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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

| February 23, 2022

iHeartMedia 2021 Fourth Quarter Revenue Up 14%. Reporting its financial results from the fourth quarter of 2021 and the year as a whole, iHeartMedia, Inc. says Q4 revenue was $1.06 billion, up 14% over the same period in 2020. Reporting by segment, iHeartMedia says its Digital Audio Group revenue was $273.2 million, up 59% over Q4 in 2020; Podcast Revenue was $96.6 million, an increase of 130% year over year; and Broadcast Radio revenue was $519.1 million, up 4.9%. Net income for Q4 of 2021 was $112 million compared to net income of $2.9 million in Q4 of 2020. For the whole of 2021, the company reports a net loss of $8.4 million compared to the net loss of $1.9 billion reported for all of 2020. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “We are pleased to report another strong quarter and to wrap up a very strong year, further evidence of our momentum and the continuing digital transformation of iHeartMedia into a data-led, digital business with important new platforms like podcasting built on the unparalleled scale and audience reach of our broadcast radio assets. We believe that this strong performance in Q4 and full year positions us well for continued growth in 2022.”

 

Audacy Q4 2021 Revenue Climbs 8%. The company reveals that net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $344.7 million, an increase of 8% over the same period in 2020, led by double digit growth in both digital and spot radio. Audacy reports that core spot revenue (local plus national excluding political) was $218.4 million, up 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 while digital revenue was $68.1 million, up 16% year over year. Operating income for the quarter was $48.1 million, compared to an operating loss of $204.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Audacy reports Q4 2021 net income of $21.4 million compared to the net loss of $162.3 million reported in Q4 2020. For the whole of 2021, Audacy reports a net loss of $3.6 million compared to the net loss of $242.2 million reported for all of 2020. President and CEO David J. Field states, “In 2021, we accelerated our organizational development through a number of important strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, and content and senior talent additions. This was also the year in which we rebranded the company to reflect our evolution into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and important leadership positions across the full spectrum of the dynamic, growing audio market. Our 2021 acquisitions of Podcorn and AmperWave, plus BetQL just prior to the start of the year, are important additions to our capabilities that will fuel accelerated growth and enhance how we serve our listeners and customers. Audacy today is well positioned to capitalize on the exciting growth opportunities within audio at the same time as we anticipate the continuing recovery of radio ad spending. We are off to a very good start to 2022 and our team is excited about the year ahead.”

 

Live From Donetsk. The Russia-Ukraine crisis has escalated to the major news/talk radio topic on the table triggering a scramble for hosts to sort out the facts from the fiction as a variety of perspectives – some quite controversial – are being aired out in the national conversation. WABC, New York all-night host Frank Morano provided the listeners of his program “The Other Side of Midnight” with something to think about early Monday morning (2/21) in terms of the “other side” of the story.  He conducted a long-distance, live phone interview with a man named Russell Bentley, an American expat and avowed communist who has lived in Donetsk for eight years after moving there to fight, alongside the separatists, against the Ukrainian government. Morano tells TALKERS, “I think Bentley did a good job not only describing what’s happening there with Russian troops being on the ground, but also explaining the mentality of how people there feel. I think it’s so unique compared to what folks are doing with this in talk radio. Russia’s recognition of Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic has drawn global condemnation, with the U.S. and several European countries agreeing to move quickly to respond with economic penalties. This was truly something different.” To listen to the entire interview, please click here.

 

Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s January 2022 PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2022 sweep covered January 6 – February 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR rose seven-tenths to a 2.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #13 while Red Apple Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC-AM/WLIR-FM also rose seven-tenths to finish with a 3.0 share good for the #12 rank in the market. Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM, Chicago is back in the #1 spot after adding a full share for a 5.7 share finish. Across town at Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, a 1.7 share increase gives the station a 5.2 share finish good for the #4 rank in the market. After a series of declines, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on 1.1 shares for a 6.9 share finish that pushes it up to the #3 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

 

 

WOR-AM, New York Turns 100. Pictured above is the staff of iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR-AM, New York celebrating the station’s 100th anniversary on the air. It was on February 22, 1922 that the station first went on air and the celebration included on-air reminiscences from past WOR personalities including: John R. Gambling, George Meade, Joan Hamburg, Shelly Strickler, Bill Korbel, and Daria Dolan. Above are (from l-r): assistant program director Scott Lakefield, creative services director Howard Hoffman; morning co-host Len Berman, morning show executive producer Natalie Vacca, morning co-host Michael Riedel, midday host Mark Simone, and program director Tom Cuddy.

 

 

Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Broadcast from Mar-a-Lago. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” did a live remote broadcast from The Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach on Tuesday (2/22) during which former President Donald Trump joined the program for a full hour to talk about subjects including the current crisis in Ukraine, COVID mandates, Democratic contenders in 2024, the Canadian Trucker protests, his future political goals and more. Trump also complimented the duo on the success of their show, saying “Congratulations. You’re knocking it dead. And that’s good. Rush would be proud of you.”

 

Michael Harrison Discusses the Concept of the “Media Station” on New PodcastTALKERS founder Michael Harrison presents a detailed explanation of the emerging concept he calls the “media station” in the debut installment of a new podcast titled, “Masters In Media,” hosted by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of the firm, Goldman/McCormick Public Relations. Harrison explains the impact multimedia cross-platform branding is having on 20th century analog entities such as radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, magazines, movie theaters and record companies. He states, “All these different entities operated within their own lanes and were quite isolated from each other in terms of their mother platforms. Now there is no solitary mother platform for any media organization and companies cannot put all their ‘eggs in one basket.’ Today’s radio station is actually a media station. So are today’s newspapers and the like. They are all in the business of producing and distributing audio, video, graphics, text, information and entertainment.” Harrison also discusses what it takes to make it these days as a radio talk show host. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Radio syndication pro Adam Wilbur is promoted to SVP of affilaites sales & operations at Compass Media Networks. Wilbur continues to be based out of the company’s Los Angeles office and continues to spearhead the company’s affiliate sales, affiliate marketing, affiliate technical operations, and select content relationships. He says, “This 13-year journey has been an incredible ride. Thank you to all the hosts, producers, colleagues, affiliates and potential affiliates that make each day unique and unpredictable. I love it.”…..CNN Audio expands its podcast programming with the upcoming debut of “Diversifying” on February 28. Fostering insightful discussions about how the financial system can work for us, instead of against us, host Delyanne Barros creates a welcome space for people of color, women, single households, and others who have traditionally been left out of conversations around personal finance. Throughout the series, Barros speaks with real people, as well as with money experts, who are faced with the challenge of balancing cultural expectations with their own financial needs. Whether that’s struggling to negotiate pay as a woman of color, or supporting one’s parents as they enter retirement, “Diversifying” offers listeners actionable steps toward better financial health, all while validating struggles with money, no matter what the starting point.

 

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, SCOTUS Trump Ruling, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Arbery Verdict/Floyd Case, Inflation/The Economy, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22). The Western condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine incursion after his recognition of separatist provinces; the slowing rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Canada’s prosecution of trucker protesters, and threats of a trucker protest in Washington, DC; the Supreme Court rules against Donald Trump in his bid to keep his records from the January 6 committee; November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the jury deliberates in the federal hate crime trial of the three men found guilty if killing Ahmaud Arbery; the soaring rate of inflation and the sliding financial markets; and the frigid winter weather affecting much of the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

| May 13, 2021

Mary Walter Exits WMAL-FM, Washington. In a Facebook post, morning drive co-host Mary Walter announces she’s done her last show with Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington, DC. Walter says the news that Cumulus is bringing its air personalities back from their home studios to the radio studios forced her to make a lifestyle choice. She writes, “Before COVID I spent 4 years living in an apartment in MD, while my husband lived in NJ. Every Fri after the show, I would go back to my apartment (that had like 3 pieces of furniture), pack my car and drive the 4 hrs back to NJ.  I’d get in, collapse and be in bed by 7p. Saturday was spent unpacking, doing laundry, housework and all the other ‘stuff’ that needs to be done. Sunday morning I would start show prepping, pack and then it was back in the car for the 4 hrs back down to MD. Plus I think it’s the only morning show in the country that starts at 5am instead of 6am and getting up at 3 wears you down. Add in that I missed every funeral, graduation, Confirmation, birthday party or life event that didn’t take place on a Saturday and I decided it was time for a change. Being able to work remotely for the last 14 months really opened my eyes to quality of life and I chose living with my husband in the house I’m paying for, seeing friends again and living as opposed to money. Don’t know where I’m going from here, but for now, I just want to read a NON-POLITICAL book, turn off the news and attend to things that have been ignored for 4 years.”

Dan Bongino to Host FOX News Channel Weekend Show. Nationally syndicated talk radio host and regular FOX News Channel contributor Dan Bongino is getting his own weekend talk show on FOX News Channel. Bongino – whose 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET radio show is syndicated by Westwood One – will host a 10:00 pm ET Saturday show on FNC beginning June 5. Bongino is a former Secret Service agent who’s been serving as an FNC contributor since 2019. Additionally, Bongino’s Westwood One radio program will be streamed by FOX Nation beginning May 25.

RTDNA/Newhouse School Study: More Local Radio News in 2020. The first installment of this year’s RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University study has been released as it focuses on the quantity of local news in television and radio. With regard to radio, the study finds, “More radio stations report running local news in 2020, with an increase among AM stations offsetting a slight decrease among FM stations. 70.4% of radio survey respondents overall report airing local news, though stations with news may be more likely to participate in the survey.” Going a bit further in depth, the study finds that “the average number of weekday minutes of news went up overall by less than four minutes, with all market sizes except medium markets going up modestly. Last year, medium markets led a small overall increase in local news. Weekday median – or typical – number of minutes is now fairly close from one market size to the next… The reason that the average weekday minutes in major markets is so much higher than all others is because that’s where most of the all-news stations are. Note that those stations have little effect on the median or typical number of minutes. The percentage of stations that increased the amount of local news rose by more than 10 points compared to a year ago. The percentage decreasing local news stayed about the same. The bigger the staff and the bigger the market, the more likely that local news content increased. Non-commercial stations were twice as likely to increase the amount of local news (44.1% to 21.1%) compared to commercial ones. Stations in the West were more likely to increase local news than any other region. Otherwise, no other variable made any consistent difference one way or the other.” See more here.

IAB: Podcast Revenue to Exceed $1 Billion This Year, $2 Billion by 2023. This is the fourth annual IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue study, prepared for IAB by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (and sponsored by audio firms including Audacy, Cumulus Media, and iHeartMedia), and it predicts that podcasting revenue will “grow as much in the next two years as it did in the past decade.” The medium had a strong fourth quarter of 2020 (up 37% year-over-year). In 2020, podcast revenue was $842 million compared to $708 million in 2019. The study results in the prediction that podcast revenue will hit $1 billion by the end of this year and $2 billion by 2023. Among the study’s findings: dynamic ad insertion is growing rapidly – it accounted for 48% of revenue in 2019 and 67% in 2020. It also reveals that annual buys decreased by 5% from 2019 to 2020 while remnant buys increased by 6%. Cost-per-thousand is still king as 93% of podcast revenue was based on CPM while series ownership dipped from 10% of revenue in 2019 to 5% in 2020 (flat fee accounted for 2%). When it comes to podcast genre, news is still the top dog accounting for 22% of revenue in 2020. However, the genre of science jumped from just 3% of podcast revenue in 2019 to 12% in 2020. See the complete study here.

iHeartMedia and Catalina Partner for Measurement of Offline Sales. This partnership between iHeartMedia and Catalina will help the former “measure and attribute the impact of podcast advertising on offline sales in physical stores, which continue to represent the majority of CPG (consumer package goods) purchases.” Catalina describes itself as “a leader in shopper intelligence and omni-channel media solutions that personalize the shopper journey.” In a press release, the companies say, “To date, podcast measurement capabilities have helped advertisers understand the impact of an ad campaign on brand lift metrics like purchase intent or message recall, as well as attribution of digital user activity such as website visits from those listeners exposed to that campaign. Now, CPG partners will also gain visibility into the true offline sales impact of their marketing dollars within podcasting.” In addition, as part of this data partnership Catalina will provide iHeartMedia with audiences and measurement services within iHeartMedia’s SmartAudio platform, for CPG ad campaigns that air on the latter’s linear and streaming radio programming. iHeartMedia EVP of national research David Shiffman says, “We have been impressed with Catalina’s ability to deliver highly-scaled, extensive data and insights for CPG advertisers, enabling them to measure the effectiveness of their brand messaging on in-store sales. We continue to focus on cross-platform measurement and attribution capabilities for advertisers and now in partnership with Catalina we can provide CPG advertisers tools to maximize their podcast campaigns’ ROI, with measurement and attribution solutions to more effectively plan and execute their multi-platform audio campaigns.”

WABC ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ host Frank Morano Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Overnight host Frank Morano of WABC, New York is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne production, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morano is one of the rarest species of on-air talent in the radio business today – he is the host of a live and local all-night radio show. There are several syndicated all-night shows that are heard on hundreds of stations by millions of listeners… but very few live and local for people working all-night or just spending what could be isolated or lonely time comforted by the intimate company of a radio delivering the voices of nearby people, in real time, right there in their local city or community. When business titan, former NYC mayoral candidate and radio broadcasting maverick John Catsimatidis took ownership of WABC in 2019, he began instituting a number of innovative programming changes including, in 2020, restoring the lost tradition of broadcasting overnights with a live, local, and extremely engaged host. Morano is the perfect radio broadcaster to carry out that mission. He’s a relatively young broadcaster with a long history of loving and studying radio and he sounds great on the air. Don’t miss this insightful conversation! To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.

GOP vs Cheney/Influence of Trump, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Hamas Fighting, Voting Rights Bill, Stocks Decline/Inflation Fears, and Border Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). Republicans oust U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role in the party and former President Donald Trump’s influence on the GOP; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and CDC guidelines; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline and the resulting gas shortage in the Southeast; the violence between Israel and Hamas and concerns about an all-out war breaking out; the debate in the U.S. Senate over President Joe Biden’s For the People voting rights act; this week’s decline in the stock market and fears of inflation; and the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

| July 22, 2020

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part two of how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) has been trending for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on sports talk. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the top-ranked sports talk station during the June PPM survey based on cume (547,700) with the company’s WIP, Philadelphia in second place (375,000). iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis rounds out the top three (350,500). In this report, see which sports talk stations gained cume and which lost it compared to the May 2020 PPM survey, plus more here.

WABC, New York Adds Weekend Programming. New York City news/talk “TALKRADIO 77 WABC announces it is adding three programs to its weekend schedule. The Red Apple Media-owned station adds “The Jeanine Pirro Show” – starring FOX News Channel personality Judge Jeanine Pirro – to the Sunday lineup airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik launches “Bernie Kerik, Behind The Badge” airing from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Saturdays (produced in conjunction with Lapcom Communications), and “The Walter Sterling Show” on Saturdays from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm. All three shows are being simulcast on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays (Long Island). Station program director David LaBrozzi says, “New Yorkers want compelling content throughout the weekend and that’s what we’re going to deliver. Jeanine and Bernie are well-known to our audience and perceived as champions for New York. Walter’s syndicated show has done well in other markets and I’m delighted that he is doing a local New York show exclusively for WABC.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News, news radio pro Susan Leigh Taylor is retiring from her morning drive position at Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco on Friday (7/24), capping a 47-year radio career that includes more than 20 years at KCBS-AM. Taylor co-hosts the morning program with Stan Bunger…..iHeartMedia announces that it and Because – the vendor of direct-to-consumer personal care products for consumers 65-plus – have entered into multi-year, multi-million dollar strategic marketing partnership. iHeartMedia EVP of corporate development & ventures Peter Volynsky says, “We are proud to partner with a company that is dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults, offering a seamless way to access essential products and services that provide comfort, while also improving their quality of life. With our massive reach, iHeartMedia will help build awareness of these valuable personal care products and the convenience proposition that Because offers to millions of seniors and their families across the country.”…..This week’s Westwood One Blog shares podcast revenue data and forecasts for the segment. One source is the most recent podcast advertising revenue report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. That report projects 2020 podcast revenues “will come in at 94% of last year’s prediction: The current 2020 podcast revenue forecast of $814M is only 6% less than what IAB/PwC predicted for 2020 last year at this time ($863M).” It also notes that “podcast ad revenues soared +48% from 2018 to 2019: The +48% rate of growth from 2018 to 2019 was nothing short of stunning. While the COVID-19 crisis has tempered 2020 growth rates, IAB/PwC still predicts a +15% lift in 2020 revenues.”…..Edison Research reports that its ongoing “Share of Ear” study finds that Americans’ digital device listening has crossed the 50% threshold during COVID-19 disruptions. Edison says that prior to the COVID-19 disruptions, “55% of the daily total share of time spent listening by those in the U.S. age 13 and older was done on traditional, more linear devices, and 45% was done on digital devices. During Q2 2020, 53% of the daily total share of time spent listening was on digital devices.” The “digital/on-demand” devices in the Share of Ear study include smartphones, computers, internet-connected televisions, and smart speakers. These are essentially the devices that Americans use to stream or listen to audio files on demand. The “traditional or non-linear devices” include AM/FM receivers, SiriusXM receivers, CD players, turntables, or TV channels like Music Choice.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Portland Unrest/Chicago Shootings, Trump’s Use of Federal Agents, GOP Relief Bill, Schools Opening Debate, Chinese Hackers Seeking Vaccine Data/Houston Consulate Ordered Closed, Ohio Bribery Scheme, Twitter’s QAnon Ban, and U.S. Sports Leagues Plan Seasons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The outbreak of COVID-19 cases in numerous states, projections for future cases, and President Trump’s first COVID-19 presser in three months; the civil unrest in Portland and the spate of shootings in Chicago; the controversy over Trump’s use of federal agents in Portland; the Republican-authored pandemic relief bill; the debate over opening schools in the fall; U.S. intelligence reports that Chinese hackers are trying to get U.S. vaccine data and the U.S.’s ordering of the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston; the alleged $60 million bribery and money laundering scheme involving Ohio’s House Speaker and three others; Twitter bans 7,000 QAnon-linked accounts; and U.S. pro sports leagues prepare to hold games 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. In Atlanta, Entercom’s hip hop WVEE “V-103” moves afternoon drive personality Big Tigger to morning drive as host of “The Morning Culture with Big Tigger” and brings Kenny Burns back to the air staff for afternoon drive. Burns – an entrepreneur, producer, and author – hosted a program from 2011 through 2013. Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “During his time with us at ‘V-103,’ I have seen Big Tigger take over Atlanta as a premier talent and generous community activist who is connected to the people. We believe he will bring his high energy and creativity to mornings at the station. Just as important, we see Kenny Burns bringing his added years of experience, industry work, and current show success to the station and we’re excited to welcome him back.”…..The internationally syndicated “Sunday Night Slow Jams” program adds Entercom’s CHR WEZB, New Orleans “B97” to its affiliate station roster…..iHeartMedia Phoenix adult contemporary KEZ, is planning “KEZ Christmas In July” this Saturday (7/25). Station PD Paul Kelley says, “In March, when we were first ordered to stay home, our worlds were turned upside down, but then KEZ played Christmas music on the weekends and our listeners responded positively. It’s July and it’s 110 degrees in Phoenix, and Johnny Mathis is on the radio – sounds pretty on track for 2020, doesn’t it?”…..Louisville public radio personality Duke Meyer is semi-retiring from Louisville Public Media’s alternative WFPK. Meyer, who’s been with the station since 2002, will continue to host the Saturday classic rock program, “Relics.”