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NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Mixed Messages,” looks back at this past week of 8/1 to 8/5. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Jack Heath, talk show host, The Pulse of NH, New Hampshire; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Greta Van Susteren, talk show host, Newsmax TV. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on almost 100 broadcast signals and networks across the U.S. and U.K as well as having developed a significant international following as a podcast. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is 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 Q2 2022 Revenue Up 10.7%. The company reports that its 2022 second quarter consolidated revenue was $954 million, an increase of 10.7% over the same period in 2021. For the quarter, iHeartMedia posted net income of $15.2 million compared with the net loss of $32 million it reported for Q2 of 2021. iHeartMedia reports financial data in three segments: the Multiplatform Group (broadcast, networks, and sponsorships & events), Digital Audio Group, and Audio & Media Services Group. The company says revenue from the Multiplatform Group increased $27.5 million, or 4.5% year-over-year, primarily as a result of the continued recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcast revenue grew $12.2 million, or 2.7%, driven by higher spot revenue and political advertising revenue as 2022 is a midterm election year, partially offset by lower trade and barter revenue due to the impact of the timing of the iHeartRadio Music Awards show, while Networks grew $3.9 million, or 3.2%. Revenue from Sponsorship and Events increased by $9.5 million, or 33.2%, primarily as a result of the return of live events. Revenue from iHM’s Digital Audio Group increased $54.6 million, or 27.6% compared to the same period in 2021. Digital, excluding podcast revenue, grew $22.4 million, or 15.5%, driven by increased demand for digital advertising. Podcast revenue increased by $32.3 million, or 60.4%, driven by higher revenues from the development of new podcasts as well as growth from existing podcasts. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of solid results for iHeart in terms of consumer usage, revenue and earnings growth and, most importantly, strong free cash flow generation. The Digital Audio Group continues to deliver industry-leading growth, and our Multiplatform Group continues to demonstrate that it is a growth engine for the company as well. As the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio and podcasting – and the largest consumer reach audio company in the U.S. by far, we remain committed to building our businesses for future growth and continuing to deliver both trusted companionship to our listeners and significant and unique value to our advertising partners.”
Audacy Q2 Net Revenue Rises 5%. Citing “declining macroeconomic conditions,” Audacy reports net revenue of $319.4 million, an increase of 5% over the same period in 2021. The company says that core spot revenue was $200.5 million – flat compared to the second quarter of 2021, and digital revenue was $69.3 million, up 19% compared to the second quarter of 2021. The company reports a net loss of $773,000 in Q2 of 2022 compared to the net income of $1.4 million it reported during the same period a year ago. Audacy breaks down its revenue by format categories and says that the news/talk category revenue (news/talk and all-news stations) was $51.8 million, an increase of 4.2% over the same period in 2021. Audacy president and CEO David Field comments, “After a very strong first quarter in which we grew revenues by 14% and significantly increased margin, our second quarter results were adversely impacted by declining macroeconomic conditions and ad market headwinds which reduced our top line growth to 5%. While we navigate the turbulent current market conditions, we are excited by our future growth potential across our scaled, multi-platform businesses, capitalizing on a number of important recent developments that include an enhanced national sales organization, expanded podcast and streaming audio networks, and during the second half of this year, the rollout of a new, reimagined digital platform and ad tech capabilities that will enable us to unlock pools of ad demand and supply that we can’t effectively monetize today. Our transformational development over the past couple of years has meaningfully enhanced our competitive position, strengthening our capacity to serve listeners and customers and enabling a powerful set of opportunities for revenue and EBITDA growth in the dynamically growing audio market.”
Audacy Gets Listing Standards Notice from NYSE. The company received notification from the New York Stock Exchange that its Class A common stock is not in compliance with the exchange’s continued listing standard requiring a minimum average closing price of $1.00 per share over 30 consecutive trading days. The notice does not result in the immediate delisting of the common stock from the NYSE. Audacy says it plans to notify the NYSE that it intends to regain compliance and is considering all available options that are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. Audacy can regain compliance during a six-month cure period if, on the last trading day of any calendar month during the cure period, the common stock has a closing share price of at least $1.00 and an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month.
Salem Media Group Revenue Climbs 7.7% in Second Quarter of 2022. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2022, Salem Media Group reveals total revenue of $68.7 million, an increase of 7.7% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports net income of $9.1 million, an increase of more than 300% from the net income of $2.25 million reported in the second quarter of 2021. Salem reports in three segments: Broadcast, Digital Media, and Publishing and for Q2 of 2022, net broadcast revenue increased 12.1% to $52.5 million. Digital Media revenue increased 4.5% to $10.8 million, while Publishing revenue decreased 18.5% to $5.4 million.
Saga Communications Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 6.3%. For the second quarter of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc posts net revenue of $29.8 million, an increase of 6.3% over the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 10.6% to $9.3 million and operating income was $5.4 million compared to $4.6 million for the same quarter last year. Free cash flow was $3.2 million in Q2 of 2022 compared to $4.2 million for the same period last year. Capital expenditures for the quarter were $2.6 million compared to $921 thousand for the same period last year. Capital expenditures for the quarter included the $1.1 million purchase of a building in Norfolk, Virginia that will replace the company’s existing leased studio and office facility. Saga reports net income of $3.8 million for the second quarter of 2022 compared to net income of $3.3 million for the same period a year ago.
Audacy and CBS Sports Digital Patner for Content Distribution and Ad Sales. This exclusive, multi-year deal between Audacy and CBS Sports Digital makes Audacy the exclusive, ad sales and distribution partner for CBS Sports’ network of sports podcasts. The press release states that CBS Sports Digital has grown to reach more than 90 million monthly active users, making it the second-largest sports group in the U.S, and with more than 65 shows and nearly 100 million downloads in 2021. Audacy EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with CBS Sports in the podcasting space – properties I know well from my time spent there. Adding this family of content to our roster provides Audacy with a number of the leading sports, fantasy sports and betting podcasts, areas we have enjoyed significant success to date and are important to our clients. This partnership could not come at a better time with football season fast approaching.”
TALKERS News Notes. The John Fredericks Media Network announces a programming agreement for the newest member of its growing portfolio of radio stations as the network’s programming is now airing on Chesapeake-Portsmouth Broadcasting Corporation’s WTJZ-AM, Portsmouth, Virginia. JFMN chief operating officer Anne Fredericks says, “The Norfolk market is critical to our Virginia network as it represents the biggest U.S. naval base in the world at a very uncertain time for our nation’s Navy personnel. The uncertainty of potential hostility in the Asian perimeter and the South China sea makes this opportunity more important than ever. We will continue to provide all our listeners with extensive and in-depth coverage of China’s military and economic moves in the area, as well as top-flight analysis of the evolving events.”…..FOX Sports Radio’s LaVar Arrington announces an addition to his Up On Game Presents podcast lineup as musician, songwriter and creative director Flash Garments launches the “Under Appreciated with Flash Garments” show. Arrington says, “We’re super excited to have Flash Garments join the Up On Game Presents lineup with the launch of his ‘Under Appreciated’ podcast. Flash knows everybody, is very well respected, and has a lot to say! I think listeners will really enjoy this inspiring and enlightening program, and we look forward to sharing it with our audience every Friday!”…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro has been filling in this week for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dawn Stensland on her 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program…..The GCN-syndicated program “Classic Radio Theater with Wyatt Cox” adds new affiliate stations as KVOE-AM, Emporia, Kansas and KGEZ-AM, Kalispell, Montana adds the show to their program schedules. Cox comments, “I grew up on Sunnyslope Street in Emporia and listened to KVOE, enjoying some of the great music of the 60s and the fun personalities like the late Roger Hartsook. It’s a source of pride to be back in Emporia, if just virtually, every weekday.”
Video Tribute to Rich Stevens. The radio personality died on July 30 after suffering a heart attack. Rich Stevens enjoyed a career in music radio as well as in the talk radio format, hosting a program on Hubbard Radio’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo put together a tribute video that you can see here.
The Economy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 1-5. The state of the U.S. economy – the still-high cost of food and gasoline and the threat of a recession – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between partisan politics, the elections, and abortion rights, followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan tied with the related U.S.-China relations at #3. 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.
Kinosian: Rush Limbaugh Was Talk Radio’s ‘Premiere Songwriter.’ Writing after the news of Rush Limbaugh’s death yesterday (2/17) from lung cancer at age 70, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian says, “Greater than any other single talent, Limbaugh was widely credited for not only reinvigorating the politically geared talk show as we know it, but also for prolonging AM radio’s very existence. The aggregate amount of revenue he generated for operators of AM facilities carrying his daily talk show is nothing short of mindboggling.” Read Kinosian’s complete story here.
Rush Video Tribute. Above is a still from a video tribute to Rush Limbaugh from Radio’s Best Friend, Art Vuolo. His 20-minute video focuses on the early part of Limbaugh’s career and offers the viewer a perspective of Limbaugh’s program and of talk radio as it was in the early 1990s when the format was beginning its ascendance. See it here.
SRN’s Larry Elder Testifies on Slavery Reparations. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder testifying remotely yesterday (2/17) before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on as a “rebuttal witness” opposing proposed legislation to provide reparations for descendants of slaves. During his testimony, Elder told Judiciary subcommittee chair Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) that “reparations is the extraction of money from people who were never slave owners to be given to people who were never slaves.” You can see his complete five-minute testimony here.
New Slave Reparations Podcast Launches Today. The issue of slavery reparations is the subject of a new podcast series from Color Farm Media and Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network titled, “Reparations: The Big Payback.” The podcast is co-hosted by actress, writer, producer, activist and Color Farm co-founder Erika Alexander and filmmaker Whitney Dow. In it, Alexander, a Black woman, and Dow, a white man, bring dual perspectives and a shared creative control to their partnership. The pair use their unique storytelling skills and experiences to explore the argument for and against the controversial topic of reparations for Black Americans.
Edison: Twitter Usage Up Among Young and Progressive But Trust Level Remains Low. According to data from Edison Research’s The Social Habit, Twitter saw increases in usage immediately following the platform’s ban of President Trump on January 8, particularly among younger people and those who identify as more politically liberal. Edison says its study reveals that prior to the ban, 43% of U.S. social media users age 18+ said they use Twitter. After the ban, 52% said they use Twitter, an increase of 9%. Daily Twitter usage also increased, from 24% of social media users age 18+ pre-ban to 29% post-ban. Edison Research president Larry Rosin states, “Our new social media tracking survey allows us, for the first time, to see how a direct regulatory action by a social media platform affected usage by Americans. For Twitter, the ban on President Trump resulted in an increased number of users.” As far as the trust level is concerned, Edison says Twitter picked up a couple of points post-ban, albeit from a very low starting point. Pre-ban, 5% of social media users said Twitter was the “one social media service they trust the most.” Post-ban, 7% said they trusted Twitter the most. Trust issues abound when it comes to social media: 40% of social media users said “None of these” services were trusted the most among YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, Parler, or TikTok. The 40% of social media users reporting that “none of these” were trusted the most was unchanged post-ban. See more about The Social Habit here.
Women in Radio Host 5th Annual Event Virtually. The organization Women In Radio is hosting its “5th Annual Cocktails, Cupcakes, and Conversations” event on Saturday, March 6, sponsored by The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation. The annual event’s mission is to encourage and support the advancement of women in the radio industry. Participants will have the opportunity to have a speed aircheck session with award-winning program director, Mary K. The NAB Leadership Foundation will also present three giveaways for their First Time Manager series – a five-part online session that helps first-time managers transition from an individual contributor to a team leader role – valued at $450. For this virtual conference, WIR ambassador Jessica Rose will serve as the host. Panelists include nationally syndicated radio host Dana Cortez, iHeartMedia market president Nicky Sparrow, marketing industry leader Bethany Kent, award-winning media executive Charese Fruge, Radio One VP of programming Kashon Powell, and Carla Marie, host of the “Carla Marie and Anthony Show.” You can find out more about the event here.
Rush Limbaugh Dies, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Winter Weather-Texas Power Woes, McConnell-Trump Spat, Future of GOP, Cuomo Investigation, and Social Media Censorship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh dies after a year-long battle with lung cancer; the declining number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S, the concerns about variants, and the vaccines rollout; winter weather slams many parts of the U.S. and leaves millions without power in Texas; the sour relationship between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump; the state of the GOP in the aftermath of the 2020 election; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is being investigated for his handling of COVID nursing home deaths; and social media and censorship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Howie Carr Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime WRKO, Boston talk show icon, newspaper columnist, author, and independent syndicator Howie Carr is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For years Carr has been a mainstay at WRKO where he is heard daily between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm and has been a popular Boston Herald columnist covering City Hall – fighting organized crime and government corruption – even longer than that. Carr’s daily radio show has proven to be so popular in the Northeast that it has now expanded to some 25 stations across New England on his independent Howie Carr Radio Network. The network recently launched a spinoff – the Grace Curley Show – which is also heard on WRKO in middays. Carr, a Radio Hall of Fame inductee, is an award-winning writer and the New York Times best-selling author of several Boston organized-crime books, as well as a couple of novels. The conversation between Harrison and Carr was recorded yesterday (2/15) on Presidents Day and focuses largely on the participants’ view of the American presidency and particularly the current debate raging across the nation about the controversial political impact of Donald Trump. Don’t miss this fast-paced, friendly exercise in point-counterpoint debate! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.