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Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

| October 15, 2015

whitlockjasonJason Whitlock Inks with Fox Sports.  The former Kansas City Star columnist, ESPN staffer, WHB and KCSP, Kansas City sports talk host is back with FOX Sports to host a podcast and television show for the FOX Sports 1 channel.  Whitlock spent six years with FOX Sports, exiting in 2013 to re-join ESPN.  His website project with ESPN – titled TheUndefeated.com – was iced by ESPN under controversial circumstances.  His new blog project, J.School, launches with an explanation of where he wants to go with this brand of journalism.  Read it here.  He appeared on Fox Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd yesterday (10/13) to talk about his plans.

Odds & Sods.  WPRO, Providence talk show host John DePetro is sitting in for Westwood One-syndicated talkdeptrojohn host Michael Savage on his nationally syndicated show this Friday and next Monday (10/16 & 19).  DePetro filled in for Savage a number of times over the summer as well…..Palo Alto, California-based AudioBurst announces the launch of its product of the same names that is “a first-of-its-kind curation site that makes talk radio searchable and shareable in real-time.”  The app has launched in beta and the audioburstcompany says its “proprietary AudioBurst Engine transcribes and understands the meaning of auditory content in real-time and powers AudioBurst.com.”  Company CEO and co-founder Amir Hirsch states, “There are over 15,000 radio stations in America and every single day they broadcast more than 370,000 hours of unique content.  Yet, if you try to search online for this content, there is a good chance you won’t be able to find what you are looking for.  The Internet has been remarkable to all kinds of content, but not so much with regards to radio.  With AudioBurst.com, we are looking to change this.”…..Radio pro and consultant Gary Begin isbeginbook publishing his new book, Radio Programming and Branding: The Ultimate Podcasting and Radio Branding Guide (2015 Library Tales Publishing) that he says offers techniques for broadcasters, radio bloggers, radio entrepreneurs and students who wish to start and run their own radio show or station.   “This book will help you improve your craft and effectively develop a winning brand that attracts attention, followership, and, ultimately, advertisers.”  See it on Amazon here…..Ad executive and TV personality Donny Deutsch begins a live, limited-run show on SiriusXM October 19 – 23.  “Dialing Donny” will feature Deutsch taking calls from listeners, dishing advice on relationships, sex, career and all aspects of life.

Democratic Debate Analysis, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia’s Syria Campaign, Iran Nuke Deal, Israel Violence, U.S. Immigration Policy, Lamar Odom Case, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/14).  Analysis of Tuesday evening’s Democratic candidates’ debate; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Russia’s military presence in Syria and the U.S.’s military policy there; the Iran nuclear deal and concerns about a military buildup in the Islamic Republic; ongoing violence between Palestinians and Israelis in Israel; immigration policy in the United States; the bizarre case of former NBA star Lamar Odom; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

MIreunion15Lounging with the Legends.  Last night (10/14), some 250-plus veterans (and current players) from the music and radio industries gathered at El Original Tex Mex restaurant/bar in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen for the second annual Music Industry Reunion New York.  Organized by longtime music industry impresario Jon Scott and funded by a grant fromscottjonspeaking15 RadioInfo, the free event was an informal hug-fest bringing together old colleagues, many of whom hadn’t seen each other since the early 1970s.  This is the sister reunion of the Music Industry Reunion Los Angeles, also organized by Scott, which recently celebrated its third annual installment in Calabasas, California.  Pictured in the photo above at last night’s party, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher, Michael Harrison (c) is reunited with old buddies John Platt (l), communications director and air personality at triple A WFUV, New York and the legendary George Meier, founder and former publisher of the iconic progressive rock radio trade publication, Walrus.  Pictured at right is Jon Scott addressing the crowd.

Friday, January 16, 2015

| January 16, 2015

monahanheatherBeasley Broadcast Group Bumps Up Monahan to CRO. Seven-year executive vice president of sales Heather Monahan is elevated to chief revenue officer – a newly created Beasley Broadcast Group position, where she will oversee all sales of BBG’s core radio, digital, and non-traditional revenue opportunities. President and chief operating officer Bruce Beasley remarks, “As the radio broadcasting industry continues to offer a wider variety of ways in which we service advertisers, it became evident that having one person at corporate oversee and coordinate these various facets would be beneficial. Heather has proven her loyalty to Beasley over the years and has further shown us her ability to manage the sales process.” According to Miami resident Monahan, “What most excites me is the opportunity to define a holistic strategy that optimizes and unites our entertainment brands, engaged consumers, and marketing partners. At Beasley, our local market teams strive to create a dynamic local presence through our on-air and digital brands. Our continued evolution enables us to further maximize the collective power of our radio brands and connect consumers with marketing partners in an enhanced and more significant way. I am looking forward to delivering improved results for our partners through this new role.” Before joining Beasley Broadcast Group in 2003 as director of sales for the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster, Monahan held general manager and sales manager positions for a number of Michigan and Massachusetts stations. The Worcester native is a graduate of Clark University in that Massachusetts city.

deroxtraronDeRoxtra Joins SRN News.  Dallas-Ft Worth news pro Ron DeRoxtra joins the Salem Radio Network as an anchor/reporter in the SRN News Dallas bureau.  DeRoxtra has served as a news anchor, editor and producer at a number of broadcast operations including at KVIL, Dallas; KLIV, San Jose and KLIF, Dallas.  The move to SRN News reunites DeRoxtra with Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup, who was DeRoxtra’s boss when both worked at KRLD, Dallas in the 1980s.  Tradup comments, “Ron is a stellar on-air talent and a solid, award-winning journalist.  We are pumped to have him as part of our Dallas bureau and having Ron cover Southwestern stories for SRN News in Washington, as well.”

entercomDelay Arises in Entercom’s Deal to Acquire Lincoln Financial Media Stations.  The acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 radio stations operating in four markets for $105 million will be delayed as Entercom notes in an 8-K filing with the SEC.  The company “voluntarily withdrew its notification and report forms filed with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended…Entercomlfm logo notified the DOJ that it intends to resubmit the HSR Filing within two days after the date of withdrawal.  Entercom’s resubmission of the HSR Filing will have the effect of providing the FTC and the DOJ an additional 30 days from the date of resubmission to review the transactions contemplated by the Stock Purchase Agreement.”  After the deal is consummated, Entercom will take ownership of Atlanta outlets hot AC WSTR and sports talk WQXI; Denver stations country KYGO, rhythmic CHR KQKS, oldies KRWZ, sports talk KEPN and KKFN, and comedy-formatted translator K276FK; San Diego signals alternative KZBT, country KSON and KSOQ, and adult contemporary KIFM; and Miami outlets AC WLYF, classic hits WMXJ, and sports talk WAXY-AM/FM.

podcastone logoAdam Carolla and Dennis Miller Team up for PodcastOne Program.  Veteran comics and radio personalities Adam Carolla and Dennis Miller – both of whom already produce podcasts distributed by PodcastOne – are now collaborating on a new podcast for thecarollaadam platform titled, “PO’d with Dennis Miller and Adam Carolla.”  The new show will be a one-hour, weekly show that will feature the pair as they “entertain with comedic rants on current events, pop culture and life in general, and invite celebrity friends to join the conversation.”  millerdennisPodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz states, “I’ve worked with both of these guys for years and it’s just great to put the two of them together to do something that’s totally different as a podcast… Excuse me a PO’d cast.  They’re both incredibly talented, extremely well-known, each with a huge fan following, and yes, as the title of the show would imply, they’re often po’d about one thing or another.  We think this is gonna be the latest big hit coming from PodcastOne and there’s a lot of smiles around the office.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is again being heard on WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Sunday mornings.  Also, current affiliate KIVA, Albuquerque expands its carriage of the program to weeknights…..The Bubba the Love Sponge show is added to the program schedule at JVC Media’s recently acquired country WOTW,  Orlando “103.2 The Wolf.”  This is the second JVC country station to add the show – it also airs on WTRS, Gainesville “102.3 MyCountry.”…..Talk personality Kevin McCullough reports that his feature, “News That Makes You Think,” has surpassed the 200 affiliate mark and that his eponymous long-form talk show is now heard on WBRG, Lynchburg, Virginia.

Charlie Hebdo Aftermath Top News/Talk Story This Week.  Talk about the massacre at Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the political and social ramifications of the assault were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 were the related topics of Islamic extremism and the ISIS and Boko Haram violence in Syria and Africa.  Coming in at #3 was the ISIS hack of the Pentagon and Centcom social media followed by President Obama’s immigration policy at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Donny DeutschDeutsch to Portray Daytime Talk Show Host. Premiering later this year, USA Network‘s “soft-scripted” comedy “Donny!” takes a satirical view at the media, wealth, and romance through the life of its lead star – advertising mogul/former host of CNBC‘s “The Big Idea” (2004 – 2008) – Donny Deutsch. Some radio talkers might relate to the character Deutsch portrays, described as a fictionalized version of himself “as a daytime talk show host with all the answers.” Elaborating on the cable television program “Donny!,” USA Network president Chris McCumber comments it is a, “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’-style series, centered on the hyper-imagined real-life of Donny Deutsch. The juxtaposition of how Donny portrays his public and personal life in this series is hilarious. Storylines are a real wink for the viewers, showing that despite anyone’s profile or success, we all deal with the same issues.” Deutsch is chairman of advertising agency Deutsch Inc., and he is a regular on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” USA Network has ordered six episodes of the half-hour show.