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Thursday, August 6, 2020

| August 6, 2020

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Revenue Declines 47%. In line with the other broadcast companies that have reported Q2 2020 data so far, iHeartMedia’s revenue of $488 million represents a 47% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. Breaking it down into segments, iHM reports that broadcast revenue declined 57% ($561 million to $244 million), networks revenue was down 38% ($156 million to $96 million), digital revenue increased 2% ($91 million to $93 million – led by a 103% increase in podcasting revenue), sponsorship and events declined 65% ($42 million to $15 million), and audio & media services dropped 33% ($59 million to $39 million). iHeartMedia is reporting an operating loss of $159 million in Q2 of 2020 compared to an operating income of $182 million in the second quarter of 2019. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “The challenges that we have faced due to COVID-19 were unprecedented and had a severe, negative impact on our revenue in the second quarter. Despite those financial challenges, we retained our strong relationship with the consumer as the #1 audio company in America and the #1 media company in America by reach. As the advertising marketplace is recovering, we are working hard to ensure that we have the products and services to fully capitalize on the opportunity while proactively taking steps to fortify our balance sheet and our liquidity. Finally, I want to thank our employees for their commitment and creativity under such difficult and challenging circumstances.” Company president, CFO and COO Rich Bressler adds, “In response to COVID-driven market weakness, we acted rapidly and decisively to further streamline our cost structure and capital-spending programs, while continuing to implement pre-COVID cost savings programs through our modernization initiatives. These actions played an important role in minimizing the negative impact on our free cash flow results against the backdrop of the significant revenue declines we saw in the second quarter. We believe that these actions, in combination with our proactive capital structure management provides the company with sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness.”

Round Three of July PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on one-tenth to finish the July survey with a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte dips one-tenth to a 5.9 share but rises one spot to the #3 rank. Despite losing a full share and finishing with a 5.5 share, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio remains ranked #2 in the market. In Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds three-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.4 share good for the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City jumps by half a share to claim the #5 rank with a 5.8 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states,“With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

Giuliani Suggests Salem’s Hewitt and Elder Serve as Debate Moderators. On behalf of the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani submitted a list of potential presidential debate moderators to the Commission on Presidential Debates that includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated hosts Larry Elder and Hugh Hewitt. The list of moderators the campaign would find acceptable also includes David Muir of ABC News and Norah O’Donnell of CBS News. Salem Media Group SVP spoken word programming Phil Boyce says, “We are so proud to see Hugh Hewitt and Larry Elder mentioned as possible moderators of a presidential debate. Frankly all of our SRN national hosts are capable of doing this, and these two especially are. We hope they get the nod.” Hewitt served as co-moderator of four 2016 Republican Primary debates co-produced by CNN and the Salem Radio Network.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on some news from Nexstar’s WGN-AM, saying that the station is not talking with market legend Garry Meier about replacing Roe Conn in afternoon drive when his contract ends this year as previously reported. His sources say serious talks with Meier never got off the ground. In other WGN news, Feder says that if John Records Landecker’s fill-in stint for morning host Bob Sirott goes well next week, Landecker may be in line for the permanent evening show position…..Cadence13 – a part of Entercom’s podcast network – is partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures to create The Boardroom Podcast Network. The network will launch with two podcasts. In “The Boardroom: Out Of Office,” Kleiman hosts and digs deep into guests’ career trajectories, the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and the stories they’ve gathered along the way. In September, Durant launches the monthly podcast “The Etc’s with Kevin Durant.” He says, “I’m really excited to be launching both of these podcasts and this partnership with Cadence13. We’re really invested in making both of these pods different than anything else out there, and I’m personally looking forward to having in-depth conversations about some of my favorite topics.”

NAB’s Gordon Smith Suffers Stroke. A statement from the National Association of Broadcasters reveals that its president and CEO Gordon Smith suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. The statement adds, “He is responding well to treatment, is stable and alert, and is resting comfortably. His prognosis is good, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/5). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election and President Trump’s statements about the validity of mail-in ballots; the controversial BLM protests in Portland; the deal to allow Microsoft to acquire TikTok and the tenuous U.S.-China relations; the investigation into the ammonium nitrate-caused explosion that rocked Beirut; and pro sports leagues struggle with positive COVID-19 cases were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Venerable Multimedia Personality Shadoe Stevens Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Los Angeles-based radio and TV personality Shadoe Stevens is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Stevens is an extraordinarily talented and creative individual who has succeeded to one degree or another in just about every phase of performance media in a career that has spanned five decades. He remains on the leading edge with the debut of a 12-part podcast series titled, “MentalRadio,” that pulls out the stops on imaginative writing, complex production, and audio theatrics. During the course of his career, Stevens has served as program director and/or air talent at legendary radio stations including LA’s KROQ and KMET. He was the first successor to Casey Kasem as the voice of “American Top 40” which he hosted for seven years. He’s been a television announcer and personality on such shows as “Hollywood Squares” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He was also producer, writer, and talent on hundreds of successful radio and television commercial campaigns – highlighted by his celebrated creation and performance of the outrageous character, Fred Rated, for the Federated Group home appliance chain. As an actor, he appeared on such TV programs as “Baywatch,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Dave’s World,” “Max Monroe: Loose Cannon,” and he performed in the movie “TRAXX,” plus more. Harrison and Stevens recount their days in Los Angeles radio (both served as PD of KMET), the intricacies of Stevens’ colorful career, and the unlimited potential of modern podcasting as a platform for 21st century audio theater. Radio and media freaks will really enjoy this interview! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle radio and music business legend Pat O’Day died on Tuesday (8/4) at age 85. As a DJ, O’Day was arguably the most popular air personality in the market in the mid-1960s when he was the afternoon jock on KJR-AM. He eventually became PD of the station, then general manager in 1968. O’Day ran a lucrative teen dance events business. He was also a concert promoter, founding the firm Concerts West. O’Day also eventually became a station owner. Read more about his colorful career here…..Rochester classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” announces its new afternoon drive show is “The Big Show,” hosted by Earl David Reed, Megan Carter, and Pat McMahon. Reed is a nationally recognized stand-up comedian. Carter most recently served as the afternoon host on iHeartMedia’s sister CHR “KISS 106.7.” McMahon has been with iHM Rochester for six years. Program director Joe Bonadonna says, “Earl, Megan and Pat clicked from the minute we put them together. They are the three friends you want with you when you’re getting a garbage plate, grabbing a Genny Light or spending the day at Seabreeze.”…..Entercom promotes Emily Ward to general sales manager for the Chattanooga station group that includes CHR WKXJ-FM “103.7 Kiss FM,” adult hits WLND-FM “98.1 The Lake,” WRXR “Rock 105,” country WUSY “U.S. 101,” and country WUSY-HD2 “Real 961.” Ward has been serving the cluster as local sales manager and digital sales manager.

Monday, June 22, 2020

| June 22, 2020

Monday Memo: ‘Mainstream Media’ Redefined.  “For several decades,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “the term has been weaponized, first by scrappy fringe voices railing against legacy networks and newspapers; more recently by FOX News Channel and Rush Limbaugh,” which Cooke finds “ironic, since ratings qualify them as ‘mainstream.’” Now, as Spotify pays former “Fear Factor” host and MMA commentator Joe Rogan a reported hundred million dollars to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounces him “the new Mainstream Media.” And after a bystander’s smartphone captured the George Floyd killing, Cooke asks, “Are not We The People now ‘Mainstream Media?’”  In special segment on his TV show, Cooke and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison discuss how the publisher/consumer balance of power has shifted, even during the pandemic. To view the segment, please click here. To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, please click here.

Pending Business: Creative Always Counts. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “when it comes to selling a personality live read, audience size often takes a back seat. The power of personality reads is based on the trust the audience has in your on-air talent. The trust between them is real because your on-air talent earns that trust with every show. Until you see it at work for your advertisers, you will never truly understand the sell.” Read his entire column here.

NRG Media Names Allyson Hillman Market Manager for Waterloo, Iowa. Radio management pro Allyson Hillman is named market manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo, Iowa cluster that includes news/talk KXEL-AM, rock KFMW-FM, classic hits KOKZ-FM, and classic country KPTY-AM/FM. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “We are thrilled to have Allyson join NRG. She brings extensive experience in management and sales to the market. She understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio. We are confident with Allyson’s belief that success comes from a positive culture and strength development that she will continue to develop innovative strategies for the market while providing great local radio.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk. The weekly, 6+ AQH shares for news/talk stations in our panel are largely coming back down after skyrocketing during the April 2020 PPM survey. Comparing April to May, 65% of news/talk stations regressed while just 24% of news/talk stations improved. Gainers were led by Cumulus Media’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.4, 6.8 share) and iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+0.8, 4.3 share). A year-over-year comparison shows 65% of stations improve while 24% of news/talk stations decline. Stations improving most since May of 2019 include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+4.8, 11.1 share), Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+4.1, 9.3 share) and iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus (+4.0, 9.0 share). During the May 2020 survey, six news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

Pittsburgh Play-By-Play Talent Charged with DUI. Radio play-by-play personality Bill Hillgrove has been charged with DUI in Murrysville, Pennsylvania after driving his car through a grocery store’s plate-glass windows. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Hillgrove – the announcer for Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers football games – went into the store to fill a prescription after hitting the building and drove home in his damaged car. Authorities found him there and arrested him after he failed a preliminary breath test.

Trump Tulsa Rally, NY Prosecutor Fired, Bolton Book, Re-Opening of America/COVID-19 Stats, Police Defunding Debate, Presidential Race, and Deadly UK Stabbing Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Saturday’s Trump campaign rally at Tulsa’s BOK Center; Southern District of New York prosecutor Geoffrey Berman is fired by President Trump; the controversy over the tell-all book by former national security adviser John Bolton; states across the country continue re-opening their economies and the COVID-19 statistics and projections; the debate over protestors’ defund the police demands; the presidential race; and the stabbing in England that took the lives of three and is being investigated as a terrorist attack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Larry Elder Premieres New Film UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (at center, waving) acknowledging a standing ovation at the Dallas premiere of his new documentary film, UNCLE TOM: An Oral History of the American Black Conservative. Elder is executive producer of the film that explores the personal journeys of black conservatives. Attendees at the premiere included former U.S. Congressman Allen West, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain, and media personalities, ministers and civil rights activists. SRN V.P. news & talk Tom Tradup says the film is “a groundbreaking documentary that examines self-empowerment and individualism of black conservatives in a compelling, eye-opening perspective.” Elder will talk about the film on FOX News Channel this evening (6/22) when he’s interviewed on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Independent Broadcasters Association Momentum Growing. The movement to create the Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) is continuing to grow and is approaching its stated goal of 3,000 member stations. The IBA announces that an additional 600 outlets have joined during the past week. The movement was launched by Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone when he reached out to 4,000 radio stations gauging their interest in the association. Stone says, “The momentum we are seeing is incredible. We are now up to 424 owners and operators and 2,395 stations. It takes time to build any organization as we all know. To see this kind of growth every week it screams volumes of how much independents need the help this association can deliver. We are going to hit our goal for sure… and very few independents will shy away once the organization is formed and they realize the benefits. It would not surprise me to ultimately have most of the 7,000 independents participating. Our future is in our own hands and we have to make the right choices now.” Stone says benefits of membership in the organization could include: Group Employee Benefits – better coverage and lower prices, and potentially add additional benefits for our employees; Revenue Generation – An unwired network & digital platform supported by a national sales team to monetize for us; Digital Services Group – This would enable continuity across independent stations giving us the opportunity to accomplish double digit digital revenue through Web, Mobile, Alexa, & Streaming; Shared Resources – A system that allows sharing of that talent in non-competitive situations and reduces our dependence on national syndication that requires cash, barter and sometimes both; and Proprietary Systems and Services – Under the umbrella of a member owned association, we can create proprietary systems that we control and eliminate some of the costly monthly per station fees for traffic, accounting, CRM, Yield Management, even automation and music scheduling. Interested stations can visit the IBA website here.

QGoLive RV Radio Road Trip Seeks Affiliate Stations. The RV pictured above is the vehicle QGoLive’s James Copeland is using to tour the country visiting radio stations offering demos of the QGoLive software that enables studio-quality audio from anywhere on any smartphone or computer. AdLarge Media is serving as affiliate sales rep for the service and it notes that QGoLive is already serving more than 100 stations around the country and recently added affiliates such as Cenla Broadcasting of Alexandria, Louisiana; Jam Media; and classic hits WATH-AM and CHR WXTQ-FM, Athens, Ohio. AdLarge’s Jessica Sherman says, “Our QGoLive team are experts in remote broadcasting software. James is on the road to get the word out and to help all operators, large and small, equip their entire team and contributors with remote capabilities. The pandemic has taught us all that radio needs easy solutions for broadcasting from home that sounds great. QGoLive delivers just that, but we can be so much more as broadcasters open up to our new reality”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On Saturday, June 27, Global Citizen and the European Commission will present “Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Concert” hosted by Dwayne Johnson and featuring performances by Shakira, Coldplay, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and Quavo, J Balvin, Chloe x Halle, Yemi Alade, and Christine and the Queens. The concert will air on 150 iHeartMedia radio stations as well as on the iHeartRadio app. The purpose of the event is to “combat the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities and to call on world leaders to make COVID-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines available for everyone, everywhere.”…..Bonneville’s classic rock KUFX, San Jose “98.5 KFOX” officially announces its new morning show “San Jose’s Great Radio Experiment” featuring Joey V, Chris Jackson, and Karina Farias. Station director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Congratulations to Chris Jackson, celebrating 30 years of rock radio excellence on KFOX.  Joey, Chris and Karina’s unique chemistry has already resonated with rock fans all over the South Bay.”…..Reach Media nationally syndicated radio host D.L. Hughley is in quarantine in Nashville after passing out on stage during a performance. While being treated, Hughley was tested for COVID-19 and the result was positive. Hughley said via social media that he was asymptomatic….. Beasley Media Group Detroit radio personalities Mason and Angie Star (WDMK “105.9 KISS-FM), Gello (WMGC “105.1 The Bounce”) and Randi Myles from “The Detroit Praise Network” are hosting a Zoom conference call with community leaders to discuss ways to bridge the gap between residents and the police department to create “Solutions Not Slogans.” The event will take place on Thursday (6/25) at 7:00 pm and will feature Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Washtenaw Sheriff Jerry Clayton, Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Shiefield, Inkster Mayor Patrick Wimberly, and Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren.

Monday Memo: ‘Mainstream Media’ Redefined

| June 22, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — For several decades, the term “Mainstream Media” has been weaponized, first by scrappy fringe voices railing against legacy networks and newspapers; more recently by FOX News Channel and Rush Limbaugh…ironic, since ratings qualify them as “mainstream.” But never has the obsolescence of the term been more painfully obvious than lately, especially during the George Floyd episode.

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