TALKERS 2022 Addresses Concerns of Independent Radio Station and Small Group Operations. At the TALKERS 2022 convention held at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10, the first panel session of the day was titled “Independent Radio Station and Small Group Operations” and probed the issues most pressing to owners of independent stations and those operating small groups of stations. The panel was moderated by KFNX-AM, Phoenix owner Bill Brady (inset), who was introduced by Binnie Media director of brand operations Michael Czarnecki. Appearing on the panel in the photo above were (from l-r): Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM-AM, Baltimore; Paul Vandenburgh, owner/host, WGDJ-AM, Albany; Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz, California; Paul Gleiser, owner/host, KTBB, Tyler Texas; and Todd Starnes, owner, KWAM-AM, Memphis (and host of the syndicated Todd Starnes Show). Video of this complete session will be made available in the coming weeks.
‘Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career’ Among Panel Discussions at TALKERS 2022. Last Friday’s TALKERS 2022 convention held at Hofstra University also featured a panel discussion that illuminated some of the challenges that talk hosts face in the modern era, as well as presenting some solutions to those challenges. The panel was moderated by Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher (inset), who was introduced by WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Rich Zeoli. Appearing on the panel in the photo above were (from l-r): Bruce Avery, general manager, WRHU-FM/WRHU.org, Hofstra University; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Martha Zoller, WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia; Frank Morano, host, WABC, New York; Walter Sterling, host, “Sterling on Sunday”; and Brett Winterble, host, WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Video of this complete session will be made available in the coming weeks.
Round Three of May 2022 PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s May 2022 sweep covered April 28 – May 25. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM repeats in the #4 rank despite dipping three-tenths to a 7.9 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share), while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM loses seven-tenths to finish with a 1.9 share good for the #20 rank. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City is #1 again this month even though it shed 1.2 shares and wrapped the survey with a 9.6 share. Across town, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM falls from #2 to #4 after losing 1.5 shares for a 6.1 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds) here.
Cumulus Media Brings ‘The Score’ Back to Providence. Gone for 15 years, Cumulus Media is reviving the sports talk format on WPRV-AM, Providence as “790 The Score.” The station has been airing a business news format since sports talk was jettisoned in 2008. In a YouTube video promoting the change, the company says the new incarnation of “The Score” will include programming from BetQL, CBS Sports Radio’s “Jim Rome Show,” and local personality Kevin McNamara, as well as New York Yankees baseball, Boston Celtics basketball and Brown University football and basketball.
WBZ-AM, Boston Brings ‘Tough as Nails’ Back for a Fifth Season. Local real estate and construction celebrity Cindy Stumpo’s “Tough as Nails” radio show is returning to iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston “NewsRadio 1030” Saturday evenings at 8:00. The station says, “Each week, Cindy and [daughter] Samantha welcome guests to unpack the worlds of construction, real estate, renovations, design and more. Cindy and her team are world-renowned for creating opulent floor plans coupled with impeccable attention to detail. Cindy is also known for her raw and uncensored perspective on everything about being a woman in a man’s world. Almost nothing is off limits: panic attacks, menopause, abuse, domestic violence, you’ll never know what’s coming next while being entertained and informed every show. Cindy’s social media presence is unstoppable with over 75,000 followers on Instagram and videos on her YouTube channel regularly garnering 100,000-plus views. Cindy has shown that she is a multimedia force.”
BIA Advisory Services Downgrades U.S. Local Ad Revenue Projections; Significant Growth Still Expected in Radio Digital. This year’s U.S. local advertising forecast is being revised by BIA Advisory Services. The firm says its new estimate is $167.4 billion, down from its original estimate of $173.3 billion issued in December 2021. It cites “headwinds from overseas conflicts, continuing supply chain issues and deep cuts in ad spending from large verticals like automotive” for precipitating the reduction. Positives for the ad market still include an anticipated strong political ad year, the expansion of online gambling local advertising and consumer spending on leisure and recreational activities. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “The year didn’t start as strong as we had anticipated, making for a difficult first two quarters as some expected advertising spend started to retract. On the one hand, personal income continues to rise, but the cost of consumer goods, rising gas prices and inflation are having a major impact and we believe that will influence how advertisers will choose to use their ad dollars in the coming months. All of that must be weighed against what we see as positives for local advertising this year.” The latest forecast estimate still gives traditional media ad revenue a slight advantage over digital at 52.5 % of the ad spend ($87.9 billion), while digital media will get 47.5 % of the ad spend at $79.5 billion. Overall, BIA is decreasing digital estimates slightly from the original 2022 forecast due to mobile facing headwinds amid new privacy measures on iPhones. Additionally, there has been slower than anticipated growth. Even as both digital channels continue to grow, it’s at a reduced pace than originally expected. Significant growth is expected in TV OTA (+30.3 %), TV Digital (+18.3 %) and Radio Digital (+14.5 %).
47th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon Set for June 22. The leadership of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that ESPN SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm, will host the 47th Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon set for June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The Gracie Awards recognize exemplary content created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment. AWMF chair Heather Cohen comments, “Throughout this past year we have seen a number of remarkable projects by and about inspirational women and Hannah Storm will serve as the ideal host to recognize their work.” AWMF president Becky Brooks adds, “We are honored to shine a spotlight on these women, whose stories have driven cultural awareness, offered entertainment that has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. We are delighted to return to an in-person format so that we can properly celebrate together.”
TALKERS News Notes. The relationship between ESPN and Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions is expanding beyond the Monday Night Football “Manningcast.” Now, the two content organizations will premiere a new lineup of original shows, which will launch with six titles produced by Omaha Productions beginning June 20. Manning says, “One of the best parts of the Monday Night Football show is getting to talk about a sport I love with other folks who share the same passion for the game. With this audio network, we want to deliver those same entertaining and informative conversations from a great crew of folks at Omaha Audio, who are not only informed but genuinely love the sports and topics they cover.”…..Sports USA announces that it will cover live broadcasts of the NHL’s 2022 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche. John Alhers will handle play-by-play, Joe Micheletti will serve as color analyst, Billy Jaffe will be the on-ice reporter and Ted Sobel will host the pre and post-game shows, along with the intermission reports…..ARC Software, Inc enters into an agreement with Compass Media Networks tp provide the service that allows networks, producers and other radio service providers to quickly find any radio station to connect with, affiliate, maintain agreements, compliance and much more…..iHeartMedia announces a new partnership with Martha Stewart to produce a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast. iHeartMedia says “The Martha Stewart Podcast” is a talk show style series that will feature intimate, in-depth, probing interviews with some of the most fascinating people in the world – all who are at the top of their respective fields. Stewart says, “I am thrilled to partner with iHeartMedia on my first-ever original podcast series. I think listeners will deeply enjoy these engaging conversations on life and business, which include many interesting takeaways from the notable guests I have the pleasure of interviewing.”
Former KMJ, Fresno Personality Bill Woodward Passes at 81. Former longtime KMJ, Fresno personality Bill Woodward passed away last month at the age of 81. For 37 years, Woodward served as the radio voice of the Fresno State Bulldogs. KMJ program director Blake Taylor says, “Bill was a wonderful mentor. Such gravitas. A true professional. A legend in the broadcasting industry. There’s a reason he’s forever remembered in the Fresno State Athletics Hall of Fame. I miss him, and his play-by-play of Bulldogs sports will always have a place in my heart.”
The Economy/Fed Interest Rate Hike, Primaries/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Hearings, Roe v Wade/Kavanaugh Plot, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Western Drought & Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Soaring gas prices, inflation, and the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates; Tuesday’s primary races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the January 6 Committee hearings; the Supreme Court’s likely reversal of Roe v Wade and the plot to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh; the rate of COVID-19 cases across the U.S.; Russia’s progress in securing the Luhansk region of Ukraine; and the drought and heatwave in the U.S. West and extreme flooding in Yellowstone were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS 2022 Exceeds Expectations. The 25th annual installment (and second pandemic-era edition) of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest, and most important national convention – TALKERS 2022 – took place this past Friday, June 10 and by all accounts significantly exceeded expectations. It was widely hailed by many of its longtime participants as “the best ‘TALKERS’ ever!” It was presented by TALKERS in association with Hofstra University’s award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org. Some 275 passionate media professionals from all over the country traveled to the beautiful campus of Hofstra on Long Island to see, hear and meet more than 60 luminary speakers – from talk media programming, management, station ownership, syndication, sales, marketing and technology – tackle the most compelling issues, opportunities and challenges currently at play in the industry. It was a power-packed day of non-stop panels, solo addresses, fireside charts, award presentations, exhibits and networking opportunities. The TALKERS editorial staff is now sifting through hundreds of photos and hours of video preparing extensive coverage of the conference and its enormous treasure trove of content that will be appearing in TALKERS magazine for days and weeks ahead. Please stay tuned for forthcoming stories, photos and complete video coverage of all sessions. TALKERS founder and convention producer/director Michael Harrison says, “We are deeply grateful to all the attendees and sponsors as well as our colleagues at Hofstra University for making TALKERS 2022 such a rewarding and memorable experience.” Photos: Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo playing the National Anthem during the opening ceremony (above right), and (above left) WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley interviewing FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade.
Monday Memo: Identify ‘Piano Movers.’ In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke asks, “What is difficult for most people but comes easy to you?” It’s a new business brainstorm for sales reps, and what HC calls “a Side-Hustle Alert for on-air talent.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Happy Father’s Day. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa wonders if your station had a sales meeting solely focused on Father’s Day. “Unlike Mother’s Day where ‘natural’ categories like flowers, candy, dinner, spa days, even jewelry make the annual target list, what did your target list look like for Father’s Day? The irony is, the National Retail Foundation projects only an $80 difference in the average gift spends between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So how creative was your Father’s Day targeting? Was that list much different from your Christmas targeting for dad?” Read his column here.
NJBA President Paul Rotella’s Struggles, Courage and Imminent Victory Over Adversity. One of the most compelling stories in the radio industry has been the personal and professional journey of New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella. He is thankfully on the mend after suffering a terrible health struggle with rare form of meningitis that took him to the brink of death. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, seeing Paul Rotella at this past Friday’s TALKERS 2022 (6/10) bravely walking with the help of a cane and enthusiastically watching, absorbing, cheering and delighting in the comradery of being with his fellow broadcasters, was SO moved that he pulled together his sources, resources and data to pay tribute to the man as quickly as possible. Harrison states, “I consider Paul Rotella to be a spectacular human being, family man, broadcaster, attorney and spokesman not only for the broadcasting community of the Garden State – but a force of nature in spreading a prideful image of the State of New Jersey, in general, across America – not always an easy task.” Harrison penned a tribute to Rotella including a remarkably candid and personal print interview with him that appears in today’s TALKERS. To read it, please click here.
WWO Blog: Pharmaceutical Brands Realize Benefits of AM/FM Advertising. In this week’s blog from the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group comes information from a comprehensive analysis of the pharmaceutical category that included data from Nielsen Media Impact, Nielsen’s media plan optimization tool; a MARU/Matchbox national study conducted over the course of two years from February 2020 through October 2021; and pharmaceutical ad creative testing results from the Advertising Benchmark Index. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes, says, “Pharmaceutical brands have discovered network radio, and it is one of our fastest growing categories. The big revelation for pharma brand advertising is that audio does all the heavy lifting, and the visuals are secondary. ABX creative testing reveals radio creative performs at 90% of the effectiveness of TV for 25% of the CPM.” Some of the highlights of the studies include: 1) According to Nielsen Media Impact, pharmaceutical/OTC brands see an average incremental reach increase of +38% when including AM/FM radio with TV; 2) Shifting 20% of an arthritis medication’s TV budget to AM/FM radio afforded the brand a significant reach advantage versus its competition (+29%) and increased its total share of voice from 22% to 39%; and 3) A pharmaceutical brand saw its TV reach drop -33% over a four-year period with the same spend due to the erosion of TV audiences. Shifting 30% of the October 2021 TV budget to AM/FM radio recovered the lost reach, generating a +51% lift in campaign reach. See more from the blog here.
Chris Williams Exits KXNO-AM/FM, Des Moines. Sports talk radio personality Chris Williams reveals via Twitter that he’s exited iHeartMedia sports talk outlet KXNO-AM/FM, Des Moines in order to focus on his family life. Williams has been serving as co-host of the afternoon drive program “The Sports Fanatics” with Ross Peterson. Williams tweeted, “When I was attending journalism school at Iowa State in the mid 2000s, my dream was to one day host a sports talk show on the iconic 1460 KXnO. For the last seven-plus years, I have had the privilege to live this dream. A lot has changed since then. I now have two beautiful daughters Cami (7) and Elyse (2), who I love more than I knew was even possible. Ross Peterson was my friend. He is now a brother who will be family forever. I recently made the decision to leave KXnO as a daily host to focus on my young family. The 3-6 time slot is an honor to fill, but also takes a major toll on family when you have young kids (especially when you have aspirations to be the best little league softball coach in the metro). I leave KXnO excited to be a better husband, son, friend and human being.”
The Economy, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, Gun Legislation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Western Heat-Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring price of gasoline and food, sinking tech stocks, and worries about a recession; today’s scheduled second January 6 Committee hearing; Russia’s advances in the war in Ukraine and the conflict’s effect on the world economy; the attempts at bi-partisan gun legislation; the ousting of San Francisco’s progressive DA, the November midterm elections, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the Western heatwave and drought were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Media 2022 First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 15%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Cumulus Media’s total net revenue for the period was $232 million, an increase of 15% over the same period in 2021. The company says it was the fifth straight quarter of sequential improvement in revenue performance versus a comparable quarter in 2019. Cumulus also reports a Q1 net loss of just $0.9 million, down from the net loss of $21.9 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. The broadcast radio segment is broken into two parts – spot, which rose 11.9% over the same period a year ago, and network, which was up 5.2%. The company’s digital segment was up 18%, led by digital marketing services (+35%) and podcasting (+22%). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Our outstanding first quarter results once again demonstrate the positive impacts of our ‘audio-first’ strategy to transform the company from a one-dimensional radio broadcaster to a multi-dimensional audio media company. Following a strong 2021 performance, this quarter’s results underscore our ability to deliver value to our shareholders through sustained profitable top- and bottom-line growth and balance sheet de-levering. We delivered sequential revenue improvement for the fifth straight quarter versus the comparable 2019 quarter, grew EBITDA by 250% year-over-year, and generated continued strong cash from operations, which collectively allowed us to achieve the company’s lowest net leverage in over a decade. Given our best-among-peers balance sheet, strong financial momentum and the company’s positive 2022 outlook, we expect ongoing cash flow generation that will support a meaningful return of capital to shareholders now and in the future. Accordingly, as a first step, today we are announcing a $50 million share repurchase program with a plan to commence share repurchases in the near-term. This capital return program is underpinned by our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued.”
Cumulus Rejects Unsolicited Acquisition Bid. The last sentence of Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner’s statement outlining its first quarter results says it all: “The company is significantly undervalued.” That was also the theme of a memo from Berner to Cumulus shareholders regarding the unsolicited offer from a consortium led by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw to acquire Cumulus. Berner says, “The company recently received an indication of interest in acquiring the company for $15 to $17 per share. After a careful and thorough review, conducted in consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the board unanimously concluded that the indication of interest significantly undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of its shareholders. The company’s board is open to all paths that continue to drive superior shareholder value. Our strong momentum across business lines, multiple digital revenue growth drivers, operational efficiency and superior cash flow provide the company with substantial untapped upside that it expects to continue to realize on behalf of its shareholders. Given these facts and circumstances, the board unanimously believes execution of the company’s strategy will deliver significantly more value to shareholders than this indication of interest.”
Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ Debuts This Week. The Bill O’Reilly-hosted program from Key Networks debuts this week on 58 stations across the U.S. Key Networks says “No Spin News” is “a full hour of trailblazing journalist and bestselling author O’Reilly’s fair, smart, fact-based analysis” airing every weeknight. The one-hour show has been airing in New York on 77 WABC for over a year under the title, “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” The program now joins the suite of shows syndicated by Key Networks that includes: “The O’Reilly Update,” “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” and “The O’Reilly Update – Weekend Edition.” O’Reilly says, “We are beyond happy that radio stations from coast-to-coast are spreading the ‘No Spin’ mantra. We provide something that’s badly needed in the USA: honest fact-based analysis.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green comments, “Based on the success of ‘The O’Reilly Update,’ the marketplace was ready for more content from Bill O’Reilly. ‘No Spin News’ provides analysis on what is happening in the world that listeners want to hear. This is content you won’t get anywhere else, and I expect stations to add Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ in large numbers!”
WABC-TV, New York Opens Long Island Bureau at Hofstra University. New York City’s WABC-TV is opening a new, Long Island bureau today (5/4) inside the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. The small bureau will have a full-time reporter and two production trucks in Long Island, New York. WABC has a history of supporting the journalism program at the university, donating significant quantities of valuable equipment and providing internship and career opportunities for many students. Hofstra students will have regular exposure to WABC journalists, expanded internships, guest lectures and seminars held by WABC professionals. The Long Island bureau, located in the newsroom of Hofstra’s award-winning, student-run radio station, WRHU-88.7 FM, reinforces WABC-TV’s commitment to Long Island, as well as the Herbert School’s commitment to community journalism, including the newly launched community news site, LongIslandAdvocate.com. Lawrence Herbert School of Communication dean Mark Lukasiewicz states, “Our journalism program emphasizes experiential, hands-on learning and encourages our student journalists to engage with Long Island communities to tell impactful stories. The Eyewitness News Long Island bureau, located alongside WRHU’s newsroom, will provide that kind of hands-on opportunity – a daily chance for students to observe and learn from great local journalists doing the work of New York’s top broadcast news operation.”
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Rob Carson Show” joins the 1400 Investments, LLC-owned Nevada Talk Network. The program, syndicated by Newsmax and airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, is being heard on KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks-Carson City; KDJJ-FM, Fernley-Fallon; KPKK-FM, Amargosa Valley; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPVM-TV 25.6, Pahrump…..The syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – adds new affiliate station KTXW-AM/FM, Austin “The Bridge” to its roster of affiliate stations…..FOX Nation – FOX News Media’s “on-demand streaming service designed to complement the FOX News Channel experience with a members-only destination for its most passionate and loyal super fans” – is premiering a documentary series about music and television industry star Sharon Osbourne in September. Titled “Sharon Osbourne: To Hell & Back,” the four-part program features “a candid and heartfelt look into Osbourne’s personal and professional life, highlighting how she found herself in the crosshairs of the cancel culture movement after exiting CBS’s ‘The Talk.’”…..SiriusXM is presenting nationwide, comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/7). The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network.
Roe v Wade Leak, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). Reactions to the leak of a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the primary elections in Ohio and Indiana, the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the activity on the world’s financial markets, the supply chain woes, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the effects across the globe; and concerns about new Omicron variants and the possibility of a serious summer COVID wave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.