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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

| November 9, 2021

Audacy Third Quarter Net Revenue up 23%. Reporting its 2021 third quarter financial data, Audacy says net revenue was $329.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to the same period in 2020. Spot revenue was $220.6 million, up 21% compared to Q3 of 2020 and digital revenue was $61.4 million, up 30% compared to the same period a year ago. Operating income for the quarter was $29.2 million, compared to an operating loss of $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2020. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field says, “I am pleased to report that Audacy continues to rebound from the pandemic, as third quarter revenues grew 23% over the prior year and 8% sequentially over the second quarter, while EBITDA grew 58% year over year. While many ad categories remain highly impacted as a result of the pandemic, it is great to see an increasing number of categories back above 2019 spending levels. During October, we announced the acquisition of WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming and ad tech business, which we have relaunched as AmperWave, enabling us to accelerate our digital product roadmap and enhance our growth potential… And our podcast studios had a strong quarter of creative, premium original content development including the first release from our 2400Sports studio, our first C13 Features ‘movie for your ears’ in partnership with Endeavor, and the ‘Succession’ companion podcast hosted by Kara Swisher in partnership with HBO Max. We continue to rapidly evolve and fundamentally elevate the organization through a series of strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, talent additions and premium content development and are well positioned to accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunities in the dynamically growing audio marketplace.”

Cumulus Audio Active Group: October PPM Audiences Increase. This week’s Cumulus Media Audio Active Group blog focuses on recent information from Nielsen Audio that “as COVID infections fall, public concern over COVID wanes, and commutes to work and school resume,” American AM/FM radio listening “has increased to new highs in the October 2021 48 Portable People Meter markets.” Other noteworthy data includes: 1) Consumers are on the road in their cars; Geopath reports U.S. October 2021 miles traveled were 7% greater than October 2019; Apple Maps says October 2021 driving search volumes surged 59% past pre-COVID levels; 2) U.S. AM/FM radio had its strongest reach performance since COVID, recovering 99% of the March 2020 PPM cume audience in PPM markets; 3) Nielsen October 2021 PPM AQH audiences rose to 96% of March 2020 levels, the second best showing since the pandemic; and 4) Morning audiences exploded to their highest levels in 20 months; Versus a year ago, women 25-54 AQH increased 20% and teen AQH rose a massive 74%. See more from the blog here.

SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Announces Hunger Strike Over Voting Rights Bill. Morning drive talk host Joe Madison says he’s beginning a hunger strike in protest of voting rights not getting passed in the Senate. Madison – a.k.a. The Black Eagle – hosts the morning show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. He says, “As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today by abstaining from eating until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives and both have stalled in the Senate. Madison adds, “I call it basically starving for voting rights. And that began on this date. And I repeat just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy. Yes, my life matters. My health matters, but our right to vote matters more.”

Hot Radio Guest Speaks at Major Libertarian Gathering. Emeritus finance professor Dr. Murray Sabrin of Ramapo College in New Jersey – one of conservative and liberty-minded talk radio’s most popular “go-to” guests for three decades – recently spoke at the Mises Institute “Supporters Summit” in St. Pete Beach, Florida and outlined his provocative and innovative strategy for medical freedom. Sabrin is the author of Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life: The Case for a Single Payer System, where the individual/family is the single payer not the government. In Sabrin’s proposal, medical freedom consists of cash payment for routine care, a super health savings account for more expensive treatment and a catastrophic insurance policy. Also, Sabrin advocates a massive expansion of nonprofit medical centers to replace the $700 billion Medicaid program. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who advocates Medicare for All, a government single payer system, to a debate so the American people can hear two diametrically opposing views on the future of medical care in America. To book Professor Sabrin as a hot guest, contact Victoria Jones of DC Radio Company at 917-865-3991 or victoria@dcradiocompany.com.  To view Dr. Murray Sabrin’s 20-minute speech at the Mises Institute event, please click here.

Outkick Partners with Skyview Networks for Ad and Affiliate Sales, Content Distribution. The new relationship between OutKick’s sports talk network and Skyview Networks will have the latter providing network ad sales, affiliate sales and content distribution to Outkick, beginning with the “Outkick 360” program starring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. Outkick founder Clay Travis says, “We’re thrilled to work with Skyview to expand OutKick’s brand and reach. Beginning with the ‘OutKick 360’ show, we’re working with the best talent to bring authenticity, perspective and fun back to sports radio. Radio is at the core of OutKick, and we could not ask for better partners than Skyview to grow our network.” Skyview COO and president Steve Jones adds, “We’re excited to be working with the OutKick team in launching a new sports network that provides radio stations dynamic and entertaining programming that will drive ratings and revenue. OutKick’s engaging and knowledgeable hosts with their fan-first sports perspective matched with sports wagering analysis to capture gaming revenue sponsorships fit perfectly with Skyview’s #1 local play-by-play sports position in network radio.”

Audacy Names Brian Benedik Chief Revenue Officer. Media executive Brian Benedik is named chief revenue officer for Audacy, effective December 1. Benedik was most recently VP/global head of revenue for augmented reality developer Niantic. In his new role with Audacy, he’ll lead all aspects of revenue generation across corporate, national, regional and local levels and develop fully integrated, multiplatform sales solutions and breakthrough strategies to attract new revenue streams. Audacy COO Susan Larkin comments, “We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to Audacy and our executive leadership team. His resume speaks for itself, with key roles at audio publishers like Spotify, iHeart Radio, Audible and Katz Media, where his strategic vision enabled the former to quickly elevate from a newcomer in our industry to a multi-billion-dollar leader in the audio streaming space. Brian’s considerable expertise and experience will amplify our revenue generation efforts as Audacy continues its upward trajectory.” Benedik states, “The audio industry is booming with innovation and consumers are enjoying wonderful content experiences across a number of platforms. The Audacy re-imagination efforts are beyond impressive and the portfolio of assets across radio, streaming, podcast, live events, sports play-by-play and sports betting are best in class. I’m looking forward to working with David Field, Susan Larkin and the Audacy executive team to drive value to marketers and our loyal users.”

Biden’s Low Approval Ratings, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, COVID Travel Ban Lifted, China’s Military Aggression, and Astroworld Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). President Joe Biden’s approval ratings slip to an all-time low of 38% with Americans saying he’s not focusing on the most important issues; the effects of the broken global supply chain, soaring retail prices and record high gas prices; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Appeals Court halt of Biden’s vaccine mandate, and the controversial case of Aaron Rodgers; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the U.S. lifts the international travel ban; China’s war games using U.S. ship mock-ups; and the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

| May 20, 2021

Round Three of April PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s April 2021 sweep covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM dips four-tenths for a 5.3 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but hangs on to the #4 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM adds eight-tenths to finish with a 3.5 share and rises to the #12 rank. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds six-tenths for a 4.4 share and drops to the #8 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK tacks on five-tenths for an 8.7 share finish good enough to climb to the #1 rank. Similarly, in Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s KSL-FM jumps by 1.5 shares for an 8.3 share finish and leaps from #3 to #1. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds of markets) here.

Nielsen: Radio Listening Continues to Rebound. Fourteen months after the coronavirus pandemic began and dramatically affected the amount of time people were spending in their vehicles commuting to work, the country is steadily reopening and Nielsen Audio reports that radio listening is growing again. Nielsen says, “The April 2021 PPM survey revealed new gains in radio listening across the aggregate of markets for the second month in a row. As America continues to reopen, consumers are returning to radio in numbers not seen in over half a year. Radio’s weekly reach is now at its highest levels (121 million weekly consumers) since March 2020 when COVID-19’s impact began to take hold. Since the beginning of 2021, radio has added more than 5 million new weekly listeners. Radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience in April 2021 hit its highest levels since the fourth quarter of 2020, prior to this winter’s virus surges and associated restrictions. What’s more, AQH audience levels have jumped 10% in the past two months as vaccinations and a gradual return to pre-pandemic routines have proliferated.”

Rudy Giuliani Visits News/Talk WEEO-FM. Pictured above is former New York City Mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York personality Rudy Giuliani (center) at Magnum Broadcasting’s WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, PA/Hagerstown, MD “News Talk 1037FM.” Giuliani was the guest of PA State Senator Colonel Doug Mastriano and spent about 45 minutes on the radio sharing stories and answering questions about topics from the FBI to NYC. He’s pictured with station GM Patrick Ryan (left) and political analyst Michele Jansen (right).

Report: Audacy in Negotiations to Fill Rush Daypart with Dana Loesch Across Company News/Talkers. According to Bobby Burack’s report at Outkick, Audacy is in negotiations with Radio America to have “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart formerly occupied by Rush Limbaugh on many of its news/talk stations. Burack says his sources say it’s in the “advanced stages” but not a done deal just yet. The story also says that video platform The First – which simulcasts video of Loesch’s radio program as well as that of other talk hosts such as Buck Sexton, Bill O’Reilly, and Jesse Kelly – is launching a daily TV-only, one-hour show hosted by Dana Loesch that will air at 6:00 pm ET.

Bonneville’s KTTH-AM, Seattle Adds Dan Bongino Show. Seattle news/talk KTTH-AM is adding Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” to its program lineup, airing in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. The Bonneville station is programmed by Jason Antebi who says, “We’re excited to welcome Dan to the KTTH family. I can’t think of many people better suited to carry the torch in this daypart. This isn’t a ‘Rush replacement show’ because no one can replace Rush. He will always be the greatest broadcaster in history. KTTH, in part, has become what it is because of him. We’re now looking to grow on that with the help of Dan and we’re confident he can help us do that.” Bongino comments, “I’m honored KTTH decided to go with the show. All I can do is bring a high-quality product, put a ton of work into it and I promise, I will never waste the audience’s time. I don’t just tell you stories to tell you stories. People don’t want their time wasted. They want to know why the news matters.”

CBS Audio Offers Memorial Day Special. This year’s Memorial Day Holiday special from CBS Audio is being made available to non-affiliate stations on a market availability basis. The three-hour program is hosted by Gil Gross and guests and topics include author Malcom Gladwell about the longest night of World War II, Pulitzer nominee Max Boot looks at the forgotten wars of American History, the announced end of America’s longest war—Afghanistan, and the forgotten heroes of the war in Vietnam. It’s available via FTP on May 25 for airing Friday, May 28 through Memorial Day (May 31). Reach out to Melek Demir at: Demirm@cbsnews.com for availability in your market.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (5/25), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the first GOP gubernatorial primary debate between candidates Jack Ciattarelli and Hirsh Singh at 7:00 pm. The two will face off in the June 8 primary to determine which candidate will take on incumbent Governor Phil Murphy in November. “New Jersey 101.5” senior political director Eric Scott will moderate the one-hour live program and will take questions from on-air and online listeners. Scott says, “This format allows ordinary citizens a chance to talk directly to the candidates about what is important to them and you never know what they are going to ask.”…..Radio ad pros Jim and Dan Price – founders of Oink Ink – are launching a digital audio creative agency called Price Brothers. Dan Price says, “Digital audio technology exploded so quickly that it outpaced creative. That’s where we saw an opportunity. While the tech guys are developing new platforms and vehicles to support ads, we wanted to get out in front and put energy into making great creative to make the most of that technology.” He adds that “with digital, the consumption is different than with ‘traditional’ radio; the patterns are different, the usage is different… so the creative should be different.”

January 6 Commission, COVID-19, AZ 2020 Vote Audit, Israel-Hamas Violence, Texas Abortion Law, Trump Org Investigation, and U.S.-Russia Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). The U.S. House moves to create January 6 Commission to investigate Capitol invasion and Mitch McConnell’s opposition to it; the declining rate of COVID cases in much of the U.S. and concerns about vaccine hesitancy; the 2020 election vote audit taking place in Arizona and Republicans’ desire to audit Georgia’s election results; the ongoing rocket attacks between Israel and Hamas; Texas passes a new law banning abortions after six weeks; the New York attorney general’s expansion of the Trump Organization into a criminal probe; and U.S. and Russian officials meet in Iceland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

“Holiday” 2020 Highs & Lows

| February 5, 2021

“Holiday” 2020 Highs & Lows

Virtually nothing in any facet of life was “normal” in the just-concluded calendar year, so it wouldn’t have been a monumental shock if Nielsen Audio‘s “Holiday” 2020 numbers strayed from past scripts.

Pandemic-caused modified radio listening habits, combined with a completely out-of-the-norm presidential campaign/election/aftermath, accounted for some strange wobbles compared to past “holiday” survey periods.

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Pending Business: This Year in Review

| January 4, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Remember getting on an airplane before TSA security measures? As we move to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we are accustomed to the changes in our daily lives that horrific experience created. The same will hold true as we persevere through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology, a changed business landscape, and income reboots will dictate a smarter, more flexible seller, marketer, and manager.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

| August 25, 2020

KKFN-FM, Denver’s Darren McKee Status Uncertain After Racist Twitter Typo. Denver alternative publication Westword reports that KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” afternoon personality Darren “D-Mac” McKee was off the air yesterday (8/24) after Sunday’s tweet in which he posted the “N-word” instead of “Nuggets.” McKee quickly deleted the tweet and apologized. How the “N-word” got there instead of “Nuggets” is unclear but it comes a week after Charlotte Hornets announcer John Focke was suspended for the same instance – tweeting the “N-word” in place of “Nuggets.” It’s unknown when McKee will return to the air. Here’s what he said in the aftermath. “Last night while watching the Nuggets I sent out a tweet commenting on the game. I was horrified when it was brought to my attention that instead of Nuggets I had accidentally posted the N word. I instantly took it down. I despise this word. I find it abhorrent. I am stunned and devastated that I made this sickening mistake. I am deeply and profoundly sorry.” Station PD Raj Sharan tells Westword that Bonneville policy is not to discuss personnel issues publicly.

Bill Smee Named Vice President of News for Entercom. Back in early July, Entercom CEO David Field announced to staff that news pro Bill Smee is joining the company in the newly created position of vice president of news. Now, Entercom makes the announcement public. It says that in this position Smee will have strategic oversight of the company’s “best-in-class multiplatform local news brands, including eight all-news and 18 news/talk radio stations in 23 markets across the country, and nationwide via the RADIO.COM platform. Smee will spearhead linear audio, podcast and on-demand audio, written editorial, and video news content produced both centrally and at market level, while collaborating with digital product teams on the design of new features to serve news listeners.” Smee has led video strategy for multiple leading news outlets, including CNN, where he supervised editorial content and managed rapid deployment teams on breaking news specials as senior supervising producer for the outlet’s documentary unit “CNN Presents.” Smee also previously served as director of digital video for NBC News, where he launched, built and led a news team to produce original video for all digital platforms. He also served as an executive producer for Slate Magazine. Smee previously served as a strategic consultant for Entercom’s news radio, podcasting and digital platforms. Entercom EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “Bill is a highly respected, award-winning news professional with over 30 years of experience leading and growing high-profile news brands. As the #1 local news platform, we remain committed to providing our audiences with quality local content via our collection of iconic news brands. Bill’s expertise will help us enhance and expand our position as an unparalleled leading news platform to better serve our communities.”

NRRC Recommends National Buys Be Based on Fall 2019 Ratings. On the heels of Nielsen’s statement that future media buying and planning decisions should not be made using COVID-19 impacted audience estimates (including the upcoming Spring 2020 Nationwide survey) the Network Radio Research Council is recommending that all network/national buying and selling be based on the Fall 2019 Nationwide survey – the latest data available prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRRC says, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented divergence of traditional patterns of media consumption, including AM/FM listening and the streaming of audio. Listening behaviors were significantly altered starting in mid-March 2020, as the public adjusted to remote work environments and shelter-at-home mandates across the United States. The broadcast month of April represents the first month of Nielsen’s Spring 2020 (April-May-June) Nationwide survey. Each month subsequent to April has demonstrated consistent increases in listening, and there is confidence listenership will continue to stabilize and approach pre-COVID-19 levels. It is, therefore, the NRRC’s position that the Fall 2019 Nationwide book represents the best solution for the upcoming 2021 network radio upfront and Q4 scatter buys.” The Network Radio Research Council was created in 2001 “to promote valid, reliable, and effective national radio audience measurement research.” Its current member roster includes: AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, Sun Broadcast Group, United Stations Radio Networks, and Westwood One.

PPM Analysis: Ongoing Coronavirus Impact. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a deep dive into Nielsen Audio’s PPM ratings in this report. Although some people in portions of the country have returned to commuting, the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting radio listening patterns. In today’s report, you can see which markets put up the strongest PPM numbers for spoken-word stations; which markets gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share for spoken-word stations (and which markets lost the most); as well as which stations gained the most shares and which lost the most. See it all here.

Presidential Election/Republican National Convention, Kellyanne Conway to Exit White House, BLM Movement/Wisconsin Riot, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Openings/College Flareups, Navalny Poisoning, California Wildfires, and Tropical Storms Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The November presidential election and the first night of the Republican National Convention; Donald Trump’s White House adviser Kellyanne Conway announces she’ll leave her post at the end of the month; the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the shooting of a Black man by police; the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools and the outbreaks at several college campuses; officials in Germany say Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned; the California wildfires; and Tropical Storms Laura and Marco were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. A piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Mac Engel looks at ESPN’s taking over of day-to-day operations of KESN-FM, Dallas on October 8. Cumulus Media has been operating the station since October of 2013. The two sides were unable to come to terms on a new deal and ESPN will resume operation of the station. It is expected that ESPN will air its entire lineup of national programs beginning in October…..Effective January 1, 2021,  The Weather Channel and Skyview Networks, will begin a multi-year partnership in which Skyview will handle radio network sales and distribution for The Weather Channel. TWC president Tom O’Brien says, “As one of the top five most trusted brands in America, The Weather Channel radio network’s goal for this new partnership is to further expand our reach to provide more listeners with the world’s most accurate weather information to manage their daily lives. We’re thrilled to partner with Skyview Networks as we continue to grow our radio network’s reach and increase our brand awareness among listeners, radio stations and advertisers alike.”…..VSiN announces an expanded lineup, new shows and additional talent heading into “the most anticipated sports betting season in years.” Beginning this fall, the 24/7 sports betting network will begin broadcasting nearly 100 live linear hours each week, adding several new shows and new talent. VSiN is adding Tim Murray, former host of NBC Sports’ “The Daily Line,” former professional football player and sports broadcaster Mike Pritchard, journalist and $1 Million Super Contest winner James Salinas, and the NFL Network’s Danielle Alvari. VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “VSiN has experienced incredible growth over the past 18 months, significantly expanding distribution, advertising sales, and industry partnerships, while enhancing our product across channels. We’re excited to build on that momentum by launching new shows and introducing new talent. This new programming will allow us to cover sportsbooks around the country and provide unique and valuable insights to our growing audience of sports bettors.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The WQHT, New York show “Ebro In the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” is going into syndication via Superadio on September 8. The program features Ebro Darden and co-hostsLaura Stylez and Pete Rosenberg. Superadio Networks president Eric Faison says, “Ebro is the king of real talk and a reluctant influencer, but what you hear is what you get. We’re happy to be able to bring this show to the world via radio stations across the country.”…..Cumulus Media appoints Sal Palazzolo program director for classic rock WODE-FM, Allentown “99.9 The Hawk” Palazzolo previously programmed sister alternative WWYY-FM prior to it becoming a simulcast of country WCTO-FM. Cumulus Lehigh Valley VP and market manager Elizabeth Pembleton says, “It is exciting to welcome Sal to this new role with ‘99.9 The Hawk.’ The support from the entire Cumulus staff, especially WODE air talent and corporate programming, has been outstanding. This promotion is well deserved and earned through commitment and dedication. It is an honor to have an individual of Sal’s caliber guiding one of our flagships.” At the same time, the station promotes Glenn “Mitch” Mitchell from weekends to the afternoon drive position.