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Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year. Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date. Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.” The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend. Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.
Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data. Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018. For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018. The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million. Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter. Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020. The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.
COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season. That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM. The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning. This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife. The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight. After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.” Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert. Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows. Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show. The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada. The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director. WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions. She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music. He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position. I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge. With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET. RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage. Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”
Rick Roberts Joins Envision Radio Networks’ ‘America Weekend.’ Longtime San Diego news/talk personality Rick Roberts becomes part of the talent at Envision Radio Networks’ weekend talk radio programming “America Weekend.” The six hours of live news/talk radio airs from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and Roberts will host the Saturday 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm portion of the program. Most recently at KFMB, San Diego, Roberts’ career has also taken him to such legendary stations as KOA, Denver; KCMO, Kansas City; KRLD, Dallas; and KOGO, San Diego. Roberts states, “I’m extremely pleased to be a part of ‘America Weekend’ and I look forward to bringing 19 years of major market talk radio experience to radio stations across America. The next great step in talk radio begins right here every weekend.” Envision describes “America Weekend” as “the new ratings-friendly programming alternative to low-rated brokered shows and “Best Of” programs.” Executive producer Kipper McGee says of Roberts, “Breakthrough programming needs breakthrough talent. ‘America Weekend’ will provide the perfect showcase for Rick’s versatility and considerable talents, and we are thrilled to have him on the team.” Roberts joins radio pros Paul Harris and Turi Ryder as hosts of the program.
The Conclave Adds Sports Component. Dubbed “Game Day,” the Conclave announces a new aspect of the radio gathering at this July’s 38th Annual Learning Conference by presenting a day exclusively devoted to sports broadcasting. “Game Day” will be held on Friday, July 19, at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in Minneapolis, site of the 2013 Learning Conference. Conclave executive director Bob Shannon states, “Our line up starts with Bruce Gilbert, senior vice president of sports operations for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. Bruce built ‘The Ticket’ in Dallas, was recruited by ESPN to create their national radio brand, and has just joined Clear Channel. Clearly, he is one of our nation’s sports programming experts.” The day will conclude with a reception at the Minnesota Twins flagship station, Northern Lights’ new adult contemporary KTWN, which is just a short walk across the street from Target Field in downtown Minneapolis followed by a ballgame between the Twins and the Cleveland Indians.
Phil Hendrie Accelerates Podcast and Social Media Initiatives with LEG Digital and Launchpad Digital Media Partnerships. Media personality Phil Hendrie – nationally syndicated on radio via Talk Radio Network – recently entered into partnerships with creative agency LEG Digital and Launchpad Digital Media for his strategic efforts in digital content and social marketing platforms. Launchpad is representing LEG Digital for advertising sales. LEG Digital reports that to date, results have shown that in the last four months, Hendrie’s Twitter followers are up 28%, his Facebook audience is up 667% and his daily podcast monthly downloads are up 500%. The company also launched the weekly “Phil Hendrie’s Mmm-Hmm, The Bobbie Dooley Podcast” on its podcast network, TheSideShowNetwork.com, Hendrie’s own PhilHendrieShow.com, iTunes and Launchpad’s PodcastOne.com. The first Dooley podcast garnered more than 15,000 downloads in three days. LEG Digital managing partner Darrin McAfee states, “I’ve been a huge fan of Phil’s for the last 15 years. Knowing and enjoying the magnitude of his talent, it’s obvious to me that he’s well on his way to the next plateau of his career.”
Arbitron Issues Social Media Guidelines for Dealing with Respondents. Calling this a list of “Dos and Don’ts,” Arbitron notifies broadcasters of the potential pitfalls that can cause ratings trouble if the company’s rules are violated using the ubiquitous social media. Arbitron states up front: “Ratings data can be among the most valuable tools broadcasters have for programming and sales. It’s important to protect the integrity of your station’s ratings by following Arbitron’s guide to using social media. While these platforms create more personalized communication with listeners, social media can also lead to rating bias or rating distortion if not managed properly.” Some of the “Dos” include: Notify Arbitron if a respondent reaches out to the station via social media (or any other means); remind station staff that social media comments are subject to the same guidelines as on-air comments; contact Arbitron for a confidential pre-review if you are unsure about comments you wish to post; contact Arbitron if your staff sees posted comments directed to an Arbitron respondent; and contact Arbitron if the station learns the identity of an Arbitron respondent (by any means). The “Don’ts” are pretty obvious to broadcasters who’ve been aware of Arbitron’s rules prior to the advent of social media but bear repeating: Don’t attempt to learn the identity of Arbitron respondents. The station may be delisted, even if the attempt doesn’t succeed; don’t address comments to panelists or diarykeepers; don’t discuss ratings (even ratings success) on social networking sites. Doing so may prompt respondents to disclose their participation; don’t post comments encouraging listeners to participate as panelists or diarykeepers; don’t offer anything of value to self-identified panelists or diarykeepers.
Saga Communications Reports 2012 Q4 Net Operating Revenue Up 10.3%. For the whole of 2012, Saga reports its net operating revenue was up 4% on earnings of $130.3 million compared to $125.3 million for all of 2011. Free cash flow increased 9.5% to $25.1 million for the year of 2012. Station operating expense decreased approximately 1.0% to $90.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Net income for the period was $17.9 million ($3.16 per fully diluted share) compared to net income of $12.6 million ($2.23 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year.
Cool Job Opportunity. Townsquare Media has an incredible opportunity for the position of Brand Manager and morning show host for a news/talk station. You must have a proven track record in programming a news/talk station. In addition to a strong ratings background, candidates should be digitally savvy and demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding, including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting. In addition, you should feel comfortable being on-air in the news/talk format and understand what it means to be the local voice in your community. You are able to keep a morning show entertaining and energetic while delivering relevant and interesting information to your audience. Candidates need to possess outstanding verbal and written skills as well as being highly organized and driven. As Brand Manager, you must also be willing to do any job within the station. Teamwork is a must as you will be working in unison with the digital, sales, promotion and engineering staff. It is essential that you have a strong working knowledge of digital audio systems and online media platforms, and be prepared to develop production and schedule all on-air content. In addition to the above, you will work to build the identity of the station within the community. As you can tell, this isn’t your typical 9-5 job. But don’t worry, we work hard and we have fun doing it! If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative and proven winner, send all of your materials, including references, to Chuck Armstrong at email@example.com. Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.
The Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Stanley S. Hubbard to Receive Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The chairman of Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. will be the recipient of this year’s “Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award.” The Award will be presented to Stanley Hubbard during the BFoA Breakfast on April 10, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters Show. The BFoA notes that “Hubbard Broadcasting has stayed on the industry’s cutting edge, pioneering innovations in radio, television and satellite broadcasting. The company owns 13 television and 17 radio stations, F&F Productions REELZCHANNEL – TV About Movies, and is the controlling shareholder of Ovation TV.” The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award honors an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Clear Channel Foundation and Wiley Rein, LLP. The Broadcasters Foundation has provided millions of dollars in aid to colleagues who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen tragedy that left them unable to work or support themselves. Individual membership is only $150 a year. Donations also can be made to the Guardian Fund, and corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative.
DC Sequester Battle, Ryan Budget Plan, ‘Killing Jews is Worship’ Ad Controversy, Obama Approval Rating Down, Papal Conclave, and ‘Fat Lesbians’ Study Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The effects of and debate in Washington over the sequester; Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal; the controversial San Francisco bus ad campaign featuring quotes from militant Muslims; the Washington Post’s latest poll showing President Obama’s approval ratings sinking; the conclave in the Vatican; and NIH-funded study on the cause of obesity in lesbians were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.