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Thursday, October 14, 2021

| October 14, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Borrowed Future Premieres Today; Teachers Given Free Access to Share with Students. The student load documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions is being released today (10/14) and the company is offering every teacher in the U.S. free access to the film. Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream is produced by Dave Ramsey and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play. Ramsey Solutions says the film uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry and exposes how it’s built to work against borrowers. Dave Ramsey – CEO of Ramsey Solutions, host of “The Ramsey Show,” and executive producer of the film – comments, “It’s ironic to me that the dumbest decisions we make as a society are related to education, of all things. Student loans are not the only way to get a degree. Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.” The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a debt-free college graduate, and high school students who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans – until now. Borrowed Future is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. See more about Borrowed Future here.

Audacy Offers $45 Million in New Notes to Fund ‘Small Digital Acquisition.’ A subsidiary of AudacyAudacy Capital Corp – plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $45 million in aggregate principal amount of the Issuer’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Audacy says it is in the process of completing a small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million and expects to fund this acquisition through a draw on the Issuer’s revolving credit facility. This acquisition is expected to close in October 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Audacy intends to use the net proceeds from this offering (after deducting discounts and commissions and paying offering-related expenses) to repay outstanding amounts under the Issuer’s term loan to offset the impact of the revolver draw. This offering is not conditioned upon the consummation of the acquisition, nor is the acquisition conditioned on the consummation of this offering. The Additional Notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $425 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. The Additional Notes will have identical terms (other than issue date and offering price) as the Existing Notes. The Additional Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. The Additional Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

NAB’s Marconi Awards to Happen Virtually; Radio Show to Merge with NAB Show Permanently. With the cancellation of the in-person NAB Show this fall, the
National Association of Broadcasters announces the presentation of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and the State of the Industry Address by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will take place virtually on November 10 at 2:00 pm ET via NAB.org/watch. At the same time, NAB announces that going forward, the annual Radio Show will be integrated into the NAB Show beginning in April 2022 in Las Vegas. NAB says, “This change provides more opportunities in one location for radio professionals and elevates radio in the larger media ecosystem represented at NAB Show.” NAB adds that the integrated event in Las Vegas will feature signature awards, networking events and a comprehensive conference program, including popular sales and marketing sessions presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “It’s important that we continue to bring radio professionals together to network, celebrate audio and engage in meaningful discussions around the future of our industry.” Salem Media Group president of broadcast media and NAB joint board chair David Santrella states, “In today’s world where radio companies are essentially multimedia companies, the value in attending NAB Show cannot be overstated. We are now streaming and podcasting and even producing video. NAB Show provides unparalleled access to the critical tools, knowledge and connections we need to grow and thrive in today’s media business.”

Nielsen: AM/FM Radio Listening Near its Highest Point in a Year. Results from Nielsen’s ongoing Audio Consumer Sentiment survey that addresses current American feelings about the COVID pandemic and how it impacts their lives have been released and they indicate that nearly nine in 10 (86%) say they are spending the same amount or more since the Delta variant emerged. Despite the Delta variant and increasing COVID cases in the summer, more than eight in 10 (82%) don’t think their own financial situation will change in the coming months. Also, radio’s average quarter-hour (AQH) audience trend is up 4% year over year, with 7.5 million people age 12+ listening during an average quarter-hour in PPM Markets in September 2021. Radio’s reach trend is stable. Radio reached 121.5 million consumers in PPM markets during an average week in September 2021. In Continuous Diary Measurement markets, Radio’s reach and AQH audience have been remarkably stable during the past year. The study finds that seven in 10 working Americans now work outside the home – an 80% jump since April 2020. The gain in those who work outside the home is a key statistic for audio since consumers spend more time with radio when they travel in vehicles to get to work or shop. There were also big gains in the area of transportation. Overall, nearly a third (31%) are spending more than an hour in their vehicles yesterday compared with 14% in April of last year. That’s a two-fold increase, and heavy radio listeners are far more likely to spend more time in their vehicles. In September, 55% of heavy radio listeners spent more than an hour in their vehicle yesterday.

Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show’ to Celebrate 40 Years on Air. In November, Warren Eckstein will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his radio program “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein.” His program is syndicated nationally via Radio America. In addition to his work as a pet behaviorist and TV-radio personality, Eskstein founded the Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund – a  not-for-profit organization in memory of his late wife, Fay. Its mission is to fund hundreds of small animal organizations across the U.S. The Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund aims to be the outsourced fundraising arm for small animal rescues when other financial resources are unavailable. Speaking about his show, Eskstein says, “Unlike most talk radio shows, my focus is on the listeners and callers. I rarely do interviews, because for 40 years, pet guardians are calling with questions they need answers to. My show has listeners with four generations of pets. We’ve laughed together and cried together. There is a level of trust the show has built with my audience – they know I will never endorse a product unless I personally use it for my pets. My reputation is on the line with every show.”

CBS News Honored with Four Honors from New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards. The winners of the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards have been announced and CBS News earned four honors in this year’s competition. “The Debrief with Major Garrett” took home the Gold Award in the News Podcast category; “Mobituaries with Mo Rocca” earned a Silver Award in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; “My Life of Crime” from “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty was a finalist in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; and “Century of Sound” was a finalist in the Best Nonfiction Series category.

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown promotes Thomas Green to director of custom imaging and appoints Royce Stevenson to the custom imaging manager role that Green held prior to his promotion. With Benztown since 2019, Brooklyn, New York-based Green is the audio producer for National Geographic’s FYC Podcast “The Making Of.” Stevenson joins Benztown from Audacy’s KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” where he was most recently assistant brand manager and music director…..KMG Utopia Studios, TalkShoe, and Mark Krantz Productions announce that award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano and his daughter Daniella Pantoliano are kicking off season two of their popular podcast, “No Kidding? Me Too!” at Advertising Week NY 2021 with a live Q&A on Monday, October 18 at 4:30 pm ET and a virtual session on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:00 pm ET. The two will conduct an intimate interview with Kelly Carlin – author, performer, and life coach – the only child of comic legend George Carlin. She’ll share her family’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and healing. Joe Pantoliano says, “We are thrilled to bring this important conversation to Advertising Week. It is important for us to collaborate with brands and advertisers on the increasing intensity of brain Dis-Ease, the co-occurring nature of addiction, and how to discover a recovery process. This is a perfect opportunity to raise the volume on recovery.”…..Stitcher announces its acquisition of “The Bellas Podcast” hosted by sisters, WWE Hall of Fame Inductees, TV personalities, and best-selling authors Brie and Nikki Bella. Before going on hiatus in spring 2021, “The Bellas Podcast” was part of the Endeavor Audio network. As it relaunches, hosts Brie and Nikki will produce the show with support from Stitcher.

Former Baltimore Talk Host Alan Christian Dies at 81. The Baltimore Sun has the obituary for Alvin Eugene Christian Jr., a.k.a. Alan Christian, who hosted talk radio programs on Baltimore radio stations during the 1970s and 1980s.  Christian died on October 5 at age 81 after suffering from heart complications. During his career, Christian hosted talk shows on WBAL-AM, WERQ-AM, and WFBR-AM. His radio career launched in 1967 when he joined Metromedia Radio News to cover the Pentagon and the 1968 presidential campaign before being promoted to Washington bureau chief. He joined WCBM-AM in 1971 and moved to WBAL in 1974 to host “The Alan Christian Show.” At the end of his radio career, he hosted a weekly show on WERQ from 1992 to 1993 before retiring.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, SS COLA, COVID-19, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Jon Gruden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; Social Security announces cost-of-living increases for monthly recipients; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; China’s continuing military aggression against Taiwan; and NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

| August 5, 2021

Beasley Broadcast Group Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 96%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent company of Beasley Media Group) indicates net revenue was $59.6 million, an increase of 96.1% over the same period in 2020. The company posts operating income of $5.8 million compared to the $17.6 million operating loss it reported in Q2 of 2020. Station operating income also rebounded to $11.1 million compared to the $11 million SOI loss it posted in the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong 2021 second quarter financial results reflect growing momentum across our media platform, as the continuing broad-based economic recovery accelerated demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and marketing and advertising services. With the significant rebound in the commercial advertising market, second quarter net revenue of $59.6 million increased 24% over first quarter 2021 levels and 96% over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant rebound in net income to $0.2 million and SOI to $11.1 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.0 million. Throughout the second quarter, the resumption of advertising in key categories combined with the success of our content monetization strategies resulted in year-over-year revenue growth across all fifteen of our markets, with healthy double-digit revenue increases in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Notably, our continued emphasis on strong local content and consumer engagement drove best-in-industry ratings performance for our station clusters, according to Nielsen. Our cumulative on-air audience share approached pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter, having grown consistently since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While second quarter non-traditional revenue (NTR) and events revenue was minimal, we made the strategic decision to fully re-open our events business in the third quarter, given the continued strengthening of commerce and consumer activities in our markets, and expect incremental revenue from this source in the second half of 2021. As we work to return all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels of operation, we are closely tracking potential impacts from the Delta variant and the uncertainty it may bring to businesses we serve and our future operating results. Our ongoing focus on digital innovation and the strategic investments we are making in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities are delivering positive results and continue to highlight the value of our long-term revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 96% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for approximately 13.4% of total second quarter revenue, compared to 13.4% in the prior year period and 12% in the 2021 first quarter. With growing audience share and engagement, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions in the second quarter, with total digital impressions growing 29% over the prior year period.”

Salem Media Group Q2 2021 Total Revenue Rises 20.6%. The total revenue for Salem Media Group’s second quarter of 2021 was $63.8 million, an increase of 20.6% over the same period in 2020. Salem posted operating income of $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to the operating loss of $900,000 it reported during the second quarter of 2020. The company’s net income for Q2 of this year was $2.3 million compared to the net loss of $2.5 million it reported for the second quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports data for its three business segments and the Broadcast segment’s net revenue for this quarter was $46.8 million, up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Station operating income rose 66.6% to $10.6 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue rise 9.5% to $10.3 million and the Publishing segment revenue was $6.7, an increase of 68.3%. As of June 30, 2021, the Salem Media Group had $216.3 million outstanding on the 6.75% senior secured notes due 2024, no balance outstanding on the Asset Based Revolving Credit Facility, and $11.2 million outstanding on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans from the Small Business Administration.

Saga Communications Q2 Net Revenue Up 49.7%. Second quarter financial data from Saga Communications, Inc. reveals that the company’s net revenue was $28 million, an increase of 49.7% over the same period in 2020. The company posted operating income of $4.6 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million it reported in the second quarter of 2020.  Station operating expense increased $2.4 million to $21.0 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Station operating income was $8.4 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $181,000 for the second quarter of 2020. Free cash flow was $4.2 million for the quarter compared to a negative $1.8 million for the same period last year. Saga’s balance sheet reflects $59.4 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2021 and $59.6 million as of August 2, 2021.  The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the second quarter 2021.

Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Climbs 41.6%. Today’s second quarter 2021 financial report from Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, indicates the company’s net revenue was approximately $107.6 million, an increase of 41.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.6 million, an increase of 64.3% from the same period in 2020. Urban One reports operating income of approximately $37.9 million for Q2 of 2021, compared to approximately $20.4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $17.9 million compared to approximately $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall we had an extremely strong second quarter; not only was Adjusted EBITDA up 82.4% year-over-year, but we also surpassed our Q2 2019 pre-pandemic Adjusted EBITDA. We are experiencing unprecedented advertiser interest in our audience across the entire Urban One platform. The radio advertising business saw a robust rebound from the worst impacts of the pandemic in Q2 2020, with segment revenues up by 73% and radio syndication revenues up 50.2%. We also benefitted from strong TV scatter markets, with TV advertising revenues up 21.3% in the quarter; furthermore, registered interest in our 2021-22 TV upfront sales presentations has also been extremely encouraging, which will help our fourth quarter revenue performance. Demand for our digital products remains high, with digital revenues up by 147.9% for the quarter and Adjusted EBITDA up by over $6 million; a significant help to our top and bottom-line growth. For Q3, our core radio business excluding political is currently pacing up by over 40%, and we are comfortable increasing our FY21 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to mid-$130 million, excluding casino chase costs. During the quarter we completed the second tranche of our Class A ATM share sale program, which yielded $21.2 million net of fees. This cash influx further strengthened our balance sheet, and we ended the quarter with $129.8 million of cash on hand, which is a healthy place to be ahead of the exciting new investment opportunity in the One Casino & Resort in Richmond, Virginia.”

Ralph Nader is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legendary consumer advocate, political activist, prolific author, Pacifica radio talk show host and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Nader engage in a fascinating discussion about “left/right political thinking” in America as well as social and business changes influenced by advancements in technology, plus more. Nader says working class Democrats and Republicans alike have far more in common than they have differences and that unbridled corporatism is the true enemy of the poor and working class regardless of race or political ideology. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

NAB Announces 2021 Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the 2021 Marconi Awards have been announced. The news/talk Station of the Year finalists are: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WTOP-FM, Washington; KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and KNX-AM, Los Angeles. (NAB lumps all-news and news/talk stations into the same category.) WSB-AM, Atlanta is also up for Legendary Station of the Year. Talk radio hosts making the finals include, for Major Market Personality of the Year, George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith from sports talk KTCK-AM, Dallas “The Ticket.” In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: WFLA-AM, Tampa’s Jack Harris; WBAL-AM, Baltimore’s C4 and Bryan Nehman; WHPT-FM, Tampa’s Mike Calta; and WWTN-FM, Nashville’s Dan Mandis. Medium Market Personality of the Year category finalists include: KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter; KIDO-AM, Boise’s Kevin Miller; KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas’ Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob; and WHO-AM, Des Moines’ Simon Conway. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (8/10), McVay Media’s Mike McVay is joining Loyd Ford from Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works, LLC for “The Radio State Of The Union Live Event” on The Encouragers on Clubhouse. It’s being billed as “a frank discussion about employment, job search, career management, corporate & local radio and the future” and takes place at 7:00 pm ET. Ford says, “We have been discussing the people we love in this business, the talent. This is a unique time in our history. If you are on the talent side of the business, it takes some skill to navigate your way through what is happening. I reached out to Mike because he really does have such deep experience and knows radio as a talent, a consultant and someone who ran programming for one of the largest broadcasters in the country. Plus, he’s willing (like I am) to be candid. This will be a conversation with red meat and a lot of helpful hacks to get ahead, stay balanced and help others.”…..Legendary WGN-AM and WGN-TV sports producer Jack “Rosey” Rosenberg will be recognized by the City of Chicago with an honorary street sign. The southeast corner of E. Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive will double as “Jack Rosenberg Way.” Rosenberg’s career at WGN began in 1954 where he was a producer, news writer, and sports editor and worked with celebrated sports voices including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and others. WGN says, “Rosey was a pioneer in modern sports production and broadcasting and is credited with its development. While Rosey himself was rarely heard on-air, the sound of his typewriter clacking in the background was unmistakable.” Rosenberg died December 26, 2020 at the age of 94…..Futuri announces the launch of AdMatic, “a revolutionary system that helps podcast platforms and creators make their content more discoverable and monetizable using advanced metadata sorting and deployment.” Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig adds, “Two million podcasts all have the same problem: poor metadata sorting that leads to mismatched recommendations for listeners and ineffective advertising for businesses. AdMatic solves this by using Futuri’s AI-driven technology to individually categorize podcast episodes and align with the businesses and products that best match on a case-by-case basis, rather than the hopelessly broad one-size-fits-all approach we currently see in the market.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Outbreaks & Mask Policies, Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations-Impeachment Possibility, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, the Tokyo Olympic Games, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in numerous U.S. states, governors under fire and mask policies; President Joe Biden’s moratorium on evictions; the allegations of sexual impropriety against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the possibility of his being impeached; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the Tokyo Olympics; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.