Monday Memo: Listeners Kidnapped! “They’re being abducted! Snatched-up in our own house,” consultant Holland Cooke warns. In this week’s column: How transmitters are diverting media consumers elsewhere and how smart stations are “riding the horse in the direction he’s facing.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Elvis Has Left the Building. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, has some advice for sellers who are caught short when a host committed to doing endorsement spots up and leaves his (or her) talk host gig with no notice. Obviously, that scenario puts sellers in a tough situation but a little planning ahead of time can ease the burden on the sales department a little bit. Read his column here.
CDC’s Mask Update/COVID-19, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Rising Consumer Prices/Inflation Worries, Arizona Vote Audit, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The CDC issues new mask guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy, and death rate in India; the violence in Gaza as Israel and Hamas continue rocket fire and concerns about an all-out war; the soaring prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and worries about inflation; the 2020 presidential election vote audit taking place in Maricopa Country, Arizona; and the controversy surrounding the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Bloomberg Radio Surpasses 400-Affiliate Station Mark. Syndication firm Key Networks announces that radio business news provider Bloomberg Radio hits a “major benchmark in affiliate growth, with over 400 stations now carrying its business and consumer news programming, a whopping 25% growth rate in the first six months.” In late October 2020, Key Networks entered into an exclusive agreement with Bloomberg Radio to manage all network advertising sales, affiliate sales and marketing. Global head of Bloomberg television and radio Al Mayers says, “The results speak for themselves. In six months, Key Networks has grown Bloomberg’s existing affiliates – including virtually all major radio groups – and added new groups and stations to our portfolio. When you combine the magic of Key Networks’ smart marketing strategies and fresh new approach to affiliations with the high-quality programming that Bloomberg offers, you can take a fully mature network and supercharge its growth.” Bloomberg’s news content includes live, customized reports for stations, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features that appeal to a diversity of audiences and interests, including the “Black Business Report,” “Green Business Report,” “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” and “The Luxury Report,” among others.
‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present ‘Summer of ‘21’ Town Hall Broadcast. This Thursday (5/20), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey families stay safe and have fun in the Summer of ’21. Scott says, “Everyone is understandably anxious for a summer of fun. This program will help guide families into making smart decisions so they can enjoy the summer safely.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist and Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. The program will also feature check-ins with the mayors of New Jersey shore towns and representatives from the state’s biggest venues and attractions. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.
KKOB-FM, Albuquerque Joins Multi-Media Effort to Address Literacy. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-FM is working with The Albuquerque Journal and KOAT-TV to address New Mexico’s low literacy rate through The Literacy Project. The Cumulus Media station and its partners have been meeting for several months on the project after a recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics showed that New Mexico ranks 49th in literacy nationwide. Even more alarming, literacy rates in New Mexico appear to not have made any significant improvements in the last 20 years. As a result, the three newsrooms have pledged 12 months or more of layered, in-depth coverage to identify the gaps, resources and opportunities to create positive, workable solutions. The special coverage kicks off this weekend. Cumulus VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I believe we can do this together. As news leaders, we know how to be catalysts for change. We know how to get the attention of government and industry. We know how to rally public opinion and support. We want to use our joint strength and training to serve the state in a way that can truly enhance and assist public and private educational efforts.” Each organization has assigned some it its top reporters to this complex issue. “96.3 News Radio KKOB” operations manager Jared Hart is assigning Haylee Gonzales and is enlisting the talk show hosts in planning featured experts.
‘ESPN Cleveland’ to Honor Super Fan Stan the Man. Today (5/17), Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” is producing a special tribute to local super fan Stan the Man, a.k.a. Leonard Stanislaus Lisewsky, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 77. The station says it was saddened to learn of the longtime fan and caller’s passing. “Stan was a lifelong Browns fan who also loved golf. His regular calls to ‘The Really Big Show’ became a highlight of that day’s program. He even had his own produced open that was played to introduce each of his calls into the show.” Today’s tribute will air live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “850 ESPN Cleveland.”
TALKERS News Notes. A new collaboration between Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia is an exclusive multiyear agreement for the two companies to produce and distribute more than a dozen new original podcasts, and will also include the distribution of Bloomberg Media’s existing slate of over 20 podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “Bloomberg Media continues to be one of the first, most-trusted destinations for high-quality content – from market news to business trends, to deeper financial backstories on what’s moving the economy overall. We are excited to partner with Bloomberg, not only to grow the audience of their existing slate of great shows, but to develop a whole new list of titles across the next several years, combining their editorial expertise with our mass reach and monetization.”…..ABC Audio, ESPN Audio and National Geographic presented on the final day of the last week’s IAB Podcast Upfront and announced upcoming podcast projects, including ABC’s launch of LZ Granderson’s LGBTQ+ focused “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” National Geographic’s Tara Roberts previewed a new six-part series as she sets off on the journey of a lifetime, traveling with divers to investigate the lost stories of the slave trade — both to expand the historical record and to honor the estimated 1.8 million unsung souls who perished during the Middle Passage…..KQED-FM, San Francisco announces that journalist Alexis Madrigal is named co-host of KQED’s long-running public affairs radio program, “Forum.” Madrigal arrives at KQED from The Atlantic, where he was a staff writer. Madrigal will take over the 9:00 am hour of “Forum” while Mina Kim continues to host the 10:00 am hour, which is shared with stations statewide and explores current affairs through the lens of race, justice and equality. Madrigal was selected after a national search to fill the 9:00 am slot of “Forum” vacated by Michael Krasny, who retired in February after a distinguished 28-year career at KQED.
Dr. Jack Casey Leaving Emerson College’s WERS, Boston. Veteran radio executive and educator Dr. Jack Casey is leaving Emerson College’s WERS-FM, Boston later this month to expand his media career as a consultant. Casey, who has been general manager of WERS for the past 16 years, says, “I am grateful that Emerson College sees the potential of WERS, both as a real-world training ground for students and, just as importantly, as a vibrant and robust fundraising stream. This has truly been a team effort and I appreciate all the hard work done by our professional staff, as well as by student managers and volunteers. I hope the higher education community takes note of what can be accomplished by professional management and willing students. College and university radio stations don’t have to be sandboxes. They can be competitive, revenue producing, major market media outlets. In addition, I couldn’t be happier to be passing the baton to our longtime operations manager Howard ‘D’ Simpson.”
Morning Radio Opportunity at KFAQ, Tulsa. Thirteen-year KFAQ, Tulsa morning host Pat Campbell is not returning to his show in order to focus on health challenges. As a result, Griffin Communications is seeking his successor. Director of operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “We are looking for someone to fill his big shoes. We need someone that is plugged into current events, sports and community events. This is a rare opportunity to work for a locally owned company in brand-new, state-of-art studios in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Griffin Communications Tulsa Radio/Talk Radio 1170 is looking for an on-air talent that can do a daily morning show that speaks to our 35-54-year-old demo. Digital/Social Media skills are a must. We are seeking a great communicator and a fun storyteller with a keen sense of how to create excellent content that will be displayed across all our platforms. The perfect candidate is exceptional on the air, excellent digitally and has worked in various formats including talk radio, news radio or sports radio. This is a very active radio group, heavily involved in the community and requires someone who is fearless and willing to get out of the studio and meet listeners. If you are ready to work in a building full of incredible talent with a family atmosphere and a must-win attitude, we would love to hear from you. Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends and holidays. Qualified candidates can contact me or Talk Radio 1170 PD Jeremie Poplin at Jeremie.email@example.com.
EWTN Seeks Producer/Call Screener. Religious broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Network is seeking an associate producer/call screener. EWTN says, “As the first point of contact for listeners during live call-in programs, [the associate producer/call screener] utilizes excellent knowledge of the Catholic Faith and customer service skills to prep callers for on-air broadcast. Executes assigned duties of recording, editing, mixing and transferring audio to and from specific media. This position is also responsible for exceptional production and promotion of live and recorded programs to EWTN standards. What does EWTN offer? Career with Purpose; Family-oriented working environment; Competitive salary; Benefits Package (Health, Dental, Vision, Life and Retirement); 11 Paid Holidays and Paid Time Off; Online continuing education and degree programs through Catholic Distance University.” Get more information here. Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements here. EOE.
Promotions Positions Open at Audacy. There are two positions open on the Promotions + Experiences team at Audacy. The company says it is “looking to add two talented, versatile promotions pros to our central Promotions + Experiences team. These individuals will focus on promotional partnerships with concert partners, activating select live performance venues, and play a vital role in live events across the company’s portfolio of brands.” You can learn more and to apply for the Promotion Director, Concerts & Experiences position here and do the same for the Promotion Manager, Concerts & Experiences position here.
Pandemic-Related Layoffs At KQED. Twenty staff members at KQED Inc. San Francisco public radio news/talk KQED-FM and PBS affiliate KQED-TV have become layoff victims, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. That represents more than 5% of KQED’s workforce. Among those known to be affected are a full-time limited term journalist and two temporary members of the science team. In a communication to staffers, president/chief executive officer Michael Isip notes that some employees are having their hours reduced and those in leadership roles are taking a 12% slash in pay. Furthermore, “non-essential” staffers will be required to take four-day furloughs at the very end of this year and immediately after July 4th (in 2021). As of October 1, KQED will drop its employer match of 403(b) contributions; there won’t be any salary increases the rest of this calendar year. Laid-off employees though are welcome to apply for any future openings. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 sweep, KQED-FM ranks second in San Francisco (7.4, 6+) and second, as well, in San Jose (6.6, 6+).
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC. This new episode titled “Momala Kamala!” looks back at this past week of August 10-14, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / independent Georgia statewide network; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pat McCrory, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte / former Governor of North Carolina; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com / law professor, Bentley University; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.
Entercom, Good Karma Brands, Browns Extend Partnership. As part of the deal between Entercom Cleveland and the NFL’s Browns, sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan” and co-owned WNCX “98.5 Cleveland’s Classic Rock” will continue serving as FM radio flagships of the 26-station University Hospitals Cleveland Browns Radio Network. They have been in that capacity since 2013. The team’s AM key station is Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland.” Entercom Cleveland senior vice president/market manager Tom Herschel comments, “With football season right around the corner, we’re excited to continue delivering premier coverage of the Browns to Cleveland’s biggest sports fans on two of our market-leading stations. We value our long-standing partnership with the Cleveland Browns and look forward to many more seasons as the flagship radio stations of the team.” Good Karma Brands vice president and Cleveland market manager Sam Pines states, “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Cleveland Browns and Entercom. The power of live sports, particularly Cleveland Browns football, is baked into the fabric of the city and ‘850 ESPN Cleveland.’ We look forward to supporting and being a partner of the Browns in the years ahead.” Cleveland Browns executive vice president and chief operating officer Dave Jenkins notes, “Through our partnership with Entercom and Good Karma Brands, we have incredible opportunities and resources to consistently provide our fans with compelling radio programming on game days and throughout the year. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Entercom and Good Karma Brands to bring our fans even closer to our players, coaches, and entire team. We are excited to continue to produce these shows with them in the years to come.” Over and above gameday coverage, WKRK morning show talent Ken Carman and former NFL player Je’Rod Cherry host a one-hour (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm) Wednesday night “Cleveland Browns Preview Show.” In addition, Browns senior media broadcaster Nathan Zegura and Beau Bishop will chat with Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on “The Kevin Stefanski Show,” each Thursday evening (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm).
PPM Analysis: The News Format. In the first of a four-part series of extensive recaps of the July 2020 survey period, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian highlights the performance of the all-news format. Right off the bat, there is a bit of a statistical oddity: Precisely mirroring June’s stats, 50% of stations in our sample experience month-to-month erosion; 44% improve; and 6% remain steady. While the percentages are identical in back-to-back sweeps, there were only a few duplications by station. Specifically, only iHeartMedia Boston news-talk hybrid WBZ-AM (+.7 and +.1, 6+) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO (+.2 and +.3, 6+) notch increases both times. Regressing in June and July are Entercom-owned WINS in both New York (-.7 and -.4, 6+) and Long Island (-.1 and -.2, 6+); co-owned business news WDCH (Baltimore report, -.3 both times, 6+); and KCBS-AM (San Jose sweep, -.2 and -.9, 6+). A whopping 81% of all-news stations post July 2019 – July 2020 growth. Gaining +2.2 year-to-year are Entercom siblings KCBS-AM, San Francisco (6.1 – 8.3, second to first, 6+) and WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago (4.8 – 7.0, fourth to first, 6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Audio Industry’s Unique Opportunity. In a presentation last week to Radio Advertising Bureau members, MediaVillage founder Jack Myers opined that radio broadcasters need to play up their local ties. According to Myers, “Radio has an opportunity to recreate unique marketing opportunities on localism and content and to rebuild its competitive position.” Many in the ad community may not be familiar with audio’s evolving story. The industry is a relatively new space for some of them, as according to The Myers Report data, 62% of media professionals have less than eight years’ industry experience and brand managers spend just 2% of their time on media. “As an industry, we have to take a stand for increasing the importance of media decisions and the medium is the message,” Myers notes. Audio sellers, he suggests, should communicate positive attributes. “At the top of the list is radio and digital audio’s trust and reliability. Audio is a brand-safe environment where companies know exactly where their ads will run and select the content or personalities they’ll be associated with. Radio and audio need to stump for a larger slice of ad budgets and creative spending. To do that, play up all the opportunities that radio can deliver, including both local over-the-air and digital audio, and to reach diverse audiences, including minorities and consumers 55-plus.” Forecasts from The Myers Report are suggesting that this year’s total ad spending will fall between 14% and 20%, compared to 2019 levels. Myers projects the ad market will not begin a meaningful recovery until 2022. Audio is suffering major revenue losses, with year-over-year spending down 20% to 25%. Those declines, however, are in line with local TV, cable, and broadcast networks. As ad markets slowly recover, Myers admonishes radio and audio companies to invest in education within their organizations and externally. “Companies that invest significantly in education and rethink their PR and promotional output in an educational context will be the next generation of leaders.”
TALKERS News Notes. Progressing from swing and weekends at Hearst Radio Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 & FM 101.5” is Torrey Snow, who takes over afternoon drive duties (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm). WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Torrey’s deep knowledge of Baltimore, Maryland, and his thoughtful viewpoint on the current issues of importance are valuable additions to WBAL. Listeners can expect a spirited examination of topics from all angles, along with late-breaking news, weather and traffic.” Portugal-born/Boise, Idaho-raised Snow relocated to Maryland 14 years ago. The president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of Maryland, Snow was named Anne Arundel County’s “Republican Man of the Year” in 2018. He was appointed to the Maryland Commission of African-American History and Culture and makes his WBAL PM drive debut today (Friday, 8/14) … Given that the coronavirus wiped up this year’s “March Madness,” Fox Sports Radio is countering with a “Basketball Bracket Challenge” focused on the NBA playoffs. The challenge debuts tonight (Friday, 8/14) after the final regular-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Listeners will compete against each other, as well as against FSR’s Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, Doug Gottlieb, Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, R.J. Bell, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon, and Ben Maller. Up for grabs is the chance to win a Westinghouse 50” Roku TV. Fox Sports Radio vice president of sports programming Scott Shapiro declares, “We all have bracket envy since the tournament was robbed from us in March. So we thought why not give sports fans what they want – a way to compete against our hosts and fellow listeners in a basketball bracket.” Brackets must be submitted prior to tipoff of the first playoff game (next Monday, 8/17) at 12:59 pm (ET).
Kamala Harris/Mail-in Ballots/School Opening Challenges are the Top News/Talk Stories for this past week of August 10-14. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top 10 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 entire chart here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Following a 28-year run at WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1,” Kayleigh Kriss exits the Alpha Media Canton (Ohio) hot AC – victim of coronavirus-related cutbacks. Alpha Media Canton general manager Larry Gawthrop comments, “While the effects of COVID-19 created some tough decisions for us, one thing is for certain: Kayleigh Kriss will forever be part of the legacy of WHBC-FM. For 28 years, she endured multiple owners, managers and musical directions; she played just about every song ever recorded. Kayleigh is a true professional and I have no doubt her career will continue to be a success no matter which side of the mic she’s on.” Kriss began in the station’s promotion department in 1992 and became a member of the on-air staff in 1997. She was furloughed four months ago and was officially let go earlier this month … Former director of sales/general sales manager for Radio One Charlotte, Michael Taylor, is named general manager /sales manager for cross-town Core Radio Group urban contemporary WGIV “Streetz 103.3 & 100.5.” Core Radio Group president/chief executive officer Steve Hegwood comments, “I am extremely pleased to have Michael Taylor lead our Charlotte team to victory. He brings the experience, relationships, and successful proven track record to our company.” Taylor notes, “I have been watching and paying attention to the growth of Core Radio Group and the ‘Streetz’ brand for many years. I am extremely impressed with their perseverance and success. Steve Hegwood is focused and determined – I am honored to join his team.” Taylor’s background includes account manager stops in Philadelphia (WPHI); Raleigh (WZZU and WQOK); and Charlotte (WPEG) … Tonight at 9:00 pm (Friday, 8/14), iHeartMedia Philadelphia CHR WIOQ “Q-102 Philly’s #1 Hit Music Station” and Verge Aero join forces to announce the annual “Q-102 102 Grand in the Sand” presented by Acme. “Q-102” listeners are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing while watching the drone light show from their windows and rooftops. The show will be live-streamed on WIOQ’s Instagram Live. In addition, the drone light show’s musical soundtrack will be broadcast live and synced on the station. To prevent gathering of any kind, the exact location of the drone light show will not be released to the public … Six-year Townsquare Media Albany (New York) operations manager Steve Richards exits. In addition to his OM duties, Richards was brand manager for adult contemporary WPBZ “103.9 The Breeze”; alternative WQSH “Alt 103.5”; and classic rock WQBK “Q-105.7.”
iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Rises 3%. Revenue for iHeartMedia, Inc. – whose shares became listed on the NASDAQ on July 18 of this year – was $948.3 million, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2018. Digital revenue increased 33.4%. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, revenue was $2.66 billion – an increase of 2.8% over the same period in 2018. The company says, “Our traditional radio business, which is comprised of our Broadcast and Networks revenue streams, is stable and growing. Broadcast revenue declined by 0.6% on a reported basis and increased 0.4% excluding the impact of political revenue, while Networks grew 9.2% year-over-year driven primarily by growth in our Total Traffic & Weather network. Networks also grew sequentially by almost 300 basis points over the second quarter. Our growth was also driven by our Digital revenue stream, which grew 33.4%. Digital revenue growth was primarily driven by growth in podcasting, as well as other digital revenue. Audio & Media Services declined 14.3% on a reported basis and increased by 0.2% excluding the impact of political revenue. Political revenue primarily impacts our Broadcast and Audio & Media Services revenue, and therefore these revenue streams tend to show greater variance in non-political years. Sponsorships increased by 4.4% year-over-year. Importantly, all of our revenue streams grew year-over-year excluding the impact of political revenue, demonstrating the continued momentum in our business.”
Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q3 Net Income Up 1.5%. Net income for Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2019 third quarter was $66.1 million, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2018 and the company says that “reflects increased revenue in the Company’s Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Wilmington market clusters. Net revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the Company’s other market clusters.” For the first nine months of 2019, net income was $189.5 million, an increase of 4.1% over the same nine-month period in 2018. Station Operating Income increased 12.7% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2019. The company says the year-over-year increase is primarily attributable to higher revenue in the 2019 third quarter and lower station operating expenses related to $1.7 million of non-recurring bad debt expense that was recorded in the comparable 2018 period, partially offset by higher expenses at recently acquired stations. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Throughout the third quarter, we continued to advance our revenue diversification initiatives and actively manage our local radio broadcasting and digital platforms, while implementing our operating disciplines at recently acquired stations to drive SOI growth and margin expansion. Record third quarter net revenue of $66.1 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in four of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset the approximate $0.9 million of combined political, spectrum and United States Traffic Network traffic revenue recorded in the 2018 third quarter, which did not recur in the 2019 third quarter…Third quarter results also began to reflect financial contributions related to our new and expanding digital development and diversification initiatives. Beasley generated a year-over-year increase in digital revenue of approximately 37%, with digital now accounting for 7.4% of total revenue, compared to 5.4% of total revenue in the prior year period. Going forward, we remain committed to increasing digital share of total revenue as we continue to aggressively roll out our digital transformation strategy across the organization.”
Urban One Third Quarter Net Revenue Basically Flat at $111.1 Million. While third quarter net revenue was up just 0.3%, Urban One’s broadcast and digital operating income was up 3.2% on $44.8 million, compared to the same period in 2018. Operating income was approximately $32.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2019, compared to approximately $32.1 million for the same period in 2018. Urban One CEO and president Alfred Liggins III says, “During the third quarter we completed the sale of WDMK to Beasley Broadcasting, as a result of which our cash position improved, and net leverage was reduced. On a same station basis, our third quarter radio revenues were up 4.2%, and I was pleased that we were able to grow the Radio Broadcasting segment Adjusted EBITDA by 6.6%. Same station core radio revenues, excluding political, are currently pacing down low single digits for the fourth quarter. Cable Television advertising was robust in the quarter, up 7.8%. While digital revenues decreased by 6.4%, we were able to post significant Adjusted EBITDA growth in that segment as a result of improved cost control. Overall, we were able to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 5.8% for the quarter, and I believe we are well positioned to achieve our strategic goals for the year, with Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $138-$140 million.”
Nielsen Announces Plans to Split into Two Companies. Along with its third quarter financial results, Nielsen Holdings Plc is announcing that it will “separate the Global Media and Global Connect businesses through a spin-off of the Global Connect business.” Global Media is the audience measurement division and Global Connect is the consumer data division. CEO David Kenny says, “We are pleased with our third quarter results. Both Media and Connect revenues were ahead of our expectations, reflecting strong execution as well as our focus on driving faster, bolder decisions to enhance value for Nielsen and for our clients. We also announced today the conclusion of our strategic review and our decision to separate Global Media and Global Connect. As we look forward, we remain focused on executing on our growth strategies and positioning both businesses to create value for our shareholders.” The strategic review was led by chairman of the board of directors James Attwood, who says, “Nielsen has two strong and global franchises — Global Media and Global Connect. Following an extensive review process, which included an in-depth analysis of our businesses, strategies and market opportunities, the Board concluded that separating into two independent, publicly traded companies is the best path to position each business for long term success and maximize value creation. As independent companies, both Nielsen — the Global Media business — and the new company consisting of Global Connect will enjoy added flexibility and further strengthen their paths toward a new phase of growth, productivity and industry leadership.”
Q3 2019 Flat for Saga Communications. Third quarter net revenue for Saga Communications, Inc. was $31.3 million, basically flat compared to 2018’s Q3 figure of $31.7 million. Station operating expense increased $171 thousand to $23.6 million and operating income decreased $520 thousand to $4.8 million compared to $5.3 million for the same period in 2018. Net Income decreased $361 thousand to $3.3 million for the quarter. On a same-station basis, third quarter net revenue decreased $1.4 million to $30.3 million. Looking at the first three quarters of 2019, net income was flat with the same period in 2018 at $9.4 million. Net revenue decreased $610 thousand to $91.3 million. On a same-station basis for the nine-month period, net revenue decreased $3.8 million to $88.1 million. Saga reports having $42.3 million in cash on hand as of November 4, 2019. The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the quarter.
PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on the public radio news/talk format. More than 60% of public radio news/talk stations were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) compared to the September 2019 survey. Year-over-year, the results were split about 50/50, with half the stations up and half down. Four high-performing public outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in October. They were: WAMU-FM, Washington; KPBS-FM, San Diego; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin. Perennially top-ranked public outlet KQED, San Francisco ceded the #1 spot to Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco in October. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Sun Broadcast Group to Rep All of Envision Networks’ Products in 2020. This agreement between Sun Broadcast Group and Envision Networks is an expanded sales representation agreement that now includes all Envision Networks shows and services. Envision Networks CEO and president Danno Wolkoff says, “We started with Sun Broadcast Group selling all of our Spanish inventory and began adding more general market advertising to their networks as we grew. SBG’s ability to maximize our lineups and create networks with such high advertiser demand fueled the development of many new shows and services. It’s only fitting that Jay [Bailey], Julio [Aponte] and the Sun team now represent all of Envision Networks’ advertising sales in 2020 … we’re thrilled to be working together.”
TALKERS News Notes. Greenville, South Carolina news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” adds a translator to its broadcast. Now carrying the station’s signal is W270AM, Anderson, South Carolina at 101.5 FM. Anderson is about 25 miles southwest of Greenville. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “We’re happy to meet the demand from listeners and advertisers to expand 106.3 WORD’s over-the-air signal to Anderson County using 101.5 FM. Anderson is a fast-growing market that we are looking forward to serving with 106.3 WORD’s programming on all of our platforms.”…..Kentucky sports talk host Matt Jones will be off his WLAP-AM, Lexington-based program after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. Jones has announced he’s exploring the possibility of running as a Democrat for McConnell’s senate seat. The iHeartMedia station asked Jones to step away from the program after the complaint was issued. Jones was relieved of his duties at WLEX-TV, Lexington in July after he made his political ambitions known…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting a news special titled, “30 Years After the Fall: The Legacy of the Berlin Wall,” that explores the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Correspondent Chas Henry hosts the program as he reports from the site where the Berlin Wall once stood. He talks to scholars about why the wall was constructed and with residents who watched it come down. The half-hour program airs Thanksgiving weekend. Stations interested can contact Jim Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-840-7933 for more information.
Impeachment Process, Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Mormon Family Massacre, China-Hong Kong Tensions, New HIV Strain, and OK Boomer Meme Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The impeachment process against President Trump; the testimony about President Trump’s alleged quid pro quo offer to Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Democratic victories in Virginia and Kentucky in Tuesday’s elections; the massacre of nine members of a Mormon family by drug cartel members in Mexico; the ongoing tensions between Hong Kong and China; the discovery of a new strain of HIV; and the controversy over the “Ok Boomer” meme 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 the Fresno market, iHeartMedia names Angel “Visa” Jarquin program director for hip hop KBOS “B95.” He comes to “B95” from his most recent position with the company’s CHR KDON, Monterey where he was afternoon drive personality and assistant program director. iHeartMedia SVP of programming for Central California and Nevada Tony Matteo says, “Angel’s incredible track record of success and his experience in the format make him an ideal fit to spearhead this market’s leading brand in Fresno. We’re excited to bring his energy to the ‘B95’ team.”…..JVC Media announces the addition of Long Island radio personality Bill “The Wiseman” Wise as morning host at WPTY-HD2/W251BY, Patchogue, New York “Oldies 98.1” JVC New York general manager Bruce Shepard says, “The Wiseman is a great addition to our staff. He will not only be on the airwaves of ‘Oldies 98.1,’ he will also work with the team to develop new and exciting live events and concerts for ‘Oldies 98.1.’ I am thrilled to have him on board.”…..Country outlet WYCD, Detroit hosted last night’s “Stars and Strings Presented by RAM Trucks Built to Serve” event that raised more than $25,000 for Folds of Honor, the organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Entercom has now raised more than $275,000 to support the cause. The RADIO.COM event featured performances by Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Young, and Ryan Hurd…..iHeartMedia’s rock WJRR, Cocoa Beach, Florida announces the all-star lineup for its “Earthday Birthday Number 27” music festival taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Orlando Amphitheater. Performing will be: Shinedown, Halestorm, Theory Of A Deadman, Beartooth, Fozzy, Dirty Honey, New Years Day, Crobot, and Dinosaur Pile-Up, with more to be announced…..Cox Media Group classic hits WSRV, Atlanta “97.1 The River” will celebrate its 14th birthday with “The River’s Rockin’ Birthday Bash Presents: Journey with Pretenders” on Thursday, August 13 at Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta. Station director of branding and programming Chris Eagan says, “We can’t wait to celebrate The River’s 14th birthday with our awesome fans. Journey and Pretenders will definitely put on an unbelievable show to help us party on August 13!”