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Friday, May 8, 2020

| May 8, 2020

LiveXLive Acquiring PodcastOne in All Stock Deal. The digital media firm LiveXLive Media, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne in an all stock deal. The press release states that the transaction is valued at $18.1 million based on LiveXLive’s closing price on May 7, 2020. LiveXLive will acquire 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc. and issue to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.45 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which would be subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter. The proposed acquisition is expected to close by June 2020, subject to certain closing conditions. PodcastOne recorded gross revenue of $27.5 million in calendar year 2019. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Robert Ellin says, “We’re excited to expand our business into the fast-growing podcast category, complementing our music platform of streaming audio, on-demand video, and live event performances. The acquisition will add to and diversify our revenue with a strong advertising component. Once acquired and integrated, we will have a significant opportunity to cross-sell and cross-promote to our respective subscribers, advertisers, and sponsors as well as provide our collective artists and on-air talent with an expanded platform to increase their social media and online presence.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman, Norman Pattiz is joining LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains as executive chairman of PodcastOne. Pattiz comments, “All of us at PodcastOne are excited about joining the LiveXLive team and taking advantage of obvious future synergies between our businesses. I look forward to working with Rob Ellin to close the acquisition and achieve the growth we both envision. PodcastOne is a premium producer, distributor, and revenue-generator for audio-on-demand programming. PodcastOne’s well-established podcasting business is an excellent complement to LiveXLive’s  ‘live social music network,’ delivering premium livestreams, digital audio, and on-demand music.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled “Demographic Genocide?” looks back at this past week of May 4-8, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSRic Edelman, financial advisor / talk show host; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Kate Delaney, talk show host, GCN; Barry Farber, talk show host, CRN; Dick Morris, pundit / author; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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’s Q1 Revenue Down 1.9%. After a strong financial performance in January and February, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll in March and iHeartMedia finished the first quarter of 2020 with revenue of $780 million, down 1.9% over the same period in 2019 (and down 4.8% excluding political). The company reports an operating loss of $1.7 billion, “driven primarily by non-cash impairment charges” that “reduce intangible asset and goodwill book values established in May 2019 upon required application of fresh start accounting where the macroenvironment was significantly different than today.” Adjusted EBITDA was $140.3 million, down 10.6% year-over-year. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $69.9 million, a decrease of $43.8 million or 38.6%. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As America’s #1 audio company, with unparalleled reach both nationally and locally, we play a critically important role in providing companionship, connection and key information to all the communities we serve, and we are incredibly proud of our employees’ commitment to that mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses and brands across the country have been impacted, we are working closely with them on their marketing needs and are focused on helping them generate the consumer demand to reopen or ramp up. Our multiplatform offering, our unparalleled reach and our unique data and analytics position us well to benefit as a company from this returning advertising demand.”  Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Given the current economic environment, iHeart has taken actions that we believe expand the company’s financial flexibility and provide sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness. We believe that iHeart’s fundamentally strong free cash-generation model, substantial current cash balances, incremental benefits from our cost savings initiatives, and flexible capital structure will enable us to build effectively on our audio market leadership and position us favorably to capitalize on the eventual recovery in advertising demand. With our experienced management team and our unparalleled assets, we are confident in our business and continue our focus on driving shareholder value.”

Edison Research: U.S. Moms Relying More on Tech. This latest installment of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2020” study includes data from The Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, and a recent online survey conducted during COVID-19 restrictions. The report highlights how moms with kids under the age of 18 in the household continue to hold tight to their tech tools while sheltering at home, and they are relying on their technology and media to get through the day. Edison VP Melissa DeCesare says, “This virus has turned life upside down and parents have the added pressure of guiding children through this unsettling time.  Moms are masters at balancing tasks in normal circumstances, but they have found even more capacity to multi-task in this pandemic. Additional responsibilities like distance learning and managing the family dynamic while in isolation are increasing the need for media and technology in the home. This year’s study shows us that moms are meeting these challenges by relying on media, devices and technology to help them get through this new normal.” Some of the findings are: Moms are using their devices more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working remotely, helping children with distance learning, and keeping in touch with friends and family are driving heavier use of all digital devices; Moms are facilitating distance learning with 54% of moms saying they are spending a lot of time helping their children with distance learning; Moms are using social media with 39% agreeing that social media is the main source for staying up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic in their community and 56% of moms say that they are grateful for social media during the pandemic; and while it is unknown how long this new normal will last, nearly 4 in 10 moms think their current media habits will stay with them even after it is over. See more here.

Three Entercom Podcasts Nominated for Peabody Awards. The nominations for Peabody Awards have been announced and three podcasts from Entercom’s Podcast Network are included among the nominees. “Headlong: Running from COPS” and “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” from Pineapple Street Studios, and “Gangster Capitalism, Season One: The College Admissions Scandal” from Cadence13’s C13Originals studio were nominated. Winners will be announced at a later date. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “For our small shop to get two Peabody nominations is just an incredible testament to the care, thought, and creativity the entire Pineapple Street Studios team puts into the work. Working with world-class talents like Dan Taberski and Ronan Farrow is an honor and we’re thrilled by the recognition for our incredible staff and these two critically important shows, which we were so proud to put out into the world.” The Peabody Awards honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media. See all the nominations here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 4-8. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the projections for future cases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. healthcare system.  Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the debate over re-opening, and criticism of the airlines, followed by the presidential race, politics, and the Michelle Obama film at #4. See the entire chart here. 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.

TALKERS News Notes. A special, virtual town hall meeting produced by SiriusXM is taking place today on the Business Radio channel featuring host Dan Loney of Wharton Business Daily that addresses the questions on Americans’ minds about how and when to safely reopen the economy. Guests on the program include: Hyundai Motor Company’s Jose Munoz, Ford Motor Company COO Jim Farley, Kahn Academy CEO Sal Kahn, Cleveland Federal president Loretta J. Mester, Board of Scientific Counselors chair Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, DHL CEO Greg Hewitt, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao…..The Talk Shows USA syndicated program “The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” adds new affiliate stations to its roster. They are: WRTA-AM/FM, Altoona, PA; WGNC-AM, Gastonia, NC; WPAY-FM, Garrison, KY; KBST-AM, Big Spring, TX…..Jenn White is named as the new host of the WAMU-FM, Washington-based, NPR program “1A.” White has been serving at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago hosting the midday “Reset with Jenn White” program.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A Memorial Day weekend show from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville celebrates the start of summertime. “Summer Kickoff with Dustin Lynch” is a salute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and some military veterans will join Lynch in the tribute. Fellow artists will share their favorite holiday memories and summer activities throughout the special, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood. The four-hour-long special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Saturday, May 23 through Monday, May 25, any time between 6:00 a.m. and 12 midnight.

Friday, July 21, 2017

| July 21, 2017

CBS RADIO Names Paul Douglas and Jordana Green PM Drive Hosts at WCCO-AM.  The new afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis will be hosted by Paul Douglas and Jordana Green and officially launch on August 1.  The change was necessitated by longtime WCCO personality John Williams’ decision to move to Chicago and focus on his 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show on WGN. (Williams had been doing both shows from Minneapolis.)  Jordana Green moves to the co-host role after five years with the station hosting the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm show and working with Williams in afternoons.  Paul Douglas is the head meteorologist at WCCO-TV and KARE-TV in the Twin Cities.  CBS RADIO says Douglas is “a nationally respected broadcaster and meteorologist, with 34 years of broadcast television and 36 years of radio experience.”  He also launched the national weather channel, WeatherNation TV in 2011. He provides daily weather for the Star Tribune, the St. Cloud Times, Conservation Minnesota and WeatherNation, and is an author and regular contributor to TPT’s Almanac. WCCO operations manager/program director Lindsey Peterson comments, “Our goal is to have a show that speaks to our community and brings listeners relevant and entertaining topics each day.  Paul and Jordana are passionate about speaking to our community and we are excited to have them as part of the station.”

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. In the first of a four-part analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June PPM survey, managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at the public news/talk format.  Eight stations ranked in the top five in their respective in PPM markets – led by KQED, San Francisco and WAMU, Washington, both of which ranked #1.  Comparing year-over-year 6+ share, “more than seven of ten stations from our eligible public news/talk sample are up year-to-year (71%, 6+) while 27% decline; the remaining 2% are steady.”  WNPR, Hartford was tops in that category, rising from a 3.1 share in June 2016 to a 5.2 share in June 2017.  See the entire piece here.

PodcastOne Debuts New Mobile App with Video and Social Components. Digital content network PodcastOne launches a new platform and mobile app that the company says “offers unique video and social capabilities designed to enhance the listening experience and offer new and exciting ways for fans to engage with their favorite shows and hosts.”  The press statement goes on to say, “The new PodcastOne mobile app offers fans a collaborative destination where they can participate in conversation around shows, access exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, message one another, read trending articles and take polls.  In addition, a new loyalty program rewards users with virtual currency, which can be redeemed for access to special events in virtual reality (VR), premium content and merchandise discounts.”  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norman Pattiz adds, “The launch of our new PodcastOne mobile app is a milestone for our company, as we are providing a host of features for our listeners to choose from to enhance their listening experience that no other network provides.  Now, with our partners at MANDT VR, we can offer a truly immersive experience that allows the listener to sit in the recording studio, right across the table from the host.”

TALKERS News Notes. York, Pennsylvania news/talk WSBA-AM is now also airing on FM translator W253AC, recently moved in to York from Reading.  The Cumulus Media station now brands itself “Newstalk 93.9 & 910 WSBA.”…..In Fargo, Forum Communications fires up FM translator K261BA, Fargo at 100.1 MHz – recently moved in from Rolla, North Dakota – to air the programming of news/talk WDAY-AM…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show is added to the program schedule at KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Fate of ObamaCare/GOP Health Care Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 17-21.  The state of the Affordable Care Act and a GOP-authored health care plan were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, tying for the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the investigation into connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents.  Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s approval rating, and following at #4 was Senator John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

CLARIFICATION.  In yesterday’s story in TALKERS, “WRRD, Milwaukee Owner Challenging WTMJ Translator Deal,” detailing WRRD owner Michael Crute’s filing of an Objection with the FCC to translator owner Frank McCoy’s Construction Permit Amendment filing, we wrote that “Scripps and translator owner Frank McCoy have filed applications with the FCC to move the translator to a tower owned by Scripps and to carry WTMJ programming.”  It should be noted that Scripps is not involved in the filing as the translator is owned solely by McCoy.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/21) with John T. Mullen, Scot Bertram and Scott Lakefield.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess (introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          TODAY (7/21), the first in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram (facilitated by WOR, New York APD, Scott Lakefield).

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb Coaches Team USA to Gold.  Pictured above is the USA team and coach Doug Gottlieb (crouching, lower right) who is also host of his eponymous sports talk show on Fox Sports Radio.   The men’s basketball team won the gold at the 20th World Maccabiah Games, held July 4-18 in Israel.  Gottlieb, who continued to host his national radio show for three weeks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, led a team of Jewish athletes ages 18-35 at the games, that is the world’s third largest international sporting event with more than 9,000 total participants representing 75 countries.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning drive show on Beasley Media Group’s alternative WBOS-FM, Boston is the “Dave & Chuck the Freak Morning Show,” emanating from the company’s rock WRIF, Detroit.  The program, featuring Dave Hunter and Charles Urquhart, debuted on CIMX, Windsor/Detroit in 2001.  They left that station in 2012 and debuted on WRIF in May of 2013.  Beasley Media Group EVP of programming Justin Chase states, “We have been eager to expand Dave & Chuck’s content beyond Detroit and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it all starts in Boston.  This is a market where their genre of show has been very successful in the past and I’m certain Boston will love D&C!”…..Programmer Steve McKay is named program director for Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WGNI “102.7 GNI” and classic rock WKXS “94.5 The Hawk” in the Wilmington, North Carolina market.  Cumulus says McKay’s “visionary radio programming” has led to success at WPTE, Norfollk; WBHT, Scranton; and “Jammin’ Gold” in Philly.  Cumulus Media Wilmington VP/market manager Eric McCart comments, “We searched for a leader who will take ‘102.7 GNI’ and ‘94.5 The Hawk’ to the next level, and most importantly, someone who will keep the music sounding the best, while creating a great listener experience and a deeper connection with our listeners, advertisers and community.  I’m ecstatic to welcome Steve to our family and we’re excited to have him on board.”…..At Midwest Television’s rock KFMB-FM, San Diego assistant program director and night personality Robin Roth moves up to the midday daypart.  Roth is a longtime market personality who joined KFMB-FM in May.  She says, “I’m so excited to do what I love in middays and following ‘The DSC’ is a dream come true.  Taking the baton from them every day is going to be an honor.  Plus, now I get to enjoy the San Diego scene at night again.”…..Relationship expert and author LaDawn Black is taking her radio show to urban contemporary WBLS-FM, New York.  Black has most recently been on air at Urban One’s urban contemporary WWIN, Baltimore “Magic 95.9.”  Her show will air Sundays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, effective August 6…..On-air pro Dave Stewart exits CBS RADIO’s classic hits WCBS-FM, New York after a four-and-a-half year stint.  He posted to Facebook, “Having been even small part of that station’s huge legacy is a feeling I can’t describe.”…..Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw recently spoke with affiliates of Envision Networks Guest Services about the release of the band’s first new album in 14 years, The Mission (Universal).  Shaw is just one of a number of high-profile guests available to stations via Envision’s Guest Services.

Judge Rules Swift Attorneys Can Question Mueller About Meeting Recording.  This story was reported by KMGH-TV, Denver.  Taylor Swift’s lawyers will be allowed to cross-examine former KYGO, Denver morning personality David Mueller about a missing recording of Mueller’s meeting with radio station bosses immediately after he was accused of groping Swift’s bottom during a meet-and-greet.  Mueller made the surreptitious recording of the meeting and revealed segments of it but now he claims the full recording has been lost due to a failed computer hard drive.  Swift’s attorneys want to question him before the jury to determine if the missing recording was deleted deliberately or not.  Mueller is suing Swift for being instrumental in getting him fired.  Mueller claims someone else groped Swift and he’s been blamed falsely.