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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

| May 10, 2022

Townsquare Media Reports Q1 Net Revenue Up 13%; Tops Pre-COVID Net Revenue by 7%. For the first quarter of 2022, Townsquare Media is reporting net revenue of $100.2 million, an increase of 13% over the same period in 2021 and an increase of 7% over the same period in Q1 of 2019. Townsquare is also reporting net income of 2.74 million for Q1 of 2022 compared to the loss of $6.1 million it reported in the first quarter of last year. Townsquare reports in three segments: 1) Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions – including its subscription digital marketing solutions business, Townsquare Interactive. That segment reported revenue of $21.8 million, an increase of 15% over Q1 of 2021; 2) Digital Advertising – marketed externally as Townsquare Ignite that includes digital advertising on its owned and operated digital properties and its digital programmatic advertising platform. That segment reported revenue of $29.2 million, an increase of 16.6% over last year; and 3) Broadcast Advertising – including the company’s local, regional, and national advertising products and solutions delivered via terrestrial radio broadcast (plus other miscellaneous revenue associated with the broadcast advertising platform). That segment’s revenue was $48.1 million, an increase of 7.7% over the same period a year ago. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson states, “I am proud to announce our strong start to 2022, with net revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and net income increasing year-over-year by +13%, +10%, and $8.9 million, respectively. In addition, net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA exceeded our previously issued guidance due to strong growth and strong margins. As a Digital First Local Media Company, our first quarter performance was driven by our digital platform and solutions, with total digital revenue increasing +16% year-over-year in the first quarter (representing 51% of our total Q1 net revenue) and total digital Adjusted Operating Income increasing +11% year-over year (representing 55% of our total Q1 Adjusted Operating Income). As we move forward, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue at strong margins, fueling our overall growth and subsequent debt reduction, from 4.66x net leverage today to 4.0x by year end. We are also pleased to re-affirm our 2022 guidance and our 2024 digital revenue target of at least $275 million. These results and confidence in our outlook are due, in part, to the fact that Townsquare is the only local media and digital marketing solutions company of scale focused principally on markets outside of the Top 50 in the United States, a vital differentiator for our company. Our new reporting segments highlight the profit characteristics of our digital platform, which is essentially equal to those of our broadcast platform, each with profit margins of approximately 30%. While we view local radio as an extremely valuable asset with significant and attractive cash flow properties, unparalleled consumer reach, and an important and trusted local connection to our audience and communities, it is not our primary growth driver. With approximately half of our total revenue and profit coming from digital today, we have a strong digital growth engine that will drive significant and consistent growth in the coming years. It is our belief that as a Digital First Local Media Company providing a detailed breakout of our digital revenue and digital profit, Townsquare should be afforded a sum-of-the-parts valuation that gives credit to our digital assets.”

 

MIW Launches State Broadcasters Partnership Program. The non-profit organization Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc., dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting, announces a new national program designed to create mentorship opportunities in every state in the union. This three-to-five-year strategic plan exponentially expands the organization’s mentoring outreach across the United States. The first pilot program partners MIW with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association to create, “Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Minnesota.” MIW’s long term plan includes establishing close working relationships with leadership from all interested state broadcasters associations and broadcasters across the country to create mentorship curriculums for female professionals in radio broadcasting. With MIW’s guidance, these state-centered programs will be based on the tenets, structure, and best practices of MIWs broad array of successful and established mentoring opportunities. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff says, “This program is designed to dramatically expand our mentorship outreach. We couldn’t ask for a better first partner than president Wendy Paulson and the Minnesota Broadcasters Association as we work toward a mentee in every state. Cheers to the first. Forty-nine to go!” Find out more here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. When the Radiodays Europe conference takes place in Malmö, Sweden May 15-17, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will take part in two sessions. She will participate in a special one-on-one session titled, “American Regional Radio in the Digital Age,” hosted by Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes. In addition, Beasley will take part in the “Audio Summit” panel, featuring Sibyle Veil (CEO Radio France), Linda Pamgren (CEO Bauer Media Sweden) and Cathinka Rondon (head of Radio-NRK). The session will be moderated by Folder Media creative director Matt Deegan…..The nationally syndicated, weekend shooting sports program “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” adds WBIN Media’s WTPL-FM, Hillsborough, New Hampshire and Berkshire Broadcasting Corp’s WLAD-AM/W231DJ, Danbury, Connecticut to its roster of affiliate stations. The program is syndicated by Talk Shows USA…..Chicago-based MediaTracks Incorporated sells “Radio Health Journal” and “Viewpoints Radio” to American Urban Radio Networks, LLC. The two weekly public affairs programs are syndicated on a total of nearly 1,500 stations in more than 200 U.S. markets. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker for the seller in this transaction…..Audio content, marketing, and advertising services firm Gemini XIII, joins forces with Diversion Podcasts through an investment that will grow Diversion’s offerings under a new premium podcast network called Diversion Audio. Diversion Audio will become Gemini XIII’s content division. The division will leverage sister company Diversion Books’ publishing assets and author relationships to offer a focused content model it says is unique to podcasting: expanding IP from books, authors, and personalities into the podcast medium as original audio content across both high-frequency episodic shows and engrossing narrative limited series. Gemini XIII co-founder and CEO Spencer Brown says, “Through Diversion Audio, we will build upon the successful franchises and proven track record that Scott [Waxman] and his talented team have created at Diversion Podcasts. Together with our recent acquisitions of Phantom Producer and The Infinite Agency, Gemini XIII is well-positioned to optimize these premium assets and capabilities to build and grow a new breed of audio company. The creation of Diversion Audio advances that strategy considerably. We think podcast listeners and readers alike will love what they hear as we launch new podcasts tied to Diversion’s expansive intellectual property library.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Roe v Wade, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Vicky White/Casey White Manhunt, and Western Drought/Texas Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The falling Dow and NASDAQ, the high price of gas & food, and concerns about a full-blown recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and concerns about Vladimir Putin’s health and willingness to use nuclear weapons; the aftermath of the leak of a draft of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade; the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rate of cases, hospitalizations & deaths from COVID-19; the manhunt for Alabama corrections officer Vicky White and convict Casey White ends; and the drought in the U.S. West and the Texas wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.