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Thursday, May 6, 2021

| May 6, 2021

Saga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 15.5%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Saga Communications announces net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decline of 15.5% from the $26.1 million reported in Q1 of 2020. Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year.  Station operating income was $4.7 million, down from the $5.5 million reported in the first quarter 0f 2020. Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communications reports net income of $758,000 in the first quarter, compared to $1.7 million in Q1 2020. The company’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. Saga’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021. Capital expenditures in the first quarter were $534,000 compared to $1 million for the same period last year. Saga expects to spend approximately $4.5 – $5.5 million for capital expenditures during 2021.

Nielsen Q1 Revenue Up 2.5%. Ratings and analytics giant Nielsen Holdings plc reveals its financial results for the first quarter of this year and revenue was $863 million, an increase of 2.5% on a reported basis. Nielsen notes that these results reflect the March 5, 2021 sale of the Global Connect business (consumer data) for $2.4 billion in net proceeds, which resulted in a $542 million preliminary gain on sale, net of taxes, recognized in the quarter. Of the net proceeds, $2.28 billion were used for debt reduction in March and April 2021. Beginning in the first quarter of 2021, Global Connect results were reclassified to discontinued operations for all periods presented. Nielsen CEO David Kenny comments, “We delivered a solid first quarter, as our teams executed incredibly well. We closed on the sale of Global Connect in March and are now singularly focused as the global essential data, measurement, and analytics provider for the entire media ecosystem. We are investing in our future and we are well-positioned to drive new growth from new solutions across all of our end markets globally. In particular, we are pleased with the advances we’ve made in Audience Measurement, Outcomes and Gracenote Content Services. We are executing as planned and we are increasing key elements of our 2021 guidance.”

FOX Corp Acquires Clay Travis’ Outkick. Yesterday (5/5), FOX Corporation announced an agreement via its subsidiary to acquire Outkick Media, LLC, the digital media platform founded and led by Clay Travis, and related assets. FOX says, “Outkick is an omnichannel leader in sports, opinion, politics, and pop culture content across its radio, podcasts, online and social outlets, as well as being one of the foremost sources of sports wagering information in the United States. Further, Outkick is in an exclusive marketing agreement with FOX’s partner FanDuel and serves as a significant source of sports wagering referrals.” FOX Corp executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch comments, “As FOX further diversifies our growing digital portfolio and broadens our position in the sports wagering ecosystem, there could be no better acquisition than Outkick. Clay and his team have quickly made Outkick a content powerhouse with a very large, loyal and engaged audience. We expect the synergies presented across FOX’s existing portfolio of assets will turbocharge this exciting business.” Travis adds, “Outkick has grown out of my passion for producing bold, well-informed, and entertaining content about sports, current events and, more recently, sports wagering. With the power of FOX behind us, we look forward to maintaining Outkick’s unwavering commitment to that mission, as well as further accelerating the growth of our audience, and continued leadership in the sports wagering affiliate category.” Clay Travis will remain integrally involved at Outkick and serve as its president. The price of the acquisition has not be announced.

Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ Hits 100 Million Download Mark. The “Call of the Day” podcast from Dr. Laura Schlessinger has reached the 100 million-downloads mark. The podcast is a feature that’s taken from Dr. Laura’s daily SiriusXM talk show in which she features a call she designates as the best from each day’s show. The “Call of the Day” podcast was launched in 2017 and has consistently ranked #1 in Parenting on Apple Podcasts, is top ranked in Kids and Family, and is among podcasting’s Global 200 according to Chartable. Dan Brady, director of podcast operations and program audio content for Take On The Day LLC, says, “We set forth to make this podcast a new avenue to hear Dr. Laura. It turns out we made it one of the most popular focusing on families and parenting. Take On The Day LLC president Geoff Rich adds, “In addition to its popularity with listeners old and new, Dr. Laura’s ‘Call of the Day’ has proven to be a great opportunity for advertisers who want to reach the desirable demographic of women 25-54.  It’s been a win-win for everyone.”

Todd Starnes Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Entrepreneur, syndicated talk show host, radio station owner, author, columnist, and conservative/evangelical thought-leader Todd Starnes is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” After working as a radio news reporter and news columnist for a number of years, this colorful and controversial personality began hosting a syndicated talk radio show on FOX News Radio in 2017. In 2019, he moved on from FOX, launching his own independent syndicated show which just recently cracked the 100-affiliate milestone. In January 2020, he significantly expanded his media empire by purchasing Memphis talk station 990 AM KWAM which now serves as the flagship for his growing radio show and political/industry influence. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Report: Future of Centennial’s WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Uncertain. A story in the Winchester Star shines a light on the status of Centennial Broadcasting II’s Winchester, Virginia news/talk outlet WINC-AM. Company CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper that WINC-AM “hasn’t had great financial success” lately and that the death of Rush Limbaugh has added to the station’s woes. Shaw tells the Wincester Star that his company is selling WINC-FM and WZFC-FM, to Fairfax, Virginia-based Metro Radio Inc. for $225,000 and that Centennial offered WINC-AM as well “practically for nothing” but Metro didn’t want it. If Centennial can’t sell WINC-AM, it would consider donating it to a college or a religious group before it would take the station dark.

COVID-19, Trump vs Liz Cheney/Future of GOP, Facebook Trump Ruling, Giuliani Investigation, Border Crisis, Newsom Recall/Jenner Run, and Peloton Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/5). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the move to waive COVID vaccine patents, and the soaring death rate in India; Donald Trump’s orchestration of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s fall from power in the House and the future of the GOP; Facebook keeps Trump account suspended but allows for further review; the FBI’s investigation into Rudy Giuliani and the mainstream media’s reporting errors; the crush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom and Caitlyn Jenner’s plan to run for the office; and Peloton recalls all of its treadmills after numerous accidents and one death were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 1, 2017

| May 1, 2017

Fox News Channel Announces Bill Shine’s Exit.  After a weekend of escalating rumors that Fox News Channel would soon replace Bill Shine as co-president of the cable news channel, that came true today as parent company 21st Century Fox, via a statement by executive chairman Rupert Murdoch, accepted Bill Shine’s resignation, although he clearly was asked to resign.  He’s been accused by some of the women involved in recent sexual harassment allegations against FNC management and talent, of enabling Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.  Earlier today, TALKERS reported that Rupert Murdoch and co-chairmen James and Lachlan Murdoch wanted to fill Shine’s position with a woman.  Today, Fox announces a number of promotions including the elevation of Suzanne Scott to president of programming, Jay Wallace as president of news, and Brian Jones to president Fox Business Network.  Rupert Murdoch is quoted saying, “This is a significant day for all at Fox News.  Bill has played a huge role in building Fox News to its present position as the nation’s biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry.  His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years.”  Shine, like Scott and Wallace, have been with FNC since its launch in 1996.  Jack Abernethy, who served with Shine as co-president, remains in his position.  The company says it intends to fill Shine’s co-president position.

Ryan Seacrest to Join Kelly Ripa as Co-Host on ABC’s ‘Live.’  One of the busiest people in show business gets even busier as Ryan Seacrest will add co-host of ABC’s morning talk TV franchise ‘Live’ with Kelly Ripa.  According to a CNN report, Seacrest will not give up any of his other on-air gigs, including his KIIS, Los Angeles and Premiere Networks-syndicated morning radio show.  The story indicates Seacrest will re-locate from LA to New York and will host his radio show from there.  The decision to bring Seacrest aboard comes after about a year of live auditions of guest hosts to replace Michael Strahan.  Seacrest co-hosted with Ripa five times.  The show will now be called, “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”  CNN’s story is here.

Report: Cumulus Reduces Staff in Chicago.  According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media has cut a number of positions in the Chicago cluster, including four on-air traffic reporters.  Feder reports that traffic reporters Jen DeSalvo, Christina Filiaggi, JoAnn Genette and Marti Jones have all been let go.  He notes that most of them served as contributing personalities on the shows in which they appeared.   Other cuts at the cluster include: WLS-AM sports reporter Rachel Brady and WLUP-FM evening host Jeremy Peterson, a.k.a. Pyke, and production Scott Dirks, who’d been with WLS-AM for almost 20 years.  Read Feder’s account here.

Is Hugh Hewitt Going to Get a TV Show on MSNBC?  According to a report in New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer column, the Salem Radio Network star and NBC correspondent is in talks with NBC to do a weekend evening program on MSNBC.  The bulk of the NYmag piece addresses how the possibility of Hewitt getting a show, the arrival of Greta Van Susteren from Fox News Channel, and the exit of African American personality Tamron Hall from “Today” is affecting morale among the liberal staff at MSNBC.  Read it here.

Entercom Charlotte Extends Bo Thompson.  Morning show host Bo Thompson and Entercom Charlotte agree to terms on a new contract for him to continue serving as host of the “Charlotte’s Morning News” program on news/talk WBT-AM/FM.  Entercom Charlotte vice president and market manager Matt Hanlon states, “Bo builds on the incredible reputation of WBT as we take our news content to the next level.  He represents the next generation of great broadcasters and we’re happy to continue to work with him as we move WBT into an audio everywhere, multi-platform experience for our listeners.”  Thompson began his career at WBT in 1990 and worked in a variety of roles in radio before returning to WBT as the morning host in 2012.  He comments, “Five years in, I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with WBT’s ‘Morning News’ and I’m excited about where we are going.  I started my career here and look forward to building the reputation of this iconic institution.”

TALKERS News Notes. The WADK, Newport, Rhode Island-based John DePetro show adds a new affiliate for the daily 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm broadcast as WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island begins airing the program.  DePetro says, “WNRI is a perfect match since WADK covers southern Rhode Island and into parts of Connecticut, and WNRI covers Northern Rhode Island and into parts of Massachusetts.  The show is three months old and we have our first affiliate, so we are moving in the right direction.”…..Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, whose daily talk show is heard on Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta “News 95.5 and AM750 WSB” is taking his show on the road on May 11 to Woodstock, Georgia where he’ll tape the program before a live audience by the Gazebo at The Park at City Center.  The event is free to attend and will include Cain’s popular “Rapid Fire” segment in which he takes questions and comments from the audience and says, “You get a minute…I get a minute.”…..WPHT, Philadelphia afternoon drive personality Rich Zeoli is pictured at right in a screen shot from his phone while broadcasting his show from Berkeley, California while covering the controversial issue of whether conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak at UC Berkeley.  Coulter appeared on Zeoli’s program and suggested he cover the issue from Berkeley, so Zeoli hosted his show from sister station KCBS-AM, San Francisco all last week.  Zeoli says he attended protests and grabbed audio cuts from protesters on both sides of the issue for the show.  He also kept his social media followers updated on his coverage via live video on Facebook and Twitter.

Dave Ramsey’s Smart Conference Rolls into Phoenix.  On Saturday (4/29), nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey hosted his Smart Conference before a packed crowd at Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.  The day-long conference included appearances by Rachel Cruze, Chris Hogan, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker, Dr. Henry Cloud, Christy Wright, Chris Brown and Anthony Oneal providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Local affiliate KTAR-FM “News 92.3 FM” helped promote the event.  Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “We’re always thrilled when Dave and his team bring their world class events to Phoenix.  Not only does Dave’s radio show continue to draw large audiences on KTAR, his popularity in Phoenix is also evidenced by this year’s Smart Conference selling out in record time.  The Ramsey team is fantastic to work with and we’re proud to call them partners and friends.”  Ramsey is pictured here with some of the KTAR staff: (front row, l-r): Jim Sharpe, Ashley Mannion, Ilene Thompson, (back row): Steve Giunta, Becky Kaiser, Ele Heubner, Ramsey, Gennifer Cartwright, and Linda Black.

KFI, Los Angeles Morning Host Bill Handel Interviewed by Michael Harrison. Longtime KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel guests this week on PodcastOne’s award-winning program, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in a fast-paced conversation about political correctness, satire, news/talk radio, ego, social media, surrogate parenting and even Broadway musicals. According to Harrison, “Bill Handel is one of the quirkiest, original thinkers on the air in American radio today – a true, one-of-a-kind performer. His humor is so nuanced and subtle that it takes a keen ear to know when he is kidding and when he is serious – the two tracks run simultaneously. He often offends the people and the groups that he is actually defending. It’s amazing!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Trump’s First 100 Days, Government Shutdown Threat, North Korean Threats, Trump Spending Bill, Deadly Tornadoes, French Election, and MLB, MBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  Assessing the first 100 days of the Trump Administration; the threat of a government shutdown and the passage of a temporary spending bill; the threats against the U.S. by North Korea and the American Naval presence in the region; President Donald Trump’s proposed spending bill; the deadly tornadoes that tore through parts of the South; the French presidential race between National Front party leader Marine Le Pen and En Marche! candidate Emmanuel Macron; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Former WBEN-AM/FM, Buffalo Owner Larry Levite Dies at 77.  Longtime Buffalo station owner Larry Levite has died at the age of 77.  Levite owned Algonquin Broadcasting, the company that owned and operated WBEN-AM/FM in Buffalo in the 1980s and early 1990s.  Levite is credited with turning around the ratings of WBEN-AM when it was a music outlet and it was during his ownership that the station transitioned into a news/talk outlet.  Levite sold the stations to Keymarket Communications in 1994.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  Morning show host Chadd Thomas is promoted to program director for Beasley Broadcast Group’s Tampa hot AC WPBB “b98.7”  He will continue in his role as co-host of the “Chadd & Kristi Morning Show.”  He states, “I’m thrilled to serve as program director for our family-fun morning show and our entirely new ‘b98.7!’  I’m looking forward to continue co-hosting with Kristi, my wife and morning show partner.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that music director and midday personality JD Cannon exits Emmis country WLHK, Indianapolis “Hank.”  Prior to joining WLHK, Cannon had spent 32 years at Cumulus Media’s crosstown country WFMS.  Cannon will remain with the station emceeing some “Hank” events and is serving as a fill-in…..At Bell Media’s alternative CIMX, Windsor/Detroit, after a recent exodus of station personalities comes news that 10-year staffer Mark McKenzie is named music director and morning host for the station.  The rest of the on-air staff includes J Stevens in middays, Phat Matt in PM drive and Zak for evenings…..Air personality Lola Montgomery exits Bend Radio Group’s country KSJJ, Bend, Oregon, wrapping a 29-year career in radio.  Montgomery says she and her husband have a number of projects lined up to keep them busy…..At Cox Media Group’s classic rock KHPT, Houston “The Eagle,” morning show team – Dean Myers and Roger Beaty – were honored on Friday, April 28 as it was declared “Dean & Rog Day” in Houston by Mayor Sylvester Turner.  CMG Houston VP and market manager Mark Krieschen comments, “Looking around the country, there are only a handful of major market morning shows with a 20-year track record in the same city.  What Dean and Rog have accomplished today is quite remarkable.”…..Gwendolyn Records country artist Trisha Yearwood appeared at the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen in Chicago to do a cooking demonstration.  Yearwood is also a Food Network star.  The event was hosted by WUSN “US99” midday personality Drew Walker and took place in front of a live studio audience of approximately 30 guests who won tickets listening to Walker’s program.   From her new line of Williams Sonoma products, Yearwood made “unfried chicken” with her Unfried Chicken Season Kit and her family’s signature cocktail with the Summer in a Cup cocktail mix.  Yearwood and Walker are pictured here on the set of the CBS Radio Culinary Kitchen.

PPM Analysis: Classic Hits/Oldies.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of classic hits and oldies-formatted stations based on 6+ data from the March 2017 PPM survey by Nielsen Audio.  Although less than half of the qualifying stations saw their 6+ numbers go up from February to March, iHeartMedia’s WRIT, Milwaukee “95.7 BIG FM” bucks the trend with a whopping 2.5 share jump to an 11.2 share.  “Just about half the stations (49%) on our classic hits-oldies sample are down between February 2017 – March 2017 (6+) while 42.5% improve; the remaining 8.5% of the panel is flat (6+).”  WRIT also was ranked #1 in the market in the March survey, as were seven other classic hits/oldies stations.  See which ones they were in the full report here.