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By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The past 90 days have been a roller coaster for many on the marketing side of the radio business. Hopefully your ride has evened out and the rest of the fourth quarter is downhill. On the way to year-end, here is an experience that may help you improve your personal sales and customer management skills.
Our situation is based in a top 40 market with a dominant radio station and a solid talent. After several rounds of well-received negotiation we came to an agreement with clear expectations. The station seller and talent agreed to live reads and the advertiser approved the deal. We were locked and loaded with approved creative and good to go all around.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Apple was quick to answer my call to customer service. After hearing my problem, they set me up with an authorized service center to fix my “vintage” laptop at a reasonable cost. They were honest enough to save me a trip to the genius bar at the Apple store, only to waste my time as they no longer stock the parts for my vintage laptop.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Our friends at NPR just released a research piece by Edison. If you haven’t read the study, you should take the time. The study identifies six categories of listeners that are reminiscent of similar research pieces I’ve seen over the years.
Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year. Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.
KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.
Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.
Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”
TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.
COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
CBS Corp. Announces $1.46 Billion Debt Financing. This has been revealed in the radio trades and in financial news sources but now CBS makes it official with a press statement. The company says that “in connection with its previously announced intention to separate its radio business, CBS Radio Inc. plans to offer $460 million of senior unsecured notes and to enter into a $1 billion senior secured term loan, in each case, subject to market and other conditions. CBS expects that substantially all of the net proceeds from both the notes offering and the term loan will be distributed to CBS. The remaining net proceeds not used for such distribution will be used by CBS Radio for general corporate purposes and ongoing cash needs.” This is not a sale to the public. As CBS reminds us, “The notes will be offered and sold in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers in the United States pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933…the notes to be offered have not been registered under the Securities Act, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act.”
SiriusXM Launches Innovative Channel Dedicated to Talk About Music. The satcaster is dubbing it “VOLUME” and calls it “the first-ever 24/7 talk radio channel dedicated to music — its latest news, raging controversies, and non-stop debates – as the focus of the conversation.” The channel will consist of daily shows, artist interviews, weekly specials, a music trivia game show, album reviews, and an in-depth docuseries and more dealing with all genres of popular music. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Sirius XM has millions of loyal music fans nationwide and now we are giving those fans a place where they can talk about the music they love. VOLUME will have a deep, all-star roster of talent bringing that conversation only to SiriusXM. It’s yet another example of SiriusXM delivering unique and exciting content to our subscribers. Roger Coletti is the executive producer of this channel and his extensive music expertise makes him the ideal person for this ground-breaking channel.” Some of the shows that will appear on and after the October 17 launch include: live, morning talk show “Feedback” with Nik Carter and veteran magazine editor, entertainment journalist and author Lori Majewski; “Trunk Nation” with DJ Eddie Trunk, who’ll host Metallica’s Lars Ulrich on the debut show; “Debatable” with Mark Goodman and former Spin and Vibe editor and author Alan Light; “Written in My Soul with Bill Flanagan” featuring a series of interviews with legendary musicians, including Robert Plant and Paul Simon; “Rolling Stone Music Now” hosted by Rolling Stone executive editor Nathan Brackett; “Rap Radar Report” hosted by journalist and TV producer Elliott Wilson; “Melissa’s Basement” with Melissa Etheridge (guests booked include David Crosby, Pat Benatar, and Steve Cropper); “Never Meet Your Heroes” with Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian; “True Stories with Kurt Loder”; “The Album Review Show” featuring YouTube star Anthony Fantano; music trivia game “70s 80s 90s Now” with host Jim Shearer; and “The Last of The …” with Ryan Duffy, a journalist, producer and entrepreneur, who will examine the changing landscape in the world of music and tech.
Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee Partners with Milwaukee Business Journal on Local Economy Series. This series will be available on air, online and in print as Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ and the local Milwaukee Business Journal are combining the forces of their newsrooms to present “The Changing Face of Milwaukee” – an in-depth look at “Southeastern Wisconsin’s unprecedented growth in business and infrastructure.” WTMJ vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer states, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ it’s critical for WTMJ to cover the local news that is affecting our area. Partnering with the Milwaukee Business Journal provides WTMJ great access in the business community and more complete coverage of the economic boom in Southeastern Wisconsin.” WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks adds, “WTMJ and Milwaukee Business Journal reporters will work in pairs to go deeper on this story. With interviews of business leaders and government officials, our teams have created in-depth feature content and expansive digital coverage.” This special news series is in addition to the daily content partnership between the Milwaukee Business Journal and WTMJ. Business Journal reporters share local business headlines six times each weekday along with in-depth analysis of breaking business news in Milwaukee.
Nielsen Audio Releases Third Round of September 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of September 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The September 2016 survey period covered August 11 through September 7. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
The Presidential Race/Post-Debate Analysis, El Cajon Police Kill Black Man, South Carolina Teen Shooter Incident, 9/11 Bill Override, Syria Civil War/U.S.-Russia Relations, Shimon Peres Dies, MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and the analysis of Monday night’s first debate; police in El Cajon, California kill a black man they believed was wielding a gun; a teen shooter in South Carolina kills his father and injures three at a local school; congress overrides President Obama’s veto of a 9/11 bill that will allow victims of the terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia; the ongoing civil conflict in Syria and the tensions between the U.S. and Assad-backing Russia; former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres dies; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KIRO, Seattle afternoon talk hosts “Ron & Don” are partnering with the Seattle Police Department (with the support of the Seattle Police Foundation and Sleep Train) for the “Beds for Kids Project.” This year, the goal is to provide a minimum of 150 mattresses, bedframes, sheet sets, comforters and pillows to local children in need, with 100% of the mattresses donated by The Dream Bed, a bed-in-a-box brand with a greater purpose of improving sleeping conditions around the world with its buy one-give one model. The Beds for Kids Project was created in 2014 by Seattle police officers Jeremy Wade and Ryan Gallagher after the two responded to a 911 call and discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor of their home. They later returned to that same home with brand new beds, both purchased from their own pockets…..Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play legend Vin Scully will end a 67-year career calling the team’s games on Sunday (10/2). Fans interested in celebrating Scully’s monumental career and wish to witness the end of an era can hear the broadcast via TuneIn’s MLB Radio…..AdLarge Media‘s “So Money with Farnoosh Torabi” wins the prestigious 2016 Plutus Award for the Best Personal Finance Podcast.
Left to Right. In a joint appearance in the Embry-Riddle Speaker Series in Daytona Beach, Florida on Wednesday (9/28), 93.5/1150 WNDB afternoon drive host Marc Bernier (left) interviews CNN’s Paul Begala (center), and Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson (right), before a live audience. The trio analyzed the first presidential debate and looked ahead to the general election.