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Thursday, April 29, 2021

| April 29, 2021

RTDNA/Newhouse School: 2020 A Dangerous Year for Journalists. The annual survey of broadcast newsrooms from the RTDNA and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University notes that during the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. “Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.” This is the first year that the survey included a section on media safety. The survey’s research team says it wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country and learned that one in five television news directors reported attacks on employees. 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. As far as radio is concerned, the study concludes, “Not surprisingly, the level of attacks at radio stations and on radio news people is much lower. Four percent of radio news directors and general managers reported attacks on newsroom employees. It was primarily a problem in major markets, with one million and more people, where 13.8% of news directors and general managers reported attacks on employees.” You can see the complete survey here. Commenting on the study, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Broadcast journalists play an essential role in documenting pivotal moments in American history from the front lines. That has never been more important than during the past year. NAB is gravely troubled by this study reporting the unprecedented level of harassment, intimidation and violence directed at journalists covering the historical events of 2020. These unacceptable attacks on our nation’s free press undermine our very democracy by preventing journalists’ ability to report the facts and keep the public informed. We are grateful to the dedicated broadcast journalists bringing the truth to Americans during these dangerous times.”

Nick Craig to Host Mornings on WAAV-AM, Cape Fear. Beginning May 3, Nick Craig begins hosting “Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk/sports WAAV-AM, Cape Fear, North Carolina “980 The WAAV.” The station says the show is “a live and local morning show hosted by fresh conservative talk personality Nick Craig. The show focuses on the day’s biggest stories including Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The show will feature a wide variety of topics, guests, and listener interaction.” Cumulus Wilmington VP and market manager Eric McCart comments, “We’re excited to have Nick join our 980 WAAV Cumulus family! He brings a fresh new energy and excitement to weekday mornings that our listeners will really enjoy. If it’s happening in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, it’s happening on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig!” Craig adds, “Traveling on the road paved by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, I’m excited to bring the next generation of conservative talk to the Wilmington region and beyond. To be part of a legacy talk station like WAAV and Cumulus Media is quite the opportunity at my age. Looking forward to using these platforms to engage and interact with traditional talk listeners and the next generation.”

Ron Slay Joins WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Afternoon Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces that former University of Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay is joining the “3HL” afternoon drive program alongside current hosts Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport. Paul Mason is program director for the Cumulus Media station, and he says, “Our listeners have made it clear that they want us to hire Ron Slay. I am happy to say we listened, and we are thrilled Ron Slay will be joining Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport on ‘3HL.’ ‘3HL’ is already a great show and I look forward to seeing it go to even higher levels.” Slay comments, “I am both delighted and eager to join the ‘104.5 The Zone’ and ‘3HL’ families. I hope to bring joy, energy, and insight to Nashville sports enthusiasts each day.”

SiriusXM Reports 2021 Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 5%. Satellite radio and digital audio broadcaster SiriusXM releases its financial data for the first quarter of 2021 and reports total revenue of $2.06 billion, a 5% increase from the $1.95 billion reported during the same period a year ago. However, net income for the quarter was $219 million, a decline of 29% from the $293 million reported in Q1 of 2020. SiriusXM added 126,000 self-pay subscribers to hit its all-time high of 31 million self-pay subscribers. New chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure.  These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company. Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports… We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”

RAB Announces ‘Radio Works for Automotive’ Presentations. As part of RAB’s Business Accelerated initiative, it is presenting a two-part live series for May’s featured automotive category, one of radio’s most important advertising categories. The first presentation titled, “What’s Driving the Auto Industry?” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 19. As Americans return to school and work, the demand for vehicles grows. Parts shortages, as well as chip scarcity, are hindering inventory on lots and yet, auto sales remain high despite the supply-demand imbalance. In this presentation, hear from experts in both automotive and auto dealership industries including Tyson Jominy, vice president, data and analytics, J.D. Power, and Dick Parrish, dealership management consultant, NADA, who will share insights into the auto industry’s growth and challenges. The second live presentation will feature broadcasters discussing automotive client success stories to help sellers prospect and support their clients. The session, titled “Radio Works for Automotive Part 2,” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 26. The presentation will also be available for on-demand viewing. Both presentations are free for RAB members. You can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Media Sales Institute announces its strategic alliance with Media Staffing Network that will bring MSN’s media recruiter’s expertise to the MSI curriculum at the 2021 NABOB MSI, being held at the Atlanta University Center and hosted by Morehouse College from October 25 to November 4, 2021. Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn comments, “With our tutelage, we can better prepare the MSI graduates to address the position for which they are applying. Sadly, many colleges and universities are not as up to date on what a recent graduate should include on their resumes. Nor do they teach their students how to best stand out and showcase their value when they have little to no work experience.”…..iHeartMedia and media personality Chelsea Handler have entered into a deal for a new podcast called “Dear Chelsea” to be produced as a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast.  The comedian, best-selling author, and television host will give listeners the opportunity to submit questions about life and get candid answers on the podcast. “Dear Chelsea” – also featuring Handler’s co-host and longtime assistant Brandon Marlo – debuts on May 6. Handler says, “iHeartRadio has been a great place for me to share all of my wild, unvarnished thoughts. I’m excited to start this journey with ‘Dear Chelsea’ to help people figure out what they need in life – I’m more than happy to be that kick in the pants or shove that will give someone a new perspective on a situation and help them to make a decision.”…..SiriusXM announces it is again offering listeners nationwide comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/1). SiriusXM, through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network, airs all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network and produced in collaboration with HRRN.

Biden Addresses Congress, COVID-19, Police Violence, Fed Search Giuliani’s Home and Office, John Kerry Iran Allegation, Feds Investigate Direct Energy Attack, and Boris Johnson Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and his wide-ranging $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; the spate of high-profile cases of deadly police violence against citizens; the FBI’s search of former NYC mayor and former Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in an investigation of his ties to Ukraine; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry shared Israeli military intelligence with Iran; the Pentagon’s investigation into a mysterious “direct energy attack” near the White House; and the scandal over Boris Johnson’s refurbishing of 10 Downing St. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

| January 9, 2019

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  The 6+ numbers for all-news formatted radio stations have been fairly steady over the past year.   Increases or decreases in those 6+ weekly AQH share numbers have been pretty small, for the most part.  Of the seven all-news stations that saw decreases from the November survey to the December survey, all were by .3 shares or less.  When it comes to market rank, the majority of all-news stations rank in the top 10 in their respective markets with three – Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago; Hubbard’s WTOP-FM, Washington; and Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit – all ranking #2. See Kinosian’s entire report here.

Mike Kasper Joins KBOI, Boise Morning Show. Boise news/talk outlet KBOI announces it has hired market radio pro Mike Kasper to join the morning show, assuming the role that opened with the retirement of Paul J Schneider.  Kasper will work with Chris Walton on the “Kasper and Chris” show, effective January 14.  Kasper previously served in the market hosting mornings on the old KFXD “KF-95” and several other Boise music stations.  Kasper says, “I finally get the chance to work in a news/talk format where, for the first time in my career, I’ll be able to talk with listeners to discuss current events, news, sports, politics and issues that affect our state and the Treasure Valley.”  Station general manager Don Morin says, “KBOI was overwhelmed with the number of qualified applicants and talent wanting to be part of our team.  Through hundreds of applications, Mike’s presence in the Treasure Valley is part of what made him one of the best candidates for the position.  I look forward to 670 KBOI moving into a new era.”

Westwood One: In-Car Display Ads Improve Recall and Effectiveness. From a study by MARU/Vision Critical, commissioned by Westwood One, comes data that indicates the combination of the in-car visual with the over-the-air radio ad “generates a major improvement in advertising recall and impact.”  The study examined consumers with vehicles that have next generation HD Radio technology and revealed the impact of a retailer’s visual in the in-car display when synced to the advertiser’s radio ad.  Some of the findings indicated that the more time consumers spend in the car, the more they pay attention to the visual information.  The study determined that heavy AM/FM radio listeners recall seeing visual information from in-car display screens and two-thirds of heavy AM/FM radio listeners have frequently or occasionally seen the advertiser name or logo on their connected vehicle’s screens.  Moreover, those who recall the retailer’s in-car visuals were more likely to visit the stores.  In fact, 84% of those who recalled seeing the in-car visual synced to the radio ad had visited or planned to visit the store.  See more in the Westwood One blog post here.

Chris Duncan Takes Leave from WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Sports talk host Chris Duncan is taking a permanent leave from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis to focus on his battle against brain cancer.  The former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has been hosting the midday program “The Turn” with co-host Anthony Stalter.  The station tweeted out the message: “Dunc will be taking a permanent leave from ‘101 ESPN’ to continue his fight against cancer and focus on health.  If you pray, please keep him in your prayers. If you don’t, keep him in your thoughts. He is our brother and we miss him deeply.”  Duncan first joined the station in 2011.  He was diagnosed with cancer about six years ago.

ESPN: Podcast Downloads Increased 43% in 2018. Sports content giant ESPN announces that downloads of its podcasts increased 43% in 2018 as its podcast business saw 411 million downloads.  The data comes from Blubrry, which says its measurement system is certified by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.  The most downloaded show was “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” totaling more than 91 million downloads.  “First Take,” the leading television show podcast, was next with more than 31 million downloads.  ESPN says that among its original podcasts, “538: Politics” enjoyed another strong year with more than 26 million downloads, followed by “Fantasy Focus Football” with more than 21 million.

SiriusXM Total Paid Subscribers Hits 34 Million. Satellite radio operator SiriusXM will reveal its fourth quarter 2018 financial data later this month (1/30) but announces today that it added 1.4 million self-pay subscribers in 2018 to bring its total of paid subscribers to 34 million.  The company says that beat its 2018 guidance by about 40%.  SiriusXM issued 2019 subscriber and financial guidance in which it expects to add another 1 million self-pay net additions and projects total revenue of $6.1 billion.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I’m proud to report that 2018 was not only another year of operational excellence at SiriusXM, with record high subscribers, revenue, and adjusted EBITDA.  Last year also saw SiriusXM achieve important milestones, like the introduction of 360L and significant improvements in our smartphone apps and IP distribution on connected devices.  We attained a record 40% adjusted EBITDA margin in the third quarter, saw our efforts in connected vehicle services bear fruit and, of course, we were extremely pleased to reach an agreement to acquire Pandora Media.”  The company expects to close on the Pandora deal shortly after Pandora’s stockholder meeting later this month.

Talking About the Future of In-Vehicle Infotainment. Pictured above at CES 2019 in Las Vegas is Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley and her fellow panelists who talked about “The Future of In-Vehicle Infotainment” that addressed the future of in-vehicle entertainment, radio’s place in the connected car, and data attribution.  From l-r are: NAB EVP of strategy planning and special projects Steve Newberry; BBC senior distribution manager Ben Rosenberg; Beasley; Xperi SVP of broadcast radio Joe D’Angelo; and author, futurist and founder of Ellis and Associates, John Ellis.

Community Broadcasters Sells Twin Tiers Cluster to Seven Mountains Media. The Twin Tiers region of New York includes the towns of Elmira and Olean, to which the seven stations in this deal are licensed.  Seven Mountains Media is agreeing to buy CHR WNKI-FM, rock WNGZ-FM, country WPGI-FM, news/talk WWLZ-AM and classic country WRCE-AM in Elmira and country WPIG-FM and CHR WHDL-AM/W296DB in Olean from Community Broadcasters for a price yet to be announced.  The deal puts the Kristin Cantrell-led Seven Mountains at the 38-station mark.

Comrex Unveils New EarShot IFB. The new EarShot IFB is a VoIP-based auto coupler for IFB and listen lines from Comrex.  It is designed to help TV stations reduce costs and provide more flexibility for remote IFB feeds.  EarShot IFB provides telephone-based, live studio program and IFB audio to field-based remote broadcasts that serves up to 30 users who can listen to program or IFB feeds by calling into EarShot IFB with a standard telephone.  For higher fidelity, the Comrex FieldTap smartphone app can be used to pull audio in studio quality.  FieldTap uses the Opus audio decoder to deliver studio quality audio, and is available to download for free on iOS and Android.

President Trump’s Border Wall Speech, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein’s Future, U.S.-China Trade War, NYC Health Care Guarantee, Fate of Sears, Clemson Beats Alabama for NCAA Football Title, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/8). Tuesday evening’s border wall speech by President Trump and the Democrats’ response; the state of the federal government shutdown; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related status of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio guarantees health care for all; Sears chairman Eddie Lampert’s attempt to save the retailer; Clemson beats Alabama in NCAA title game; and the NFL Playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Beasley Brings Brian Ives Aboard Centralized Digital Content Team. Content pro Brian Ives was most recently editor-in-chief with Townsquare Media’s Loudwire.  Now, he’s joining Beasley Media Group to serve as managing editor of its centralized digital content team.  In this new position, Ives will be responsible for leading the team that will be supplying its owner-operated and social media sites with breaking news and format-specific content in an effort to drive traffic and audience engagement.   Beasley chief digital content officer Lori Burgess says, “Brian’s journalistic background and passionate knowledge about artists and music genres made him perfectly poised to lead our centralized digital content team with the intent to create compelling, multi-platform content.  His background in video, storytelling and interviewing and creating content on multiple platforms will further elevate Beasley’s efforts in the digital space.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Rob Miller is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s South Florida region.  He’s also being elevated to executive vice president of hot AC programming and strategy for iHeartMedia national programming group. He’ll be responsible for the day-to-day operations in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale markets.  He takes this new role after having served as program director for WKTU, New York for the past 12 years……….The new airstaff at iHeartMedia’s adult contemporary WISX, Philadelphia “106.1 The Breeze” is named. Mornings will feature former WOGL “Breakfast Club” co-host Valerie Knight.  She’s followed by former “Power 99” operations manager Helen Little in middays and former WBEB afternoon personality Dan Blackman in PM drive. Evenings are being hosted by Premiere NetworksDelilah.  The station flipped to adult contemporary back in November…..In the Twin Cities, iHeartMedia’s CHR KDWB extends its deal with morning show personality Falen for another three years. She is part of the “Dave Ryan in the Morning Show” with Ryan and co-host Steve-O.  KDWB program director Rich Davis says, “I’ll never forget calling and offering the job to Falen late one night in early 2012.  Since then she has connected with the Twin Cities KDWB audience in ways I could’ve only wished for and solidified herself as a true morning talent.  I can’t wait to see what happens next as she continues her career on the ‘Dave Ryan in the Morning Show’ on KDWB.”…..Townsquare Media names Dave Fields afternoon drive host for country WYRK, Buffalo.  He moves to that position from sister WMSX where he did mornings and takes over for brand manager Chris Crowley who recently added programming duties for the re-branded WMSX “96.1 The Breeze.”……Cumulus Media adds the Westwood One-syndicated “The Bert Show” to the morning daypart at CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania…..iHeartMedia announces several new affiliate stations add the syndicated “Rover’s Morning Glory” program, including WNCD, Youngstown, Ohio “93.3 The Wolf”; WFXN, Mansfield, Ohio “102.3 The Fox”; and WZRX, Lima, Ohio.  Host Shane “Rover” French says, “We are thrilled to increase the size of our radio network.  We look forward to getting to know fans in these new markets and are confident that ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ will become their #1 choice for morning radio.”  The WMMS, Cleveland-based show is now heard on 15 affiliate stations.