New York Festivals Announces 2021 Radio Winners. The 2021 Storytellers Gala award-winners from the New York Festivals Radio Awards have been announced. NYFestivals says the world-class audio work created by global storytellers from 30-plus countries was honored at the Storytellers Gala virtual event held yesterday (10/12). New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury honored content creators across all platforms and in all genres and awarded in total 3 Grand Awards, 48 NYF Gold Radio trophies, 46 Silver and 49 Bronze. This year is the 11th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show, the ultimate marketplace for people passionate about media, entertainment, and technology. The 2021 Grand Awards were: “I’m Not A Monster” from BBC Panorama & FRONTLINE PBS in the News Programs: Best Nonfiction Series category. The 10-part series explores journalist Josh Baker’s four-year odyssey to uncover the complex truth about an American family’s journey from Indiana to the Islamic State’s caliphate and back again to the US; The Hobbit, By J.R.R. Tolkien, Read by Andy Serkis in the Audio Books: Best Narration – Solo category. The new Hobbit recording was inspired by an extraordinary charity effort that raised over £300k for Coronavirus charities. This led to actor Andy Serkis narrating this newest recording of The Hobbit. Serkis, who voiced “Gollum” in the film recorded this magical performance of the classic text with affinity for the Tolkien world; and “Weightless” in the Podcasts: Drama Podcast category. The podcast tells the story of a character who has reached a critical moment in his life and deceives himself by telling a story that abounds with emotions, memories, and sensations. “Weightless” uses sound elements and song samples from different periods of the character’s life to illustrate his epic journey. See the complete list of winners here.
BIA Advisory Services: Radio Revenue ‘Getting Close’ to Pre-Pandemic Levels. This comes from BIA Advisory Services SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik in a press release for the firm’s 2022 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, released today (10/13). Fratrik says the forecast sees a rise in local radio advertising revenue next year and is expected to generate $12.7 billion split between over-the-air ($11 billion) and digital ($1.7 billion). By 2026 radio digital revenues are expected to reach $2.4 billion, while OTA goes up and down with the even political years and ends at $11.7 in 2026. “Radio isn’t faring as well as local broadcast TV, and it doesn’t get the same bump as TV in political years,” says Fratrik. “But it is getting close to its pre-pandemic levels as people continue to return to work commutes and traveling by car.” For ad revenue for all media in the U.S., the 2022 forecast says that for the first-time mobile advertising spending will surpass direct mail as the top media advertising platform in 2022. The overall local U.S. advertising market is expected to reach $161.5 billion – a 10.1 % year-over-year growth – buoyed by overall strong economic tailwinds coming out of 2021. The forecast says that traditional media revenue will account for $84.6 billion and digital media will be close behind at $76.8. BIA also says it anticipates $7.5 billion of the sum will come from political advertising during a strong election season.
Salem Podcast Network Launches ‘The Doug Collins Podccast.’ A new podcast hosted by former Georgia Republican Congressman Doug Collins is being added to the shows distributed by Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network, effective October 25. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “For years, I was so impressed with Doug Collins as a Congressman. When we had the opportunity to bring him over to the Salem Podcast Network, we moved fast. He will be a great addition to our lineup and will help us save the country we all love.” Collins is publishing his first book in November that looks at the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, titled, The Clock and The Calendar. Collins comments, “I am excited to be hosting a podcast that will give conservatives the tools they need to go out into the marketplace of ideas and stand up for what we believe in. Our country desperately needs to hear how a little idea that started with our Founding Fathers — the pursuit of happiness — has shaped our country into who we are today: the best nation in the world. This podcast will explore all topics ranging from politics to life advice and will blend them together for a well-rounded discussion that people can listen to and use to get the most out of life.”
Buck Sexton Honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York. Last Friday evening (10/8), Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left), co-host of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” was honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club, the largest GOP club in New York (est. 1902), at the 118th annual Metropolitan Dinner held at The Union League Club of New York City. Other honorees included Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who received the Teddy Roosevelt Award, and Steve Forbes (right), chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, who received the Ronald Reagan Award For Individual Liberty. Photo: Jessica Glick Photography
2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Award Nominees Announced. The nominees for the 2022 edition of iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio Podcast Awards have been announced. The ceremony is set to take place on January 13, 2022 at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles and “will honor the very best in podcasting throughout 2021, celebrating the most innovative talent and content creators in the industry.” iHeartMedia goes on to say, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcast industry saw a record number of podcasts being created and listened to, continuing to push the industry forward with more than 160 million people having listened to a podcast this year alone.” Nominees include “Code Switch,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” “Crime Junkie,” “Louder Than a Riot,” “Office Ladies,” “SmartLess,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “The Daily,” “The Midnight Miracle” and “You’re Wrong About.” Voting runs December 13 through January 2, 2022. See more info and a complete list of nominees here. Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s digital audio group says, “We are excited to be back live for year four of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to recognize all the amazing content and talent that the podcasting medium has produced this past year. Podcast listening has continued to soar across the U.S., seeing a nearly 60% increase in monthly listeners since our first awards show was announced in 2018, filling this industry with more diversity and innovation than ever before. We look forward to honoring these major advancements in-person during the 2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards this January.”
TALKERS News Notes. Conservative news organization Newsmax announces that it has opened a Middle East bureau that’s being led by veteran news anchor Daniel Cohen based in Tel Aviv. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “The Middle East is extremely important regarding geo-political issues and for American interests. We’re pleased to have Daniel Cohen, a savvy, experienced news anchor with a keen ability to communicate complex matters to the public, as our person in the region.” Cohen most recently was morning co-anchor on Los Angeles’ “Good Day LA” on KTTV-TV “FOX 11.”…..PodcastOne adds to its slate of True Crime genre podcasts with the addition of “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” and “This is MONSTERS.” PodcastOne will spearhead the production, sales, distribution and marketing for both shows. Created by Ohio-based bankers Mike Ferguson and Mike Gibson in January of 2017, “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” is a weekly series that guides listeners through the most interesting unsolved true crime stories to ever happen. “This is MONSTERS” began as a pandemic project YouTube show from Washington state-based construction worker Jiles whose interest in some of the gnarliest crimes in history sparked an idea to share that fascination with a worldwide audience resulting in a show, and now podcast, that is heard by millions around the globe…..Audacy’s C13Originals announces a partnership with Campside Media and the launch of “Fallen Angel,” an investigative documentary podcast series about Victoria’s Secret, co-hosted by veteran longform journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, who also serves as writer, and Justine Harman, former features director of Glamour. “Fallen Angel” investigates the origin story of Victoria’s Secret, one of the world’s most iconic brands, and its effect on American culture for nearly 40 years, as told by women who witnessed what really happened behind the curtain. Through insider, first-person accounts from former Victoria’s Secret models, “Fallen Angel” reveals shocking horror stories of how their quest to be part of the elite group of models walking the runway led them down a dangerous path of eating disorders, poor health, depression, anxiety, and other issues.
Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Jon Gruden Case, and ‘Squid Game’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails; and Netflix’s controversial hit series “Squid Games” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
First it was “pioneer,” then “innovator,” which became “change-agent.” Now its “disruptor.”
Pioneer was all about accepting the arrows that are aimed at those who carve a path. Innovator was a more scientific approach that required documented proof of performance. Change-agent zeroed in on the mental focus and team impact of leading through change. My favorite is disruptor. Challenge the status quo and generate positive results.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of 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. This new episode titled, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”
iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJar, Unified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer. Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”
Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.
Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s 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. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.
TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.
COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. 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 complete chart here.