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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

| February 8, 2022

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 3.3%. Reporting its financial data from the fourth quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group reveals net revenue was $70.7 million, an increase of 3.3% over the same period in 2020 that the company says primarily reflects “a year-over-year increase in audio and digital advertising revenue and other revenue due to the continued recovery of the commercial advertising market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by a decrease in political revenue.” For the whole of 2021, Beasley reports net revenue of $241.4 million compared to net revenue of $206.1 million for all of 2020. The company reports operating income of $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to operating income of $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease largely reflects higher operating expenses related to its digital agency build out, and the return of certain expenses that had been reduced in 2020 due to temporary measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Beasley delivered a strong finish to a solid year of operating and financial performance, as the strength of our content and continuing improvement in advertising trends, combined with the ongoing success of our digital transformation and revenue diversification strategies, continue to fuel our recovery. Throughout the year, we made significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as reflected by the 17% increase in full-year net revenues to $241 million. Top-line growth was the primary factor contributing to a 75% year-over-year increase in Station Operating Income to $42 million. Overall, we believe these results demonstrate the strength and relevance of our industry-leading audio content and our teams’ extraordinary efforts to serve our listeners, customers and communities through challenging circumstances. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 47.3% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 15% of total fourth quarter revenue. Notably, our digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the third consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 20% over third quarter 2021 levels and 39% over the prior year period. Total outstanding debt as of December 31, 2021 was $300 million and we had $51.4 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth or provide synergies and increased free cash flow.”

Melissa Rapp Named SVP of Affiliate Sales for Key Networks. Media sales pro Melissa Rapp is named senior vice president, affiliate sales for Key Networks. Rapp was most recently with SDS as vice president of sales. During her career she’s also served with vCreative and MediaSpan Online Services and has held sales positions at several radio stations. Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “As we continue to build a best-in-class organization at Key Networks, we are delighted to welcome Melissa Rapp to lead our affiliation efforts. Melissa has extensive contacts in the industry, understands broadcasters’ needs and has the confidence from affiliates that she will deliver best-in-class products and services for their stations.” Rapp comments, “I’ve known Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz and COO Dennis Green for many years, and I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with them. My passion has always been to help stations be more efficient and serve their communities with the best possible product. It’s a great time to be in radio and a grand time to represent the premium talent and programming at Key Networks!”

Carl Jackson Podcast Joins Salem Podcast Network. The host who filled in for Larry Elder during his hiatus from radio to run for governor of California in September’s recall election is getting his podcast added to Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network. Carl Jackson’s eponymous podcast launched yesterday (2/7) with new episodes dropping each weekday. In addition to subbing for Elder, Jackson has also been regularly heard on WORL-AM, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer.” Salem VP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Carl Jackson has an amazing story, and every day on this podcast he will be telling it. When Larry Elder took his leave of absence to run for California governor, Carl took over and never missed a beat. He is smart, articulate, and fearless.” Jackson comments, “I’m absolutely humbled and excited to be a part of the team on the Salem Podcast Network. This opportunity is proof that the American Dream is alive and well when you work hard. I look forward to reaching a new audience with this podcast that will help me fight to save America as we know it.”

NRG Media Promotes Jim Smith to COO. Media executive Jim Smith is promoted to chief operating officer at NRG Media, LLC. Smith has served the company as chief financial officer for the past 14 years. NRG says Smith will continue to oversee the financial component of NRG Media as the company’s CFO but will add leading the operational oversight of NRG’s nine markets and 38 radio stations throughout the Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin to his duties. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “Jim understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio and plays an instrumental role in leading the company through operational challenges created by the pandemic over the last two years.”

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ Tops Edison Research’s Podcast Chart. This chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. from Edison Research is based on Edison’s Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, which Edison says is the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks and is also the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads. For the fourth quarter of 2021, Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” ranked #1, followed by The New York Times’ “The Daily” at #2 and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. Edison says its podcast chart “is derived from data collected continuously Q1 2021 – Q4 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information.” Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Spotify, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more. You can see the complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM news anchor Mariam Sobh is launching a new podcast titled, “News with a Bite,” in collaboration with former WGN-AM programmer Todd Manley of EarSight Studios. Feder writes, “In addition to highlighting news headlines with Sobh’s commentary, the podcast features sketches, comedy songs and in-depth interviews with a variety of guests.”…..AdLarge announces the addition of the “Late Night Drive with Ellie Schnitt” podcast to its ad sales portfolio. The podcast expands on health and wellness content, specifically focusing on mental health, love, and navigating adult life. Schnitt is the former host of the popular Barstool Sports podcast, “Schnitt Talk.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association will enshrine Rick Alloway, Gary Kerr and Neil Nelkin into its Hall of Fame at a celebration scheduled for August 9 in Lincoln, during the 87th Annual NBA Convention. Rick Alloway worked for KFOR, Lincoln from 1972-1984 as an announcer, producer, promotions director and operations manager. Nelkin’s career includes work as an announcer, talk show host, program director, operations manager, station manager and co-owner. He continues to stay active in Omaha radio, at both NRG Media and at Walnut Media.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, SCOTUS Redistricting Decision, Spotify-Joe Rogan Controversy, January 6 Investigation/Trump Documents Question, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The diplomatic tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the loosening of mask mandates, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the Supreme Court sides with the Alabama GOP over its new congressional map; the ongoing controversy over Spotify’s PR maneuvers with podcaster Joe Rogan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and allegations that former President Donald Trump tore up documents related to the day’s events; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.