Townsquare Media 2021 Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 45%. The company releases financial data for the second quarter of 2021 and reports net revenue was $107.3 million, an increase of 45% over the same period in 2020. Townsquare Media says it achieved 99.4% of Q2 2019’s net revenue when excluding Live Events net revenue. Total digital revenue growth was up 36% year over year and contributed approximately 47% of the company’s total net revenue in the first six months of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “Over the next three years, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $180 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of June 30, 2021) to $250 million. Most impressively, I am extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $30.3 million not only exceeded our expectations, our previously stated guidance, and 2019 levels (+1% vs. Q2 2019), but it was also the highest Adjusted EBITDA generated in any single quarter in Townsquare’s history. To accomplish this strong result only one year after the start of the pandemic is a testament to the strength of the Townsquare team, our digital platform and solutions for local businesses, and our careful expense management efforts.” Wilson adds, “As a Digital First Company, our digital revenue and profit growth has accelerated, driving the diversification of our business, total company growth and separation from our local competition. I am incredibly optimistic about Townsquare’s future, and very proud that we are on the path to achieving 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in 2021, on the verge of a full revenue recovery in 2021, and plan on delivering strong revenue and profit growth in 2022.” Townsquare reports in three segments: Townsquare Interactive – its digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising – including broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events – including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Advertising net revenue for Q2 of this year was $85.9 million, an increase of 50.4% over the same period in 2020. The company also reports net income of $10.1 million compared to the net loss of $28.9 million it posted during the same period a year ago. As of June 30, 2021, Townsquare had a total of $25.1 million of cash and cash equivalents and $550 million of outstanding indebtedness.
Jeff Rickard Named Brand Manager for WEEI, Boston; Ken Laird Promoted to Assistant Brand Manager. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI announces that Jeff Rickard is joining the station as brand manager, effective August 11. Audacy says that in this role, Rickard will oversee content operations for WEEI-FM and the WEEI radio network that spans the New England region. Rickard was most recently PD and morning host at Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM, Indianapolis. During his career, Rickard spent almost 10 years in Bristol, Connecticut hosting ESPN Radio’s “Gamenight” program and served with Comcast as managing editor and anchor of the Boston-based “Out of Bounds Latenight” show. Rickard has also hosted shows regularly for numerous SiriusXM channels including: NFL Radio, ESPNU, MLB Network Radio, and Mad Dog Sports Radio. He has served as the host of NFL Radio’s “The Sunday Kickoff” during the NFL season for the past five years and is the host of “College Football Overtime” on ESPNU. He says, “Having worked in sports radio for virtually my entire career, I am thrilled to join the team at WEEI. Its rich history is well documented as is the unmatched passion of the Boston sports fan. I’m looking forward to pairing this talented team with fresh, new ideas to both reflect and match that passion.” At the same time, WEEI executive producer Ken Laird is being promoted to assistant brand manager. He’ll continue his role as update anchor and executive producer of the morning drive “Greg Hill Show.”
Ramsey Network Unveils New Podcast, ‘The Fine Print.’ The newest podcast from Ramsey Network is a show that shines a spotlight on the deceptive methods companies, marketers and scammers use to influence money decisions. ‘The Fine Print’ is hosted by Ramsey personality George Kamel and is “a bi-weekly show featuring interviews with experts and industry insiders about the money traps and trends keeping people broke.” Ramsey Solutions CEO and “The Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey says, “For 30 years, I’ve heard the pain in people’s voices when they call into the radio show because of a money trap that’s left them in a world of hurt. What if we could prevent that pain by empowering people to avoid the trap in the first place? That’s what ‘The Fine Print’ does. George educates listeners to recognize and steer clear of money minefields so they can be the heroes of their own stories.” Episodes of the podcast include: How TurboTax Is Screwing You; Could Bitcoin Be Your Ticket To Wealth?; The True Cost of Credit Card Rewards; The Dirty Truth Behind Your Credit Score; and How the Robinhood App Steals from the Rich AND the Poor. Find out more here.
LiveXLive and PodcastOne Announces Podcast Competition. This competition is called “Self Made Podcast Edition” and is “an audio competition to find the next big podcast star for PodcastOne.” The company says the competition will be driven by fans and PodcastOne’s panel of judges, as they listen to see who will take the top prize, a podcasting contract with PodcastOne and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network which features a roster of celebrity podcasters, including Adam Carolla, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Barbara Schroeder, Michael Irvin, and Jordan Harbinger.” The contest kicks off today (8/3) and is open to amateur podcasters only. The winner of “Self Made Podcast Edition” will be crowned on September 30, 2021 – International Podcast Day. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There are so many wonderfully creative and innovative podcasters out there. We’re excited to be able to offer someone the opportunity to make their dreams of becoming a self-made podcast host come true.” Learn more here.
SiriusXM to Unveil Lucille Ball’s ‘Lost’ Radio Show on New Channel. The legendary comedienne is the star of the new SiriusXM channel called, “Let’s Talk to Lucy,” named after her 1960s CBS Radio program. SiriusXM says, “In between starring in four television series and more than 70 films, Lucy would frequently jump from set to set, tape recorder in hand, and talk about all aspects of life with some of the biggest names in Hollywood history, including Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and dozens more. These recordings eventually made it onto air when CBS Radio broadcast them as ‘Let’s Talk to Lucy’ from 1964-1965. However, for the last 50-plus years they’ve never been heard publicly again – until now.” Ball’s daughter Lucy Arnaz says, “Although I have been care-taking these ancient tapes for over 30 years, I had never really listened to them all and had no idea how many remarkable people Mom had talked to on these radio shows. It’s a treasure trove of personal information from some of the greatest talents of American entertainment and my family and I can’t wait to share them with the rest of the planet.”
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (8/4), a debate among a number of the candidates running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the September 14 recall election will will take place and Salem Radio Network is distributing the event nationally. It’s taking place from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm ET at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. SRN host Hugh Hewitt – who serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation – will moderate the debate along with panelists Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson of KTTV-TV, Los Angeles “FOX 11 News” and former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien. Special radio coverage will be anchored by KRLA, Los Angeles morning host Jennifer Horn and KRLA news anchor Larry Marino. SRN host and candidate Larry Elder is declining to take part saying his goal is “defeating Gavin Newsom not appearing in a circular firing squad with other Republicans.”…..Westwood One is expanding the role of sports media pro Rich Eisen within the network to include pregame and halftime hosting duties for “Monday Night Football on Westwood One.” The Monday night schedule kicks off on September 13, when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Las Vegas Raiders and concludes on January 3, 2022, when the Cleveland Browns battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eisen says, “‘Monday Night Football on Westwood One’ is one of the greatest hosting gigs in broadcasting and I’m honored to have the seat. The fact that I can expand my partnership with Westwood One beyond my daily show and podcast platform by talking even more football thrills me to no end.”…..The application window for programming candidates interested in applying to the “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” is being extended through Tuesday, August 10. The “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” program is a year-long experience for women in music programming, provided by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio and MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music). Personalized conversations with the best programming minds in the business are geared to help advance a career within the radio/audio industry. Additionally, the mentee receives a scholarship to attend Radio Show 2021 this October in Las Vegas. The mentorship is available to one female brand manager, content/program director, assistant program director, and/or music director from any U.S. based music format. To apply, click here…..The popular finance and investing podcast “Pennies: Going in Raw,” hosted by Hugh Henne and Dan, the Deity of Dips, is now a part of the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “With more than 2.3 million downloads, the podcast takes an exciting and informative spin on stock market topics like day trading strategies, volume, price targets, penny stocks, accumulation, reverse splits and much more. The show also features a range of guests from young, successful traders to the leaders of multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, and CEO and founder of Hims, Andrew Dudman…..Today through Thursday, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway (left) is pulling double duty as he fills in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated program. Conway’s WHO show is also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa…..iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s Steelers Radio Network announces changes to its broadcast team. As part of the changes, Craig Wolfley, a former Steelers offensive lineman who has served as a sideline analyst on the Steelers game day broadcast since 2002, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove in the broadcast booth as color analyst. Wolfley takes over for Tunch Ilkin, who retired after 23 seasons in the booth. Former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks is joining Missi Matthews for sideline reports. He recently served as a sideline reporter for Westwood One. Starks will also join Wolfley as co-host of “In The Locker Room, Presented By Neighborhood Ford Store,” a daily, in-season radio program airing on Steelers Nation Radio.
COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Eviction Ban Expires, January 6 Investigation, Voting Rights, Southern Border Policy, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). The rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. and abroad and the issue of mask mandates; the White House puts the onus on states as the federal ban on evictions expires; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the suicide of Capitol police officer Kyle DeFreytag; today’s planned DC rally supporting the For the People voting rights bill; the Biden administration continues the Trump administration policy of deporting illegal migrants; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles returns to the Olympics to win bronze in the balance beam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: About Pottymouth. Yes, the rules are different for podcasters than for what’s acceptable on-air lingo. But consultant Holland Cooke warns podcasters, “Pick your lane and stay with it.” Read his column here.
Unemployment Benefits Ending/New Stimulus Deal, Back to School Debate, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Protests, Presidential Race, U.S.-China Tensions, MLB Season Begins, and the Deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Americans are bracing for the end of unemployment benefits that run out this week as the GOP and the White House work on a new stimulus package; the debate over if and how to send kids back to school in the fall; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the Black Lives Matter protests in several cities and the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; the November presidential election and current Trump approval polls; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China and allegations China is trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data; Major League Baseball begins its shortened 2020 season; and the deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: Location, Location, Location. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the coronavirus pandemic has changed where people take part in certain activities and where they consume certain products. Similarly, radio salespeople must accept that in-car listening habits have changed and they must pitch accordingly. Read it here.
Two Stations Add Salem Radio Network Lineup. Two radio stations are adding the Salem Radio Network lineup of conservative talk shows to their program schedules. Idaho Wireless Corporation’s KSEI, Pocatello, Idaho flips from oldies to news/talk and Wilkins Radio Network changes KXKS-AM, Albuquerque from a religious format to news/talk, both airing the lineup of Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Dan Proft. Both stations are also airing Townhall News at the top of the hour. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “We have seen tremendous interest in the news/talk format, with this major breaking news cycle we are living through. These stations see this tremendous interest in breaking news and what to make of it, and they understand only one network is capable of giving them an entire lineup.”
iHeartMedia Los Angeles Partners with FanVestor for Charitable Sweepstakes. Through a partnership with fan engagement app FanVestor, iHeartMedia Los Angeles is raising money for local charities providing access to healthy meals for children and others affected by COVID-19 school closures and financial hardship. FanVestor is hosting a series of virtual in-app sweepstakes in which fans who download the free app and create an account become automatically entered to win a daily $1,000 cash prize and can also enter to win one virtual fan experience sweepstakes of their choice for free. Those virtual fan experiences include: A Private Virtual Q&A with professional baseball players Justin Turner or Max Muncy hosted by KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” personalities Petros and Money. The winner will also receive a team gift bag and jersey from one of the players and two of the original seats from Dodger Stadium; A Private Virtual Hang with The Jonas Brothers hosted by 104.3 MYFM’s on-air personality Valentine; A Private Virtual Hang with DJ Khaled, hosted by Big Boy from KRRL “REAL 92.3”; Co-Host for The Day on 102.7 KIIS FM’s “Top 9 at 9 Countdown” alongside on-air personality EJ, plus a private virtual hang and interview with artist, singer and dancer Jackson Wang; Private Virtual Brunch with Ryan Seacrest and the cast of 102.7 KIIS FM’s “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” show; and more. iHeartMedia division president Kevin LeGrett says, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles is excited to partner with the new FanVestor fan engagement app at a time when our listeners, the fans, are craving interaction with their favorite artists and trusted iHeartMedia personalities.”
‘10,000 Voices’ Campaign Underway at iHeartMedia Philadelphia. In collaboration with non-profit voter registration organization HeadCount, iHeartMedia Philadelphia launches the “10,000 Voices” campaign to encourage voter registration in Philadelpha, New Jersey, and Delaware. iHeartMedia Philadelphia says it will “combine its tremendous reach on air and digitally with HeadCount’s voter engagement tools along with support from the Philadelphia Commissioners Office in the 100 days leading up to voter registration deadlines in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. “10,000 Voices” will provide three paths for voter engagement: voter registration; a Me+3 Pledge, an initiative which will encourage listeners to bring three friends or family members to vote; and voting by mail. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “Increasing the number of people that vote in each election means better representation of everyone’s voice and a great way to actively participate in our democracy. This is our chance to vote on the issues important to us.”
TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio pro Simon Conway (left) is filling in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show today through Wednesday. That’s in addition to Conway doing his regular WHO, Des Moines-based morning show that’s also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Quad Cities. The Joe Pags Show will also air on WMT and WOC…..Magnum Communications closes on the acquisition of WFAW-AM and WSJY-FM, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and WKCH-FM, Whitewater, Wisconsin from NRG Media. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers announce they have a new Spanish-language radio broadcast team for the 2020 season. Francisco Pinto will provide color commentary and Adrian Garcia Marquez will serve as the play-by-play announcer on Estrella Radio’s simulcast of regional Mexican KBUE-FM/KEBN-FM “Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos says, “We are excited to reunite two of LA’s most recognizable and respected voices on our Spanish-language radio broadcast. Francisco and Adrian have great on-air chemistry, as witnessed by their multiple Emmy Awards calling Los Angeles Lakers games for Spectrum SportsNet Deportes. Both are consummate professionals with extensive sports broadcast experience not just in LA, but on the national and international stages as well. We cannot wait for their call to hit the airwaves this season and bring Chargers fans the action in a way that only Francisco and Adrian can.”…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline announced via social media that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He writes: “I am COVID positive and I ‘have a bad case of pneumonia.’ They are sending for the respiratory therapist STAT. And they will do everything they can before they need to consider… ventilator. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Not feeling well at all.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Broadcaster Urban One, Inc’s executive team expressed thanks on Friday to the Washington, D.C. City Council for the amendment that effectively eliminates a proposed advertising tax from the Fiscal 2021 budget. The proposed 3% sales tax would have been added to TV, radio, print, and digital advertising purchases. Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “We have been partners with the residents of the District for over 40 years and consider ourselves part of the fiber of the city and the DMV. This pandemic has devastated and disrupted all of our lives, and the advertising tax would have been like adding salt in the wound.”…..iHeartMedia announces it has signed Jubal Fresh to a deal to host “The Jubal Show” on CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” Previously paired with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke and Jubal” show based at Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle, Jubal exited the show earlier this year. He will be joined at KBKS by his wife, Alex Fresh, and additional hosts to be named at a later date. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Jubal on his next endeavor and welcome him to iHeartMedia Seattle. Jubal’s ability to cultivate a diverse fan base across America, but most importantly, right here in Seattle, was just something we could not miss. I’m excited to welcome him and Alex to the team!”
Urban One to Pay $4.2 Million for WTEM-AM, Washington. The price tag of the deal that will transfer ownership of sports talk WTEM-AM, Washington from Dan Snyder-controlled Red Zebra to Urban One is $4.2 million. In its filing with the SEC, Urban One reports that it “expects to generate approximately $1.7 million of pro-forma EBITDA from the assets, which represents a buyer’s multiple of approximately 2.5x.” The presser from Urban One confirms that the station will continue to serve as the flagship station for Washington Redskins football. (Games and related programming will also continue to air on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.) Urban One president and CEO Alfred Liggins says, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Urban One and we are especially pleased that through our acquisition, ‘The Team 980’ will continue to be locally owned. The acquisition of ‘The Team 980’ is very much in line with our strategy of super-serving our community of listeners. We have deep roots in the greater Washington, DC area and are well aware that ‘The Team 980’ has always been a fan favorite. Red Zebra has a track record of producing great programming that engages our hometown sports fans. We look forward to working with the Washington Redskins organization to continue this tradition.”
PPM Analysis: All-News. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. As Kinosian notes, the April PPM survey was not kind to the all-news format with just one station – Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco – notching a gain. The station went up a 0.5 share in the adjacent San Jose market. However, comparing year-over-year numbers, about half the all-news stations in PPM markets saw their 6+ numbers increase, with iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento rising by 0.8 share. Although it went down by 0.8 share, Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington still ranked #1 in its market, while KCBS-AM ranked #2 in both the San Francisco and San Jose markets and KFBK ranked #2 in Sacramento. See the entire report here.
Houston Talk Host Matt Patrick Posthumously Named TALKERS 2018 “Humanitarian of the Year.” The late Michael “Matt Patrick” Ryan has been posthumously named the recipient of the TALKERS 2018 “Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Talk Show Host” – also referred to as “Humanitarian of the Year.” Patrick was a major presence in Texas talk radio as the popular host of “Houston’s Morning News” on KTRH, Houston and his syndicated afternoon program, “The Matt Patrick Show” on KPRC, Houston and KFXR, Dallas/Ft. Worth. In September 2015, Patrick announced that he was receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma at the world-renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The 37-year radio pro underwent brain surgery in late 2015, followed by multiple rounds of chemo, immunotherapy, and radiation in 2016. Continuing to work through additional treatments, Patrick also maintained regular television appearances on Houston’s FOX 26 News, provided live coverage of the 2016 GOP National Convention from Cleveland for iHeartMedia, and rallied millions of fans during numerous public appearances to discuss “Overcoming Obstacles in Life.” Patrick’s wife and radio business partner Paula Ryan writes in TALKERS (5/21), “Although the odds of survival were not great, Matt’s invincible drive and spirit were. He was a brave and courageous warrior, leaving it all on the field. Matt’s final appearance on KTRH was July 5, 2017 where he mustered every remaining ounce of strength to publicly thank his beloved listeners and to say goodbye to this terrestrial world. Just a few days later, on July 9, 2017, Matt spoke his last beautiful words privately to me with that golden voice of his, and quietly slipped away to Heaven.” Matt Patrick was extremely active in supporting a number of charities and causes. He spoke for the Star of Hope in an effort to end homelessness, the Akron/Canton Regional Food Bank (during his earlier tenure as a talk host in Northeast Ohio between 2000-2010) and Houston Food Bank to aid food-insecure individuals and families, as well as supporting the Fisher House (free, extended-stay facilities for the families of hospitalized active-duty or retired military members and veterans) even holding a radiothon onsite (just Patrick and his engineer) in Houston to raise funds for these military families and veterans. Over the course of the last decade of his time in Ohio, he worked tirelessly to raise $15 million for Akron Children’s Hospital as the founder and original host of the “Have A Heart, Do Your Part Radiothon,” and was an active supporter of Children’s Miracle Network. Patrick was awarded the “Child Advocacy Award” of Akron Children’s Hospital for making a profound difference in the lives of the children in the community. Patrick was a recovering alcoholic. In November 2005, he achieved sobriety, one day at a time, and had helped countless others who struggled with addiction and alcoholism. He was a believer in having to “give it away to keep it” and did just that. Paula Ryan tells TALKERS, “Every year Matt and I would host ‘The Matt Patrick Recovery Show’ to publicly talk about his struggles with addiction while offering hope and resources to those who had a desire to become sober. He served in various volunteer capacities with AA and would never hesitate to meet personally with a listener or return a phone call from a complete stranger if they reached out to him asking for his help.” Patrick was a staunch supporter of law enforcement and was formally recognized by many agencies for his role in educating the public and bringing the community together working collaboratively with local police. He was named an Honorary Deputy Sheriff in Fort Bend County and was honored with a formal changing of the guard ceremony at his memorial service by several law enforcement agencies including Harris County Sheriff, Fort Bend County Sheriff, and the City Of Houston, Texas Police Chief. His 13-year-old son, Jake Ryan, was inducted into the Thin Blue Line at his dad’s memorial service as well. To view a touching video tribute to the life and career of Matt Patrick, please click here. The TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award will be presented posthumously at TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! on June 8 in New York City and accepted by his widow Paula and son Jake.
WBEN-AM, Buffalo’s ‘12 Voices in 12 Hours’ Initiative Addresses Opioid Addiction. The “12 Voices in 12 Hours” initiative continues at Entercom’s news/talk WBEN-AM, Buffalo “NewsRadio 930” with the station this time addressing the opioid addiction epidemic. The station is presenting 14 hours of programming on the issue today (5/23) from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Each hour of programming will feature a different voice on the issue, including medical experts, addiction experts, pain management experts, recovering opioid addicts, and family members of some of the victims of the epidemic. The day’s special programming will conclude with a two-hour, live “Opioid Conversation” at the City of Tonawanda High School auditorium from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
iHeartMedia First Quarter 2018 Revenue Down 1.7%. Revenue for the first quarter of 2018 for iHeartMedia’s radio division was $744.5 million – a decrease of 1.7% compared to the same period in 2017. The company, currently in Chapter 11 reorganization, did not make any statements accompanying the financial data in the 8-K report, nor is it holding an investor’s conference call. The company as a whole – including its Outdoor segments – was up 3.1% on consolidated revenue of $1.36 billion.
New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Announces Finalists. The finalists have been announced for the 2018 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards. The World’s Best Radio Programs competition has been taking place since 1982, receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe. This year, NYF’s Grand Jury selected 353 finalists from entries submitted from 31 countries worldwide. Entries were judged based on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “From audio books, podcasts, and sound art to documentaries, drama, and breaking news. The international Grand Jury members once again selected finalists whose content exhibited creativity and innovation.” All finalists move on to the medal round. U.S. broadcasters making it to the medal round include: CBS News Radio, SiriusXM, Westwood One, and ESPN. See all the finalists here.
Dave Schrader Assumes Host Role for ‘Midnight in the Desert.’ The Dark Matter Digital Network announces that Dave Schrader is officially named the host of the “Midnight in the Desert” program that had been hosted by the late Art Bell. Schrader has hosted “Darkness Radio,” “Beyond the Darkness,” “True-Crime Tuesday” and was a frequent weekend host for “Coast to Coast AM.” Keith Rowland, manager/operator of Rowland Network Communications, LLC for the Dark Matter Digital Network, says they are actively seeking terrestrial radio affiliates for the program. “Dave Schrader brings a wealth of experience, professionalism, and credibility to the search of the paranormal, the weird, and the anomalous that will continue to keep ‘Midnight in the Desert’ as the leading Internet-based LIVE paranormal program.”
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Celebrates 10th Anniversary as Citizen. Afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway (pictured above with Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate) was born in London, but back in 2008, he celebrated his new American citizenship. Conway’s program is heard on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines “News Radio 1040” and is simulcast on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids “News Radio 600.”
U.S.-North Korea Summit, Trump-Russia Investigation, Iran Nuclear Deal, Primary Races, Prison Reform Bill, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/22). The uncertain status of the planned summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the state of the Iran nuclear deal after the U.S.’s exit from the pact; the primary elections in Georgia, Texas, and Kentucky; the Trump Administration’s prison reform bill passes the House; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s rare for Salem Media Group to sell stations but, as Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella says, “When we do, we make every attempt to ensure that the buyer will continue to program the station with a format that will make a positive impact in the community. That appears to be the case as Christian contemporary KGBI-FM, Omaha is being sold to University of Northwestern-St. Paul. The school already operates 20 non-commercial stations around the country. The school’s SVP for media Jason Sharp says, “We are grateful for the partnership we have experienced with Salem Media Group during this process. We look forward to expanding our network in Omaha and continuing the work of pointing people to Jesus through music and programming that makes an eternal impact.”
WWL, New Orleans Names Sheriff Newell Normand to Replace Garland Robinette. The midday show at Entercom’s news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans has been open since Garland Robinette retired. Now, the station surprises the market by convincing Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand to trade in his badge for a microphone. Normand will retire from his sheriff’s position on August 31 and join the radio station on September 11. Normand says, “It was a tough decision because I love my work, my officers, and the people of Jefferson Parish. But, this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I always listened to Garland and admired his voice in our community. He played a pivotal role in New Orleans’ recovery and rebirth from Katrina. Plus, good leaders know when it’s time to move on. I’m satisfied that Jefferson Parish is in great shape. The crime rate hasn’t been this low since 1974. And strong leadership is ready to step in and take over a great team – one I care about deeply and will miss dearly.” WWL operations and program director Diane Newman states, “I can honestly say we surprised Sheriff Normand. Called him out of the blue one day and asked if he’d consider a career change. It was a long shot – he’s one of our most popular and effective leaders – a powerful man with one powerful voice. But, just as Garland always seemed bigger than the box called television, Newell always seemed more than the uniform. His voice will be amplified behind the WWL mic, allowing him and us to make even deeper connections with our community. There are sides to Newell Normand that most people don’t know. This show will give him room to expand – to display not just his unmatched smarts and institutional knowledge, but that passion and love of community that he always had to reign in as sheriff. Talent as big as the stage.”
iHM Promotes Tony Molaee to iHeartRadio Post. New York-based iHeartMedia staffer Tony Molaee is promoted to VP of digital programming and operations for iHeartRadio. The company says that in this new role, he will support the national digital programming team as well as continue to support iHeartRadio’s local New York market as digital lead. “Molaee’s local experience and digital expertise will serve the overall organization by identifying what content will help continue to drive more traffic to iHeartRadio’s individual local radio station websites, as well as nationally.”
Salem’s ‘Made in America’ Day at the White House. Pictured above are Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and SRN talk show host Hugh Hewitt (right) getting ready to kick off yesterday’s “Made in America” day broadcasts from the White House. Guests on yesterday’s shows included new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
WMBD, Peoria’s Power Failure Plan Keeps Station On Air. Much of downtown Peoria lost power last Tuesday (7/18) but Alpha Media’s stations in the market moved quickly to remain on the air. News/talk WMBD went old school by broadcasting at the transmitter site. Greg Batton – of the “Greg and Dan” morning show – went with WMBD traffic reporter Ken Zurski and chief engineer Wayne Miller and other staffers to the transmitter in Tazewell County. Batton (pictured here in the transmitter building) and Zurski were on the air commercial free during the outage. Other staffers sent WMBD’s content via Marti to another tower site for three more Alpha stations. Then “Mix 106.9” program director and morning host Randy Rundle joined Batton and Zurski for the unique show. Dan DiOrio, Batton’s co-host, along with news anchor Ed Hammond and producer Cory Wara, remained at the studio facility in case the power came back on, and along with morning shows from the other Alpha stations, fed content to social media and station websites via cell data. Alpha Media Peoria SVP/market manager Mike Wild comments, “Our number one priority is serving the community and I’m extra proud of our team for how they handled this unscripted situation. They moved quickly and were able to keep our listeners and users well informed. This is what Alpha Media is all about – live and local!”
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host Jim Bohannon is scheduled to deliver the summer commencement address at University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia on Saturday, July 29. The Westwood One personality says that he will “forgo the big picture so popular in commencement addresses, and will tell graduates about the ‘little picture.’”…..WHO, Des Moines-based talk show host Simon Conway makes a change to his work on WMT, Cedar Rapids. Conway had been hosting a separate 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on WMT for some time while doing his afternoon show on WHO. Now, iHeartMedia is simulcasting his 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on both stations and Conway is giving up the late morning show on WMT as he ramps up efforts to spread his program across Iowa…..Seven new podcasts have joined the Earwolf comedy network on the Midroll Media podcast platform owned by Scripps. The shows include: “Off Book,” the “first-ever improvised musical podcast,” Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino; “Homophilia,” featuring MTV host Dave Holmes, comedian Matt McConkey and a celebrity guest for a candid conversation on what they’re loving in pop culture and who they are loving in their romantic lives; episodes of the popular 1960s comedy radio show “Chickenman”; “Cracked Movie Club”; “Cracked Gets Personal”; “Throwing Shade”; and “James Bonding.”…..Grammy Award-winning musician Darius Rucker begins a new golf show airing monthly on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio titled, “On Par with Darius Rucker” on July 26…..Pantsuit Nation and DGital Media launch a new weekly podcast titled, “This Pod is Your Pod,” featuring co-hosts Libby Chamberlain and Cortney Tunis.
Hangin’ Out with Mama. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) poses for a pic with iconic comic actress Vicki Lawrence (left) in Las Vegas. Lawrence – well-known for her work on the “Carol Burnett Show” and creating the character “Mama” – was in Vegas doing “Vicki Lawrence and Mama: A Two Woman Show.” Lawrence is also a spokeswoman for CIUandYou that raises awareness for Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria – a condition that produces chronic hives with no known cause. Lawrence appeared on Wachs’ GCN-syndicated program during her stop in Las Vegas.
CMG’s Gamut Names Four Executives. The Cox Media Group subsidiary Gamut – a “solutions-based” advertising organization – names four to new positions. Soo Jin Oh is Gamut’s new vice president of client strategy & solutions; Meghan Bentley is now director of business development; Jason Whidby is regional director of sales, West; and Blake McClean is regional director of sales, Southeast.
GOP Renews Plans to Vote on Health Care, Trump-Russia Investigation, Russia Sanctions Vote, NYTimes-Fox News Tiff, China Beefing Up N. Korea Border, Smuggled Illegals Deaths/Sanctuary Cities Controversy, Sister Livestreams Sister’s Death, Jeff Sessions’ Job Security, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s effort to force a vote in the Senate to repeal ObamaCare; the controversy over meetings between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the House bill that would increase sanctions on Russia, as well as Iran and North Korea; the skirmish between The New York Times and Fox News over the latter’s reporting that the NYT published information that hindered the U.S.’s search for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; speculation about what China’s increased activity near its North Korean border means; the deaths of 10 illegals in a tractor trailer in San Antonio and the related criticism of sanctuary cities; a Fresno teen is arrested on DUI charges after livestreaming the car crash that killed her younger sister; rumors that President Trump wants to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dana Barrett Appears on HLN with Lynn Smith. Pictured above are WAFS, Atlanta “biz1190” mid-morning personality Dana Barrett (right) during her recent appearance on HLN’s “Weekend Express” with host Lynn Smith (left). Barrett spoke about the gender pay gap relative to the recent story revealing the BBC’s disparate gender pay stats.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/25) with Heather Cohen, Brian Kilmeade and Scott Lakefield. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are:
– The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).
– The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).
– The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).
– The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).
– The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).
– The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan Bearman, Bold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein. All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.
– A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).
– A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).
– The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.” They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess (introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).
– The first two in a series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram, and a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield).
– TODAY (7/25) we posted the third of four in the above series of “one-on-one” dialogues “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between The Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade (again, facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield).
Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. The third of our four-part series examining the performances of stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM survey turns to the urban contemporary format. Managing editor Mike Kinosian writes that when looking at 6+ share, “nearly half (48%) of this urban contemporary panel regresses year-to-year; 45% improve (the same percentage as month-to-month); and 6% are unchanged from June 2016.” Urban One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92 Q Jams” is the only urban contemporary station in a PPM market to rank #1 in June. However, eight other stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets. Check out the whole report here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Diego, Midwest Television’s rock “100.7 KFM-BFM” names Mikey Esparza the host of the 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm PM drive show. Program director Mike V. Vasquez says, “Mikey’s passion for creating compelling content and his love of rock and roll make him the ideal choice to entertain San Diego during the afternoon commute. With ‘The DSC’ entertaining our fans in the morning, the legendary Robin Roth rockin’ the workday and ‘The Mikey Show’ on the drive home, ‘KFM-BFM’ is committed to delivering quality programming.”…..Matt Derrick becomes operations manager for NRG Media’s Omaha FM stations, including hot AC KQKQ “Sweet 98.5,” hip hop KOPW “Power 106.9,” and classic rock KOOO “101.9 The Keg.” Previously, Derrick served with iHeartMedia as SVP of programming in Norfolk-Virginia Beach…..Emmis’ CHR KNOU, St. Louis signs up with Focus 360’s programmatic networks “Powered by Jelli” – repped by Envision Networks. The cloud-based ad platform traffics, serves and reports campaigns using Jelli’s RadioSpot.