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Friday, November 5, 2021

| November 5, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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. This new episode titled, “What’s Left?” looks back at this past week of 11/1 – 11/5. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County, TN/former world champion (Kane), WWE; and Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel. The 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

iHeartMedia Q3 Net Revenue Up 25%. On revenue of $928 million, iHeartMedia Inc is up 25% over the same period in 2020. For the third quarter of 2021 the company reports net income of $3.7 million, compared to the net loss of $32 million it reported in the third quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia now reports its financials in two segments – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group. iHeartMedia says the Digital Audio Group was up 77% on revenue of $206 million and adds that podcast revenue was up 51% year-over-year. The Multiplatform Group – including broadcast radio and network radio – was up 18.7% on revenue of $659 million compared to the same period in 2020. In this segment, the company explains, “Broadcast revenue grew $79 million, or 19.5% year-over-year, while Networks grew $8.9 million, or 7.5% year-over-year. Revenue from Sponsorship and Events increased by $13.8 million, or 47.6% year-over-year, primarily as a result of the return of live events. These increases were partially offset by a $15.1 million decrease in political revenue compared to the same period in 2020, which was a presidential election year.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our strong results this quarter are further evidence of the success of our company’s continuing transformation – data-led, digital and podcast focused, along with the unparalleled audience reach of our broadcast radio assets, and supported by the largest sales force and the only unified ad tech stack in audio advertising – all with the strong flywheel effect of our scale and leadership position. These results highlight both the strong growth and potential of our digital business, including podcasting, and the strong recovery and growth potential of our radio business.”

Salem Media Group Third Quarter Revenue Rises 8.8%. Reporting its financial data for the third quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group says revenue was $66 million, an increase of 8.8% over the same period in 2020. Operating income increased 232.5% to $15.8 million from $4.8 million and net income rose to $22.1 million, up 194% over the $329,000 net income it posted in Q3 of 2020. Salem breaks its financial reports into three segments: Broadcast, Digital Media, and Publishing. For the Broadcast segment, net revenue increased 9.3% to $49.6 million from $45.4 million, and Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 8.9% to $49.1 million from $45.1 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue of $10.6 million, an increase of 8.5% from $9.8 million in Q3 of 2020 and operating income decreased 10.8% to $2.4 million from $2.7 million. Salem’s Publishing revenue was $5.7 million, an increase of 5.6% over the same period in 2020.

Round Four of October 2021 PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s October 2021 sweep covered September 16 – October 13. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM loses one-tenth and finishes with a 6.3 share (6+, AQH share) good for the #4 rank while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown WPTF was down two-tenths for a 2.2 share and the #15 rank. Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis slips two-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and slides down to the #5 rank. In Milwaukee, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ-AM rises seven-tenths for a 9.8 share finish and remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN-AM tacks on four-tenths for a 9.3 share and the #2 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM falls out of first place to #2 after slipping five-tenths to a 7.3 share and in Providence, the company’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM climbs from #8 to #5 after adding nine-tenths to finish with a 5.1 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

MIW Webinar: Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio group, along with sponsor vCreative, are joining forces to recognize and celebrate women in radio whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their stations and groups. The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence” is being held Thursday, December 2, from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s operations: Becky Deneger, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Hedrick says, “The women on this panel exemplify the spirit of our industry. They fearlessly embrace technology, never back away from a challenge, and approach their jobs with curiosity and passion. Although operating mostly behind the scenes, they are the first to be called for the toughest projects. It is my honor to shine a spotlight on their careers, the attitudes that define them, and the positive impact that they have on their businesses.”

TALKERS News Notes. The results of “The Black Podcast Listener Report” – a recent study conducted by Edison Research in partnership with SXM Media and Mindshare – will be presented at a webinar on November 16 at 2:00 pm ET. The study – which examines how Black Americans consume podcasts, including podcast discovery, device usage, and reasons for listening – reveals that 36% of Black Americans age 18+ are monthly podcast listeners. The report also includes findings on how Black Americans feel about podcast advertisements, podcasts with video components, the topics and genres they are most interested in, and the importance of Black creators in podcasting. Find out more about the study here…..iHeartMedia announces the launch of “iHeartRadio’s Black and Inspired HBCU Celebration,” presented by Hyundai. The four-episode podcast series celebrates Black culture and the passionate alumni community of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. iHeartMedia EVP of programming Thea Mitchem says, “As an HBCU graduate, I know first-hand Historically Black Colleges and Universities have an unparalleled impact on our community and play a vital role in Black students’ success across the country. These intimate conversations will help to educate, uplift and amplify the Black community and its aspiring young leaders, and we’re thrilled that these important voices will be able to reach millions of listeners through iHeart’s massive digital and broadcast reach.”…..Meadowlark Media – the media company recently launched by Dan LeBatard and former ESPN chief John Skipper – along with Advance Local announces the release of a multi-part investigative podcast series, “The Mayor of Maple Avenue” – based on the story of Shawn Sinisi, the only Jerry Sandusky victim known to have died since the former Penn State University assistant coach went to prison on 45 counts of sexual abuse. The podcast series features the reporting of Sara Ganim, who broke the original story for The Patriot-News and PennLive.com and later won a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage…..WNYC editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper announces that Veronica de Souza joins the company as director of digital news & audience. De Souza started her media career in radio, working in promotions and later production at CBS Radio, Music Choice and New York all-news 1010 WINS. Most recently, she was senior director of publishing at Vice Media. In her new role at WNYC, she’ll oversee an audience development team that will develop and execute a social, newsletter and audience-acquisition strategy; a data visualization team that will create sticky, utility-based content for readers and listeners; a web production team that will help program a redesigned Gothamist website; and the Day-Of News desk…..Virtual News Center adds Stony Creek Broadcasting’s WNSX, Bar Harbor, Maine to its roster of affiliate stations…..The Texas Radio Hall of Fame is partnering with PickleJar to bring tomorrow’s annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony to audiences across the country and around the world. The event takes place at 12:00 noon CT from the Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications in Kilgore, Texas, and will feature the induction of 20 new broadcast professionals in a two-hour presentation combining video and live acceptance speeches by those being honored. TRHOF executive director Doug Harris says, “When we first learned of Pickle Jar’s revolutionary way of connecting fans and bands, we were intrigued by its application to our needs. Judy Lakin, PickleJar board member, was able to connect the dots for us and bring this historic broadcast to life for our inductees and their families and fans.”

Tuesday’s Elections Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 1-5. Tuesday’s elections that saw Republican Glenn Youngkin win the Virginia Governor’s seat over Democrat Terry McAuliffe was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was school board politics tied with race relations, followed by the controversy over COVID-19 vaccines, and masks & vaccine mandates at #3. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Salem New York Seeks Digital Specialist. The New York City operations of Salem Media Group is looking for a digital specialist. “If you love this segment of the broadcast business, then you want to work at Salem media in New York. While we have two booming radio stations in NYC, our digital business has taken off as well. Come join us please! Contact Jerry Crowley at: jcrowley@nycradio.com.

Audacy Seeks Programming Coordinator. This position is in New York City as Audacy is seeking a skilled programming coordinator to provide project management and administrative support to the core programming leadership group there. Some of the responsibilities in this position include: Assisting in the planning and organizational management tasks around programming, content and creative with a large portfolio of radio stations and digital content platforms; helping develop and implement consumer marketing and advertising campaigns in select markets to drive ratings; coordinate planning, tracking, contracts, art/creative proofing, and execution & trafficking of various media (OOH and digital, figures prominently); creating, modifying and maintaining spreadsheets, databases and preparing reports; ensuring billing procedures run smoothly; plus more. Find out more and apply here.

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

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. This new episode titled, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The 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 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.