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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.

Friday, May 6, 2022

| May 6, 2022

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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Mothers of Contention,” looks back at this past week of 5/2 to 5/6. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaTodd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; and Gregg Stebben, correspondent, beamz.live. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; 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 NetworkPodcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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 Reports Q1 2022 Consolidated Revenue Up 19.4%. Financial results from the first quarter of 2022 for iHeartMedia Inc. reveal consolidated revenue of $843 million, an increase of 19.4% over the same period a year ago. The company’s net loss shrank during the first quarter to $48.7 million from the $242 million net loss posted during Q1 of 2021. iHeartMedia posted operating income of $12.3 million for the first quarter, compared to the operating loss of $76.4 million it reported in Q1 of 2021. Looking at the company’s reporting by segment, broadcast radio was up 16.2% on revenue of $416.5 million, and networks was up 2.1% on revenue of $117.6 million. Those, along with sponsorships & events, comprise the company’s Multiplatform Group. The Digital Audio Group consists of digital excluding podcasting, which reported revenue of $145.7 million (up 22.2%), and podcasting, which reported revenue of $68.5 million (an increase of 78.7%). The company’s Audio & Media Services Group reported revenue of $60.9 million (up 10.4%) for the quarter. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of strong results, and believe our performance is further evidence of the successful execution of our digital transformation and multiplatform strategy, and the power of our position as the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio, and podcasting. We remain committed to building on iHeart’s transformation into a data-led, digitally focused business; to investing in areas with high-growth potential; and to continuing our focus on innovation and being at the forefront of new technologies and digital platforms which create incremental growth opportunities for Audio.”

 

‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show Expands to Springfield, Mass. Market. The “Toucher & Rich” morning program based at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be heard on rock Saga Communications WLZX-FM/W253CD in the Springfield-Northampton, Massachusetts market beginning on May 9. The program, hosted by Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right), began expanding to affiliate stations throughout New England last fall. This is an uncommon move for Saga, which has a history of keeping its morning drive programs live and local. Toucher & Rich comment, “We’re excited to be launching ‘Toucher & Rich’ in Springfield and Northampton on ‘Lazer 99.3 and 98.5’ with our new friends at Saga Communications. We’re fortunate to have some of the most loyal listeners in radio and look forward to introducing our show to a whole new audience of potential T&R diehards.”

 

Moms & Media 2022. “Two years into COVID,” Moms’ media consumption is changed. “The Research Moms” at Edison Research updated their annual report in a Thursday webinar consultant Holland Cooke attended; and HC’s “one-sentence version” is: “To reach Mom, use smartphones, Alexa, Facebook, and TikTok.” Click here for his notes, and links to download the report and watch a video of the narrated presentation. Read more here.

 

WJR-AM, Detroit Celebrates 100 Years on the Air. On Wednesday (5/4), Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM, Detroit kicked off a year-long Centennial celebration. WJR signed on for the first time on May 4, 1922, as WCX, which changed a few years later to WJR to reflect the ownership of the Jewett Radio and Phonograph Company. Cumulus says, “The station has served the community with excellence for 100 years, with a 50,000-watt signal that can be heard across nearly half the country at night, providing the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the Upper Midwest with news, music, sports, and information by some of the most talented people in the radio industry. Through the years, WJR’s legendary lineup has featured broadcasting giants such as Paul W. Smith, Jack Parr, Mitch Albom, J.P. McCarthy, Frank Beckmann, Ernie Harwell, Guy Gordon, and Rush Limbaugh.” In the last several months leading up to Wednesday’s 100th year birthday, WJR has presented dozens of on-air vignettes that mark memorable moments, tell interesting stories, and feature the unique sound and talented people from WJR’s history. In addition, the station has populated www.wjr.com with archival video, audio and photos that tell the story of WJR’s first 100 years. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manage Steve Finateri comments, “Being at WJR is like being part of an all-star team at every position in this famous Fisher Building. WJR is iconic because of the extremely high standards set by so many world class broadcasters over the past 100 years. Today, those same high standards and our ‘blow torch coverage’ is what still attracts top newsmakers from around the Great Lakes Region and is the reason for our continued success. We take great pride in our programming, our business and civic relationships, and serve the community by raising millions every year for numerous worthy charities that improve the quality of life in Detroit. The best-of-the-best seem to find their way to WJR, and I know that tradition will continue on for the next 100 years.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media personality and former WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive host Steve Cochran is going to be heard on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM in mornings next week. Cochran will guest host the program that is without a permanent host since Bruce St. James exited the station last month. Since exiting WGN, Cochran has been producing a twice-weekly podcast titled, “Live from My Office.”…..Audio streaming service TuneIn names Tom Fuelling chief financial officer. Fuelling has served as CFO for Hulu, OpenX, ARTISTdirect and most recently, Spokeo, Inc. TuneIn CEO Richard Stern says, “Tom is an incredible addition to our growing leadership team. His experience scaling global media businesses that consumers love is unparalleled. Working in a competitive landscape, TuneIn has emerged as a leader in live audio streaming and we look forward to working with Tom as he’ll help us sustain and maintain our growth both domestically and abroad.”…..FOX News Media, in partnership with the National Merit Scholarship Program, announces the selection of the recipients of the third annual Dr. Charles Krauthammer Memorial Scholarship. This year’s scholarships will be endowed to Emmett Gaffney, son of vice president of documentary programming, Brian Gaffney and Grace LeCroy, the daughter of FOX News assignment desk manager Lillian LeCroy and FOX News Edge photojournalist Phil LeCroy. The winners will be featured on the network’s evening newscast, “Special Report with anchor Bret Baier,” on which Dr. Krauthammer was a fixture over the years. Additionally, Daniel Krauthammer will appear on the program tonight to discuss his father’s legacy. In making the announcement, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “We are pleased to continue the tradition of honoring Charles Krauthammer’s extraordinary and celebrated career. Emmett and Grace are exceptional students whose many talents extend beyond the classroom. It is our hope that Charles’ brilliant intellect, integrity and courage will serve as an inspiration for them throughout their next endeavors in higher education. Congratulations to Emmett, Grace, and their families.”

 

Roe v Wade Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 2-6. The leak of a draft decision indicating the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics tied with the 2022 and 2024 elections, followed by January 6 committee activity tied with Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the 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.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

| March 10, 2022

Townsquare Media Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1.9%; Full Year Net Revenue Rises 12.6%. The 2021 fourth quarter and 2021 full year financial report from Townsquare Media reveals Q4 net revenue of $110.6 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. For the full year of 2021, net revenue was $418 million, up 12.6 % over the full year of 2020. Townsquare Media reports its financial information in three primary segments: 1) Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions, which includes the company’s subscription digital marketing solutions business called Townsquare Interactive. 2) Digital Advertising includes the digital advertising business sold as Townsquare Ignite, and 3) Broadcast Advertising includes the company’s local, regional, and national advertising products and solutions delivered via terrestrial radio broadcast, as well as other miscellaneous revenue that is associated with the broadcast advertising platform. Company CEO Bill Wilson says, “Beginning with our 2021 year-end reporting, we have re-segmented our business to provide greater visibility for our existing and prospective investors. Importantly, this re-segmentation will 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%. Given this new and more detailed information, Townsquare should be viewed and valued as a Digital First Local Media Company, rather than being painted with a traditional broadcast radio brush. 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, it is not our primary growth driver. Our growth engine is and will continue to be digital, which fueled our transformation into a Digital First Local Media Company. With nearly half of our total revenue and profit coming from digital today, we have a strong growth engine that will drive significant and consistent growth in the coming years. It is our hope and expectation that given this new more detailed information, Townsquare will be afforded a sum-of-the-parts valuation that gives credit to our digital assets, credit which to date we have not received.” For the full year of 2021, Townsquare reports net income of $18.8 million, compared to a net loss of $80.6 million reported for the full year 2020, which the company says was primarily driven by approximately $109.1 million of non-cash impairment charges, primarily related to its FCC licenses.

 

Saga Communications Q4 Net Revenue Flat; 2021 Full-Year Net Revenue Up 13.1%. The company reports 2021 fourth quarter net revenue of $29.2 million, basically flat compared to the $28.8 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2020. Net income for Q4 of 2021 was $3.7 million compared to $2.3 million reported for the same period in 2020. For the full year of 2021, Saga Communications reports net revenue increased 13.1% to $108.3 million compared to $95.8 million for the full year of 2020. The company reports net revenue for 2021 of $11.2 million compared to the net loss of $1.9 million reported for the full year of 2020. Saga says its balance sheet reflects $54.8 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2021 and $56.2 million as of March 7, 2022.

 

KOA, Denver Morning Personality April Zesbaugh Announces Retirement. “Colorado’s Morning News” co-host April Zesbaugh announces that she’s retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA, Denver in the coming months after a 30-year broadcast journalism career that includes 25 years with KOA. Zesbaugh has co-hosted “Colorado’s Morning News” since 1996 and is one of the longest running news personalities in Colorado. She comments, “Despite my 2:30 am wake-up call for the last 30 years, I feel very fortunate for every second in front of the KOA microphone. It’s time to hang-up my headphones to pursue more family time, play more tennis, travel in our RV and see what it feels like to sleep without an alarm clock.” Zesbaugh is the winner of one national and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalism excellence by the Radio Television Digital News Association, as well as countless awards for “Colorado’s Morning News” from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press. She has also been an influential member of the Denver community and has emceed numerous charity events, including those focused on mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, the challenges of single mothers and animal rescue. KOA program director Greg Foster says, “April is one of the most recognizable and popular voices in Colorado and has set a professional standard which has contributed to the success of KOA. While we will miss our friend and colleague, April has earned the opportunity to enjoy her retirement.” Zesbaugh adds, “I’m grateful to Jerry Bell, former news director of KOA, for hiring me – calling me during my honeymoon to offer me the job – and to the current news director, Kathy Walker, and the KOA news team who have been with me every step of the way in helping to make me a better broadcaster and journalist. I’m leaving our listeners in good hands with my co-host, Marty Lenz. He has great news chops and asks really smart questions.”

 

Chris Hansen is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform reporter and predator-hunter Chris Hansen is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For nearly four decades, Hansen has been on the front lines of crime, enterprise reporting, and breaking news all over the world. Most recently he was an executive producer and reporter for the “Onision: In Real Life” and “Unseamly…The Peter Nygard Investigation” series now on Discovery+ and the current top-rated podcast “Predators I Have Caught with Chris Hansen.” He has also been host and correspondent for the syndicated program “Crime Watch Daily” as well as “Killer Instinct on ID” and “Dateline NBC.” He created the groundbreaking investigations, “To Catch A Predator,” among others. These investigations are responsible for exposing some 400 men attempting to meet children online for sex. Hansen has been honored with 10 Emmys, five Edward R. Murrow awards as well as excellence in reporting by the Overseas Press Club. He also has a substantial digital presence including a YouTube channel, which has more than 375,000 subscribers and 25 million views. The deep-dive conversation between Harrison and Hansen covers two major areas – the rapid evolution of media (including the tenets of building a YouTube channel) to the scourge of crime on our city streets as well as the mean streets of cyberspace where sexual predators continue to prowl for children and young women. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

SRN’s Eric Metaxas Broadcasts from National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above (at right) is Salem Radio Network host Eric Metaxas broadcasting his program live from the National Religious Broadcasters conference from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Pictured with Metaxas are U.S. Congressman Allen West (left) and Rick Green, founder of Patriot Academy (center). NRB 2022 continues through this weekend.

 

PodcastOne Joins Top 10 Podcast Publishers. According to data from podcast metric company Podtrac, PodcastOne is ranked #8 on the list of Top Podcast Publishers. Podtrac ranks top publishers based on unique audience counts. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Being recognized by Podtrac with inclusion on the Top Publishers list is a testament to the hard work of the PodcastOne team both behind the mic and behind the scenes. Our hosts are delivering top-notch entertainment and providing content that is resonating with listeners as is evidenced by the growth in audience numbers across the board.” PodcastOne says its growth “comes on the heels of the successes and strengths of tentpole podcasts ‘Baby Mamas No Drama’, ‘Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe,’ ‘The Jordan Harbinger Show’, ‘LADYGANG’ and ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ as well as acquisitions of top-performing programs such as ‘Coffee Convos,’ ‘True Crime All the Time Unsolved,’ and ‘This Is MONSTERS,’ which all saw significant audience growth since joining PodcastOne.”

 

JVC Broadcasting: ‘Radio is Working and Radio Works!’ Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting is sending a message to the industry – and beyond – that its recent hiring spree shows that the radio market is a good place for job seekers. JVC says that this January, it began a massive recruitment campaign using its local radio stations and social media platforms and the response was overwhelming. JVC announces that is has hired or internally promoted 16 media and entertainment professionals companywide. JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “The current radio market is great for employment. There was a lot of trepidation for media companies in 2020 and 2021. People wanted to see how things would work out and if the radio business would bounce back, and it did stronger than ever. The most important and most rewarding investment an entrepreneur can make isn’t a new client or a cool piece of equipment, it’s your team of employees. I have built this business by surrounding myself with fantastic people who are visionaries and leaders. If all your employees become entrepreneurially minded or leaders in their own right, your organization will grow even faster. And the coolest thing about this entire recruitment campaign is we did all the outreach using only our local radio station assets! So yes, radio is working and radio works!”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, House Omnibus Bill, Gas Prices/Inflation, Biden Cryptocurrency Order, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). Russia’s ongoing invasion of the Ukraine and the West’s reaction; the U.S. House passes an omnibus bill that would include $14 billion in Ukraine aid; the soaring price of gas at the pump and high consumer retail prices; President Joe Biden signs executive order to investigate risks and opportunities of cryptocurrency; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases and the rolling back of mask mandates; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the failing negotiations between MLB owners and players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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.