WW1: Advertiser Interest in Podcasting Rising Dramatically. Syndicator Westwood One releases new data from its Westwood One State of Podcasting 2017 report. The company says that the report “provides an in-depth look at listening behaviors and demographics of the podcast consumer, plus insight into how marketers and agencies view podcast advertising.” In looking at advertiser perceptions of podcasting, the report indicates, “The proportion of advertisers and agencies who have discussed podcast advertising for potential media investments has soared from 41% in September of 2015 to 68% in May of 2017.” Additionally, “The marketers and agencies who say they will definitely advertise in podcasts in the coming six months has increased threefold (10% to 27%) since September, 2015.” WW1 president and Cumulus Media EVP, corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “We knew that advertiser sentiment for podcast advertising was growing, as we have seen a significant increase in advertising spend on the Westwood One podcast network. The Westwood One State of Podcasting 2017 report quantifies the conversation, consideration, and intention among marketers to place their brands in the expansive podcast programming environment. It’s great news for all of us in the fast-tracking on-demand space.” The report includes data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” and “Infinite Dial” studies, IPSOS, and Advertiser Perceptions. See more from the study here.
Radio Continues Fundraising Efforts for Harvey Relief. The fundraising efforts for Harvey relief by radio stations and radio companies continue with Beasley Media Group announcing Naples-Fort Myers stations CHR WXKB “B103.9,” WRXK “96KRock,” and AC WJPT “Sunny 106.3” are partnering with the local chapter of the American Red Cross to collect donations during today’s “MUSIC THON. The morning air personalities from all three stations will stay on the air to play special song requests for donations…..Disney/ABC is launching a network-wide telethon and call-to-action today (including sports talk radio network ESPN Radio). Disney Media Networks co-chairman/president Ben Sherwood said, “With this ‘Day of Giving’ across all our networks and platforms, the men and women of Disney/ABC, ESPN and the A+E Networks are answering the call to stand up and support the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey. In 2012, we rallied to support relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy, helping raise more than $18 million dollars. Now, we stand alongside the residents of Texas and the Gulf states who are battling the floods and devastation of Harvey.”…..Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois radio stations are partnering with Sinclair Broadcasting’s local TV stations to raise funds and supplies for victims of Harvey. Tomorrow (9/1), both broadcasting groups will stage a daylong event at a local Walmart taking donations – with an emphasis on monetary donations – to the Salvation Army. Sinclair is promising to match those donations up to $100,000. Mid-West Family Springfield GM Harvey Wells comments, “While we are a locally owned and locally focused broadcasting company, we have an obligation to use our reach to help in times of national crisis.”
Paul Curran Named CMG Orlando Market Manager. Media sales and management pro Paul Curran is promoted to market vice president for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster that includes news/talk WDBO “News 96.5,” sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN Orlando,” classic hits WMMO, urban contemporary WCFB, hip hop WPYO, “Power 95.3,” and Spanish “107.3 Solo Exitos,” plus television stations WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV in what CMG calls this “converged market.” Curran has been serving as VP and general manager of the two TV stations. He says, “The opportunity to bring together the talented people and dynamic products of CMG Radio and CMG TV under one entity in Central Florida is an exciting one. No other media company can match our combined TV, radio, and digital footprint here, and the possibilities to build on collaboration and improve the experience for our viewers, listeners, and customers are limitless. I can’t wait to get started.”
WSJS, Winston-Salem Transitioning to Sports Talk. According to a report in the Winston-Salem Journal, Crescent Media Group is going all sports talk on WSJS, Winston-Salem, eliminating the news and non-sports talk. Morning drive personality J.R. Snider and news anchor Ed Skurka are exiting the station after today’s broadcast and the sports programming schedule takes effect tomorrow (9/1). Station GM Al Bunch tells the paper the decision was about serving sports fans. “They crave a place to talk about sports and listen to sports being discussed, and we feel that’s being underserved in the Triad. We’re going to give them what they’ve been asking for.” The station will air ESPN Radio content until 12:00 noon when it carries the Raleigh-based David Glenn program. The afternoon drive show will be the local “One on One With The Schass,” with host Kyle Schassburger.
PodcastOne Launches Sports Division. Podcast platform PodcastOne is launching a new lineup of original sports programming under the banner of PodcastOne Sports. PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “This new network demonstrates PodcastOne’s interest in dramatically expanding our already successful portfolio of sports-related programming to build a singular hub for sports fans and brands. I can think of no better way to launch our new network than with coach Jim Harbaugh. Jim represents an established, well-respected voice in sports, and his vision for this show is certain to become a must-listen for sports fans everywhere.” PodcastOne Sports debuts September 5 with the launch of “Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh’s Podcast,” hosted by University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh. Other personalities joining the lineup with original programs will include legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg, sports radio and television host Rich Eisen, sports broadcaster Suzy Schuster, football analyst Dave Dameshek with top podcaster Adam Carolla, popular sports personality Lilian Garcia, sports host and comedian Jay Mohr, and top sports writers from around the nation.
NAB Defends AM/FM Radio from NYU Scholar’s White Paper. The NAB’s response is quick to point out up front that the white paper – Paradigm Shift: Why Radio Must Adapt to the Rise of Digital by New York University’s Larry S. Miller, director of the Steinhardt Music Business Program – is backed by digital performance rights organization SoundExchange, which NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton says is “bankrolled in part by giant record labels pushing a radio ‘performance tax.’” The bulk of Miller’s paper is dedicated to analyzing the effect digital availability of music is having on the radio industry and Wharton challenges his arguments. Specifically, Wharton takes aim at Miller’s contention that young people are turning away from AM/FM radio as a source of music discovery. Wharton cites Nielsen data that suggests “millennials are listening in greater numbers than ever before, not just to over-the-air programming, but also to local radio on digital platforms…87.9% of Americans aged 12-17 turn to radio each week, and they spend nearly 10 hours a week listening to local radio. Even when they use streaming services to find new songs, younger generations continue tuning in to radio to listen to their favorite music.” Interestingly, Miller notes early in his paper that the issue of whether radio actually provides adequate promotion for the sale of records in exchange for free air play – as the NAB has argued for decades defending radio’s exemption from the performance fee – is not within the scope of his paper. But then he goes on to mention the matter several more times. You can see Miller’s paper here.
TALKERS News Notes. Just a couple of months after a contentious public divorce from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, popular conservative Internet personality Tomi Lahren joins FOX News Channel as a contributor. The Associated Press reports the story and says that “Lahren will have a ‘signature role’ on a digital product under development and be a commentator on the network’s opinion programming. Her primary home will be on Sean Hannity’s show, where she was to debut on Wednesday.”…..InsiderNJ.com recently published its 2017 “Insider 100 Media Power List” in which it, as the title suggests, ranks the 100 most powerful media personalities in New Jersey. WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley ranked #17 on this year’s list. Hurley’s entry on the list states, “You like breaking news from Atlantic City and South Jersey? Then you must be familiar with the well-connected, well-sourced and popular Hurley who breaks most (or at least many) of the dock-front political stories – and has a must-read column with Shore News Today.” See the whole list here…..Changes come to the nationally syndicated evening talk radio show “Connections” as host and co-founder Al “Blackjack” Spry leaves the program. This comes as the show is dropped from the schedule at iHeartMedia’s talk WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1.” The program continues to air on its other affiliates with hosts Melissa Foxx and Glenda “G-Love” Chauncy…..CFRA, Ottawa’s Evan Solomon is going national as Bell Media syndicates his daily talk show across other company news/talk stations, effective September 5. The program will be heard on CFRB-AM, Toronto; CJAD-AM, Montreal; CKFR-AM, Kelona, BC; CFAX-AM, Victoria; CKLW-AM, Windsor, CJBK-AM, London, Ontario, and CKTB-AM, St. Catharines. Solomon comments, “I’m very excited to launch this new, national forum for thought-provoking debate and discussion, highlighting compelling people who are making a difference in Canada. There’s nothing more important to a free society than public opinion, and this show will be a platform for Canadians to share their thoughts on the most pressing issues of the day, at home and around the world.”
Harvey Devastation/Relief Efforts, Trump Tax Reform Plan, Trump-Russia Investigation, Antifa Violence, FOX News Poll Results, U.S.- North Korea Tensions, Texas Sanctuary Cities Ban Blocked, MLB Action, and NFL Pre-Season Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). The devastating flooding in Texas and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, including analysis of President Trump’s handling of the disaster; Trump begins promoting his tax reform plan; the investigation into possible connections between Trump operatives and Russian agents; criticism of violence against conservatives by “antifa” agents; the results of a new FOX News poll showing poor marks for Congress and President Trump; the military tensions between the U.S. and North Korea; a judge’s temporary blocking of a Texas law banning sanctuary cities; Major League Baseball action; and NFL pre-season activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Local singer and entertainer – and famed season 7 “The Voice” contestant Chris Jamison – is joining CBS RADIO Pittsburgh as a weekend and holiday personality on hot AC WBZZ “100.7 The Star.” Jamison will be heard Sundays from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm and on holidays. Jamison first got to know the staff at WBZZ back in 2014 when the morning drive “Bubba Show” became his official hometown cheerleaders. He appeared at station events, including its “O Starry Night” concert.” WBZZ program director Dave Anderson says, “Chris is a talented, standout entertainer with rich local ties. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to grow with him as he takes this next step as part of the ‘100.7 Star’ team.”…..Beasley Media Group announces two new “BOUNCE” ambassadors. Air personalities Cortney Hicks and A.P., a.k.a. The Absolute Princess, join the air staff of hip hop WMGC, Detroit “105.1 The BOUNCE.” Hicks will host the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show on Saturdays and Sundays and A.P. takes to the air at 7:00 pm on both weekend evenings. WMGC program director Al Payne comments, “Our goal is to assemble a team of the finest in Detroit radio, as well as the best hip hop personalities, to navigate our fans through each experience listening to this iconic music. That’s why all of our announcers are known as ambassadors. Cortney and A.P. are shining examples of this mission and I look forward to what they have in store.”…..As part of International Overdose Awareness Day (8/31), Premiere Networks host Nikki Sixx will dedicate four hours of “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” to raising awareness of the U.S. opioid crisis. Sixx, who detailed his near-fatal drug addiction in the best-selling book The Heroin Diaries, will welcome Dr. Oz, Louisville Courier-Journal writer Beth Warren, and Erik Gunn, a former drug addict and dealer who recently shared his story with Warren for a Courier-Journal series on addiction and recovery…..Cumulus Media announces country WNSH, New York’s “Boots on the Boardwalk” end-of-summer bash, giving “NASH FM 94.7” listeners a chance to party one last time this summer season! This free event, featuring performances by Scotty McCreery, A Thousand Horses, NASH Next 2016 Winner Todd O’Neill, and Elizabeth Lyons, takes place at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey tomorrow (9/1) from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..In Detroit, classic rocker WCSX and morning host Big Jim are trying to raise at least $10,000 for Holy Cross Children’s Services via the Big Jim’s House Million Penny Roof Sit, taking place at the 2017 Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak this weekend. The station is asking listeners and patrons of the festival to donate their pocket change to change the lives of children in need. Big Jim says, “We are excited to be working with Holy Cross Children’s Services to raise money for kids in need. The kids receiving care from Holy Cross deserve to have opportunities to be successful in life, and every penny can help.”…..According to a story in the Boston Herald, rock WAAF, Boston “Hill-Man Morning Show” host Greg Hill is considering a run for congress for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas. Hill’s spokesman is local attorney Lawrence Army Jr., who tells the paper, “Greg is exploring all of his options, including running for the open congressional seat.” Citing Hill’s philanthropic efforts via the Greg Hill Foundation, Army adds, “Public service would be a logical next step for Greg. He is considering whether it would be the best way to give back to a community that’s given him so much.”
KFWB, Los Angeles Reportedly Sold. According to Los Angeles radio maven Don Barrett, there is finally a buyer for KFWB and it involves Charlie Banta-led Mercury Capital Partners. The Los Angeles Times also reports the story but does not name a buyer. The Times writes that staffers were told about the sale on Tuesday (1/5). As many TALKERS readers are aware, KFWB has been in the KFWB Asset Trust (while still benefitting CBS RADIO’s bottom line) for a long time. Some in the market have griped that CBS hasn’t been trying very hard to sell it and was basically getting away with violating the ownership limit. Regardless, in September of 2014 the station flipped from news/talk to sports talk as “The Beast 980” and is serving as the flagship for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well. Barrett Tweets that the new owners will assume control in February and since Mercury’s M.O. is ethnic programming and brokered radio, we’re likely to see a format change next month. That would put local sports talk personalities Fred Roggin, Bill Plaschke, Jeanne Zelasko, Chris Myers, Wes Clements and more out on the street. The Times reports that a format change is a certainty.
‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego Names Kevin Acee Evening Host. San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” is naming San Diego sportswriter Kevin Acee the host of its evening program, “Trending Now.” Acee is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, a position he will continue to hold. Acee also spent seven years as the San Diego Chargers beat writer and two years covering San Diego State football. Station VP of programming and operations Mike Shepard comments, “Kevin is a multi-media sports voice in San Diego who has the unique ability to connect and provide insight to sports fans on a variety of platforms. ‘Trending Now’ is the perfect showcase of his many talents, and we enthusiastically welcome Kevin to the full-time, all-star lineup on San Diego’s Sports Leader.”
Associated Press Offers 2016 Radio Campaign Kit. A new service for this year’s presidential election is being offered by the Associated Press. It’s called the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit, and AP calls it “a turnkey advantage that gives radio members election returns and AP journalists’ digital and on-air reporting on the presidential campaign in the months leading to Election Day and the inauguration of the 45th president in January.” AP has already inked Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, among other stations. AP says that subscribers will receive verified vote counts in their home state and surrounding areas in primaries and the November 8 general election up to 12 times an hour via online maps and other modules. The modules will show delegate counts for both political parties, the popular vote, Electoral College totals for U.S. president and the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. In addition to dynamic election-night maps, the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit provides a suite of embeddable white-label interactives for use on AP members’ digital and on-air properties, optimized for display on mobile devices, desktops and tablets. AP director of election services Brian Scanlon comments, “The AP’s 2016 Radio Campaign Kit represents an important step for us as we continue to push to make our services responsive to our members’ needs around big-event stories such as the presidential campaign.” Interested stations can contact Paul Memoli at AP via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 212-621-6923.
Odds & Sods. Springfield, Illinois talk personality Ray Lytle exits Saga Communications-owned news/talk WTAX in a budget-related move. Lytle had been with the station for the past two years after previously serving with Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WMAY…..CFRA, Ottawa legendary personality Lowell Green is retiring from his daily radio show at the Bell Media talk station. The 79-year-old Green began his career in the news department at CFRA in 1960. He became a talk host six years later and has been hosting the Lowell Green show on the station since 1993. He won’t be in full retirement mode as he’ll continue to make appearances on the station…..Weekend technology talk show “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” announces the addition of some new affiliate stations as WGKA, Atlanta “AM 920 The Answer”; WRKO, Boston; and CKLW, Windsor, Ontario/Detroit are now carrying the program.
New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Opens Entry Process. In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year. Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music. The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠ has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe. Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New York Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry. Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones. It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.” Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest. Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media. There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other.” New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20. The deadline for entries is March 18. To enter, log in here and find all the information you need. Inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: email@example.com.
Obama Gun Control Plan, Presidential Race, ‘White Anger’ Report, Saudi-Iran Diplomatic Break/Shiite-Sunni Tensions, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, Battle Against Islamic State, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The executive order gun control plans announced by President Obama; the activities of the candidates for president; the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage” poll determining white Americans are the “angriest”; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the reported growing rift between Shiite and Sunni countries in the Middle East; the case of the armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife preserve; the recent military actions against Islamic State-held parts of Iraq; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Home and Health. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show and today he files a story tipping us to some of the new technology and gadgets that some believe will be ubiquitous in both our homes and our cars in the not-too-distant future. Cooke writes that many of the technological helpers for around the home can be operated from the “remote” device most of us already carry – the smartphone – and that device is where “smart broadcasters are also publishing.” Read today’s full report here.
Dick Morris to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia Talk Show. The notorious political operative has been hosting the afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 18 months, but now informs the company he will exit after the mid-term elections to return to the political campaign business, focusing on assisting Republicans in 2016. Dick Morris made the announcement on his Wednesday program and the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that CBS RADIO Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “He has done a great job for WPHT and we knew his busy schedule might one day make doing a daily radio show difficult.” Rayfield expects to have news of the station’s plans for the daypart as soon as next week. Philadelphia talk radio pro Gary R’nel co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show alongside Morris and has been a largely unsung component of the program’s professional smoothness and appeal. Also, it is reported in the Daily News story that noted media consultant Walter Sabo has been seen at the station in recent weeks and has even recently hosted several talk programs during nighttime hours under a fictitious name – fueling speculation that the Sabo Media CEO is either involved in the station as a consultant or even more provocatively as a potential replacement for an on-air talent opening. Although Sabo’s involvement is officially denied by CBS market management, TALKERS magazine editorial intelligence indicates it is not unusual for well-known programming consultants to occasionally moonlight as fill-in talent simply for the sake of keeping their first-hand “feel” for the format active… or as is likely in the case of Sabo, simply for the fun of it. Regarding developments at WPHT, Walter Sabo tells TALKERS, “Under [OM] Andy Bloom and [PD] Jared Hart, WPHT has become a dynamic, Philadelphia radio station. They’ve made a series of great decisions, they will make the right one again.”
New Local Show to Debut on WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. The two sports talk stations are operated by Genesis Communications and, although they carry the slogan “The Team,” are branded collectively along with the website of the same name, “Sports Talk Florida.” Now the simulcast adds a new local show to the program lineup. Debuting in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is “The Front Office,” hosted by Tom Veit, a.k.a. The GM. The station says the program “will take a unique look at the Central Florida sports world giving listeners the perspective from those that make the deals and the sports insiders that know how they’re made. Veit is a seasoned sports executive with over 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry.” Veit comments, “With 10 major professional sports teams and seven all sport Division I collegiate programs in Florida, there needs to be a place during the midday to talk local sports. Every day there will be passionate debates on the hot topics. After spending so many years working in the Central Florida sports scene, the one thing I know is that there is passion from every point of view.”
Westwood One’s Unique Fourth Down. Pro football fans this Sunday (10/26) will experience either pure nirvana or pigskin overkill when Westwood One airs four consecutive NFL games. The league’s “International Series” affair between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons from London’s Wembley Stadium kicks off the coverage, beginning at 9:00 am (ET). Assigned to that contest are Dave Sims and Mark Malone. Kevin Lee and Ross Tucker will call the Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans game, which starts at 12:30 pm (ET). Immediately following, the Philadelphia Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals, with Tom McCarthy and Rod Woodson handling play-by-play and analysis duties, respectively. Wrapping up Westwood One’s quadruple-header marathon is the 7:30 pm (ET) tussle between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, with Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, and Chris Doering doing the broadcasting honors.
On the Scene in Ottawa. As Canada deals with the attacks at the country’s National War Memorial and Parliament that happened on Tuesday, ABC News Radio‘s Aaron Katersky is on the scene. He’s pictured here just down the road from the Parliament building in Ottawa reporting after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian Army reservist Nathan Cirillo who was serving as a guard at the capitol.
Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Mid-Term Elections, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Monica Lewinsky Speech, Canadian Killings, Battle Against ISIS, and Renee Zellweger Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The unofficial release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown indicating he was shot at close range and the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about a majority change in the Senate; the Ebola pandemic threat and the Obama Administration’s response; the revisiting of the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton affair after Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for “ruining” her life; the recent killings in Canada related to homegrown “jihadists”; the coalition battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the flap over actress Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.