TALKERS EXCLUSIVE: A Conversation with Mike McVay. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engaged in an exclusive audio conversation earlier this morning (5/7) with outgoing Cumulus Media executive vice president of content and programming Mike McVay. McVay, who will be staying on with the company in an executive capacity until July at which point, he will launch his own consultation firm with Cumulus being its first client, discusses the details of the transition and some of his personal sentiments about the change. This excerpt will be part of a larger, deep-dive conversation between Harrison and McVay that will be posted in full on Tuesday, May 14 as next week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne presentation, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” To listen to this informational excerpt, please click here.
Rich Zeoli to Move to Mornings on WPHT, Philadelphia. TALKERS magazine hears that current afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is moving to the morning daypart on the Entercom news/talk station. Zeoli would assume the position most recently held by Chris Stigall, who exited the station earlier this year. Zeoli joined WPHT as a talk host in 2010.
Townsquare Media’s Q1 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 4.7%. Revenue was up for Townsquare Media, Inc. comparing the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2018. Net revenue for Q1 of 2019 was $ 93.7 million, up 6.5%. On a pro forma basis (excluding revenue from the July 2018 acquisition of three Trenton market signals), net revenue was up 4.7%. Breaking apart the company’s three segments – advertising, interactive, and live events – advertising revenue was up 3.9% over the same period in 2018, interactive jumped 31.6%, while live events dipped 8.6%. Pro forma net loss for the first quarter decreased $21.5 million, or 81.8%, to a net loss of $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $26.3 million in the same period in 2018. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare is off to a great start in 2019 with strong operational and financial performance, demonstrated by our first quarter Adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.3%. We have continued the strong momentum we experienced throughout 2018, as our team once again delivered double-digit revenue growth in our Townsquare Ignite and Townsquare Interactive divisions, leading to total net revenue growth of 6.5% in the first quarter of 2019. As a result of our continued growth and strength in digital, we are pleased to announce that for the first time in our history, digital revenue contributed over one-third of the company’s total net revenue. Given our diversified revenue base, today and moving forward we believe Townsquare is best described as a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company. To that point, beginning in the first quarter of 2019 I am very pleased to share that we have provided segmentation of our financial results. In particular this will allow you to see the strong profit that is generated by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions business which currently serves approximately 16,200 monthly subscribers. In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare Interactive had net revenue growth of 31.6% and Adjusted Operating Income growth of 34.8%, operating at a 31% margin. As noted previously, we believe that Townsquare Interactive, as well as our Townsquare Ignite division, will each generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next three to five years.”
Brian Kilmeade Named 2019 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. Described by Michael Harrison as “one of this era’s most prolific communicators in national talk media,” the TALKERS editorial board has selected Fox News Channel “Fox & Friends” co-host (6:00 am – 9:00 am ET) and Fox News Radio syndicated program host (9:00 am – 12:00 noon ET) Brian Kilmeade as the publication’s 2019 recipient of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Kilmeade is also a prolific best-selling author who has written a number of books about American history shedding new light on such figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson among others. According to Harrison, “Brian Kilmeade is a hard working media pro who has been turning in six straight hours per morning on both radio and cable TV year after year tackling the most controversial issues confronting the nation on a very big stage and facing the heat that comes with sticking your neck out on a regular basis. His books about largely overlooked but highly significant chapters in American history have also added to a greater understanding of where this country came from written in language that is clear and compelling to the average person. This man understands the First Amendment and knows how to exercise it on a level that keeps it alive and well in a turbulent environment in which it is always under assault.” The award recognizes broadcasting achievement in raising consciousness and awareness of the First Amendment, displaying courage and commitment in exercising First Amendment rights and contributing to the viability of the First Amendment through deed and example. The non-partisan award, one of the most prestigious and high-profile honors presented to individuals in the talk media industry, has a colorful (and often controversial) history that goes back to the early 1990s when the modern era of talk radio emerged and the format became recognized as an influential forum of public policy and social change following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. It was re-named in honor of talk radio pioneer Gene Burns upon his death in May 2013. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “Gene Burns was the model by which the Freedom of Speech Award delivered at our national conventions was developed. It is only fitting that this institution bears the name of this great champion of the ideals and foundation upon which contemporary spoken-word radio is built.” Last year’s recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award was SiriusXM Satellite Radio “Urban View” channel personality Karen Hunter. Recipients over the years include Rush Limbaugh, Thom Hartmann, Al Franken, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Jim Farley, Juan Williams, Joe Madison, Michael Savage, Norm Pattiz, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Drudge, Bob Grant, G. Gordon Liddy, and Brian Lamb among others. This year’s award will be presented to Brian Kilmeade at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7. The convention is close to being a sellout. For registration information, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. KGLO, Mason City, Iowa news director Bob Fisher was recently honored by the Iowa Broadcast News Association during its 2018 Awards Contest. Fisher picked up eight awards, including two first-place honors – one for Political Coverage and another for General Reporting. Fisher and Alpha Media’s KGLO have received a total of 92 awards in the last 15 years. He just concluded serving as past-president of the Iowa Broadcast News Association’s board of directors and retired from the board after serving 14 of the last 15 years…..ABC Radio is offering three Memorial Day weekend specials for affiliate stations: “Country Summer Road Trip,” “A Decade of Rock Hits,” and “America Remembers 2019.” Country artist Luke Combs hosts the country music special, rock legend Don Felder is host of the rock hits show, and ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky reports on how combat, training, and suicide have taken a toll on American service members, in “America Remembers 2019.” ABC says, “Some have died afar, in the nation’s longest war or in another country’s civil war; some have died close to home in training exercises meant to prepare, not kill; and some have died at home, from the effects of an earlier deployment. The three-hour ABC News special profiles these service members who lost their lives and the families they’ve left behind.”
Trump’s China Tariffs Threat, Mueller Report Aftermath/Trump Obstruction Letter, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Approval Ratings, Trump Tax Returns Fight, UN Species Extinction Report, U.S.-Iran Tensions, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The financial markets react to President Trump’s renewed tariff threat against China; the aftermath of the Mueller Report and the letter signed by some 400 former prosecutors stating President Trump’s action constituted obstruction of justice; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; a new Gallup poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 46%, his highest since taking office; House Democrats’ attempts to get Trump’s tax returns; the UN report concluding that plant and animal species are disappearing at a rapid rate; concerns about Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; Sunday’s episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; the first-ever disqualification of a Kentucky Derby winner; and the NBA playoffs 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. Programming and on-air pro Joel Weiss joins Cumulus Media as APD and music director for its alternative KCJK “X105.1” and CHR KCHZ “95-7 The Vibe” in Kansas City. Weiss was most recently with Beasley Media’s alternative WBOS, Boston, prior to its recent flip to rock. He’ll also host the evening program on KCJK. Mike O’Reilly is PD for the stations, and he says, “The timing of being able to integrate Joel into our ‘X’ and ‘Vibe’ brands is truly remarkable. It’s not every day you find such a creative, talented programming vet with Joel’s unique skill set and unanimous favor in the industry.”…..Mediabase promotes Gregg Miller to vice president of sales/client services. Miller joined Mediabase in 1997 after management positions at Polygram Records, Enigma Records, and Broadcast Data Systems. His current duties will focus on airplay reporting and music trends for Mediabase clients…..WAXQ, New York “Q104.3” morning drive co-host Shelli Sonstein was appointed to the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief by Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro for her continued support of the New York City Fire Department and her contributions to the community during a ceremony on Monday (5/6). Nigro stated, “Shelli Sonstein is a tremendous advocate for the FDNY, in particular, our members battling illnesses related to their brave work during the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort. She is extremely active in the September 11th community, educating her listeners and raising awareness about the growing list of fallen heroes in our Department.”…..On May 3, radio and CMT personality Cody Alan took the stage at KASE, Austin’s “The Night Before” surprise concert with station personalities Anne Hudson and Anthony “The AntMan” Allen to help introduce the secret headliners: Waterloo Revival, Russell Dickerson, and Morgan Wallen. The event was held at Maggie Mae’s in Austin and is a free, annual event leading up to the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin. Pictured below (from l-r) are: Alan, “CMT After MidNite” and “CMT Radio Live” correspondent Marley Sherwood, Hudson, and Allen.