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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

| February 9, 2021

WSCR, Chicago Announces Parkins & Spiegel New Afternoon Show. Chicago sports talker WSCR-AM “670 The Score” brings Matt Spiegel back to the air in a full-time capacity, hosting the afternoon drive show with former partner Danny Parkins. The two co-hosted the midday program in 2017 and 2018 before Spiegel was bumped to a part-time role and Parkins moved to afternoons alongside Dan McNeil, who was let go from the station back in September after tweeting disparaging comments about ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “Matt has always been part of the ‘Score’ team, but the fact that he is now reunited with Danny in afternoons is great news most for fans. Matt’s popularity with our audience throughout all of our platforms is unwavering. The content he delivers on a daily basis is thoughtful, entertaining, opinionated sports talk, and data shows from the previous time together that listeners love this tandem of Danny and Matt.” Spiegel comments, “This is where I’m supposed to be: talking sports and more with this audience, creating a daily space for connection and companionship. There’s nothing like it. Danny Parkins is a great host and a good friend. What he and I had found in terms of chemistry was special three years ago, and I’m super excited to resume, move forward creatively and see where we can go.”

Sports Talk Host Bill Michaels Back on the Air in Wisconsin. After exiting Entercom’s sports talk WSSP-AM, Milwaukee “1250 AM The Fan” on January 8, sports talk personality Bill Michaels has a new flagship station for his midday program. Starting today (2/9), Michaels is being heard on Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s WOZN, Madison “1670AM and 96.7FM The Zone” from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Mid-West Family VP of programming Randy Hawke says, “We are excited to have one of the biggest names in Wisconsin sports talk history as part of our growing sports properties. Bill is known and loved throughout the state as the authority on all things Wisconsin sports, pro and college. Bill is the trusted voice, and we already have radio stations calling to secure his show.” Michaels’ program is being heard on Mid-West Family radio stations WKTY, LaCrosse and WAYY-AM/W286CK, Eau Claire. Mid-West Family says it plans to make the show available on a market exclusive basis throughout all of Wisconsin immediately. Michaels comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity with Mid-West Family and I’m even more excited to get back to doing what I love. In addition, I’m so thankful and appreciative to all of my family, friends, listeners and sponsors for encouraging me to come back. I can’t even begin to tell you what your support has meant to me. Let’s go!”

‘The Dana Show’ Now Heard on KXNT, Las Vegas. The Radio America nationally syndicated talk program “The Dana Show” – starring Dana Loesch – joins the program schedule at Entercom’s Las Vegas news/talk outlet KXNT-AM for the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour. Entercom Las Vegas SVP and market manager Dan Kearney states, “We are excited to bring the energy and originality of ‘The Dana Show’ to our listeners throughout Las Vegas and the Valley. Dana’s bold personality and sharp opinion will fit perfectly in our superstar KXNT lineup.”

SummitMedia Announces Management Changes. Birmingham, Alabama-based SummitMedia, LLC announces it has made a number of changes to its programming leadership team. Company CEO Carl Parmer says, “Our goal is to bring each Summit brand experience to life and innovate in the media space. While the past year disrupted radio as we knew it as well as experiencing the recent passing of programming legend Bill Tanner, we recognize the incredible opportunities before us for those who can deliver fresh ideas to the industry.” Parmer announces that programmer Randy Chase, who joined the company back in July as SVP of programming, is the new EVP of programming, a role in which he’ll lead the company’s strategic and programming charge and oversee the company’s team of brand and content leaders. John Olsen, continues as SVP of programming managing rock, classic rock and alternative along with special projects. Maurice DeVoe, most recently operations manager for the Greenville, South Carolina cluster, moves into the brand and content leader role for the company’s rhythmic top 40, hip hop and R&B stations. Rick Thomas, formerly the vice president of programming for Max Media in Denver, joins the company as the new brand and content leader for top 40, hot AC and AC formats. Chase comments, “We have assembled a team with both incredible experience and a tremendous hunger to capitalize on the disruption in the media space and arrive first into the next normal. With this leadership team in place, I believe we will deliver highly engaging products for our consumers and set up every member of the SummitMedia team to perform at their full potential.”

Rob Finnerty Named Anchor of Newsmax TV’s ‘Wake Up America.’ Television sports and news pro Rob Finnerty is appointed anchor of Newsmax TV’s new morning program, “Wake Up America” that airs from 6:30 am to 9:00 am ET.  Finnerty was most recently serving as an anchor and reporter for the CBS television affiliate in Tampa. Newsmax founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Rob has the rock-solid journalistic credentials we look for here at Newsmax. Our viewers will be well-served by his honest, accurate reporting.” Finnerty, who also has served with New England Cable News; KCTV-TV, Kansas City; and KBAK-TV/KBFX-TV, Bakersfield; adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to join the network, especially at this moment in our history. Not only is Newsmax TV growing at an unbelievable pace, but with everything happening in our country politically, I don’t think there is a better place to be right now.’’

GeoBroadcast Solutions ZoneCasting Test Gets FCC Approval. The Federal Communications Commission grants approval for the fourth experimental operation to build and operate two new co-located on-channel boosters at two discreet locations to GeoBroadcast Solutions. The company calls the technology ZoneCasting and will conduct the test via Universal Media Access’ KSJO-FM, San Jose. This trial will demonstrate KSJO’s ability to add localized weather and traffic, news, advertising, and EAS tests during short parts of a broadcast hour. ZoneCasting allows the additional geo-targeting and geo-fencing of audio and graphical advertisements. GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “These emerging technologies give radio broadcasters the tools that are vital in order to compete in the face of innovations from online and other forms of message distribution.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Washington Post publishes a piece today (2/9) by Paul Farhi critical of the future of the talk radio business. Citing the stage 4 cancer diagnosis of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh, Farhi’s story questions what the future of the format will be post-Limbaugh in a media world teeming with alternative platforms to radio, where the bulk of listeners are well beyond Madison Avenue’s coveted 25-54 demographic…..Public media’s WNYC, New York announces that Karen Rouse is promoted to newsroom editor where she will oversee a new audio, writing and editing training effort for reporters and editors, and work as part of a team of editors editing Gothamist and WNYC content. Rouse will also work with WNYC editor in chief Audrey Cooper and SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion Brenda Williams-Butts to develop a newsroom fellowship program aimed at bringing more Black and brown journalists into WNYC’s newsroom…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces the release of the first three episodes of “The Washies,” a 10-episode serialized fictional podcast from partner Omnicast Media. The serial is set in in the not-so-distant future of 2025, amid a backdrop of significant political unrest, in which a TV producer finds and promotes five millennials who happen to be direct descendants of George Washington. The three women and two men participate in a reality TV show that catapults them to both fame and infamy. As they struggle to slay their own personal demons, they also represent the paradox of George Washington — hero/slave owner. Through all this, they learn to love each other and truly become family, just as the country needs them most…..SiriusXM unveils a new, multi-part audio documentary titled, “Obsessive Comedy Disorder: Boomers – The Story of The ‘80s Comedy Boom and Bust,” that is airing all this week. As SiriusXM notes, the “comedy boom” of the 1980s was a critical time for stand-up comedy, as its popularity skyrocketed and new clubs emerged in New York, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between. This program is hosted and executive produced by Dan Pasternack, and chronicles this period, with major comedy stars offering their first-hand accounts, including: Chris Albrecht, Louie Anderson, Judd Apatow, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, Jeff Foxworthy, Gilbert Gottfried, Barry Katz, Robert Klein, Jay Leno, Larry Miller, Paula Poundstone, Kevin Pollak, Paul Provenza, Paul Reiser, Bob Saget, Jonathan Schmock, Yakov Smirnoff, Judy Tenuta, Jimmy Vallely, Marsha Warfield, and Keenen Ivory Wayans.

Trump Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Package Negotiations, Smartmatic Lawsuit, North Korea Hackers, and Super Bowl LV Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). Today’s beginning of the Donald Trump impeachment trial; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the concern over variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over the next COVID stimulus package; the Smartmatic lawsuit against FOX News and numerous Trump allies; North Korean hackers steal hundreds of millions to fund nuclear program; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 30, 2020

| November 30, 2020

Pending Business: Minimizing Risk. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that for local business owners, the biggest obstacle to overcome (beyond the pandemic) is the high risk of advertising. In today’s column, he offers seven points to help radio sellers combat this risk anxiety. Read it here.

COVID-19 and Holiday Travel, Biden Transition, Trump Post-Election, Georgia Runoff Elections, Iran Scientist Assassinated, Record Dow/Joblessness, and Utah Monolith Disappears Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The current pace of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about Thanksgiving holiday travel spreading the coronavirus; the Joe Biden administration goes forward with transition activities as officials are named; Donald Trump continues to argue that the election was fraudulent; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the aftermath of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist; the Dow holds its record level as economists express concerns about potential mass joblessness as a result of the pandemic; and the bizarre metal monolith found in remote Utah disappears were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Last Chance for Christmas Cash. Unsurprisingly, consumer research forecasts a very different holiday shopping season. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says “steal this line” for a local advertiser’s copy. Read it here.

Cox Media Group’s Bill Hendrich to Retire. Although today’s announcement says Bill Hendrich will remain with Cox Media Group in an advisory capacity, the company announces that he’ll retire from his executive vice president of radio position. During his three-decade career with Cox Media Group, Hendrich has served as EVP, radio, overseeing programming, operations and sales for the company’s radio stations. He also has oversight of CMG’s Radio Revenue team and Radio Digital team. CMG president and CEO Dan York says, “Bill’s retirement comes with a wealth of gratitude and mixed emotions. In the time I have known him, he has shared his exceptional passion, focus, and leadership from which our company, and our industry, has immeasurably benefited. Bill’s legacy of decisive leadership, his personal style and his deep experiences in radio and beyond will inform our work well into the future.” Hendrich comments, “Although I’m retiring from CMG, I will remain an active and passionate supporter of this great company. For the past 31 years, I have been able to work with the best and most talented team in the radio industry. With NewCity Communications, Cox Enterprises and Apollo, I have been a part of three outstanding companies – each bringing valuable and innovative ideas to keep radio viable in today’s media landscape. I look forward to continuing our work together in an advisory capacity to help the team at CMG serve their audiences, customers, and communities with best-in-class services. I joined a great company in 1989 and I get to leave that same great company with pride 31 years later. I am a lucky man.”

Round Three of November PPM Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the third round of Nielsen Audio’s November PPM survey that covered October 8 to November 4. This group of markets included Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Some moves of note include Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte rising to the #2 spot after climbing a half share to finish with a 7.4 share. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio rises to the #1 rank on the strength of a 1.4 share increase for a 7.7 share. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento keeps its #1 rank for the third straight month after posting a 9.1 share (+0.6) and the company’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City adds 1.9 shares during the survey to achieve a 9.5 share and its second straight #1 rank. Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City climbs into the #6 spot after posting a 5.7 share (+0.7). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

FOX Sports Radio Launches New Weekend Show. The new “Up On Game” show that debuts this Saturday (12/5) from FOX Sports Radio is co-hosted by former NFL stars LaVar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and Plaxico Burress. Arrington says, “I’m super excited to team up with my brothers to host this new show. TJ and Plaxico are sports cultural icons and legends. Not only do they have incredible knowledge and experience as former pro athletes, but they also understand how to mentor players. This show will break the mold and create a new way of thinking about athletes and sports topics.” FSR VP of sports programming Scott Shapiro adds, “LaVar, TJ, and Plaxico have such unique perspectives, which will make for a truly refreshing and entertaining listen. This is not going to sound like any other sports talk show.  When these three star football players take the mic, all with strong points of view, watch out!”

Can Trump Be the ‘Next Limbaugh?’ There’s buzz aplenty about Donald Trump’s post-presidency role in the media. Talk radio consultant and RT America TV host Holland Cooke thinks the time is opportune: “FOX News has a problem. When they reported election results, viewers damned them on social media and the ratings tanked. Talk radio has a problem. Its biggest star has advanced cancer. Will Trump supporters flee mass media entirely? And could Citizen Trump herd them past his own media paywall?” In the segment you can see here, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison weighs in.

Ajit Pai Announces He’ll Leave FCC in January. After three years as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announces that he intends to leave the Commission on January 20, 2021. Pai issued the following statement: “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as chairman of the FCC over the past four years. I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.” He added, “I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff. They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda.  Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before. I am proud of how productive this Commission has been, from commencing five spectrum auctions and two rural broadband reverse auctions in four years, to opening 1,245 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, to adopting more than 25 orders through our Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, to aggressively protecting our communications networks from national security threats at home and abroad, to designating 988 as the three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and much, much more. I’m also proud of the reforms we have instituted to make the agency more accountable to the American people.  In particular, for the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings, making this the most transparent FCC in history.”

Jim Bohannon Helps Kick Off the Holiday Season. Pictured here in fill Santa Claus regalia – complete with golf cart sleigh – is Westwood One nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon. He’s in Chickasaw Point, South Carolina helping the community kick off the holiday season.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new radio station from Nashville Public Radio launches today at 3:00 pm local time. WNXP-FM, Nashville “91.ONE, WNXP, Nashville’s Music Experience” is a “new music discovery station” that “will serve as a platform for new and emerging artists from Nashville and beyond plus incorporate a unique fusion of indie rock, urban alternative, electro pop and pop alternative.” Station program director Jason Moon Wilkins says, “WNXP is focused on being an ally to the Nashville music scene by providing opportunities that stretch beyond our city. The Nashville Artist of the Month feature is a great example of how we’ll use every tool and relationship from radio to social media to NPR Music to bring music like [rapper] Namir [Blade]’s to new audiences.” WNXP’s full-time staff consists of music director and midday host Jewly Hight, APD and evening host Mickey Parks, production coordinator and morning host Marquis Munson, and engagement coordinator Paige A. Jack…..In order to sate the appetite of live music fans, SiriusXM is launching the “Next Wave Virtual Concert Series” in which it will present six new virtual concerts over three consecutive weeks. The Octane Accelerator Virtual Concert will feature new, live performances from three explosive new hard rock bands, Saul, Any Given Sin, and AVOID, hosted by Jose Mangin. Coffee House Live: At Home Edition will include exclusive sets from singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Sam Fischer, and Ruth B. Alt Nation’s Virtual Advanced Placement Concert will feature breaking alternative artists Royal & The Serpent, beabadoobee, and Holly Humberstone. Hip Hop Nation: Nation’s Next Virtual Concert will hand the mic to Mulatto, Tyla Yaweh, and Yella Beezy. Highway Finds Tour: Quarantine Edition will showcase new performances from Drew Parker, Parker McCollum, Priscilla Block, Angie K, and Shy Carter.  Liquid Metal Hard Attack Virtual Concert will feature performances with Slaughter To Prevail, Spiritbox, and Tetrarch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| August 7, 2018

Field Answers USTN Lawsuit: “Ridiculous allegations.” As we reported last Monday (Talkers.com, 7/30), in a complaint filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, United States Traffic Network is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.” USTN alleges that Entercom entered into negotiations to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business. Yesterday (Monday, 8/6), Entercom president/CEO David Field addressed the lawsuit in an internal memo. He writes, “The truth is we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues.” Entercom released a statement including the following quote on the situation: “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger. We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory. With leading news brands like WINS, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; and WBBM, Chicago, Entercom has the industry’s most valuable traffic inventory. We are pleased to be in control of our own destiny as we pursue opportunities in this attractive market segment.” In response to the lawsuit, Field states, “Entercom believes it is entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting. Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues. Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.” In yesterday’s memo, Field states, “To say the least, it is disappointing to read the ridiculous allegations that USTN has made when the truth is that we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues. In order to set the record straight and ensure that you have all the facts regarding our relationship with USTN, I have included a summary of the events over the past 8 ½ months.” Click here to read the rest of Field’s memo.

Bortnick Joins iHeartMedia D.C. as Senior VP/Sales. Six-year vice president of sales for Entercom Washington (D.C.), Danny Bortnick crosses the street to become senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five stations in the Nation’s Capital. Region president Michael Preacher remarks, “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Danny to iHeartMedia. Danny has earned a great reputation building client-centric sales organizations while creating a positive work culture. He is the perfect fit for us.” Bortnick adds, “I am thrilled to be joining some of the most iconic brands in [the market], as well as one of the most recognizable media brands in the country.” Bortnick, who has a marketing and management degree from the University of Miami – School of Business, began his radio career 13 years ago as an account executive at Katz Radio in New York City and Atlanta. After a year at Katz, he became an account executive – and later, digital sales manager – at New York City all-news outlet WINS and then, director of sales for Salem Media Group New York City.

Saga Reports 6.5% Q2 Net Revenue Increase. For the quarter ending June 30, Saga Communications net revenue increased to $32.2 million. Meanwhile, operating income increased 2.7% to $6 million and station operating expense increased 8% to $23.1 million. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $6 million for the quarter, compared to $4.8 million for the same period last year. On a same station basis, net revenue decreased .6% to $30.1 million; operating income increased 1.5% to $6 million; and station operating expense decreased 1% to $21.2 million. The company had $52.9 million in cash on hand as of June 30, and $53.3 million as of yesterday (8/6). The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of June 30. Results for the quarter and six-month period were affected by the sale of the company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head (South Carolina) on September 1, 2017. Saga’s 2018 Q2 conference call will be at 11:00 am (ET) today (Tuesday, 8/7). Saga owns or operates 75 FM and 33 AM radio stations.

Gregg Receives Salute to Excellence Award. For the second consecutive year, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg is recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This time, she will receive a “Salute to Excellence Award” at the NABJ’s gala in Detroit. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “It comes as no surprise that Cherri has been recognized once again for the exemplary work she contributes to KYW. The hard work she has committed in less than a year demonstrates why she is deserving of this honor.” Gregg remarks, “I am honored and humbled by this great recognition. This acknowledgment validates the importance of creating conversation around social issues.” Gregg was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category in “Top 15 Markets, Radio.” The specific segment – “Police Transparency – When Should Names of Officers Who Kill Be Released?” – was from her weekly program “Flashpoint,” which airs Saturdays (9:30 pm) and Sundays (8:30 am). Launched in 2017, “Flashpoint” discusses community affairs, political news, civil rights and social issues. Last year, NABJ honored Gregg with a “Salute to Excellence Award” in “TV Investigative – Top 15 Markets” for her piece “Driving While Black,” a collaboration between Entercom and KYW-TV, Philadelphia (Channel 3). Gregg, who joined Entercom in 2010, was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (2015 – 2016) and vice president of broadcast in 2013. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars, she has an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Boston University; a J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and an M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. Gregg was named one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.

Remembering Bill Wattenburg. Cancer has claimed the life of 82-year-old Bill Wattenburg, who died last Thursday (8/2). For 39 years (1972 – 2011), “Dr. Bill” hosted a late night show on KGO, San Francisco where the former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory would answer questions about everything from car repairs to physics. Show promos often referred to him as “The smartest man in the world.” The three-hour program (“Open Line to the West Coast,” 10:00 pm – 1:00 am) aired Saturday and Sunday nights and originated from his home in the Sierras. An occasional caller was Clint Eastwood, who gave Wattenburg a few cameos in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Using the nom de plume Will Harvey, the inventor and former physics professor at the University of California – Berkeley authored an early-1970s best-selling book “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress.” The success of that book led to him being booked on numerous television talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism with people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. As an inventor, Wattenburg had eight patents to his credit, one reportedly being the first home alarm system using electrical wiring for its communication medium. A 2011 KGO format modification from news/talk to news resulted in several hosts – including Wattenburg – exiting the station. Shortly thereafter, Wattenburg hosted a show on Zwerling Broadcasting System news/talk KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz (California), which – after his death – aired a two-hour retrospective of his radio career.

Spanish Broadcasting System Forecasts Q2 Sales, OIBDA Increases. Preliminary estimated quarter two financial results for Spanish Broadcasting System estimates that consolidated net revenue will be between $34.5 million and $34.8 million, an increase of between 1% and 2% over the same period in 2017. Adjusted OIBDA, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation, is projected at $10.8 million – $11.6 million, an increase of 34% – 44% over last year. SBS chair/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon notes, “The company has continued its positive operational momentum throughout the second quarter with strong OIBDA growth and operating margins that continue to be among the highest in the industry.  In addition, the announced $14 million sale of our surplus real estate in New York City has successfully closed, allowing for our move to newer and more suitable facilities in midtown Manhattan. A correlated and corresponding repayment of the company’s 12.5% senior secured notes from the net proceeds of the real estate sale has been undertaken, as previously envisioned. We maintain our positive view as to the continuing momentum in 2018 and will be filing our finalized second-quarter results within the next week.”

Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance. Represented in this particular assemblage of group owners is “a cross-section of the industry” with minority-owned and family-owned entities that have stations in large and small markets. In alphabetical order by group owner, the open letter is signed by Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt; Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeff Warshaw; Emmis Communications chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan; Midwest Communications COO Michael Wright; Mid-West Family Stations president Thomas Walker; Neuhoff Communications president/CEO Beth Neuhoff; NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass; Perry Publishing and Broadcasting chair Russell Perry; Townsquare Media co-CEOs Dhruv Prasad and Bill Wilson; and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri president/owner John Zimmer. Read the entire letter here.

Round One of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Following stints on New Jersey outlets WMTR and WCTC, Jonathan Friedman’s “Talking Sports” (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) debuts this Saturday (8/11) on Salem Media Group New York City’s news/talk WNYM “AM 970, The Answer.” The 52-year-old New Jersey resident notes, “I wanted to bring the show to a bigger stage. Growing up in Atlanta and being a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, my love for sports started early in my life. No matter who I talk to, the topic always seems to go to sports; that’s how I connect with people.” A 30-year advertising executive, Friedman has been with Success Communications Group the last 15 years and created the “Gotta Go To Mo’s” campaign for Modell’s Sporting Goods ….. St. Louis-based Project 21 co-chair Stacy Washington is broadcasting “Stacy on the Right” live nationwide. The first hour of the weekday talk program is available on all 180 stations of the American Family Radio Network. The national hour is 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET) and can be streamed through the AFR website, TuneInRadio, Facebook, and YouTube. Decorated Air Force veteran and Emmy-nominated TV personality Washington began her broadcasting career several years ago as a fill-in host on news/talk KFTK, St. Louis and began a two-hour program on the Urban Family Talk Network in 2016 ….. Having added ten million listeners over the last few months, iHeartRadio officially surpasses 120 million registered users. It has over 20,000 podcasts in 20 different unique categories, including 750 iHeartRadio original podcasts ….. According to a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, former NFL quarterback (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals) Kurt Warner will succeed Boomer Esiason as analyst on Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Hall of Famer Warner – who has filled-in when Esiason wasn’t available – would work alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan. According to Deitsch, a formal announcement of the deal is forthcoming ….. In a situation that will have him relocating to the network’s Chicago headquarters, Scott Krus – station manager of religious teaching WCRF “Moody Radio,” Cleveland – is promoted to general manager of the national Moody Radio Network. Three-month vice president, and former GM, Doug Hastings states, “Scott has the background, skills, and passion to take Moody Radio into our next season. He is very well known at Moody Radio; respected by staff and industry leaders; and has proven that he will effectively lead Moody Radio as general manager.” Krus, who begins his new duties in approximately four weeks (9/1), comments, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and [am] energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry. I believe that Moody is strategically-positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”

Paul Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, Kushner Deleted Stories, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the juicy testimony of Rick Gates; claims that Jared Kushner deleted sensitive stories at his newspaper; the attempted drone assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro;  this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Premiere Promotes Silcock to VP/Affiliate Relations – Morning Shows. Six-year, New York City-based director of affiliate relations Casey Silcock receives vice president stripes from Premiere Networks. In the newly-created position of vice president of affiliate relations – morning shows, Silcock will oversee affiliate sales and serve as the syndicator’s brand manager for programs featuring Elvis Duran; Bobby Bones; Brooke & JubalJohnjay & Rich; and Kane. Senior vice president of affiliate relations/talk and morning shows Peter Tripi comments, “Casey has been a valuable member of our team for the past six years, and he has made significant contributions to the growth of our industry-leading morning shows. I’m confident his leadership, sound judgment, and solid relationships with affiliate stations and talent alike will drive continued success for our programming.” Silcock previously was head of promotion for Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, and held management promotion and marketing positions at Virgin Records America.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Weekend WTXF-TV “Fox 29,” Philadelphia sports anchor Sean Brace will appear each Friday at 8:20 am on iHeartMedia Philadelphia rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” during “Chio in the AM.” In addition, Brace will contribute to the station’s website and host a Saturday night (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) music show. He formerly was heard on cross-town Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group) sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” ….. It is an eventful day for San Antonio air-on talent named “Cortez.” Taking to Facebook, Tony Cortez announces he is leaving his position as assistant program director/afternoon drive talent at Alpha Media’s  CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1,” while “The Dana Cortez Show” was missing this morning at cross-town Univision Radio-owned rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat.” On Twitter, Dana Cortez tweets, “We have some exciting things in the works & want you to be part of.” ….. Promotions coordinator/night personality Edwin Guevara is elevated to promotions director/afternoon host at Townsquare Media Trenton, New Jersey CHR WPST “94.5 – Your New #1 Hit Music Station.” He replaces Tom Shinn, who exited last month. Guevara is approaching his third year at the station, arriving from Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” ….. Former Bonneville country KYGO, Denver program director Eddie Haskell is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Fort Collins (Colorado) stations. According to iHeartMedia Denver area president Amy Griesheimer, “I am thrilled to have someone of Eddie’s caliber and expertise partner with us to lead [our] Northern Colorado dynasty. Eddie’s passion and brand knowledge are unmatched.” Denver region senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim notes, “Eddie’s knowledge and experience in Colorado radio are second to none. His addition to the Fort Collins team will only help to increase our already strong footprint in Northern Colorado.” Haskell adds, “I am so stoked to join the team at iHeartMedia Fort Collins. We have great brands, great programmers, and a great management team.” His prior background includes being operations manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque and he has held various programming roles in Detroit (WYCD) and Salt Lake City (KKAT-AM). The iHM cluster in Fort Collins includes country KXBG “Big 97.9”; classic hits-oldies KXBG-HD2 “B-107.3”; classic country KIIX “AM 1410 – Country’s Greatest Hits”; CHR KSME “96.1 – Kiss-FM”; classic rock KPAW “92.9 – The Bear”; alternative KPAW-HD2 “Radio 94.9”; and news/talk KCOL “Fox News Radio 600” ….. Grammy winner – and the first “American Idol” – Kelly Clarkson is filming a pilot for a daytime (TV) talk show.  Clarkson has a deal with NBC Entertainment, but the pilot is currently not attached to any network; it is potentially being shopped for a fall 2019 debut.

Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance – Open Letter

| August 7, 2018

“In recent months, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has signaled that, after more than two decades, they are open to revisiting the outdated rules that govern the local ownership of radio stations. Because of this unique opportunity, our industry, working with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), undertook a project to develop a radio industry proposal that could be presented to the FCC ahead of its 2018 quadrennial ownership review to help frame the next generation of these rules.

“Months of work by NAB board members and staff recently culminated in the NAB’s proposal to modify the current rules, which was sent to the FCC’s media bureau chief on June 15. Prior to its submission to the FCC, this proposal had been developed and vetted by a special committee of the NAB Board formed for this purpose, as well as by the full radio board itself. At both the committee and board level, the proposal to revise the ownership limits was debated and voted upon openly, and, at both levels of review, it passed with a substantial majority of support (it bears clarifying that what some have pejoratively characterized as ‘a faction’ was in fact a substantial majority).

‘As we believe this is an issue of paramount importance for the future of the radio industry, we have taken an active part in these discussions, and, like others, we have further studied the issues involved so that we may come to a carefully considered decision.  We wanted to share our conclusions in this regard, in the hope that it helps to clarify the public dialogue on this topic.  To be clear, we are fully supportive of and have endorsed the NAB proposal.

“It might be helpful to start with a little history as to why these rules exist. Regulation of public airwaves emerged in the 1930’s out of an effort to manage interference across the radio spectrum. Broadcast media ownership rules were introduced in 1940: the driving force then, as it has been for the many modifications that have taken place in the last 80 years, was the government’s desire to ensure that no one entity could exert too much influence over the flow of information, either nationally or in a single community.

“Reflecting the dynamic nature of media competition, these rules have undergone several modifications over the eight decades of their existence, each time to relax common ownership limits to reflect the competitive impact from changing technology. The proposal that the NAB sent to the FCC is simply the latest logical development in a conversation that dates back to 1940 and which, for the past eighty years and in each modification, has only been moving in one direction.

“The current numerical ownership limits were established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In the 22 years since then, the emergence of digital and social media, not to mention the pervasive use of smartphones and other devices, has fundamentally disrupted how information is disseminated locally and nationally. The competitive landscape for information, as well as audio entertainment, has changed dramatically. In radio, our main competitors (Facebook, Google, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and SiriusXM, for example) did not even exist in 1996. And yet, our rules are based on that era.

“Given the vastly different competitive landscape in the information marketplace, it follows logically that the rules that were intended to limit advantage and undue influence must themselves adapt or be eliminated altogether. The rules that were originally intended to level the playing field for other competitors 80 years ago are now a constraint that inhibits radio’s ability to compete, as well as attract capital and investment. After all, on the internet, none of our competitors are subject to any of these limitations, nor were Sirius and XM subject to similar limitations to prevent their merger ten years ago.

“In addition, we would note that there are several other important factors that further reinforce our decision on this topic: First, ownership restrictions limit the ability of local stations to take advantage of economies of scale that could bolster the industry’s financial position at a time of unprecedented competition. For radio companies to continue to serve the public interest by providing local news, local sports, local weather, and essential emergency programming, these companies need to be economically viable entities, free to compete for assets, capital, and resources on a level playing field with their competitors.

“Second, common ownership will drive more format diversity, as the NAB noted in its letter to the FCC. This serves the best interests of both audiences and advertisers.  Companies will use their additional stations to experiment and develop new and micro-targeted formats, rather than compete with their existing stations. These new formats will serve specific communities and demographics in ways that most of commercial radio does not do today. This will help radio serve its audience better by providing greater consumer choice, serve its advertisers better by offering broader audience reach, and help our industry compete with the virtually unlimited channels and micro-targeted audio audiences offered by digital and satellite competitors.

“Finally, while elimination of the cross-ownership restrictions between radio, TV, and newspapers by the FCC in 2017 was a welcome and long overdue step (particularly for the newspaper business, where we believe this step, if enacted a decade ago, could have helped to save hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs), it seems counter-intuitive to us that radio companies are now allowed to expand into other forms of media, but not to expand our offerings in radio itself.  Cross-ownership only makes sense if it is also accompanied by the opportunity and choice to expand within our own industry, and in the form of media that we know best.

“At the same time, we are of course aware of the arguments against modification of the ownership rules and have considered them carefully in arriving at our conclusions. We have heard an argument that the NAB’s proposal will hurt the value of AM radio. As significant owners of AM radio stations, we have an abiding interest in the value of these assets. Nevertheless, our self-interest does not override the fact that media ownership rules were not intended to provide economic subsidies or determine winners and losers, and to use them in that way today, to advance the interest of one class or company in particular, is a perversion of their intent. Rather, the best way to ensure the value of AM stations, and to deliver for the listeners of this service, is to provide essential and important programming, and unique and valuable benefits to advertisers. In that regard, we can point to several AM stations that continue to be successful: Entercom’s [all-news siblings] WINS and WCBS-AM in New York and [all-news] WBBM-AM in Chicago, as well as iHeartMedia’s [news/talk] KFI in Los Angeles.  These were four of the top ten billers in our industry in 2017.

“Of course, it is also a reality that many AM stations are struggling in today’s competitive environment.  We think that the FCC has already addressed this issue through its AM Revitalization Effort and has given AM stations, and their owners, every available opportunity to ensure their success and longevity, short of stepping in to interfere with the functioning of a free market. This would not be the appropriate role of a regulatory agency, nor would it comport with the free market principles to which we subscribe.

“We have also heard an argument that common ownership offers no benefit to the advertiser. We disagree, and, as noted above, believe that the benefits of common ownership that accrue to the listener in the form of greater format diversity will also benefit the advertiser. Our experience in competition with digital media has been that a key point of differentiation between offline and online advertising is the latter’s ability to micro-target audiences for an advertiser, based on very specific audience characteristics. We know that advertisers value this capability, and that it drives dollar shifting from radio to digital. In conjunction with investment into and development of our own data collection and advanced audience insights, the prospect of being able to offer a greater number of unique formats, along with the localism that is our medium’s hallmark, will enhance radio’s ability to present a competitive advertising solution versus digital and social media. Yes, it is better for our advertisers if we can deliver a better product.

“Complete agreement on any issue is difficult, but given the opportunity before the FCC right now, it was vital that we find consensus. Therefore, we are pleased that the NAB was able to develop a proposal that represented the consensus of a substantial majority of its board of directors, and we thank the staff members of the NAB and the members of the ownership committee (that was formed for this purpose) for their service to the industry. Anything short of providing the FCC with a framework for reforming the radio ownership rules would have been an abdication of the job that the NAB and its board are obligated to perform.

“We respect dissenting views on this topic and hope that our thoughts, as expressed in this letter, have added to the public discourse. We know that all opinions are the result of strong feelings about what is in the best future interests of this industry, which we all love.”

As #$X&!! Time Goes By

| February 19, 2018

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

BRADENTON, Fla. — As a little kid, if I said anything considered worse than “heck” or “darn” my mother would threaten to wash out my mouth with laundry soap. And, there was even a standard in the media set  by the Federal Communications Commission about a half-century ago that prompted a comedian named George Carlin to include into one of his stand-up routines that there were seven words you couldn’t say on the radio.  If you’re curious, you can look them up via Google.  But in today’s world, some of what was once called “foul language” appears to have become the norm in the broadcast community. I regularly hear these and worse from show hosts, daily.  I even hear some in produced commercials.

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