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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

| May 11, 2022

Salem Media Group First Quarter Revenue Rises 5.5%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $62.6 million, an increase of 5.5% over the same period in 2021. Operating income was $5 million, up 14.2% from the same period a year ago. Salem posted net income of $1.7 million in Q1 of this year compared to the net income of $0.3 million reported for the same quarter in 2021. Breaking down the company’s data by segment, net broadcast revenue increased 10% to $48.4 million from $44 million in 2021, while digital media revenue increased 7.1% to $10.3 million from $9.6 million, and publishing revenue decreased 31.8% to $3.9 million from $5.7 million. Looking ahead, Salem Media Group says that for the second quarter of 2022, it is projecting total revenue to increase between 6% and 8% from second quarter 2021 total revenue of $63.8 million.

 

The Vastness of Night. “The two most effective, engaging forms of advertising are in-theatre and overnight radio,” says Walter Sterling. “Surrounded by darkness without distractions, the audience choses to receive the advertising message in the comfort of a bed, perfectly adjusted car seat, or reclining throne. Overnight radio is 25% of the broadcast day. Twenty-five percent. A locally hosted all-night show in a major city is a gift to listeners and advertisers.” You say you can’t afford an all-night talk radio host? Read more of what Walter Sterling has to say here.

 

Tom Millikan Upped to Assistant Brand Manager for WXYT-FM, Detroit. Executive producer Tom Millikan is promoted to assistant brand manager at Audacy’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit “97.1 The Ticket.” He will continue in his executive producer role for “The Morning Show with Stoney and Jansen.” Audacy Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Tom has done an outstanding job as an executive producer and has played a vital role in the success of the station. He is very deserving of this promotion and we look forward to even greater success with Tom in his new role.” Millikan comments, “Throughout my 20-plus years in radio, I’ve been blessed with countless memories of championships and pure joy. I’m living out a dream. I wanted to work in sports radio since the format exploded in the early 90s and I’ve been blessed by the tutelage of all of my co-workers and peers. I was born and raised in Detroit and Detroit sports are part of my DNA. Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”

 

ABC Audio Promotes Liz Alesse to VP. Rising from the director and executive producer of podcast programming position to vice president of ABC Audio is Liz Alesse. In this role, Alesse will oversee the organization’s entire audio business, including ABC News Radio, podcasts, and the entertainment content service. ABC News senior vice president of streaming and digital content Reena Mehta says, “She has been instrumental in growing and re-organizing our award-winning podcast team, developing successful content and monetization strategies, and partnering closely within the news division and across The Walt Disney Company to promote our work. Liz oversaw the successful launches of new podcasts, including, ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,’ ‘Close Up’ and ‘The Book Case with Kate and Charlie Gibson.’ She also spearheaded creating the ‘GMA’ Channel on Apple Podcasts, which holds the new ‘Good Morning America’ podcast and ABC Audio’s growing library of lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content. Under her leadership, the team received Webby Awards, a Gracie Award, GLAAD Special Recognition honors and more.”

 

Edison Research Q1 Top 50 Podcasts Chart; Controversy Has Not Hurt Joe Rogan. The Edison Podcast Metrics chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2022 has been released and the controversy surrounding Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2021 has not harmed listening; in fact, it appears to have helped it. Edison Research director of research Gabriel Soto says, “Despite a turbulent and controversial ride for Joe Rogan at the beginning of the quarter, his show not only remains the most popular in the U.S., but it has increased in listenership – distancing itself from the number two spot.” This chart by Edison ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on Edison Podcast Metrics (formerly known as the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report). Edison says its list is “the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks in the U.S. and measures based on actual podcast listening, not downloads, and does not require an opt-in from podcast networks. Some of the other podcasts making the chart connected to radio-oriented companies include: #6 “Stuff You Should Know” (iHeartPodcasts), #9 “The Ben Shapiro Show” (The Daily Wire), #18 “The Dan Bongino Show” (Cumulus Podcast Network), #31 “The Dave Ramsey Show” (The Ramsey Network), and #39 “The Mark Levin Show” (Cumulus Podcast Network).

 

TALKERS News Notes. According to data from Nielsen, Newsmax’s live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania rally pushed the network ahead of CNN in audience viewership on Friday night (5/6). Newsmax says that it pulled 738,000 total viewers between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET, with an evening prime-time average of 579,000 viewers. CNN peaked at 645,000 viewers during Anderson Cooper’s show, drawing an average audience of 545,000 on Friday night. Newsmax adds that for the past year, is has consistently held the position as the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel in the U.S. and a top-20 cable channel in daytime, according to Nielsen…..The Independent Broadcasters Association says it is delivering on its promise to provide an efficient way for members to share local talent in which all talent made available to members by members will be on a very affordable cash basis, eliminating the need for costly barter deals. IBA executive director Ron Stone comments, “One of the most costly expenditures for independent radio is paying for syndication, whether by cash, barter, or a combination thereof. Our goal is to provide our IBA members with an opportunity to choose cost-effective talent from other IBA members and eliminate the need to give local inventory to large networks that sell to the very clients we used to do business with nationally, and at far better prices than network pricing. This, I believe, is a huge opportunity to get back inventory used against us at extremely low prices.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Mark Esper Book, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, Musk & Twitter, COVID-19, and Western Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The state of the U.S. economy, the high cost of food and gasoline, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and the U.S. House approves aid to Ukraine; former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s book,  A Sacred Oath, that paints former President Donald Trump in an unflattering light; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; and the drought affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

| May 5, 2022

Urban One First Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 23%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One – says its net revenue was approximately $112.3 million, an increase of 23% from the same period in 2021. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $48.4 million, an increase of 33% from the same period in 2021. Net income was approximately $16.4 million or $0.32 per share (basic) compared to $7,000 or $0.00 per share (basic) for the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III, states, “We had extremely strong first quarter performance across the platform, with advertising revenues up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 49.5%, cable TV advertising revenues were up 46.9%, and radio advertising, excluding political and digital, was up 17.4%. This enabled us to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 38.9% year-over-year, and by $14.3 million or 51.6% vs. Q1 2019. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 11.5% compared to Q1 2019. Second quarter core radio advertising is pacing up mid-single digits, as we start to lap the tougher comps from 2021. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, with $166.4 million of cash and net leverage down to 4.07x.”

 

Cumulus Announces $25 Million Stock Buyback. On the heels of yesterday’s first quarter financial report and the board’s authorization of a $50 million buyback program, Cumulus Media Inc. announces its intention to commence a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase up to $25 million of shares of its Class A common stock, or such lesser number of shares of its Class A common stock as are properly tendered and not properly withdrawn, at a price not greater than $16.50 and not less than $14.50 per share of Class A common stock, to the tendering shareholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest (the “Offer”). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Following yesterday’s announcement of the board’s authorization of a $50 million share buyback program, we are launching this tender as a first step in our capital return plan. This action is underpinned by our strong financial and operating momentum, our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued and our desire to allow shareholders who seek it the ability to take advantage of the liquidity we can provide them. It is also our expectation that, even with this tender offer, we will be below our target of 3.5x net leverage by year end with significant continuing liquidity and financial flexibility for accretive M&A.” Cumulus will conduct the Offer by means of a procedure commonly called a “modified Dutch auction.” This procedure allows shareholders to select the price, within a price range specified by Cumulus, and the number of shares they are willing to sell at that price (or, should a higher price be determined as the “purchase price,” such higher price). The Offer is being made under Cumulus’s previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.

 

Saga Communications Net Revenue Increases 12% in Q1 of 2022. For the first three months of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc. net revenue increased 12% to $25 million compared to $22.3 million for the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 17.8% to $5.6 million and operating income was $1.7 million compared to $883,000 for same period a year ago. Saga reports net income of $1.2 million compared to net income of $758 thousand for Q1 of 2021. The company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on April 8, 2022. The aggregate amount of the quarterly dividend was approximately $970 thousand. Additionally, the company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share and a special dividend of $0.50 per share on January 14, 2022. To date Saga has paid over $78 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. Saga Communications reports that it had $55.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2022.

 

Russia-Ukraine War Correspondent Gregg Stebben is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran media editor/reporter Gregg Stebben is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Stebben is a former longtime editor of Men’s Health magazine who served 20 years as its radio spokesperson. He is currently reporting on a volunteer basis back to the U.S. via the beamz.live platform from Poland and Ukraine where he has been interviewing refugees and local citizens in both adjacent nations in addition to doing whatever he can to provide comfort and support to the frightened, displaced people in conjunction with international humanitarian groups. Harrison caught up with Stebben on the Ukrainian side of the border on May 2. They discuss the human element of the crisis and the catastrophic impact and escalating deadly potential of the war. Harrison states, “Not only is the information being gathered by Stebben of great value, he is a shining example of independent talk radio reporting in action serving as a one-man field unit reporting on the war while supporting Ukraine as a volunteer. I find his effort truly inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

Premiere of 2,000 Mules Takes Place at Mar-a-Lago. The premiere of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film 2,000 Mules took place last night (5/4) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida as former president Donald J. Trump presided over the event. The film was executive produced by Salem Media Group and a number of its current and former talk hosts appear in the documentary. Pictured above are (from l-r): D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka, Eric Metaxas, Trump, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk, and Dennis Prager.

 

Triton Digital Streaming Metrics Ranker for March 2022 Released. The Streaming Metrics Ranker for the U.S. for March of this year has been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions and charts the top 25 performing digital audio publishers. For the daypart 6am-12am Mon-Sun, iHeartMedia leads the pack with 303,162 AAS. Some of the other radio-related companies appearing in the ranker include at #2 NPR Member Stations (81,035 AAS), #3 Audacy (69,281 AAS), #4 Cumulus Streaming Network (42,569 AAS), #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (19,203 AAS), #8 Hubbard Broadcasting (15,233 AAS), #11 Salem Communications (9,591 AAS), #12 Urban One (8,577 AAS), and #13 Bonneville International 7,612 AAS). See the complete ranker here.

 

WCKG-AM, Chicago Owner Buying Time on WLS-AM to Reach Voters for U.S. Senate Campaign. Chicagoland radio station owner Matt Dubiel – whose company DuPage Radio LLC owns and operates talk outlet WCKG-AM, Elmhurst – is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and is taking an interesting tack in his campaign. He says in a press release that “in the spirit of former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot, Illinois businessman Matt Dubiel has purchased airtime on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.” He will host a two-hour show every Saturday afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm until the primary election on June 28. Dubiel adds, “Nothing can replace the reach of radio. I’m consistently being shadow-banned on social media, corporate media refuses to cover my campaign, and the issues we need to discuss like CRT/SEL in schools, medical freedom, and other hot topics are virtually banned on social platforms that censor We the People, in America! The Illinois GOP even has me blocked on Twitter, and I’m running on their ticket! Hosting my own show on the radio home of Bongino, Shapiro, and Levin will allow Dubiel to speak directly to the people. The people in every county across Illinois need to know they have a guy who will actually represent them for a change. I am looking forward to talking to ALL Illinoisians about the issues that matter to them.” The 45-year-old Dubiel says he began his career in radio at 17, interning for the legendary Steve Dahl. He worked his way up through the radio ranks in Chicago, serving as a producer and talent, before transitioning into management.

 

Jeff Katz Show Honored by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left) as the governor recognizes the 6th anniversary of Katz’s “Lt. Jan McTernan Blue Friday Honors Program” that pays tribute to Central Virginia police officers by highlighting their positive contributions.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Jon Zaghloul is being promoted to sports director at DuPage Radio LLC’s WCKG-AM, Elmhurst, Illinois. In this new role, Zaghloul will continue to host his weekend program “Sports Talk Chicago” on the station. He says, “I am honored to be a part of this exciting new challenge with WCKG. Over the past two years with the station, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide Chicagoans with hard-hitting sports opinions and insightful interviews. Now, it is time to expand our iconic brand, and I am actively on the hunt for both fresh, and established local sports talent to bolster our daily lineup.”…..Los Angeles Comic Con, partners with iHeartRadio to produce the podcast, “Comic Con Meta*Pod.” The show launched on Wednesday (5/4) with a “May the 4th Star Wars” special featuring “Mandalorian” actor Giancarlo Esposito, “Clone Wars” and “Bad Batch” composer Kevin Kiner, and more. The podcast is hosted by Hector Navarro and art/culture critic Joelle Monique…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” afternoon drive host Shannon Burke (left) with former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik (right). Kerik appeared on Burke’s radio show on Wednesday (5/4) and the two discussed Kerik’s former police chief role in New York City, working with Donald Trump, the January 6 Committee, and more. “Florida Man Radio” is broadcast on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach.

 

Roe v Wade Leak/Protests, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Economy, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and Dave Chapelle Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade and the protests taking place around the country; the Fed raises interest rates a half percent and the effect of high gas and food prices; the primary elections for November’s midterm races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe and the global economy; Donald Trump Jr. sits for testimony before the January 6 committee; concerns about new Omicron variants causing a summer wave of infections; and Dave Chapelle is attacked while on stage at the Hollywood Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

| May 4, 2022

Cumulus Media 2022 First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 15%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Cumulus Media’s total net revenue for the period was $232 million, an increase of 15% over the same period in 2021. The company says it was the fifth straight quarter of sequential improvement in revenue performance versus a comparable quarter in 2019. Cumulus also reports a Q1 net loss of just $0.9 million, down from the net loss of $21.9 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. The broadcast radio segment is broken into two parts – spot, which rose 11.9% over the same period a year ago, and network, which was up 5.2%. The company’s digital segment was up 18%, led by digital marketing services (+35%) and podcasting (+22%). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Our outstanding first quarter results once again demonstrate the positive impacts of our ‘audio-first’ strategy to transform the company from a one-dimensional radio broadcaster to a multi-dimensional audio media company. Following a strong 2021 performance, this quarter’s results underscore our ability to deliver value to our shareholders through sustained profitable top- and bottom-line growth and balance sheet de-levering. We delivered sequential revenue improvement for the fifth straight quarter versus the comparable 2019 quarter, grew EBITDA by 250% year-over-year, and generated continued strong cash from operations, which collectively allowed us to achieve the company’s lowest net leverage in over a decade. Given our best-among-peers balance sheet, strong financial momentum and the company’s positive 2022 outlook, we expect ongoing cash flow generation that will support a meaningful return of capital to shareholders now and in the future. Accordingly, as a first step, today we are announcing a $50 million share repurchase program with a plan to commence share repurchases in the near-term. This capital return program is underpinned by our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued.”

 

Cumulus Rejects Unsolicited Acquisition Bid. The last sentence of Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner’s statement outlining its first quarter results says it all: “The company is significantly undervalued.” That was also the theme of a memo from Berner to Cumulus shareholders regarding the unsolicited offer from a consortium led by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw to acquire Cumulus. Berner says, “The company recently received an indication of interest in acquiring the company for $15 to $17 per share. After a careful and thorough review, conducted in consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the board unanimously concluded that the indication of interest significantly undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of its shareholders. The company’s board is open to all paths that continue to drive superior shareholder value. Our strong momentum across business lines, multiple digital revenue growth drivers, operational efficiency and superior cash flow provide the company with substantial untapped upside that it expects to continue to realize on behalf of its shareholders. Given these facts and circumstances, the board unanimously believes execution of the company’s strategy will deliver significantly more value to shareholders than this indication of interest.”

 

Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ Debuts This Week. The Bill O’Reilly-hosted program from Key Networks debuts this week on 58 stations across the U.S. Key Networks says “No Spin News” is “a full hour of trailblazing journalist and bestselling author O’Reilly’s fair, smart, fact-based analysis” airing every weeknight. The one-hour show has been airing in New York on 77 WABC for over a year under the title, “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” The program now joins the suite of shows syndicated by Key Networks that includes: “The O’Reilly Update,” “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” and “The O’Reilly Update – Weekend Edition.” O’Reilly says, “We are beyond happy that radio stations from coast-to-coast are spreading the ‘No Spin’ mantra. We provide something that’s badly needed in the USA: honest fact-based analysis.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green comments, “Based on the success of ‘The O’Reilly Update,’ the marketplace was ready for more content from Bill O’Reilly. ‘No Spin News’ provides analysis on what is happening in the world that listeners want to hear. This is content you won’t get anywhere else, and I expect stations to add Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ in large numbers!”

 

WABC-TV, New York Opens Long Island Bureau at Hofstra University. New York City’s WABC-TV is opening a new, Long Island bureau today (5/4) inside the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. The small bureau will have a full-time reporter and two production trucks in Long Island, New York. WABC has a history of supporting the journalism program at the university, donating significant quantities of valuable equipment and providing internship and career opportunities for many students. Hofstra students will have regular exposure to WABC journalists, expanded internships, guest lectures and seminars held by WABC professionals. The Long Island bureau, located in the newsroom of Hofstra’s award-winning, student-run radio station, WRHU-88.7 FM, reinforces WABC-TV’s commitment to Long Island, as well as the Herbert School’s commitment to community journalism, including the newly launched community news site, LongIslandAdvocate.com. Lawrence Herbert School of Communication dean Mark Lukasiewicz states, “Our journalism program emphasizes experiential, hands-on learning and encourages our student journalists to engage with Long Island communities to tell impactful stories. The Eyewitness News Long Island bureau, located alongside WRHU’s newsroom, will provide that kind of hands-on opportunity – a daily chance for students to observe and learn from great local journalists doing the work of New York’s top broadcast news operation.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Rob Carson Show” joins the 1400 Investments, LLC-owned Nevada Talk Network. The program, syndicated by Newsmax and airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, is being heard on KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks-Carson City; KDJJ-FM, Fernley-Fallon; KPKK-FM, Amargosa Valley; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPVM-TV 25.6, Pahrump…..The syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – adds new affiliate station KTXW-AM/FM, Austin “The Bridge” to its roster of affiliate stations…..FOX Nation – FOX News Media’s “on-demand streaming service designed to complement the FOX News Channel experience with a members-only destination for its most passionate and loyal super fans” – is premiering a documentary series about music and television industry star Sharon Osbourne in September. Titled “Sharon Osbourne: To Hell & Back,” the four-part program features “a candid and heartfelt look into Osbourne’s personal and professional life, highlighting how she found herself in the crosshairs of the cancel culture movement after exiting CBS’s ‘The Talk.’”…..SiriusXM is presenting nationwide, comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/7). The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network.

 

Roe v Wade Leak, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). Reactions to the leak of a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the primary elections in Ohio and Indiana, the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the activity on the world’s financial markets, the supply chain woes, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the effects across the globe; and concerns about new Omicron variants and the possibility of a serious summer COVID wave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

| November 9, 2021

Audacy Third Quarter Net Revenue up 23%. Reporting its 2021 third quarter financial data, Audacy says net revenue was $329.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to the same period in 2020. Spot revenue was $220.6 million, up 21% compared to Q3 of 2020 and digital revenue was $61.4 million, up 30% compared to the same period a year ago. Operating income for the quarter was $29.2 million, compared to an operating loss of $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2020. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field says, “I am pleased to report that Audacy continues to rebound from the pandemic, as third quarter revenues grew 23% over the prior year and 8% sequentially over the second quarter, while EBITDA grew 58% year over year. While many ad categories remain highly impacted as a result of the pandemic, it is great to see an increasing number of categories back above 2019 spending levels. During October, we announced the acquisition of WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming and ad tech business, which we have relaunched as AmperWave, enabling us to accelerate our digital product roadmap and enhance our growth potential… And our podcast studios had a strong quarter of creative, premium original content development including the first release from our 2400Sports studio, our first C13 Features ‘movie for your ears’ in partnership with Endeavor, and the ‘Succession’ companion podcast hosted by Kara Swisher in partnership with HBO Max. We continue to rapidly evolve and fundamentally elevate the organization through a series of strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, talent additions and premium content development and are well positioned to accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunities in the dynamically growing audio marketplace.”

Cumulus Audio Active Group: October PPM Audiences Increase. This week’s Cumulus Media Audio Active Group blog focuses on recent information from Nielsen Audio that “as COVID infections fall, public concern over COVID wanes, and commutes to work and school resume,” American AM/FM radio listening “has increased to new highs in the October 2021 48 Portable People Meter markets.” Other noteworthy data includes: 1) Consumers are on the road in their cars; Geopath reports U.S. October 2021 miles traveled were 7% greater than October 2019; Apple Maps says October 2021 driving search volumes surged 59% past pre-COVID levels; 2) U.S. AM/FM radio had its strongest reach performance since COVID, recovering 99% of the March 2020 PPM cume audience in PPM markets; 3) Nielsen October 2021 PPM AQH audiences rose to 96% of March 2020 levels, the second best showing since the pandemic; and 4) Morning audiences exploded to their highest levels in 20 months; Versus a year ago, women 25-54 AQH increased 20% and teen AQH rose a massive 74%. See more from the blog here.

SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Announces Hunger Strike Over Voting Rights Bill. Morning drive talk host Joe Madison says he’s beginning a hunger strike in protest of voting rights not getting passed in the Senate. Madison – a.k.a. The Black Eagle – hosts the morning show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. He says, “As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today by abstaining from eating until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives and both have stalled in the Senate. Madison adds, “I call it basically starving for voting rights. And that began on this date. And I repeat just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy. Yes, my life matters. My health matters, but our right to vote matters more.”

Hot Radio Guest Speaks at Major Libertarian Gathering. Emeritus finance professor Dr. Murray Sabrin of Ramapo College in New Jersey – one of conservative and liberty-minded talk radio’s most popular “go-to” guests for three decades – recently spoke at the Mises Institute “Supporters Summit” in St. Pete Beach, Florida and outlined his provocative and innovative strategy for medical freedom. Sabrin is the author of Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life: The Case for a Single Payer System, where the individual/family is the single payer not the government. In Sabrin’s proposal, medical freedom consists of cash payment for routine care, a super health savings account for more expensive treatment and a catastrophic insurance policy. Also, Sabrin advocates a massive expansion of nonprofit medical centers to replace the $700 billion Medicaid program. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who advocates Medicare for All, a government single payer system, to a debate so the American people can hear two diametrically opposing views on the future of medical care in America. To book Professor Sabrin as a hot guest, contact Victoria Jones of DC Radio Company at 917-865-3991 or victoria@dcradiocompany.com.  To view Dr. Murray Sabrin’s 20-minute speech at the Mises Institute event, please click here.

Outkick Partners with Skyview Networks for Ad and Affiliate Sales, Content Distribution. The new relationship between OutKick’s sports talk network and Skyview Networks will have the latter providing network ad sales, affiliate sales and content distribution to Outkick, beginning with the “Outkick 360” program starring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. Outkick founder Clay Travis says, “We’re thrilled to work with Skyview to expand OutKick’s brand and reach. Beginning with the ‘OutKick 360’ show, we’re working with the best talent to bring authenticity, perspective and fun back to sports radio. Radio is at the core of OutKick, and we could not ask for better partners than Skyview to grow our network.” Skyview COO and president Steve Jones adds, “We’re excited to be working with the OutKick team in launching a new sports network that provides radio stations dynamic and entertaining programming that will drive ratings and revenue. OutKick’s engaging and knowledgeable hosts with their fan-first sports perspective matched with sports wagering analysis to capture gaming revenue sponsorships fit perfectly with Skyview’s #1 local play-by-play sports position in network radio.”

Audacy Names Brian Benedik Chief Revenue Officer. Media executive Brian Benedik is named chief revenue officer for Audacy, effective December 1. Benedik was most recently VP/global head of revenue for augmented reality developer Niantic. In his new role with Audacy, he’ll lead all aspects of revenue generation across corporate, national, regional and local levels and develop fully integrated, multiplatform sales solutions and breakthrough strategies to attract new revenue streams. Audacy COO Susan Larkin comments, “We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to Audacy and our executive leadership team. His resume speaks for itself, with key roles at audio publishers like Spotify, iHeart Radio, Audible and Katz Media, where his strategic vision enabled the former to quickly elevate from a newcomer in our industry to a multi-billion-dollar leader in the audio streaming space. Brian’s considerable expertise and experience will amplify our revenue generation efforts as Audacy continues its upward trajectory.” Benedik states, “The audio industry is booming with innovation and consumers are enjoying wonderful content experiences across a number of platforms. The Audacy re-imagination efforts are beyond impressive and the portfolio of assets across radio, streaming, podcast, live events, sports play-by-play and sports betting are best in class. I’m looking forward to working with David Field, Susan Larkin and the Audacy executive team to drive value to marketers and our loyal users.”

Biden’s Low Approval Ratings, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, COVID Travel Ban Lifted, China’s Military Aggression, and Astroworld Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). President Joe Biden’s approval ratings slip to an all-time low of 38% with Americans saying he’s not focusing on the most important issues; the effects of the broken global supply chain, soaring retail prices and record high gas prices; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Appeals Court halt of Biden’s vaccine mandate, and the controversial case of Aaron Rodgers; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the U.S. lifts the international travel ban; China’s war games using U.S. ship mock-ups; and the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, November 5, 2021

| November 5, 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, “What’s Left?” looks back at this past week of 11/1 – 11/5. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County, TN/former world champion (Kane), WWE; and Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel. 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; 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 or call 616-884-8616.

iHeartMedia Q3 Net Revenue Up 25%. On revenue of $928 million, iHeartMedia Inc is up 25% over the same period in 2020. For the third quarter of 2021 the company reports net income of $3.7 million, compared to the net loss of $32 million it reported in the third quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia now reports its financials in two segments – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group. iHeartMedia says the Digital Audio Group was up 77% on revenue of $206 million and adds that podcast revenue was up 51% year-over-year. The Multiplatform Group – including broadcast radio and network radio – was up 18.7% on revenue of $659 million compared to the same period in 2020. In this segment, the company explains, “Broadcast revenue grew $79 million, or 19.5% year-over-year, while Networks grew $8.9 million, or 7.5% year-over-year. Revenue from Sponsorship and Events increased by $13.8 million, or 47.6% year-over-year, primarily as a result of the return of live events. These increases were partially offset by a $15.1 million decrease in political revenue compared to the same period in 2020, which was a presidential election year.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our strong results this quarter are further evidence of the success of our company’s continuing transformation – data-led, digital and podcast focused, along with the unparalleled audience reach of our broadcast radio assets, and supported by the largest sales force and the only unified ad tech stack in audio advertising – all with the strong flywheel effect of our scale and leadership position. These results highlight both the strong growth and potential of our digital business, including podcasting, and the strong recovery and growth potential of our radio business.”

Salem Media Group Third Quarter Revenue Rises 8.8%. Reporting its financial data for the third quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group says revenue was $66 million, an increase of 8.8% over the same period in 2020. Operating income increased 232.5% to $15.8 million from $4.8 million and net income rose to $22.1 million, up 194% over the $329,000 net income it posted in Q3 of 2020. Salem breaks its financial reports into three segments: Broadcast, Digital Media, and Publishing. For the Broadcast segment, net revenue increased 9.3% to $49.6 million from $45.4 million, and Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 8.9% to $49.1 million from $45.1 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue of $10.6 million, an increase of 8.5% from $9.8 million in Q3 of 2020 and operating income decreased 10.8% to $2.4 million from $2.7 million. Salem’s Publishing revenue was $5.7 million, an increase of 5.6% over the same period in 2020.

Round Four of October 2021 PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s October 2021 sweep covered September 16 – October 13. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM loses one-tenth and finishes with a 6.3 share (6+, AQH share) good for the #4 rank while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown WPTF was down two-tenths for a 2.2 share and the #15 rank. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis slips two-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and slides down to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ-AM rises seven-tenths for a 9.8 share finish and remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN-AM tacks on four-tenths for a 9.3 share and the #2 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM falls out of first place to #2 after slipping five-tenths to a 7.3 share and in Providence, the company’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM climbs from #8 to #5 after adding nine-tenths to finish with a 5.1 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

MIW Webinar: Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio group, along with sponsor vCreative, are joining forces to recognize and celebrate women in radio whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their stations and groups. The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence” is being held Thursday, December 2, from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s operations: Becky Deneger, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Hedrick says, “The women on this panel exemplify the spirit of our industry. They fearlessly embrace technology, never back away from a challenge, and approach their jobs with curiosity and passion. Although operating mostly behind the scenes, they are the first to be called for the toughest projects. It is my honor to shine a spotlight on their careers, the attitudes that define them, and the positive impact that they have on their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. The results of “The Black Podcast Listener Report” – a recent study conducted by Edison Research in partnership with SXM Media and Mindshare – will be presented at a webinar on November 16 at 2:00 pm ET. The study – which examines how Black Americans consume podcasts, including podcast discovery, device usage, and reasons for listening – reveals that 36% of Black Americans age 18+ are monthly podcast listeners. The report also includes findings on how Black Americans feel about podcast advertisements, podcasts with video components, the topics and genres they are most interested in, and the importance of Black creators in podcasting. Find out more about the study here…..iHeartMedia announces the launch of “iHeartRadio’s Black and Inspired HBCU Celebration,” presented by Hyundai. The four-episode podcast series celebrates Black culture and the passionate alumni community of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. iHeartMedia EVP of programming Thea Mitchem says, “As an HBCU graduate, I know first-hand Historically Black Colleges and Universities have an unparalleled impact on our community and play a vital role in Black students’ success across the country. These intimate conversations will help to educate, uplift and amplify the Black community and its aspiring young leaders, and we’re thrilled that these important voices will be able to reach millions of listeners through iHeart’s massive digital and broadcast reach.”…..Meadowlark Media – the media company recently launched by Dan LeBatard and former ESPN chief John Skipper – along with Advance Local announces the release of a multi-part investigative podcast series, “The Mayor of Maple Avenue” – based on the story of Shawn Sinisi, the only Jerry Sandusky victim known to have died since the former Penn State University assistant coach went to prison on 45 counts of sexual abuse. The podcast series features the reporting of Sara Ganim, who broke the original story for The Patriot-News and PennLive.com and later won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage…..WNYC editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper announces that Veronica de Souza joins the company as director of digital news & audience. De Souza started her media career in radio, working in promotions and later production at CBS Radio, Music Choice and New York all-news 1010 WINS. Most recently, she was senior director of publishing at Vice Media. In her new role at WNYC, she’ll oversee an audience development team that will develop and execute a social, newsletter and audience-acquisition strategy; a data visualization team that will create sticky, utility-based content for readers and listeners; a web production team that will help program a redesigned Gothamist website; and the Day-Of News desk…..Virtual News Center adds Stony Creek Broadcasting’s WNSX, Bar Harbor, Maine to its roster of affiliate stations…..The Texas Radio Hall of Fame is partnering with PickleJar to bring tomorrow’s annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony to audiences across the country and around the world. The event takes place at 12:00 noon CT from the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore, Texas, and will feature the induction of 20 new broadcast professionals in a two-hour presentation combining video and live acceptance speeches by those being honored. TRHOF executive director Doug Harris says, “When we first learned of Pickle Jar’s revolutionary way of connecting fans and bands, we were intrigued by its application to our needs. Judy Lakin, PickleJar board member, was able to connect the dots for us and bring this historic broadcast to life for our inductees and their families and fans.”

Tuesday’s Elections Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 1-5. Tuesday’s elections that saw Republican Glenn Youngkin win the Virginia Governor’s seat over Democrat Terry McAuliffe was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was school board politics tied with race relations, followed by the controversy over COVID-19 vaccines, and masks & vaccine mandates 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.

Salem New York Seeks Digital Specialist. The New York City operations of Salem Media Group is looking for a digital specialist. “If you love this segment of the broadcast business, then you want to work at Salem media in New York. While we have two booming radio stations in NYC, our digital business has taken off as well. Come join us please! Contact Jerry Crowley at: jcrowley@nycradio.com.

Audacy Seeks Programming Coordinator. This position is in New York City as Audacy is seeking a skilled programming coordinator to provide project management and administrative support to the core programming leadership group there. Some of the responsibilities in this position include: Assisting in the planning and organizational management tasks around programming, content and creative with a large portfolio of radio stations and digital content platforms; helping develop and implement consumer marketing and advertising campaigns in select markets to drive ratings; coordinate planning, tracking, contracts, art/creative proofing, and execution & trafficking of various media (OOH and digital, figures prominently); creating, modifying and maintaining spreadsheets, databases and preparing reports; ensuring billing procedures run smoothly; plus more. Find out more and apply here.