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Monday, March 21, 2016

| March 21, 2016

beasleygeorgeBeasley CEO George Beasley on Medical Leave.  Filling in for company chief executive officer George Beasley is EVP/CFO Caroline Beasley.  According to a statement from Beasley Broadcast Group, she’ll be interim CEO during his absence.  The notice of medical leave for George Beasley does not go into specifics but says the changes take effect immediately.  Caroline Beasley – George Beasley’s 53-year-old daughter – has served as the company’s executive vice president, chief financial officer,beasleycaroline treasurer and secretary since 1994 and as a director since 1983.  Caroline Beasley comments, “George’s passion for radio and his entrepreneurial spirit have made a positive and lasting impact on the industry and in the development and long-term success of Beasley Broadcast Group.  On behalf of Company employees, family, friends and business associates, our heartfelt thoughts are with George during his medical leave.  Out of respect, we will be honoring his request for privacy and will not be commenting further on his condition at this time.”

nielsen logoNielsen Audio: News/Talk Format a ‘Political Powerhouse.’  Looking at data from its February 2016 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio reports that – as it did during the presidential race of 2012 – the format is experiencing a ratings surge that has put it to “nearly in double-digit listener share territory.”  Citing the contentious primary races as having sparked interest in the races and the issues, Nielsen states, “News/talk is up two-10ths from January to February (9.7% to 9.9%) among all listeners (aged 6 and older).  Listenership for adults 25-54 also climbed two-10ths to a 6.9% share in February while listener share for adults 18-34 remain flat at 4.1%.  With more than seven months to go before the election, news/talk radio should remain a political powerhouse on the radio dial.”  Nielsen also notes in the report that sports talk has seen a dip – from 5.1% to 4.2% — for persons 6+.  However, February is traditionally a down month for sports talk in the aftermath of the NFL season and with baseball still two months away.  Nielsen says, “The good news is that All Sports tends to start a multi-book trend up after February thanks to March Madness, the start of baseball in April and post-season hockey and basketball in May.  This was true in 2015 and every prior year we have been tracking monthly format trends in PPM.”  See the study here.

The Presidential Race, Paris Terror Suspect Captured, Obama Visits Cuba, Open SCOTUS Seat, Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Case, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of the candidates for president; the capture of Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam; President Obama arrives in Cuba on diplomatic mission; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; the verdict in Hulk Hogan’s suit against Gawker for releasing video of his sex tape; and the action in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

shoredaveNew Afternoon Duo for ‘Detroit Sports 105.1.’  Replacing Matt Dery and Drew Sharp in the afternoon drive slot on Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” are former Detroithunterlindsey Pistons great Lindsey Hunter and station PD Dave Shore.  They begin hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show this afternoon (3/21).   Hunter retired from the NBA after the 2010 season and most recently was assistant coach at Golden State serving under Mark Jackson during the 2013-2014 season.  Shore joined the station as PD a year ago.  Prior to that, he was on-air talent and operations manager at ESPN Radio-owned KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710.”

wbalWBAL, Baltimore Makes Program Schedule Changes.  Two local personalities at Hearst’s news/talk WBAL, Baltimore “Newsradio 1090” are getting expanded duties.  First, late morning talk personality Clarence M. Mitchell IV, a.k.a. C4, sees his show expand to 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (adding the noon hour).  At the same time, talk host Derek Hunter continues his daily talk show (trimmed to two hours) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm but adds political analyst duties for the station in which he’ll cover local and national races and issues and appear on other WBAL programs.

Odds & Sods.  Covering President Obama’s trip to Cuba is Westwood One News correspondent Bobww1newscostantini16 Costantini.  He’s pictured at right in Jose Marti Monument Plaza in Havana getting some man-on-the-street reaction to president Obama’s trip to the city.  Today, Costantini will be inside the presidential palace for the statements from President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro…..ABC News Radio is also on the abcNewsStoneCuba16scene in Havana covering President Obama’s visit.  Pictured at left is ABC News Radio’s Alex Stone creating a video of the news organization’s broadcasting base camp in a park in Havana.  If you click on the link here, you can watch the whole video on Facebook that shows the media encampment…..Cumulus Media announces Jeff Pezzano is named VP of sales for its Youngstown, Ohio operations,  Pezzano will lead sales development and strategy for the eight-station cluster that includes: CHR WHOT “HOT 101,” country WQXK “K105 FM,” classic rock WYFM “Y103,” rock WWIZ “Rock 104,” sports talk WBBW “1240 AM ESPN,” sports talk WLLF-FM, “Sports Radio 96.7,” news/talk WPIC, and talk WSOM.

Friday, October 30, 2015

| October 30, 2015

beasleymediagroupBeasley Media Group Q3 Financial Data Shows Mixed Results.  Last December’s asset swap with CBS RADIO – in which it exchanged five stations in Philly and Miami for 14 CBS stations in Tampa, Charlotte and Philly – makes this third quarter financial report from Beasley Media Group a bit more complex.  It’s required to report the five stations CBS received under discontinued operations for the 2014 third quarter, despite having operated them through November 2014.  Therefore, on a combined basis, third quarter top-line revenue was up 7%, but on a pro forma basis third quarter net revenue decreased 4.5% while station operating income declined 12.2%.  The company says, “The decline in pro forma revenue largely reflects weakness in Charlotte, Las Vegas, Fayetteville and Wilmington, which reduced operating leverage and impacted SOI.  However, we continue to make progress with the Tampa-St. Petersburg and Charlotte integration initiatives and reduced combined station operating expenses in these markets by approximately $700,000, while company-wide cost reductions led to a 1.5% reduction in third quarter station operating expenses.  We are now approximately 11 months into our integration and transition plan related to the asset exchange and despite it being more difficult and time consuming than expected, we believe our success in expense management combined with our ratings strength should lead to financial benefits from the swap in late 2016.  In the meantime, we continue to make progress in reducing debt, while returning capital to shareholders.  During the third quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $3 million, reduced borrowings to $90.2 million at September 30, 2015 and declared our eighth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”  In issuing its forward looking statements, Beasley says it remains “focused on operating our station clusters to match or exceed their markets revenue performance while further strengthening our balance sheet.  We believe our ratings and programming are in great shape and look forward to benefiting from the integration, programming, personnel, cost-efficiency and operating changes put in place over the last year.”

hannityLA15Sean Hannity Packs iHeartRadio Theatre in Los Angeles.  Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Sean Hannity appeared in Los Angeles recently to a standing room only house at the iHeartRadio Theatre.  Hannity is heard on iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles and the station reports that listeners were treated to breakfast and more than an hour of political conversation, jokes, personal stories and Q&A with the Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality.  Pictured here backstage at the iHeartRadio Theatre are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Los Angeles market president Kevin LeGrett, Hannity, and KEIB and KFI program director Robin Bertolucci.

wmgc sportslogoSmall‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Adds Two Personalities to Revamped Lineup.  With the recent exit of longtime Detroit radio personality Drew Lane from the PM drive daypart lastsharpdrew week, Greater Media’s sports talk WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1,” adds two new personalities to its new lineup.  Drew Sharp joins Matt Dery for the new afternoon program and Sean Baligian is now part of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show with Tom Mazawey baligianseanand Marc Fellhauer.  Baligian has been hosting the afternoon show on iHeartMedia’s Grand Rapids sports talk WMAX “96.1 FM ESPN.”  He also works for USA Hockey and is in his seventh year as the voice of Wayne State Football.  Drew Sharp is a 30-plus year Detroit Free Press columnist.  Program director Dave Shore says, “This new lineup is very exciting and we will continue bringing Detroit the most knowledgeable and most thought-provoking talent in sports radio.”

ppmunitRound Four of October PPM Ratings Released.  The fourth and final round of October 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio is released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  You can find all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his Twelve Takeaways from this round of data at our sister publication’s site here.  The October 2015 PPM survey covered September 10 through October 7.

brownejoycircus15Bringing Joy to the Visually and Hearing Impaired.  Hardly a week goes by when past-recipient of the TALKERS Humanitarian of the Year award, GCN-syndicated talk star Dr. Joy Browne is not involved in a high-profile charitable initiative.  This past Wednesday (10/28) America’s leading relationships talker performed the role of honorary ring master at the Big Apple Circus presentation of “Circus of the Senses” – a specially adapted performance of “The Grand Tour” – at New York’s Lincoln Center for children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities allowing them to experience the joy and wonder of the circus. Dr. Browne (l) is pictured in full ringmaster regalia with Big Apple Circus regular ringmaster John Kennedy Kane (r).  Browne tells TALKERS, “It was a wonderful experience introducing the show.  Through the use of audio headsets, Braille descriptive programs, American Sign Language interpreters, and a special ‘touch session’ after the show, anyone and everyone could experience and enjoy the extravaganza!”

talkersten logoGOP Debate and 2016 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of October 26-30.  Wednesday evening’s GOP primary debate and the 2016 presidential race tied for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM this week.  At #2 was Paul Ryan’s ascension to the Speaker of the House.  Coming in at #3 was the congressional budget deal followed by the U.S.-Russian military skirmishes at #4.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.