his escape and murderous rampage in Florida, for which he was ultimately caught and executed. It was the only TV interview ever done with Bundy before his death-bed execution. Severson also traveled with the campaigns of Vice President George H.W. Bush and Jesse Jackson. He spent time with the Dalai Lama in the shadow of the Himalayas.
Cool Job Opportunity. Legendary Quad Cities news/talk outlet WOC-AM, Davenport is seeking a new program director. The iHeartMedia-owned station says that its program director of 20-plus years is retiring, and WOC-AM is searching for the right individual to take the reins of this heritage station. If you’re interested, email Jim O’Hara and he’ll send you an overview of the job: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trump-Russia Probe and Related Cohen Raid Tied for Top News/Talk Stories for Week of April 9-13. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related raid of the offices of President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement he won’t run for re-election this year. Coming in at #3 was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress about users’ privacy concerns, followed by the allegations that the National Enquirer paid $30,000 to a Trump Tower doorman to suppress a story about Trump fathering a child with a Trump Tower staffer in the late 1980s at #4. The Talkers TenTMis 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.
Radio Hall of Fame Chairman and Mega-Talent Manager Kraig Kitchin Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. He says, “One of my greatest professional passions is identifying outstanding radio talent and giving them recognition.” Among the radio industry’s most influential, behind-the-scenes players, Kraig Kitchin, head of Los Angeles-based media firm Sound Mind, LLC, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In addition to being the chairman of the Radio Hall of Fame and consultant to such media production companies as Real World Productions (jingles and imaging), the Mix Group (outsourced station production) and Source Audio (music libraries), Kitchin is one of, if not the, leading managers of radio talent in the business today. His client list includes such names as Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Delilah, George Noory, Bill Handel and more…information he is reluctant to publicly share. He states, “I believe that a manager should always put the talent first and foremost while personally staying in the background.” According to Harrison, “Kraig Kitchin is one of the most level-headed, intelligent, and credible business people in radio that we’ve seen during the industry’s modern era and has quietly and responsibly been one of the most influential.” Regardless, Harrison drags him into the spotlight for a rare interview that takes a conversational deep dive into radio’s history (Kitchin was one of the founders of Premiere Networks and at one time was sales manager for Katz Media) and a look to its future, covering the state of consolidation, the podcasting phenomenon, the tenets of being a great talent, and the challenge of programming commercials in the era of short-term attention span. Do not miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Monday (4/16), Joey Vlazny is taking over the morning show on Bonneville’s San Jose classic rock outlet KUFX “98.5 KFOX.” Joey – who was most recently morning host at rhythmic CHR KRBQ, San Francisco “Q102” – bumps Chris Jackson to the afternoon drive daypart. Jackson fills the afternoon slot left vacant when PD/host Tim Jeffreys exited last month. New PD Brian Figula says, “Joey’s smart work ethic, strong creativity, and passion for our business elevates our brand awareness. I look forward to adding him to the team with Chris Jackson to dominate the San Jose radio market.”…..Saga Communications adds Courtney Ross (center) to the morning drive show at country WPOR-FM, Portland alongside incumbent morning personalities Jon Shannon (left) and Joe Lerman (right). Ross fills the role of recently departed morning personality Adam Rondeau…..KHTS-FM, San Diego morning personality Geena The Latina – co-host of “Kramer and Geena Mornings” – is being honored by the City of San Diego on Tuesday (4/17) as the city proclaims it “Geena The Latina Day.” San Diego City Council president Myrtle Cole will honor Geena for her work with girls and young women in the local community. Geena is an active volunteer with local organizations and founded the Fearless Empowerment Conference in 2017. The annual event assembles successful women from the community to share their journey and inspire hundreds of teenage girls to be fearless and confident leaders.