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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

| October 5, 2021

Round One of September PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been 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 September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. iHeartMedia’s New York City news/talk WOR adds four-tenths to finish with a 2.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises to the #16 rank while Red Apple Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC climbs three-tenths for a 2.2 share finish and the #18 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles dips three-tenths to a 3.8 share but remains in the #7 rank. In Chicago, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN tacks on two-tenths for a 3.6 share and stays ranked #9 while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds nine-tenths for a 6.6 share finish and recaptures the #1 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

iHeartMedia Names Dalena Pajares VP of Sales for St. Louis Cluster. Sales pro Dalena Pajares joins iHeartMedia’s St. Louis station group as vice president of sales. The cluster includes news/talk KTLK-FM “104.9 The Patriot” and KATZ-HD2/W279AQ “BIN: Black Information Network” as well as eight music brands. Pajares was most recently an account executive with The Center for Sales Strategy. Previously, she’d served with Hubbard Radio, Emmis Communications, CBS Radio, and Cox Radio. She comments, “I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to join this talented group of people. iHeartMedia St. Louis has powerful solutions to offer emerging brands, our local business community and nationwide advertisers. I’m committed to making a positive contribution and can’t wait to grow and help others as they grow.”

CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group Develops Audio Planning Guide. This week’s blog from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group shares data sourced from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” Report, Nielsen’s Nationwide, and the Scarborough Podcast Buying Power study that makes up its Audio Planning Guide. Some of the key findings include: 1) Many media strategists and planners mistakenly believe Pandora and Spotify have the largest share of ad-supported audio listening. At a 76% share, Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” reveals AM/FM radio is the dominant ad-supported audio platform; 2) From the Q2 2021 “Share of Ear” study, Edison reports the 76 share of AM/FM radio is 13 times larger than Pandora and 19 times larger than Spotify; 3) According to the Nielsen Commspoint, the media planning platform, a reallocation of 20%-30% of the TV budget to AM/FM radio generates significant lift in incremental reach; and 4) One of biggest misperceptions of AM/FM radio is that it is a “drive time” medium. The reality is only 40% of U.S. AM/FM radio listening occurs during mornings and afternoon drive times. 60% of U.S. AM/FM radio listening occurs outside of drive times. See more here.

Audacy and Osiris Media Partner for ‘Breaking Waves’ Podcast Series. A new podcast series from Audacy, in partnership with Osiris Media, titled “Breaking Waves” launches on October 12. The series centers around stories and anecdotes revisited by bands, Audacy talent, stations and friends who watched, lived and defined a particular music scene or movement. The first episode is “Breaking Waves: Seattle” and focuses on the emergence and growth of grunge and alternative music in the city in the 80s and 90s. Audacy SVP of programming Dave Richards says, “We are so excited to introduce the ‘Breaking Waves’ podcast series to our audience. This music was such a defining genre in the history book of American culture and set the stage for so many bands that followed. We’re thrilled to bring the genuine storytelling from the people who created and lived the scene – from its start in the 80s into the groundbreaking 90s, to now. This is the first of many podcasts that will give our audience the story of a time and place, that went from local to worldwide.”

Biden Spending Bills/Debt Crisis, COVID-19, Facebook Whistleblower, Pandora Papers, China’s Taiwan Aggression, California Oil Spill, Fed Insider Trading Allegations, France Catholic Church Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/4). The status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and the fate of the country’s debt ceiling; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the controversy over booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen’s appearance on “60 Minutes”; the release of the “Pandora Papers” that reveal how the global elite hide their money in off-shore accounts to avoid taxes; China’s military jet flights over Taiwan; the oil spill off the coast of Southern California; the allegations of insider trading by some Federal Reserve officials; and France is rocked by the revelation of decades long sexual abuse of children by Catholic Church employees were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

| January 27, 2016

savagemichaelWestwood One’s Michael Savage and Mark Levin Playing Roles in GOP Primary.  The primary battle between GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is gettinglevinmark heated and two Westwood One-syndicated talk show hosts recently played a role in the tensions.  First, Trump appeared on Tuesday’s “Savage Nation” program with Michael Savage during which Savage expressed his hope that Trump would skip Thursday’s Fox News Channel-produced debate.  Trump later announced that he would, indeed, skip the debate.  As for Cruz, he appeared on the networks’ Mark Levin program to announce he’s challenging Trump to a one-on-one debate that would not include a moderator.  Cruz included the no-moderator stipulation because of Trump’s issues with Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly.

bensonchadChad Benson Scores Hal Linden Interview After News of Abe Vigoda’s Death.  Tuesday’s news of the passing of beloved actor Abe Vigoda brought many talk hosts to talk of the late actor’s work in The Godfather and in the iconic TV series “Barney Miller.”  But Radio America-syndicated talk personality Chad Benson scored an interview with Hal Linden, who played the title character on the television cop comedy and was a friend of Vigoda’s.  Benson and Linden reminisced about how Vigoda was constantly refuting reports of his demise after People magazine published a mistaken report of his death in 1982.  You can hear Benson’s interview with Vigoda here.

The Presidential Race, Planned Parenthood Videos Case Twist, Oscars Boycott, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, and Eastern Blizzard Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26).  Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s refusal to take part in tomorrow’s GOP debate, the aftermath of the Iowa Democratic Town Hall, and the activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the indictment of two involved in videotaping Planned Parenthood representatives discussing human tissue sales; the ongoing debate over the boycott of the Academy Awards by some black film industry people due to a lack of black nominees; languishing oil prices and the reactions by the world’s financial markets; and the effects of the blizzard that hit much of the East Coast over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

kayemarkKaye: Social Media – You’re Doing it Wrong.  Jacksonville-based talk show host Mark Kaye writes, in a piece published in TALKERS today, that too many talk show hosts are only getting a little benefit out of what social media has to offer.  Kaye says, “Most of us look at Facebook and Snapchat and Periscope and Instagram as new and exciting ways to tell people what we do, what we think, and what we know.  Instead, as talk show hosts, we should be using those same platforms to ask our audiences, ‘Hey, what do you do? What do you think? What do you know?’”  Kaye says today’s audiences don’t use the phone to answer these questions the way they used to.  “They use Snapchat, and Periscope, and Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.  The phone has simply become a mini-access point to their favorite social media application.  They use it for one-way, non-verbal communication.  They use it to tweet, text, record video (and audio!) and briefly promote their own thoughts and opinions.”  Read more from Mark Kaye here.

Odds & Sods.  After almost 25 years at KCSJ, Pueblo, Colorado, sports director Tony Wright exits as iHeartMedia eliminates the sports director position.  Wright tells the Pueblo Chieftain that it was a business decision and he plans to continue working in sports radio elsewhere…..ESPN Radio’s Jalen Rose and David Jacoby are getting a TV show that highlights the best segments from their daily radio program.  “Jalen & Jacoby” will debut on ESPN2 at 2:00 am ET on Thursday (1/28).  An audio version of the program launched as a podcast in 2011.  The “Jalen & Jacoby” radio show airs from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET…..Daytona Beach-based Digital Sound & Video announces Greg Fadick joins the company as a producer.  The company says Fadick is a seasoned imaging pro who’s worked for both radio stations and production companies.  Fadick has imaged at WAAF, Boston; WIOD/WFLC/WHQT, Miami; Brown Bag Productions (Premiere Networks), and Download HDFX, among others.

nab logoNAB Producing Podcast Series Serving Broadcasters on ‘Timely and Relevant Issues.’  The  new, bi-weekly podcast focused on public policy issues, new technologies and proven business strategies for radio broadcasters debuts from National Association of Broadcasters.  NAB says “The NAB Podcast will feature new segments released every other Tuesday.  Each episode is 15 minutes long and is available publicly for two weeks.  At the end of that time, episodes will be archived for NAB members-only access at nab.org/podcasts.  Each podcast is dedicated to covering timely and relevant issues impacting America’s radio broadcasters.  NAB chairman and CEO Gordon Smith adds, “It is our hope that ‘The NAB Podcast’ will serve as a resource for broadcast professionals to help them navigate an increasingly complicated radio landscape.  The new podcast is an innovative way to reach our members and a broader audience with vital information on important issues affecting broadcasters.”