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Monday, June 15, 2020

| June 15, 2020

Monday Memo: Profiting from the Pandemic. “Turning lemons into lemonade,” as consultant Holland Cooke puts it. In this week’s column he lists six retail opportunities his client stations are selling to right now. Read it here.

De-Fund Police Movement/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle ‘Autonomous’ Zone, Trump Health, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, U.S.-China Relations/Outbreak in Beijing, Presidential Race/Trump Tulsa Rally, Financial Markets/Jobless Claims, and MLB Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The concept of de-funding police departments as demanded by some protestors and the cop shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the controversy over the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle; the health of President Trump after his apparent unsteady gait at the West Point graduation on Saturday; the regions of the U.S. that are experiencing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases; the movement to remove public statues commemorating Confederate or Colonial-era figures; the tense U.S.-China relations and a new COVID-19 outbreak appears in Beijing; the November presidential race, concerns about voting practices, and Trump’s planned rally scheduled for Tulsa on Saturday; the activity in the world’s financial markets and the recent jobless claims figure for the U.S.; and negotiations between the players and the league as the MLB tries to salvage its season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Time to Practice. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that “every performance-driven activity you can think of requires some form of practice. Athletics, the performing arts, public speaking, teaching, bar mitzvahs, all require practice. Even your doctor, dentist, and lawyer required practice before they could open their… practice. So, what about the professional sales rep? Sellers, especially in today’s warp-speed changing environment must practice.” Read his column here.

Beasley Reports Flat Q1 2020 Net Revenue; Net Loss of $8.8 Million. Reporting on its first quarter 2020 financial numbers, Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. – parent of Beasley Media Group – announces its net revenue was flat at $57.7 million compared to the same period in 2019. However, after posting operating income of $6.8 million in Q1 of 2019, the company posted and operating loss of $7.1 million in Q1 of this year. Beasley reported a net income of $1.4 million in Q1 of 2019 and this year is reporting a loss of $8.8 million. Beasley’s flat net revenue figure “reflects strong political advertising revenue, an increase in digital advertising, and esports revenue and contributions from the August 2019 acquisition of WDMK-FM, partially offset by a year-over-year decrease in commercial advertising revenue and other revenue related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Despite these challenges, first quarter net revenue was $57.7 million, primarily reflecting strong performance across our station clusters in seven markets during the months of January and February driven by robust political ad spending and contributions from WDMK-FM, as well as significant growth in digital and esports revenue. However, our top-line growth was not able to fully offset the acute challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic during the three-month period, resulting in a year-over-year decline in first quarter SOI and Free Cash Flow. During the first quarter, we continued to advance our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives across the company. In this regard, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 49% on a year-over-year basis, with digital accounting for approximately 9% of total first quarter revenue, compared to 6% of total revenue in the prior year period. In addition, Beasley launched the first major esports event featuring the Houston Outlaws, which the company acquired in November 2019, securing several new sponsorships as the team began competing in Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League matches in February. With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital and esports platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of these digital and esports initiatives, which have been less impacted by COVID-19, and look forward to this growth trend continuing throughout the remainder of the year and beyond.”

Townsquare Media Q1 Down 1.4%; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 0.5%. The company says it will file its first quarter 2020 report on or before June 25 but issues some preliminary figures and held an investor conference call this morning (6/15). Townsquare Media, Inc CEO Bill Wilson says, “While our first quarter started strong with high single-digit net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth in January and February, beginning in March we experienced a significant negative business impact to our Advertising and Live Events segments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, offsetting the momentum we established in 2019 and early 2020. First quarter net revenue increased 0.5% on a pro forma basis resulting in our 9th consecutive quarter of pro forma net revenue growth. In addition, Q1 2020 marked the first time our digital revenue exceeded 40% of our total net revenue, up from 35% in 2019, powered by Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a significant decline in our Advertising revenue in March, but we were still able to generate positive first quarter year-over-year Advertising net revenue growth. Our Advertising net revenue declined further in April but has shown sequential improvement in both May and June to date. We also cancelled or postponed our live events scheduled in March, April, May and June, which negatively impacted our net revenue. Thankfully, our Live Events segment is a much smaller component of our company today after we had the foresight to sell our large, out-of-market live event assets, including North American Midway Entertainment and several multi-day music festivals over the past two years. We have taken a number of steps to reduce our cost base in an effort to help mitigate the decline in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In total, we have enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings and anticipate the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue.  In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, and our board of directors has elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward.  All of these actions have strongly bolstered our liquidity position.”

Midwest Communications’ WNFL, Green Bay Airing Content from WRNW-FM, Milwaukee. In a content deal with iHeartMedia’s sports talk WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game,” Midwest Communications’ WNFL, Green Bay is replacing its daytime programming with the daytime lineup of “The Game.” The new WNFL lineup is: Steve Czaban in morning drive, John Kuhn (from WNFL’s studios) with Brian Butch in late mornings, Ted Davis and Dario Melendez in early afternoons, and “Drew & K.B.” in afternoon drive. Gone from the WNFL airwaves is the statewide syndicated Bill Michaels show. FOX Sports Radio rounds out the evenings, overnights, and weekends. Midwest operations manager Jason Hillery says, “We’ve signed a deal with Milwaukee’s ‘The Game’ and have picked up 12 hours of their amazing Wisconsin-focused programming each weekday. We’re excited about this lineup, and we’re excited about the future of this radio station.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Springfield News-Leader reports that Zimmer Radio has inked a letter of intent to buy the five-station cluster currently owner by Meyer Communications that includes news/talk KWTO-AM, sports talk KWTO-FM “JOCK 98.7,” and two music brands. Zimmer Radio co-owner Don Zimmer tells the paper they are in the early stages of due diligence. “There’s nothing set. We’ll see how things go with regards to the due diligence, and with five stations, it’ll probably take a while.”…..In recognition of the 48th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, ESPN is launching “espnW Presents: When We Play,” a three-day, women’s sport-centric, multi-platform initiative that will be anchored by more than 125 total hours of female-focused programming across ESPN2, ESPNU, ACC Network, SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Additional content will be available on ESPN.com, ESPN Audio and the espnW social handles. “espnW Presents: When We Play” will run from Sunday, June 21 through Tuesday, June 23…..HRN Media Network, a Gen Media Partners company, is expanding its platform and the result is one of the largest Hispanic audio networks in the U.S. All of Gen Media Partners’ Hispanic assets – including Sun Latino and GLR – will now operate exclusively under the HRN umbrella, creating an easy one-source solution for advertisers, agencies, and radio stations for all things Hispanic…..Public media organization WGBH names Pam Johnston general manager for news. Johnston is currently senior director of strategy and audience for “FRONTLINE,” the investigative documentary series produced by WGBH. She will succeed Phil Redo who is retiring at the end of this month. WGBH president and CEO Jon Abbott says, “Pam has deep roots in Boston news, and with her public media and multiplatform experience she is ideally suited to lead the WGBH news team into the digital future. Her expertise across all forms of media will build on the quality and award-winning local journalism WGBH has become known for under the leadership of Phil Redo. We’re grateful for the strong foundation he established and we’re excited about the innovation Pam will bring to how we serve our community.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Norfolk, Virginia hot AC WMVN “MOViN’ 107.7” launches the new “Valentine in the Morning Show” starring Valentine and co-hosts Jillian Escoto and Kevin Manno. Station PD DJ Fountz says, “We’re thrilled to introduce ‘Valentine in the Morning’ to the people of Hampton Roads. The show is polished, the crew has great chemistry, and we know that they’ll be the perfect way to get our listeners movin’ in the mornings.”…..iHeartMedia names DJ Loui Vee program director for hip hop WBZY, Atlanta “105.3 The Beat.” iHeartMedia Atlanta SVP of programming Meg Stevens says, “Very excited to have DJ Loui Vee in Atlanta. He is an exceptional talent who will continue to build the brand of ‘105.3 The Beat Atlanta.’ His creativity and passion along with his incredible leadership skills make him the perfect talent to program ‘105.3 The Beat.’”…..Morning personality Guy David exits Bonneville’s country KYGO, Denver. Co-host Tracy Dixon continues to host mornings along with producer Patrick Knight for now…..On-air pro Scott Fisher announces his retirement from iHeartMedia’s classic hits KODJ, Salt Lake City where he hosted middays. Fisher thanked his listeners in a message on the station’s website. He also notes that his weekend talk show, “Extreme Genes – America’s Family History Show,” will continue to air on the company’s sister news/talk station KNRS-FM.

Friday, November 15, 2019

| November 15, 2019

Phil Zachary Exits DC Market Manager Role with Entercom. A surprise move at Entercom’s Washington, DC station group takes place with Phil Zachary leaving the SVP/market manager role and stepping into a “corporate role” involving “special projects.”  Zachary had been in DC for 20 months.  He moved there from Entercom’s Hartford cluster in May of 2018, five years after joining Entercom Boston from his president/COO post with Curtis Media Group in Raleigh.  Zachary took over for Steve Swenson at Entercom Washington.  The company has not named a successor for the DC market manager position.

Beasley Acquires Houston Outlaws Esports Franchise. The financial details of this deal were not released but Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. says this acquisition of the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws esports team enhances the company’s growing esports platform.  Previously, Beasley invested in Team Renegades – an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan – and acquired CheckpointXP, a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. Beasley says that the Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America.  Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment “whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years.”  The Overwatch League will begin its third season in February of 2020, with each of the league’s teams hosting matches in their home markets.  The Outlaws will remain officially based in Houston, Texas and will continue to represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform.  The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services…The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws furthers our revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. We believe the power of our media footprint, including 65 highly-rated radio stations in large- and mid-sized markets, combined with our 24/7 coverage of esports news, will allow us to build the value of the Outlaws franchise through a range of revenue sources, including ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licensing, e-commerce, and other partnerships.”

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 on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/15).  The new episode titled “The Show Biz Capitol of America!” looks back at this past week of November 11-15, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSWayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TVDr. Daliah Wachs, medical doctor/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkLisa Wexler, probate judge, Connecticut/talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One;  Dr. Dana Cheng, senior China news reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA.   This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  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.’

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 11-15. The start of impeachment hearings against President Trump and the allegations of misconduct with Ukraine military aid was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race, the Trump tax returns court ruling, and the trial of former Trump adviser Roger Stone.  Coming in at #3 was stock market activity and the economy, followed by universal health care proposals at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Rose Anderson, VP/Executive Director of the New York Festivals Radio Awards Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. New York Festivals, the prestigious, long-running international awards organization spotlighting quality in the fields of advertising, TV & film, and radio opens its acceptance of entries for the 2020 Radio Awards competition and announces information about its exciting new presentation in April. The organization’s vice president and executive director, Rose Anderson, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson, who brings years of experience as a network TV producer to her role at NYF, joins Harrison in a fascinating conversation about the renaissance of storytelling in the radio field as well as other exciting changes the industry is experiencing in the rapidly evolving digital era. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

9th Annual KFI, Los Angeles ‘PastaThon’ Scheduled for December 6. For this year’s 9th KFI PastaThon on December 6, iHeartMedia has teamed with Smart & Final stores and Barilla Pasta to raise money as well as donations of pasta and sauce to help feed local children in need.  Funds raised from the event will benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that helps feed, house and educate children in need in Orange County.  Now through December 6, Smart & Final is offering an opportunity for shoppers to donate to this event by purchasing $10 KFI PastaThon kits, generously donated by Barilla, that include the brand’s pasta and sauce as well as Smart & Final’s signature First Street line of plates, utensils and napkins. Each kit provides 24 meals and those purchasing the kit receive a chance to win a 13-day trip to Italy for two, courtesy of guided vacation company Trafalgar.  On December 6, all KFI AM 640’s on-air personalities – Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. – will participate in a live, 17-hour broadcast on site at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove encouraging listeners to donate money, packaged pasta and jars of pasta sauce.  Last year’s event raised a record $517,000 and 50,000 pounds of pasta and sauce.  Since 2010, KFI listeners have helped raise over $2.3 million and 391,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for Caterina’s Club.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “This is a whole station and community effort. Everyone supports this wonderful cause from the on-air hosts to the news team, sales, digital, I.T, engineering and promotions. Everyone from every corner of the station is a part of this wonderful cause.  Not only is the KFI PastaThon about feeding children in need, it’s also about ending the cycle of poverty and we are grateful to our incredible listeners who so generously support the good work of [Caterina’s Club founder] Chef Bruno.”

TALKERS News Notes. Four new podcasts are released by PodcastOne.  Viral phenomenon Trisha Paytas expands her brand beyond YouTube with the podcast, “The Dish with Trish”; actress Daniella Monet teams up with her fiancé, Andrew Gardner, to discuss their journey into “adulting” on “Adulting Like A Mother Father”; the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne adds a fashion-forward podcast called “Brad Behavior with Brad Goreski”; and PodcastOne continues to expand its lineup of dramatic and true-crime programming with Reelz’ “Copycat Killers,” based on of the television series detailing murders that imitate Hollywood’s hit blockbuster films…..ESPN Audio says its podcasts set a new record in October (as per Podtrac) with a verified unique audience of 8.1 million.  ESPN says that figure represents an increase of 27% over October 2018.  ESPN vice president, digital strategy and marketing within ESPN Audio Tom Ricks says, “ESPN’s podcast business has certainly been building great momentum which we expect to continue with the recent launch of ‘ESPN Daily.’  We remain very bullish on the podcast space and that ESPN is best suited to capitalize on the format in the sports genre.”.…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago producer Tony Gill is leaving the Entercom sports talk station  to join NBC Sports Chicago in the role of podcast producer.  At WSCR, he’s been producing the Laurence Holmes midday show as well as a number of the station’s podcasts…..Premiere Networks nationally syndicated evening radio host Delilah spoke with actress and Broadway superstar Kristin Chenoweth for her podcast, “Love Someone with Delilah.”  On the podcast the two talk about Chenoweth’s new album, For The Girls, a tribute to the passionate women of music as well as about her passions for creating, singing, and giving back through Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamps, and her new endeavor – building a creative arts center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

WTOP, Washington Seeks Director of News and Programming. Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is seeking a director of news and programming. Hubbard Radio says this person, “leads WTOP, an effective organization of over 100 people consisting of news directors, writers, anchors, reporters, editors, and staff to provide the best available local, national and international news, traffic, weather, sports and money news across all media platforms, including radio, internet and social media while serving as brand manager to maintain the imaging, marketing and overall sound.” Essential job functions for this position include: Overall responsibility for WTOP news gathering, production, news programming and presentation across multiple platforms with the utmost in quality control; provides effective leadership to a diverse workforce covered by a collective bargaining agreement that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; establishes short and long term program format objectives, strategies and plans to achieve maximum listenership of a quality product across multiple platforms; ensures that all programming is in compliance with state and federal laws and FCC Rules and Regulations; liason between company management and union. For more information and to apply, click here.

Cool Talk Radio Sales Opportunity. In New York City, Salem Media Group is seeking an account executive for radio and digital sales. Here’s the ad: Salem Media Group is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer” and the legendary WMCA “AM570/102.3FM The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Ideal candidate has a proven track record of success with radio and digital sales. Interested candidates should apply online and email cover letter and resumes to Jerry Crowley’s attention.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta country outlet WKHX rebrands as “Atlanta’s New Country 101.FIVE,” “an innovative radio outlet celebrating the great songs and sounds of Georgia’s homegrown artists.  These stars feed souls and fill hearts, stadiums and concert halls around the world.”  Cumulus Media made the change yesterday (11/14) at 3:00 pm playing “Dirt We Were Raised On” by Macon, Georgia’s Jason Aldean, followed by songs from The Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Sugarland, and Trisha Yearwood.  The station had been branded “Kicks 101.5” since 1981.  “Kincaid and Dallas” are holding down the morning shift and Lucas Phelan hosts afternoon drive…..Programming pro Brian Roberts exits adult contemporary WPEZ, Macon, Georgia “Lite Rock Z93.7” where he was morning host and PD…..After eight years in Kansas City, Brady Goodman is out at Entercom’s cluster there where he was handling imaging and on-air roles at hot AC KZPT “99-7 The Point.”