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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

| April 23, 2019

Entercom Files with SEC to Announce $300 Million Refinance. In the filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Entercom announces that subsidiary Entercom Media Corp. – the former CBS RADIO stations – is offering $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.  The company says it will use the net proceeds from the offering, cash on hand, and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.  Also contained in the filing is preliminary operating results for the first quarter of 2019.  It reports net income should be between $1.3 million and $5.3 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be between $41.7 million and $43.7 million.  Entercom also says pacings for the second quarter of 2019 are up by more than 4% as of April 18, 2019 compared to the same period in the second quarter of 2018. During the first quarter of 2018, the company completed asset sales that generated $24.5 million in net cash proceeds. It used the proceeds, along with existing cash on hand, to repay $180 million in borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

New Myrtle Beach News/Talk Station to Launch on May 6. The station that is currently
adult contemporary WYEZ “94.5 The Tide” is flipping to news/talk with new calls WTKN as “Talk 94.5′ on May 6. The Byrne Acquisition Group station is bringing market radio personality Liz Callaway – formerly with Dick Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WRNN-FM – to host the morning show.  The rest of the lineup will include Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck; Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder; and Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro and the overnight “Red Eye Radio” show.

KKFN, Denver Names Nick Ferguson Host of Late Morning Show. On-air changes are taking place at Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” The late morning “Pritchard and Cecil” show is giving way to a new show hosted by former Denver Broncos safety Nick Ferguson.  “The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will feature current on-air staffer John Davis as co-host.  Meanwhile, Cecil Lammey will remain with the station as digital talent in which he’ll focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and the station’s social media platforms.  Mike Pritchard will continue as a fill-in host, allowing him to focus on his own small business.  KKFN program director Raj Sharan says, “Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with.  In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp.  He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice.  Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Rush Limbaugh Show’s George Prayias. Digital pro George Prayias is promoted to vice president of digital for “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”  Prayias is based in New York where he reports to Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott.  She comments, “This is a well-deserved promotion.  George has been a valuable member of ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ team for nearly 20 years.  His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush’s digital business and helping maintain the award-wining program’s industry-leading status.”  The company says Prayias started his career with Premiere in 2000 when he conceived and launched the original website for the program.  Prior to joining Premiere, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel.  He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated “Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show.”

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo Inks Extension with SiriusXM. Sports media personality Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo signs a new, four-year deal with SiriusXM to continue leading his Mad Dog Sports Radio channel on the satellite radio service.  He hosts “Mad Dog Unleashed” each weekday from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Russo’s show is also available to Pandora subscribers as a podcast.  Russo says, “Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn’t be happier!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There’s no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we’ll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora.”

Entercom Promotes Stacey Schulze to GSM for Greenville Station Group. Sales pro Stacey Schulze is being promoted to general sales manager for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina cluster that includes news/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD,” sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music radio stations.  She was most recently digital sales manager for the cluster. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Stacey has done a tremendous job with our digital products and is an invaluable resource to our team and customers to navigate the sophisticated and fast-changing digital space effectively.  In her expanded role, she’ll also work with our team and customers with RADIO.COM, our seven radio brands, play-by-play sports and all digital products.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City traffic reporter Jeff McKay announces he’s taking a new position with Westwood One News and will be relocating to Washington, DC. McKay posts on Facebook that he’ll be leaving his WINS, New York-based traffic reporting gig for DC next month.…..FOX Sports Radio says a new baseball podcast titled “”Inside the (Rob) Parker” – hosted by Rob Parker – will debut on The Herd Podcast Network.  Parker says, “Baseball is my first love, my true sports passion. If you think I have hot takes on the NFL and the NBA, wait until you hear them about the national pastime. For sure, it will be fun and informative.”  Parker continues co-hosting FOX Sports Radio’s 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard” that airs on close to 340 affiliate stations…..SiriusXM is providing subscribers with comprehensive coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from Nashville, beginning with the first round on Thursday through the final round on Saturday.  SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team at the NFL Draft will feature: Gil Brandt, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former longtime player personnel executive for the Dallas Cowboys; Pat Kirwan, former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive; Jim Miller, former veteran NFL quarterback; Rick Neuheisel, former NFL quarterback and veteran coach; and Jason Horowitz, lead host for SiriusXM’s draft coverage.

Mueller Report Released/Impeachment Chatter, Trump Tax Returns Issue, 2020 Presidential Politics, Southern Border Crisis/New Mexico Militia, Iranian Oil Sanctions, Sri Lanka Bombings, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). The release of the redacted Mueller Report and talk amongst Democrats of impeaching President Trump; the congressional requests for Trump’s tax returns and his suit to avoid being forced to comply; the 2020 presidential candidates and their policy proposals; the migrant status at the U.S.-Mexico border and New Mexico militia detaining migrants; the U.S. imposes sanctions on nations buying Iranian oil; the aftermath of the Sri Lanka bombings; the NBA playoffs; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, iHeartMedia announces that Khary Sharpe is named general sales manager for hip hop WUSL-FM “Power 99” and urban contemporary WDAS-FM.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia SVP of sales Jeff Moore says, “I am thrilled to add Khary to our growing team.  Khary is someone that I’ve admired in the market for a long time and his extensive knowledge of the industry and ability to create and grow relationships with our advertisers on the client level as well as internally will contribute to the work we’re doing in creating a great culture here at iHeartMedia Philly.”  Sharpe joined iHeartMedia from Entercom where he most recently served as the digital sales specialist for WOGL, WBEB and WTDY…..Lincoln, Nebraska morning personality Matt McKay, a.k.a. Matthew Rydberg, is on leave from Alpha Media’s CHR KFRX-FM after being charged with domestic violence as the result of an incident that took place on Saturday (4/20).  The Lincoln Journal Star is reporting that Rydberg is being charged with felony strangulation.  According to the Journal Star, “police went to Rydberg’s home on a report of a domestic assault witnessed by two children.  A 46-year-old woman reported she went to sleep in her children’s room after an argument with her husband, who had been drinking, when he became angry… the woman told police Rydberg pushed on her neck and she couldn’t breathe, pushed her face, bit her nose and shoved her.”  Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Julie Gade confirmed Rydberg is on leave from the radio station…..Westwood One says recent ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter – Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Janson – will host Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick-Off” special.  The four-hour broadcast is available for radio stations nationwide to air over Memorial Day weekend.  Janson will spin popular summertime hits from Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Jason AldeanCarrie Underwood, and some of his own hits, including his new single, “Good Vibes.”

Monday, August 7, 2017

| August 7, 2017

Emmis Extends Walsh. A contract extension given to Patrick Walsh will keep the Emmis Communications president and chief operating officer in-place through July 2019. As far as particulars of the pact that officially began the first day of this month are concerned, Walsh will earn $625,000 a year with annual increases of up to 2.5%; Emmis can allocate up to 10% of the base in its common stock. He will be entitled to annual incentive pay, with the target for each year 100% of the base salary. In addition, Walsh will be eligible for a performance bonus at the end of the contract with a fair market value of $300,000; $500,000; or $700,000 based on stock price. Other perks are included as well for Walsh, who joined Emmis from iBiquity Digital in 2006 as chief financial officer; he was promoted to chief operating officer and chief financial officer two years later (2008). Emmis owns three radio properties in New York City; four in St. Louis; four (and Network Indiana) in its Indianapolis hub; and seven stations in Austin. The sale of Emmis Los Angeles’ KPWR “Power 106” to Meruelo Media became final just last week. The rhythmic CHR had been programmed by Meruelo Media since July 1 under a Local Marketing Agreement.

NYMRAD Names Morgan Treasurer; Hopeck Boosted to Secretary. In a pair of executive committee moves, the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) appoints Emmis New York’s Charlie Morgan treasurer, and promotes iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck to secretary. NYMRAD chairman/CBS Radio New York senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield notes, “I am very excited about working with Charlie in this seamless transition of the executive committee. Charlie has brought energy in his contributions to board meetings. Under his leadership, we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Morgan comments, “Working with [executive director) Deborah Beagan and my talented New York radio peers in this period of time where radio has more to offer advertisers than ever before is invigorating. It is a privilege to play a role in advancing radio’s profile and value proposition.” Prior to joining Emmis New York in January 2016 as senior vice president and market manager, Morgan performed the same duties for eight years at the company’s Indianapolis stations and spent more than 21 years before that as vice president and market manager for Susquehanna’s Indianapolis cluster. He succeeds Univision New York vice president and general manager Ramon Pineda, who becomes senior vice president and regional general manager for that company’s stations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Cleveland, and Raleigh.

“ESPY Day” Raises $5.2 Million. This marked ESPN’s fourth annual such “ESPY Day” that solicits funds for the V Foundation cancer charity. ESPN president John Skipper notes that he is “grateful to Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose charitable contribution to the V Foundation, including support of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, helped push this year’s fundraising efforts to be one of our best ever.” The 2017 total of $5.2 million is a 32% increase from last year’s event. Half the money ($2.6 million) will go to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.  The event included ESPN Radio’s ESPY Day Auction, the 17th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Outing, and the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards. Elsewhere at ESPN, senior writer Seth Wickersham receives a contract extension, while Buzzfeed News senior writer Joel Anderson and ESPN The Magazine/“ESPN Insider” college football contributor Phil Steele are added to its reporting and analyst staff. The three will appear on ESPN Radio, as well as ESPN’s linear television and digital platforms. ESPN vice president/editorial director, domestic digital content Chad Millman comments, “Seth has long been one of our most talented journalists whose stories on the inner-workings of the NFL have elevated our coverage and delighted fans. Re-signing him as well as adding Joel and Phil increases what’s possible for our editorial team and elevates our ability to serve fans.”

Osgood to be Honored with NATAS Lifetime Achievement Emmy. The host of Westwood One’s long-running “The Osgood File” (which airs on 386 radio outlets throughout the United States) – Charles Osgood – will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with the 2017 “News & Documentary Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.” The honor is given to a journalist or filmmaker who has “made a lasting and distinguished contribution to broadcast journalism or documentary film.” After a 22-year run as anchor of CBS-TV’s “Sunday Morning,” Osgood retired from that role in September 2016. His special recognition will take place in New York City in approximately two months (10/5). Charles Osgood Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

WYDE Shuffles Its Weekday Lineup. Modifications on Crawford Broadcasting Birmingham news/talk WYDE “Superstation 101.1” start in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am), where Michael Hart and Jessica Borklund team up for “AM with Michael & Jessica,” produced by Mickey Bell, who hosts “The Dixie Gospel Caravan” on sister gospel property WXJC-FM. Scott Beason segues from 9:00 am – 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, while “Yellowhammer Radio” moves from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm to 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm. Airing from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm is Andrew McLain and Jim Moore-hosted “The Line with Andrew & Jim.” WYDE operations director Josi McCurdy remarks, “We are excited to introduce our new lineup to the Birmingham listening audience. In keeping with our tradition of bringing the best in conservative talk radio, we are always looking for ways to build on our team of amazing talent. The new show host combinations have a powerful dynamic, which we feel will prove to be both informative and entertaining. As always, we will continue our focus on being local, relevant and current.” None of Crawford Broadcasting’s five Birmingham stations appeared in Nielsen Audio’s spring 2017 book for that Alabama market.

WRNN-FM and Coastal Carolina University Athletics in Partnership. The agreement reached between Alpha Media Socastee-Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5” and Coastal Carolina University is through the 2019 – 2020 season. It will include the school’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball contests, with some games bumped to sister sports talk WRNN-AM “ESPN Myrtle Beach.” Alpha Media Myrtle Beach general manager Josh Gertzog comments, “We are thrilled to be part of the growth happening at Coastal Carolina University. Being the radio partner of one of only three NCAA Division I [Football Bowl Subdivision] FBS programs in South Carolina is an honor. With a wonderful athletic pedigree, including a baseball national championship, it is great to be able to broadcast [CCU] Chanticleer games and to partner in other ways. Our motto is ‘Live and Local,’ and there is no more local university to the Myrtle Beach-Grand Strand than CCU.” Coastal Carolina University director of corporate sales and sponsorships Rhett Graham adds, “We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity for Chanticleer student-athletes to be featured across the strong signal and market-leading listenership of WRNN.” Sister Alpha Media Myrtle Beach outlets (CHR) WMYB “Energy 92.1,” alternative WKZQ “96.1 New Rock,” and classic rock WYAV “Wave 104” will promote Chanticleer games as well.

Recent Station Sales. The previously announced $2 million transaction of Radio One news/talk WCHB, Detroit to Crawford Broadcasting is now complete. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM sweep, WCHB finishes at #23 (.3). Meanwhile in Reno (Nevada), Times-Shamrock Communications has agreed to sell three stations to Lazer Broadcasting and one to John Burkavage’s Bighorn Media. Lazer will acquire CHR KWNZ “All Hit Radio”; FM news/talk KNEZ; and KZTI “Z-105.3 Rock Hard,” while Bighorn will purchase KRZQ “The Real Alternative.” Lazer president Alfredo Plascencia states, “We are delighted to be acquiring these fine stations from our friends at Times-Shamrock as an addition to our existing cluster to better to serve the Reno market.” Previously the general manager of Times-Shamrock Reno, Burkavage remarks, “Station ownership is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me and I am excited by the opportunity.”

Young and Younger.  KGO, San Francisco Gen X midday talk host Ethan Bearman (l) recently invited Westwood One syndicated Millennial music radio host Zach Sang of “Zach Sang and the Gang” (r) into his studio for some inter-generational on-air chat.  Heavy Hundred member Bearman tells TALKERS, “Zach is deeply connected to what Millennials are thinking about culturally. There has been so much talk about Justin Bieber cancelling his tour because of his newfound religion and I needed to get to a source who knows Bieber. Best of all, Zach is one of the nicest guys around and is simply magical behind the mic!” The two up and coming broadcasters met at a TALKERS convention in New York, stayed in touch and work together when they can for the benefit of their audiences.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 36-year run, anchor/reporter Barbara Boylan exited CBS Radio Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM last Friday (8/4). Boylan joined KDKA-AM in July 1981 from crosstown WKTQ (now WJAS) as a reporter-producer-talk show host ….. Very sad to note the passing of Darren “Dutch” Daulton, who died yesterday (Sunday, 8/6) after a battle with a recurrence of brain cancer. The former Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins catcher hosted “Talkin’ Baseball” on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2010 – 2013. After surviving the first round of brain cancer, he established the Darren Daulton Foundation, which provides financial assistance to brain cancer patients. According to Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles, “Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him and I loved him like he was one of my own.” Glioblastoma has also claimed the lives of other notable baseball players, including Gary Carter, Tug McGraw, and Johnny Oates. Daulton was just 55 ….. Hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA Championship, co-produced with Westwood One, will be broadcast later this week (8/10 – 8/13) from 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm (ET) each day on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. The broadcast team from Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club will include: Fred Albers, Doug Bell, Mark Carnevale, John Maginnes, Dennis Paulson, Bob Rosinski, Charlie Rymer, and Taylor Zarzour ….. As detailed in The Chicago Tribune and RobertFeder.com, former Chicago talk radio host Ted Lauterbach, 70, died July 31 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Lauterbach’s on-air “Windy City” credits include WIND (1982 – 1983); WCFL (1984); WLS-AM (1989 – 1990); and co-hosting WMAQ’s “Sports Huddle” with Steve Olken and Tom Greene in 1994. In addition, he was general manager and program director of Tele-Communications, a cable system.

Univision Q2 Radio Revenues Down 8.6%. Compared to $73.1 million for a similar period in 2016, second quarter revenue for Univision Communications’ radio division declined 8.6% to $66.8 million. National, network, and local advertising dips led to radio’s advertising revenue falling by 9.2% to $64 million from $70.5 million in 2016. Univision Communications president and chief executive officer Randy Falco notes that for the company as a whole, total revenue in the quarter was nearly $765 million and core revenue was up 5%. “Net income increased $31 million and we continue to deliver as evidenced by our reduction of net debt by approximately $200 million over the first half of the year.”

Westwood One Hall of Famers. Last night (8/6) in Canton (Ohio), Kurt Warner (left) and Jason Taylor (right) were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner is one of Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” analysts and Taylor was just named the new “Sunday Night Football” analyst. The NFL season kicks off in just over four weeks (Thursday, September 7).

 

Washington-Based Executive Producer and Radio Engineer Sought by Courtside Entertainment.  Two positions are currently open at Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment.  The first is an executive producer position based in Washington, DC.  This position is with “one of the nation’s most popular conservative talk radio programs” and requires a “driven, intelligent, and organized person to oversee the day-to-day production of the show.”   For application information and to see more about this position, click here.  The second opening is for a radio engineer.  That person “shall install, configure, and maintain radio broadcasting equipment as needed.”  The candidate must have “relevant technical knowledge with good people skills and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.”  For application information and to see more about this position, click here.

 

 

KEGL Announces “The Freakers’ Ball.” The annual concert sponsored by iHeartMedia Dallas rocker KEGL “The Eagle” will take place October 15 at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie (Texas). Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Dallas Patrick Davis notes, “Freakers’ Ball has become one of fall’s best rock lineups around the country. We couldn’t have asked for a better lineup around Halloween than to include Marilyn Manson, In This Moment and more [including Beartooth, and Greta Van Fleet].” Program director Don Davis comments, “Our Eagle ‘Rockaholics’ have come to expect a great themed show for our annual Freakers’ Ball. Who better to headline our annual event than Marilyn Manson?” A special ‘Rockaholic’ pre-sale will take place this Thursday (8/10) from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Listeners can also win tickets for a “Win It Before You Can Buy It” promotion today (Monday, 8/7) through Friday (8/11).

Entercom Miami Schedules Riptide Music Festival. More than 20 alternative, pop, rock, and adult contemporary acts will perform (Saturday) December 2 and (Sunday) December 3 at Entercom Miami’s Riptide Music Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Marketing director and Riptide executive producer Von Freeman states, “It was an incredible success last year with over 25,000 festival-goers. There is just nothing better than seeing people hanging out in December on the sands of Fort Lauderdale [as they] sing every word to every song. The festival embraces the brands of our four top notch radio stations that reach over two million listeners per week and we will be giving away trips all over the United States and the world.” Riptide is produced by the staffs of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark”; classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach”; adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 Lite FM”; and sports WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Having already launched this summer’s “World of Dance” starring Jennifer Lopez – and with Carson Daly-hosted “The Voice” a mainstay on its roster – NBC-TV is reportedly developing a music reality series for 2018. The new program will be one of at least two more music reality genre series scheduled for next year, along with “American Idol” (moving from Fox to ABC and with KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning talent Ryan Seacrest remaining in-place as host) and Fox developing an adaptation of the singing competition format “The Final Four” ….. Jury selection begins today (8/7) in the trial between former KYGO, Denver air talent David Mueller (air name “Jackson”) and singer Taylor Swift in Denver. Mueller filed suit against Swift in U.S. District Court two years ago (September 2015), seeking lost wages for allegedly getting fired from the then Entercom-owned country station (now a Bonneville property) after the singer claimed that he lifted her skirt and grabbed her during a meet-and-greet before her June 2013 concert. Swift filed a countersuit claiming sexual assault against Mueller; she is expected to testify. The case is expected to last two weeks, with opening statements beginning as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/8). Swift is seeking damages of $1, “serving as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” while Mueller – also expected to testify – is seeking $3 million in lost wages …..  Changes at Entercom San Diego adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1” find midday talent Dawne Davis and evening personality Nick Upton leaving their on-air shifts to focus on production and digital, respectively. Program director Brooks O’Brian segues from morning drive to take over for Davis in middays, while Dorothy Tran replaces Upton at night. Until a successor to O’Brian is found in morning drive, part-timer Dave Mason will cover that daypart ….. Morning show co-host Melissa Moran will depart Hall Communications country WPCV, Lakeland (Florida) this Wednesday (8/9) in order to focus on her voiceover business, which she started three years ago. Operations manager and program director Mike James comments, “Melissa is a phenomenal radio and voice talent. It is no surprise that her audio book and voiceover career has become so successful. We will miss her greatly and wish her the absolute best.” Moran joined WPCV in 2008.