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Monday, May 2, 2016

| May 2, 2016

kcmo logoTom Becka Returns to Kansas City as KCMO Re-Vamps Lineup.  Last week, Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM/K279BI, Kansas City cut ties with 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm personality Greg Knapp.  It turns out that was phase one of a programming lineupbeckatom restructure.  Talk host Tom Becka – who previously worked in the market at crosstown KMBZ – joins the station to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Local host Rob Carson remains in the morning drive slot.  Current KCMO personality Mike Ferguson moves to the 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm slot, followed by Dave Ramsey from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Westwood One’s Michael Savage from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Cumulus Media Midwest regional VP and market manager Donna Baker comments, “KCMO talk radio takes an exciting step forward today.  Welcoming Becka back to KC, Mike Ferguson continuing local community conversations over the lunch hour, and Dave Ramsey returning to three hours in the afternoon are powerful additions to our talented lineup.”

theblaze logoReport: ‘Nearly 40’ Laid Off at TheBlaze.  According to a published report by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast, close to 40 staffers have been let go from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – just a year after numerous staffers were laid off in May of 2015.  Grove’s piece says this is part of a restructuring required by the covenants of a “multimillion-dollar bank loan” recently taken out to keep the company going.  Layoffs reportedly affect some 20 at offices in New York, 12 in Washington, five at a dozen in Washington, five at a documentary studio in Columbus, Ohio, plus several in a Los Angeles office.  Back in February, Kraig Kitchin stepped down from his CEO role with TheBlaze to focus on “existing commitments.”  Director of advertising sales Jeremy Price and director of marketing Liz Julis also exited at that time.  The story says these changes do not affect Beck’s Premiere Networks-syndicated show.  Read Grove’s piece here.

baileykenettaKenetta Bailey Named SVP of Marketing for CBS RADIO.  Joining CBS RADIO as senior vice president, marketing is Kenetta Bailey.  She was most recently heading up her own consulting firm – KB Consulting – in which she worked with a variety of start-up businesses on subscriber growth, social media and branding.  She also serves as an adjunct instructor at the Wharton School of the University ofcbsradio logo Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  CBS RADIO president Andre Fernandez states, “I’m thrilled to welcome Kenetta to our leadership team, and look forward to introducing her creative energy and brand expertise into everything we do.  We have a tremendous opportunity to expand the strength of our brands locally and nationwide, as well as define our long range position in the marketplace.  I know Kenetta will play an instrumental role in the telling of our story to the industry.”  Bailey will be responsible for the marketing and brand positioning of the company, its stations and its digital products.  She’ll also provide business-to-business marketing support and work with the division’s market managers and station management to develop and coordinate strategy for their local marketing efforts.

price howardWhen Your Station IS the News.  Last week’s attempted takeover of a media outlet in Baltimore by an allegedly deranged man happened at a television station.  But, it could just as easily have been a radio station group.  ABC Television Network director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes in a column published today (5/2), that “comprehensive, well-resourced and well-rehearsed emergency planning not only assures your continued ability to operate in times of crisis, but more importantly, shows your staff and clients how much you care.”  He notes that the Sinclair-owned station and its staffers were prepared and it showed in how the situation was dealt with.  Read Price’s valuable advice for preparing for potential emergencies here.

entercom2015 Acquisitions Help Entercom to Q1 Net Revenue Hike of 23%.  During 2015, Entercom added stations to its portfolio in deals with Lincoln Financial Media and Bonneville.  Those deals helped the company’s first quarter 2016 net revenue soar tofielddavid $96.1 million.  Company CEO David Field says, “But the bigger news is that we had another great quarter of organic revenue growth.  Same station revenues increased 6% for the quarter… In sum, it was a terrific quarter. What is important to note is that is part of an increasingly consistent pattern of Entercom delivering solid growth quarter-after-quarter.  This now marks the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating organic revenue growth for Entercom.”

The Presidential Race/Trump Protests, Iraq Parliament Protest, Seattle May Day Violence, 9/11 Report Controversy, White House Correspondents Dinner, and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The activities of the candidates for president and the California Donald Trump protests; the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by anti-government protestors; Sunday’s violent May Day protests in Seattle; controversy over the validity of the contents of the 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s threat to the U.S. if blamed for the terror attacks; the various political jabs from speakers at Saturday’s annual White House Correspondents Dinner; and the 2016 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

holdtheirfeet16FAIR’s ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Reports Record Attendance.  The immigration-oriented radio row scheduled for June 22-23 in Washington is filling up with radio talk show hosts fast.  The “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event is produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform and executive director Bob Dane calls it an all-time high attendance record and adds that it’s “no surprise given immigration is the hottest issue in a high-profile, turbulent campaign.”  FAIR says there are three remaining broadcast slots up for grabs.  The event on Capitol Hill pulls together talk hosts, lawmakers, law enforcement and media.  FAIR covers all expenses and engineering.  Call for details at 202-328-7004.

Odds & Sods.  Sports talk KDCO, Denver adds an FM presence in the market via translator K284CI at 104.7 FM.  Mile High Sports Radio operates the stations under an LMA from Kona Coast Radio….. The Red State Talk Radio Network-based talk show “Standing Ground” hosted  by Jeremy Leahy adds new affiliate station WJHC, Jasper, Florida (between Jacksonville and Tallahassee).  The show airs at 11:00 pm on Sunday evenings…..Alpha Media’s Mason City, Iowa stations news/talk KGLO and standards KRIB pick up 11 honors in the Small Market Division of the 2015 Iowa Broadcast News Association awards.  KGLO’s Bob Fisher won four first-place awards for Best Newscast, Sports Play-by-Play, Political Coverage, and Public Affairs.

Friday, April 29, 2016

| April 29, 2016

WEEI-FMRed Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off Boston-Red-Soxthe field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.

kinosianmikePPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.

Talkers2016 logo lgTALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout!  If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so.  It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC).  Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years.  Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students.  Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information.  Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.

Knapp, GregKnapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).

Talkers Ten LogoPresidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests at #4.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

KXLRobbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, PeoriaWMBD (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).

Sirius-XM-Logo (2)SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”

NYMRADState of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”

The BlazeExecs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.

Monday, February 1, 2016

| February 1, 2016

kitchinkraigKitchin Departs as The Blaze CEO. In a company-wide email, Kraig Kitchin describes the reason for his exit as chief executive officer of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is owing to outside business obligations. He writes, “The Blaze deserves and needs an exclusively focused leader. That is something I cannot provide, given existing commitments I choose to honor.” The co-founder and former chieftheblaze logo operating officer of Premiere Radio Networks says he is not leaving The Blaze. “I will stay, working every day as the interim head of sales with a focus on finding the right person for that position, assisting in the transition, on advertiser growth, program development, and industry relations.” In a separate email, Beck remarks, “I know much of what has happened since December 2014 has been structural and behind the curtain. We were a company swimming in debt. With the hard work of Kraig, [Beck advisor and president of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts] Jonathan Schreiber, and now [chief financial officer Misty Kawecki], we will be debt-free by summer. This is miraculous and takes all of the downward pressure off of us.” Kitchin’s replacement, digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, joined Beck’s company last summer; he will be the fourth leader of The Blaze since late-2014. Kitchin took over operations of Beck’s subscription digital and cable television operation last June. Also stepping down, according to The Daily Beast, are director of advertising sales Jeremy Price, and director of marketing Liz Julis.

Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Boko Haram Murders 86 in Nigeria, ‘Grease: Live’ TV Show, Zika Virus Outbreak, and European Immigrant Troubles Among Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server for State Department business; the weekend attack on a Nigerian village by Boko Haram that left 86 dead; the Sunday evening production of a live performance of the musical “Grease”; concerns over the spreading Zika virus in South America; the violence and crime being associated with Syrian refugees in European countries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

streamguysStreamGuys-Cox Media Group Partnership Produces Platform for Digital Broadcasts and On-Demand Content.  Streaming media provider StreamGuys and Cox Media Group have partnered to produce a “turnkey SaaS streaming platform for live ad-supported broadcasts, on-demand podcasts, and detailed business metrics and reporting across its entire radio network.”  The platform is now live across all 60 CMG radio stations in 11 markets.  A statement from the companies indicates StreamGuys has “built a rich toolset around its robust, reliable cloud-based content management and delivery network in alignment with the broadcaster’s goals.  [Stream Guys’] SaaS approach cleanly and cost-efficiently integrates several recent, innovative StreamGuys SGsuite products and services into the network that enrich streaming player data, accelerate podcast creation, enhance royalty reporting, and monetize streaming initiatives.”  CMG senior director of digital audience Tim Clarke comments, “In StreamGuys, we have found an ideal technology partner that understands the same opportunities we see to evolve our radio products.  Their infrastructure and technology, along with competitive pricing and expertise in broadcasting, give us incredible flexibility in the management and delivery of our network-wide streaming initiatives.”  Clarke also states that StreamGuys’ HTML5 multimedia player – SGPlayer – has rich metadata support that “delivers the relevant information that online audiences seek alongside the audio stream, including song/artist data, album art, recently played tracks and social media links for sharing the experience with other listeners.  SGplayer is also an approved Nielsen SDK player, delivering client-side analytics that offer greater insight into online listener demographics than what was possible before.”  For on-demand content, StreamGuys’ SGrecast software allows multiple operators to quickly turn linear broadcasts into podcasts and side channels of any length, with near-immediate turnaround to consumers.  Clarke notes SGrecast has been “a phenomenal success,” and is used for brief news, traffic and weather in every market; and 24/7 rebroadcasts of high-profile shows after initial airings.  StreamGuys EVP Jason Osburn says, “We are elated to deliver a comprehensive SaaS [software-as-a-service] service that, along with our turnkey support, will at once help Cox Media Group solve problems and generate new ideas to push online radio and podcasting forward.”

Odds & Sods.  Like most other sports media, SiriusXM is present this week in Santa Clara and San Francisco for the build-up to Super Bowl 50.  In addition to programming emanating from NFL Radio Row on the satcaster’s NFL Channel all week, play-by-play of the game will air in seven foreign languages including: Spanish, French, Hungarian, Japanese and Cantonese…..The seventh annual “Let’s Kick Hunger Day” radiothon produced by CBS RADIO’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis and Taste of the NFL took place on Thursday, January 28 and raised more than $261,901 for hunger relief.  The seven-year total raised from the event is more than $1.4 million.  The event is an all-day live radio broadcast designed to generate awareness of hunger in the heartland and to raise funds to help end it. The proceeds benefitted Second Harvest Heartland.

wnymlogoMichelle Jerson to Host Lifestyle Show on ‘AM 970 The Answer’ in NYC.  The new program launches on February 7 at 2:00 pm on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Dubbed “Michelle Jerson’s Passport,” the program isjersonmichelle being promoted as “a fresh new lifestyle show” that will “focus on travel, wellness, dining and the arts.” In a press statement, the station notes that Jerson “has represented brands like Travelzoo.com in television and radio segments across the country, showcasing destinations, resorts, airlines and tour companies.  She is a longtime travel writer and contributes content to Foxnews.com, The Daily Meal, The Examiner, and her website, Passport Romance.  Michelle has spent much of her radio career hosting lifestyle and relationship talk shows on ‘New Jersey 101.5’; WJFK, Washington; and SiriusXM and reporting for Howard Stern’s news team.”  Jerson comments, “I am extremely excited to combine all of my passions into one show and can’t wait to bring New Yorkers a fun, entertaining program that will enhance their everyday lives.  A huge thank you to Jerry Crowley, Phil Boyce and Darren Yelin for making this happen.”

gallagher SHOT16Talk Hosts Broadcast from SHOT Show in Las Vegas.  A number of talk radio personalities broadcast from the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas during the 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades Show held January 19-22.  Pictured here is Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher (left) interviewing National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steven Sanetti (right).  Other hosts broadcasting from the radio row were Compass Media Networks host Lars Larson, Radio America personality Dana Loesch, Zimmer Radio’s Gary Nolan, KMED, Medford, Oregon morning driver Bill Meyer and more.  Sanetti comments, “America’s firearms industry and the 2nd Amendment have a great friend in talk radio.  Our radio row operation adds an extra measure of excitement to the SHOT Show and it’s a real pleasure to have so many broadcasters joining us.”

schumanbobplaqueRadio News Pro Bob Schuman Dead at 65.  The industry is mourning the death of radio news pro Bob Schuman.  His wife reports that he passed away on Saturday (1/30) at his home in suburban Detroit after a battle with congestive heart failure.  During his career, Schuman worked at Detroit signals including WJR, WOWF, WYCD and WOMC.  He also worked at WNOE, New Orleans; WSAI and WKRQ, Cincinnati; KLIF, Dallas; WROR, Boston and WZGC, Atlanta.  Schuman is pictured here receiving a plaque commemorating his induction into the WYCD Hall of Fame upon his retirement from the station.  View this video of Schuman’s farewell from WYCD, produced by Art Vuolo, here.