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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

| May 1, 2018

iHeartMedia Releases Q4 2017 and Full Year Financial Figures. The company did not release its 2017 fourth quarter and full-year financial numbers at the usual time due to its status in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but now gets permission from the court to do so.  For all of 2017, iHeartMedia’s consolidated revenue was $6.17 billion – down 1.4% from 2016.  Excluding the outdoor divisions (Americas Outdoor and International Outdoor), audio-focused iHeartMedia’s 2017 revenue was $3.44 billion – up 1.2% from 2016. For the fourth quarter of 2017, iHeartMedia was basically flat – up 0.3%.  In reviewing 2017, the company reports that growth in national revenue and other revenue were partially offset by lower local revenue. “National revenue grew due to an increase in national trade and barter, as well as increased sales in response to investment in our national platforms, including our programmatic buying platforms, primarily offset by a decrease in national traffic and weather revenue and lower political revenue.  Other revenue increased partially as a result of higher talent appearance fees. Local revenue decreased primarily as a result of lower spot and political revenue, partially offset by an increase in local trade and barter.”  See the filing here.

Bowen to Lead Sports Sales for Entercom in Chicago.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, former Cumulus Chicago VP and market manager Peter Bowen is joining Entercom’s Windy City operations to serve as director of sports sales for sports talk outlet WSCR “The Score” plus play-by-play for Bears, Bulls, and Cubs broadcasts.  Feder notes that Bowen is rejoining some of his old CBS RADIO colleagues at WSCR.  Bowen was director of sales for CBS’ Chicago and Los Angeles markets prior to taking the Cumulus gig in 2015.

Edison Research Releases ‘The Infinite Dial: Heavy Radio Listeners’ Report. The 2018 edition of Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial” looks at the media habits of American consumers and the “Heavy Radio Listeners” report “looks at the 30% of the American population ages 12 and over who are ‘Heavy Radio Listeners’ – defined as those who listened to more than one hour of radio in the last day.”  One of the findings is that one-fifth of radio’s biggest listeners currently own a smart speaker.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “At this time of industry transition, it is vital that radio managers have high-quality research that represents the full U.S. population to use to understand their audiences.  This look at the ‘Heavy Radio Listener’ from Infinite Dial allows everyone to understand not just what other kinds of audio and media people are using, but how ‘Heavy Radio Listeners’ compare to the population at large.  Readers of this report will see that the qualitative profile of ‘Heavy Radio Listeners’ is very strong.  This is the kind of information that radio managers can show to agencies and clients with confidence in the quality of the data.” See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new, Sunday podcast from Ben Shapiro becomes available this weekend as The Daily Wire and Westwood One launch “The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special.”  The idea behind the Sunday series is to provide more in-depth interviews, while not disrupting the fast-paced daily news format of the weekday show.  Shapiro says, “This show is going to be a long-form discussion about ideas with the nation’s best thinkers and biggest names. It’s all about enlightening and fascinating dialogue.  You can expect to know more when you’re done than you did when you hit play, and I’m supremely excited to be working with Westwood One to bring these conversations to listeners.  Even better, current Ben Shapiro Show subscribers don’t even need to hit a separate button to listen – these episodes will show up in their feed.”…..A round of cost-cutting changes have taken place at Salem Media Group’s RedState.com conservative media site.  According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, an internal memo from Townhall general manager Jonathan Garthwaite states: “We had to make some tough changes to RedState today.  While these changes are painful, they were necessary once we reached the conclusion that we could no longer support the entire roster of writers and editors.”  The CNN report cites a number of people associated with the site saying that although bloggers are paid based on “per-click” rate, those who were more “pro-Trump” survived the round of cuts.  RedState.com was founded 13 years ago by Erick Erickson, who hosts the 5:00 pm “Atlanta’s Evening News” on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta.  It was acquired by Salem as part of the Townhall Media addition to its portfolio…..“The Soul Brother Kevin Show” is the new evening program on Cox Media Group’s hot talk WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone.”  The program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm an features Soul Brother Kevin, A Cat Named Moe and Geo.  CMG Tampa director of branding and programming John Brennan says, “Kevin is a dynamic and special radio talent.  He has strong opinions and is unbelievably funny – the most important tools needed to host on ‘102.5 The Bone.’  I’m very excited to hear him on the host mic!”…..The Houston Chronicle’s Dave Barron reports that sports talk radio pro Adam Clanton has exited iHeartMedia’s KBME where he was co-host of the afternoon drive show with Jayson Braddock and Sean Jones.  Barron writes that neither iHeartMedia nor Clanton have commented publicly on his departure.  In the Houston market, Clanton has served with sports talk outlets KILT-AM and KGOW-AM.…..This weekend’s 144th running of the Kentucky Derby is being covered for radio by Westwood One in conjunction with NBC Sports Radio and the Horse Racing Radio NetworkMike Penna of the Horse Racing Radio Network anchors the Kentucky Derby coverage and will be joined by analyst and Keeneland announcer Kurt Becker.  Longtime horse race owner and radio executive Dan Mason, and horse racing reporter Tom Leach, will contribute to the coverage, while former jockey Jeff Bloom will serve as trackside reporter.

Alpha Media’s Bill McElveen Presented with BFoA’s Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award. Pictured above receiving the Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America is Alpha Media executive vice president Bill McElveen (center).  Presenting the award to him are BFoA chairman Dan Mason (left) and BFoA president Jim Thompson (right).  The Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award recognizes career contributions to the broadcast industry. McElveen says, “It is a great honor to receive the Ward L. Quaal Award for lifetime leadership to our industry.  I am grateful for all the mentors and coaches I’ve had throughout my career and I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of my Alpha Media family.”

Chuck Harder Dead at 74.  Talk radio host Chuck Harder died on April 10 at age 74, according to a story published at WorldNetDaily.  Harder was a pioneer in the early days of talk radio syndication with his Sun Radio Network and his Tampa-based “For The People” talk radio program.  Harder’s regular involvement in the talk radio business was sporadic in recent years with health issues reportedly taking their toll on him.

Stormy Daniels Sues Donald Trump, White House Correspondents Dinner, Israel Claims Proof Iran Cheats on Nuclear Deal, Mexico Border Security/Caravan Asylum Seekers, Trump-Russia Investigation, North-South Korea Talks, Rising Gas Prices, MLB Action and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30).  Porn star Stormy Daniels sues President Donald Trump for defamation; criticism of comedian Michelle Wolf’s routine at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims proof Iran is defying nuclear weapons restrictions; security at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of caravan asylum-seekers; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the peace talks between North and South Korea; the steadily rising price of oil; Major League Baseball and NBA playoffs action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country programming pro Ginny “Rogers” Brophy is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s WBWL, Boston “101.7 The Bull.”  iHeartMedia Boston SVP of programming Dylan Sprague says, “If you are doing country in Boston you better have Ginny on your team.  She is a great leader with years of success under her belt.  She is uniquely connected to the country music scene in both Nashville and New England, and most importantly, she is a fierce competitor who is eager to win.  We can’t wait to see what Ginny and the entire ‘Bull’ team can do together.”…..In the Kansas City market, Cumulus Media adds program director duties for alternative KCJK “X105.1” to the responsibilities of KCHZ-FM “95.7 The Vibe” PD and afternoon host Mike O’Reilly.  At the same time, the company announces that Al Payne joins the cluster to program urban AC KMJK. Kansas City native O’Reilly began his career at KCHZ in 1997.  He was named PD of the station in 2015.  Payne comes to Cumulus from his most recent gig with Beasley Media Group’s classic hip hop and R&B WMGC, Detroit “105.1 The Bounce.”  Cumulus Media Midwest RVP and KC market manager Donna Baker says, “Mike O’Reilly’s exceptional knowledge of these formats, passion to win, and respect as a leader on our team and in our community have earned this well-deserved promotion.  He is one of the best in the business.  Al Payne brings proven leadership with a clear vision of winning to the helm of our talented ‘Magic 107.3’ team. He is the perfect choice to rekindle KMJK to a new level of success.”…..Entercom announces that Kyle Matthews joins KFRG, Riverside “K-FROG” as midday air personality and imaging director. Southern California native Matthews says, “I couldn’t be more excited to be headed home to do what I love with a station that I’ve always wanted to work for.  Entercom Riverside has made a great impact within the community and I’m looking forward to being part of it.”  Matthews most recently served with NRG Media in Lincoln, Nebraska…..Albany country outlet WKLI-FM “100.9 The Cat” unveiled its new morning show today (5/1) with new co-host Kristina Carlyle partnering with station midday personality Pete Kelly for the “K.C. and Kelly in the Morning” program.   Carlyle joins the 6 Johnson Road Licenses station from Scripps’ country KVOO, Tulsa.  Station general manager A.J. Bodden says, “We could not be more excited about this dynamic duo taking over the airwaves and knocking the socks off ‘Cat’ listeners every morning. Kristina is an industry veteran with a tremendous track record that will be the perfect complement to Pete’s energy and enthusiasm.  Together they will bring a renewed energy and fresh sound to the mornings on ‘100.9 The Cat, Albany’s #1 for New Country.’”  The station moves morning host Kevin Richards to the midday slot to make room for the new show…..iHeartMedia Tampa Bay announces that Brandon “Buster” Satterfield is the new assistant program director for CHR WFLZ, Miami “93.3 FLZ.”  In this role, Satterfield will be responsible for the station’s music and programming content, as well its personalities and digital extensions.  He’ll report to WFLZ PD and iHM Tampa SVP of programming Tommy Chuck, who comments, “We’ve had our eyes on Buster for several years, so I’m excited – we’re lucky to have him join our team in Tampa Bay.  He’s creative, driven, and has performed at a high level during all of his previous stops.  Now, with all of the tools, resources and talent around him at iHeartMedia, I can’t wait to see how much of a winner he will be!”…..Morning personality Stacy Barton exits the morning show at Tyler Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KMGL, Oklahoma City “Magic 104.1” to spend more time with her family.  The morning show will continue with Steve O’Brien and “Magic Man” Jeff Roberts as “Steve and the Magic Man.”…..iHeartMedia is again presenting the iHeartRadio Music Festival on September 21 and 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, along with its Daytime Stage, that will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on Saturday.  The Daytime Stage will feature live performances by both popular and emerging artists including first-revealed performers: Dua Lipa, 5 Seconds of Summer, Lil Uzi Vert, Dustin Lynch, Bazzi, Belly, Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots, and Greta Van Fleet with more to be announced.  The main stage performance lineup for the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival will be announced at a later date…..Moyes Research Associates says it is now offering its ratings building services to stations in smaller markets.  MRA managing partner Bill Moyes says, “Lots of managers would love to achieve the ratings success of MORE-FM at Jerry Lee Radio’s WBEB, Philadelphia – a 38-year client of Moyes Research. Now, after more than three years of development work, we’re able to bring that kind of success to smaller markets at a price they can afford.  The success of MORE-FM is based on three elements: a strong brand, the secrets of an effective brand introduction, and a music product that is guided by research with format clocks and categories to rotate the music in a way that maximizes listening.  You have to have all three of those ingredients to win.”  Moyes says they tested a pilot program on Nicolet Broadcasting’s WRKU, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and the station has realized a 400% audience increase since then.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

| March 29, 2018

Don Imus Says ‘Good-Bye’ to Listeners After 50 Years On-Air.  Today (3/29) was the last live “Imus in the Morning” program on WABC, New York.  Don Imus served up an emotional monologue as only he could do, then left the broadcast booth and let “best-of” Imus show segments play for the rest of the morning.  Imus was forced into an early retirement by Cumulus Media’s need to cut costs as it moves through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  He said, “I know in my heart there’s been nobody ever better on the radio than me.  I mean that.  I’m telling you how it is.  Nobody ever did this.  Nobody.  But, it wasn’t me who did this.  I’m gonna miss you.  Because you were the one – and I don’t know who ‘you’ is – I always thought and still think I was always talking to one person.  I didn’t know if you were male or female, I just knew there was one person that I talked to and that would listen to me…I know you’re going to miss me, but you have no idea how much I’m gonna miss you.”

Ben Shapiro Returns to Radio with Westwood One-Distributed Daily Podcast.  Conservative media star Ben Shapiro says, “The Daily Wire and Westwood One are doing something unprecedented; we’re launching the first podcast-to-talk-radio transition ever.  And we’re doing it in five of the top 10 DMA markets in the country, which is amazing in and of itself — no show launches with this constellation of stations.  We already have an enormous digital audience and we can’t wait to extend that audience to more traditional platforms.”  Cumulus Media-owned stations WABC, New York; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; WYAY-FM, Atlanta and KKAT, Salt Lake City will air the program, as well as Bonneville‘s KTTH, Seattle (where Shapiro previously hosted his own talk radio show).  WLS-AM will air the program nightly from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  In New York, the show replaces the Curtis Sliwa-hosted “The Drive at Five” program at 5:00 pm ET.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb tells staff in a memo, “Curtis has held down the ‘Drive at Five’ for about two years and has done a magnificent job making that hour a strong round-up of the news of the day with the Curtis touch.  And yet, we have been given the opportunity to air one of the hottest commentators in the country in Ben Shapiro.  To say that he has hit the podcast world by storm would be an understatement.  Everyday, he is one of the top podcasters in any genre, ranking in the top 10 or top 15.  It’s for a reason.  He is brilliant, informative, and opinionated.  This podcast to broadcast is in the perfect spot between Savage and Levin.”

Curtis Sliwa to Appear at WLS-AM-Sponsored Screening of Vigilante.  Speaking of New York City icon Curtis Sliwa, he is in Chicago today for tonight’s appearance at the Chicago premiere of the Guardian Angel’s film Vigilante at the NBC Tower.  The event is taking place at the WLS-AM 890 Sound Lounge performance theatre and is being hosted by WLS-AM morning personalities Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens.  Sliwa will take part in a Q&A with premiere attendees.  He’s hosting his WABC, New York show from Chicago today.

WABC, New York Officially Announces Chris Plante Show for Late Mornings.  A couple of weeks ago TALKERS magazine reported that WABC, New York program director Craig Schwalb told the staff that WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based talk host Chris Plante would be filling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart when the “Bernie & Sid Show” moves to mornings on April 2.  Now, the station makes that official, welcoming Plante to the lineup.  The press release says the New York audience knows Plante from his work covering the U.S. military and intelligence community for CNN.  Plante says his political party is “Practi-crat,” “because of my distinctly practical political leanings…As any school child knows, as a broadcaster, if you could choose one radio station in one market in the English-speaking world, it would be WABC in New York.  I’m honored to join the team.”

Cumulus Media Releases Q4 2017 and Full-Year Financial Figures; Radio Group Down 3.9%.  The company as a whole reports net revenue down 1.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.  Separating the radio station group from syndicator and sales arm Westwood One, the radio station group dipped 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, while Westwood One rose 2.5%.  For all of 2017, Cumulus Media net revenue was basically flat at $1.13 billion; the radio group was down 1.9%; and Westwood One was up 2.8%.  President and CEO Mary Berner says, “Our 2017 financial performance is a true testament to our employees’ hard work and commitment to our turnaround plan.  Having also made the decision to definitively address our overleveraged balance sheet, we look forward to completing our financial restructuring and continuing our progress in the months ahead.”

Cumulus Responds to Objections to Plan of Reorganization.  After Wednesday’s filing of objections to Cumulus Media’s Plan of Reorganization by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Cross-Holder Committee, the company issued the following statement: “Today’s objections to our Plan of Reorganization by the UCC and the Cross Holders were anticipated – they are normal parts of the restructuring process and will not impact our restructuring timeline.  We look forward to emerging from the restructuring process with a stronger foundation and to continuing to execute our turnaround plan which remains on track both operationally and financially.  Both objections largely reiterate statements that have already been made through the restructuring, which we believe have no merit, and we remain confident that we will successfully address these claims through the Court process.”

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.  Comparing the January and February PPM surveys, 38% of public news/talk stations saw their 6+ AQH shares go up while 46% went down.  A year-over-year comparison indicates that 54% of stations in the survey went up (6+), with 36% losing AQH share.  During the February survey, two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KOPB, Portland – ranked #1 in their respective markets.  KQED also was #1 in the adjacent San Jose market.  See the whole report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Boston-based New England talk show host Howie Carr just published his latest book, this one a jab at Hillary Clinton’s book of the same name, titled, What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America from Hillary Clinton.  President Trump Tweeted praise for Carr’s book.  “@HowieCarrShow just wrote a book which everyone is talking about.  He was a great help.  He is a veteran journalist who had a great influence in NH and beyond.  He calls it the most amazing political campaign of modern times.  The book is called, ‘What Really Happened.’ Enjoy!”…..ESPN adds a new podcast from Bomani Jones to is slate of podcasts.  “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” launches on Tuesday, April 3.  New, hour-long episodes will drop each Tuesday and Thursday.  Jones says, “I’m really looking forward to rebooting ‘The Right Time’ and moving it into the future.  We want to do as much as we can with the flexibility of the podcast format to take what was a three-hour radio show and make it into an even better podcast.  I really think the audience we served before – many of whom consumed the show digitally – will be happier with what’s next and the content will attract new listeners.”…..SiriusXM is again providing comprehensive national audio coverage of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.  Subscribers can access live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason game, as well as 24/7 news, talk and analysis on the exclusive MLB Network Radio channel.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kim Jong Un in China, Stevens’ Second Amendment Repeal Suggestion, Parkland Student-Ingraham Feud, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, ‘Roseanne’ Re-Boot,’ Sacramento Unrest, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the suggestion by Republicans that the FBI, CIA, and the Obama Administration coordinated early in the investigation; the legal actions targeting President Trump related to the Stormy Daniels affair allegation; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un visits Chinese President Xi Jinping; the controversy over Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ editorial calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the feud between Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and FOX News’ Laura Ingraham; the legal battles over the California sanctuary cities policies; the success of the first episode of the “Roseanne” re-boot and Roseanne Barr’s support of President Trump; the unrest in Sacramento in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; today’s MLB season openers; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Chicago, Entercom makes changes in morning drive at CHR WBBM-FM “B96” and ousts “The J Show” with host J Niice, a.k.a. Jamar McNeil, and cast members Gabe, Shelly, and Minnie.  Meanwhile, Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is headed back to the Windy City to assume the morning daypart there…..Beasley Media Group adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is welcoming Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Rachael Ray as keynote speaker at the station’s 2nd annual “Her Story Luncheon” on Saturday, April 14.   The luncheon is being hosted by Kathy Romano, host of 95.7 BEN FM’s “Her Story” program.  The Saturday morning show features dynamic women who are making a significant impact in the community…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop WKTU, New York reveals the lineup for this summer’s “KTUphoria 2018” concert at Jones Beach Theater.  Performing this year will be: Dua Lipa, Ne-Yo, Charlie Puth, Enrique Iglesias, Sting & Shaggy, Pitbull and more to be announced…..Midwest Communications names Corey Schaefer brand manager for CHR KOYY, Fargo “Y94.”