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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

| November 2, 2021

Bongino Off the Radio This Week; Still Hosting Podcast. This may be the week that the rift between Westwood One parent company Cumulus Media and nationally syndication talk host Dan Bongino is settled – one way or the other. Bongino’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET show is being guest hosted this week after the syndicator ran best-of shows last week during his absence. At issue here is Bongino’s stand against the company’s vaccine mandates and his publicly calling out the company and demanding it rescind the requirement that all employees get vaccinated. He is still producing his daily, one-hour podcast for the iHeartRadio platform this week and on it he’s addressing vaccine mandates and his belief that they are ultimately doing the nation more harm than good. As far as Cumulus Media is concerned, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the company retreats on its vaccine mandate and since Bongino is obviously serious about his ultimatum, it looks like the two parties are likely headed for a separation.

Interep Radio Founder Ralph Guild Passes at 93. Legendary radio sales figure Ralph Guild – long credited with creating what is now the standard operating structure for television and radio rep companies, passed away yesterday (11/1) in Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 93. Guild launched Interep Radio in 1981 to offer the communications and marketing expertise he believed radio stations would come to expect from their representatives. Created as a holding company, Interep brought independent rep firms together under a single corporate umbrella and grew to over $1 billion in sales. In 1986, under Guild’s stewardship, Interep launched Group W Radio Sales, which ultimately became CBS Radio Sales. Other dedicated rep companies created by Interep included ABC Radio Sales. Guild began his radio representation career in 1957 as a young executive at McGavren Radio – a San Francisco-based firm devoted to representing radio advertising. The company sent him to New York to open their first east coast office, and by 1967 McGavren Radio had become McGavren Guild. In 1973, Guild had become the company’s president and chief operating officer, and later its chairman. Guild’s son Marc, who was also a well-known radio industry executive, passed away in 2020. Guild is survived by his children, Gale, Lynn, Sharon, and Adam, his 16 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.

Townsquare Media 2021 Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 17%. The company reveals the results of its 2021 third quarter financial report and says net revenue was $111.3 million, up 16.7% compared to the same period in 2020 and just 1% shy of the net revenue in Q3 of 2019 – just prior to the pandemic. Net income for the quarter was $12.9 million, up from $1.3 million in Q3 of 2020. Townsquare Media reports its business in three segments: Townsquare Interactive, the company’s digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising, which includes broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events, which is comprised of the company’s live events, including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Townsquare Interactive net subscription revenue increased $2.9 million, or 16.2%, to $21.1 million, Advertising net revenue increased $10.3 million, or 13.3%, to $87.4 million, and Live Events net revenue increased $2.7 million to $2.7 million, each as compared to the third quarter of 2020. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “Townsquare’s strong performance continued in the third quarter of 2021, highlighted by robust year-over-year net revenue, Adjusted EBITDA, and net income growth.  Adjusted EBITDA surpassed 2019 levels for the fourth consecutive quarter, and net revenue was at 99% of 2019 levels… As a Digital First Company with approximately 47% of total net revenue (excluding political) coming from our digital platform and solutions, we continue to separate ourselves from the local competition. In the third quarter, total digital revenue increased 20% year-over-year (+29% vs. Q3 2019), and we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $188 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of September 30, 2021) to $250 million in just three short years. Our digital revenue growth, combined with strong profit growth, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.9x as of September 30, a meaningful reduction of 2.9x year over year. I am incredibly proud of the Townsquare Team and the results we have delivered to date, which sets us up to noticeably exceed 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in FY 2021, marking a record profit level for our company. Although COVID is far from over, we have been able to achieve our revenue and EBITDA targets faster than we had initially planned for while gaining market share. As such, we are quickly moving towards our ultimate goal of being the number one local media company in each of our 67 markets.”

Beasley Media Group Q3 Net Revenue Up 26.7%. For the third quarter of 2021, Beasley Media Group reports net revenue of $62.9 million, an increase of 26.7% over the same period in 2020. The company reports a net loss of $1.6 million, down from the $2.7 million net loss reported in Q3 of 2020. Station operating income rose to $11.7 million, up 36% from the $8.1 million reported in the third quarter of 2020. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong third quarter financial results reflect the operating and financial benefits of our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives, which are becoming more visible as we move deeper into the post-pandemic economic recovery. Accelerating demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and multi-platform marketing solutions drove third quarter net revenue of $62.9 million, marking a 6% increase over second quarter 2021 levels and a 27% increase over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth, combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant 45% year-over-year increase in SOI to $11.7 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.7 million. While the Delta variant impacted some markets during the quarter, strong growth in core radio advertising and digital advertising revenue resulted in year-over-year total revenue increases across nearly all of our markets, with healthy double-digit growth in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Boston, Detroit, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Tampa and Wilmington. The growth was primarily driven by a significant increase in sports betting revenue. Beasley continues to generate positive results from strategic investments in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities, which are further strengthening the long-term competitive position of our diversified media platform. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 67% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 13% of total third quarter revenue. With our ongoing focus on premium audio and digital content, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the second consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 13% over the prior year period, including a 17% year-over-year increase in our total digital streaming audience. On the esports front, we recently launched AXLE-R8, our first expansion team marking our entry into the Rocket League Championship series, which attracts a highly engaged and growing young audience. As we continue to build our esports portfolio, we remain focused on looking for new, innovative ways to monetize this content to drive profitable long-term revenue growth. In summary, we continue to make significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as we integrate our leading broadcast platform with our fast-growing digital solutions while maintaining deep local connections and reach within our markets.”

Duke Brooks Exits Resort Broadcasting’s WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach. Talk show host Duke Brooks tells TALKERS magazine that he left his position as host of the afternoon drive program at Resort Broadcasting’s news/talk WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on October 15. He says, “I’ve been honored to have the company of thousands of Delmarvans every weekday afternoon for over six years, but WGMD plans a new programming direction in which I have no experience. That, among several other reasons, meant that it was time for me to depart Resort Broadcasting, LLC.” Brooks first joined WGMD in the fall of 2009 as evening talk show host but, along with several other staffers, was let go on February 2, 2011. He then worked as communication director for the Sussex County GOP and then for Kevin Wade’s (R-DE) campaigns for the U.S. Senate. He returned to WGMD on March 13, 2015.

Fisher House Radio Special Available for Veterans Day Weekend. In time for this year’s recognition of Veteran’s Day, Fisher House Foundation announces that The Jeff Wyatt Group has a free, fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 NOW available for download. You can hear the demo, register, and download today here. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for ALL formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The 3-hour, 1-hour, 25 and 30-minute radio specials are hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt and features stories of our nation’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families.

Biden Spending Bills, Election Day, COVID-19, SCOTUS Abortion Law Case, COP26, and Kyle Rittenhouse Trial to Begin Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/1). The status of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.75 trillion economic plan and Congress likely to act on them this week; today’s tight gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine mandates, and vaccine approval for children; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow; and the beginning of the trial of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, May 9, 2014

| May 9, 2014

cbsradioCBS RADIO Revenue Up 2%.  When CBS Corp. announces its financial numbers, the focus is generally on television, its bread and butter.  The corporation as a whole was down for the first quarter of 2014 – revenue dipped 2.27% compared to the same quarter a year ago on revenue of $3.86 billion – mostly as a result of CBS TV having had the 2013 Super Bowl and having two less NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament games this year.  Underneath it all, radio – part of the Local Broadcasting division that includes CBS TV O&O stations – was up 2% compared to the first quarter of 2013.  During yesterday’s conference call with investors, CEO Les Moonves said the radio division “had a good quarter with steady revenue growth in each month along the way and another strong performance by our CBS Sports Radio Network.”

entercomEntercom Q1 2014 Net Revenue Flat.  Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was flat at $78.2 million compared to the same quarter in 2013 for Entercom Communications Corp.  In a statement by CEO David Field, he says, “I am pleased to report that free cash flow increased 19% for the quarter.  First quarter revenue was up excluding the effect of our non-renewal of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, despite the unusually challenging winter weather that impacted many of our markets.  We are increasingly enthusiastic about the radio industry’s future growth outlook based on a number of recent developments, most notably the release of the Nielsen Catalina study which showed radio generating outstanding ROI results across 10 major national brands, significantly outperforming other competitive media.”

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Named SVP of Simply Money Media.  The Cincinnati-based financial advice firm Simply Money airs an hour-long talk radio show on Clear Channel’s WKRC, Cincinnati nightly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and when Darryl Parks was still the PD there, he was instrumental in improving the quality of the show, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter.  Now, months after Parks’ VP of news talk operations position was eliminated by CC, Parks joins the financial firm founded by Nathan Bachrach and Ed Finke.  Bachrach tells the paper Parks’ role is to “help us craft our message and work with all of our media partners – CNBC, The Enquirer, Fox 19 and Clear Channel.”  Parks says, “While I had success doing radio in Cincinnati and other markets, future success will be defined by having expertise across all media.  Simply Money Media allows me to use my skills in audio, but also the skills I had in television, digital and print.”  Read Kiesewetter’s piece here.

edisonresearchEdison-Triton ‘Moms & Media 2014’ Spotlights Mobile Usage.  The “Moms & Media 2014” data presented at the Thursday, May 8 webinar by Edison Research and Triton Digital was culled from the larger “Infinite Dial 2014” study presented by the firms in March.  Much of what was presented was not surprising – but it put some hard numbers on what savvy media industry players already suspect.  Primarily, it’s that “moms” – defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household – are very attached to their mobile devices and are relying on them more and more.  Some stats: the majority of moms (59%) are 35+; 60% are employed either full or part time; and 69% own a smartphone (compared to 36% of moms who owned a smartphone in 2011).  Some relevant stats for radio operators include: 30% of moms have ever listened to online radio (including AM/FM streams) using a smartphone through a car audio system; 56% have listened to online audio in the past month; and they averaged 12 hours and 4 minutes listening to online radio during the week previous to the study.  Check out the slide presentation here.

misw logoGender Analysis Study Released.  The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) provides the data that is based on information from well over 11,000 AM and FM stations.  According to the study, roughly 18% of those 11,000+ facilities had women general managers this past year, basically flat from 2012 (17.8% – 17.7%).  By way of further comparison, it was 14.9% in 2004. Breaking it out by market size, 17.7% of managers in top 100 markets (virtually mirroring the entire sample) were female in 2013, versus 16.8% in 2012. Spokesperson Kay Olin notes that, “The MIWs have been analyzing and publishing gender numbers for the past 14 years.  It is important to track the upward growth and impact of women’s leadership in radio.  It is always encouraging to see the number of management opportunities grow.  We all can make a difference through mentoring and nurturing future leadership.”  For whatever reason, it is still easier to find female general managers than it is to locate women program directors.  Figures from the past few years regarding women PDs remain fairly consistent – in the one in 10 range.  The most recent numbers show females program 11% of all stations in the country; eight years ago, it was 10.7%.  There is actually a bit of a year-to-year decline though when the numbers are separated in the top 100 markets only.  Women in metros of that size could be found occupying programming chairs in 11% of cases in 2013, off from 11.8% in 2012.

quarmjuliegalleyMcGavren Guild Names Quarm Dallas Region VP/DOS.  Former Katz Radio Group senior account executive Julie Galley Quarm is appointed vice president/director of sales for McGavren Guild‘s Dallas office and will oversee all sales for the independent media rep firm’s clients in that part of the Lone Star State.  President/chief executive officer Kevin Garrity declares, “This is a major hire for McGavren Guild and Genesis Media Holdings as we continue to build one of the strongest teams in radio sales.  Julie is a very talented executive with great relationships and a stellar track record of developing new business.  She will play an integral role in helping our client stations grow their revenue and share.”  Quarm comments that, “Under the strong leadership of Kevin Garrity, McGavren Guild is a terrific company with a very bright future.  It was an easy decision for me to be a part of the team that will grow key client relationships and develop new opportunities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.”  Prior to joining Katz Radio Group, Quarm was an Interep senior account executive; network account coordinator at Premiere Radio Networks; and senior scheduling coordinator at Nielsen Media Research.

mcmanusadamMcManus Seeing Major Fill-In Duty.  San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus tells TALKERS he has been doing a ton of guest hosting lately.  During spring break, he broadcast for Chris Krok on Cumulus-owned WBAP, Dallas in mid-March.  Later that month he sat in for Joe Walsh on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago.  In addition to a recent fill-in gig for KTSA, San Antonio’s Sean Rima, McManus has been hosting the morning drive show on KTSA after the tragic death of morning personality Trey Ware’s son Justin.  Reach out to McManus at TalkRadioAdam@gmail.com.

Odds & Sods.  WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott fills in this evening (5/9) on Premiere Networks‘ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..At Rocking M Radio, Will Sterrett comes aboard to serve as corporate news director.  He’ll work from home base country/farm KXXX, Colby, Kansas where he’ll also be news director.  Sterrett was most recently an anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City…..The New York Daily News is reporting that Spero Dedes will not return as the voice of New York Knicks basketball on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York.  His contract was not renewed by MSG Network.  He joined the Knicks in 2011 after working for the Los Angeles Lakers…..Joining the affiliate relations team at America’s Talk Radio Network is David Reeder.  His previous experience includes managing the radio group Marsh Broadcasting and serving as VP/GM at USA Radio Network…..“America Tonight” personality Kate Delaney sits in for GCN-syndicated Jason Lewis on Monday, May 12.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at KMYC, Yuba City, California and KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri adds the weeknight edition of the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.

boomer14draftBoomer & Pals Celebrate NFL Draft.  A big party was thrown by WestwoodOne at Boomer Esiason’s Stadium Grill at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, New York City on Thursday evening prior to the beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft.  In addition to serving as analyst on WestwoodOne’s coverage of Monday Night Football, Esiason is also morning drive co-host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York alongside Craig Carton.  Pictured here are (from left to right): Esiason, WestwoodOne sports announcers Scott Graham and James Lofton.

Climate Change/New Power Plant Regulations Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 5-9.  Stiffer power plant emissions regulations and the controversy over climate change were the two stories that tied for most-talked-about on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was the Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair article.  At #3 was the potential 2016 presidential candidates tied with mid-term election chatter and following at #4 was the Boko Haram kidnappings.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.