Emmis Reports Fiscal Q4 Radio Revenue Down 6.6%. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corporation announced financial results for the fourth fiscal quarter and full-year ending February 28, 2017. Radio net revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter was $34 million, down from $36.4 million from the same period in 2016 – a decrease of 6.6%. Per Miller Kaplan reporting, which excludes barter revenues and syndication revenues, and excluding results from Los Angeles, Emmis’ fourth quarter radio revenue was down 4.8% in markets that were down 0.2%. Austin and St. Louis outperformed their markets, with St. Louis up 10% in a market that was up 1%. For the full year, radio revenue was $165.1 million, compared to $169.2 million in the prior year, a decrease of 2.4%. During the fourth quarter, Emmis closed on the sale of its Terre Haute radio cluster and the sale of Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Orange Coast magazines. The company also issued pro forma results for WEPN, New York – leased to Disney’s ESPN – the Terre Haute stations, and KPWR, Los Angeles which is being sold to Meruelo Media. The pro forma net revenue for those radio operations was $26.2 million in the fourth fiscal quarter (down 5.65% from Q4 last year) and was down just 1% for the full year on net revenue of $128.1 million. Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “The decision to sell KPWR was an extremely difficult one to make, but it allows us to dramatically reduce our indebtedness, leading to much needed financial flexibility during challenging times for the U.S. radio business. Our industry needs a catalyst and we remain convinced we have it in NextRadio. The NextRadio-developed Dial Report, which provides robust data measurement and big data analytics for radio campaigns, has been a huge hit with advertisers and agencies since its introduction in January of this year.”
Saga Communications Leaves TV Biz; Buys Seven Radio Stations in Charleston and Hilton Head, South Carolina. This deal will deliver all of Saga’s television holdings – KAVU-TV, Victoria, Texas; KMOL-LD, KQZY-LP, KUNU-LP, KVTX-LP, KXTS-LD in Victoria; KVCT-TV, Victoria; KOAM-TV, Pittsburg, Kansas; and KFJX-TV, Pittsburg, Kansas – to Madison, Wisconsin-based Morgan Murphy Media for $66.6 million. The same day Saga files the TV sale with the FCC and SEC, it announces it has entered into an agreement with Apex Broadcasting to buy eight stations and four translators in the Charleston and Hilton Head markets for $23 million. The stations are country WCKN, hot AC WMXZ, urban contemporary WXST, adult hits WAVF, and Gospel WSPO-AM, and translators W261DG and W257BQ in the Charleston market, plus adult hits WVSC, classic hits WLHH, hot AC WALI, and translators W256CB and W293BZ in the Hilton Head/Savannah market. Saga expects this transaction to close in the third quarter of 2017.
iHeartMedia Elevates Hudson to Area President, Names McNair to NOLA Market President Post. Rising to area president for iHeartMedia’s Baton Rouge/New Orleans markets is Michael Hudson. Concurrent with that is the addition of Steve McNair to the New Orleans cluster as market president. The nine-station cluster includes news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT “FOX Sports 1280.” McNair was previously regional sales manager at Titan Broadcasting’s KUBE-TV, Houston. Prior to that, he served as the vice president of sales for CBS RADIO’s Houston operations.
WSKO, Syracuse Brings ‘Bud and the Manchild’ Back. The Cumulus Media sports talk station is announcing that the “Bud and the Manchild Radio Show” will once again be heard on its airwaves starting May 30. The independently produced show – co-hosted by retired Syracuse Post Standard sports columnist Bud Poliquin and Central New York radio and TV pro Jim “The Manchild” Lerch – will air on WSKO “The Score 1260” weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The program launched in 2002. It exited WSKO in 2015 and, until recently, was heard on Galaxy Communications’ crosstown WTLA. Jim Lerch states, “A change was needed to get the show back on track in terms of our core values. Cumulus Media and ‘The Score 1260’ were great partners in the past and we are very excited to join forces with them again. It was very tough leaving ‘The Score 1260’ in 2015, and we consider that decision a mistake. We are thrilled to be working with Cumulus Media once again.”
Cantore Exits ‘Mighty 1090’ in San Diego. It was a short stint at Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “The Mighty 1090” for longtime San Diego radio personality Chris Cantore. He joined the station early last month to host the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm show on the station. He’d most recently been with Entercom’s alternative KBZT in mornings with co-host Steven Woods. He’d also worked at KPRI and alternative XETRA “91X.” NBCSandiego.com reports the company is offering “no comment at this time.”
Trump Comey Firing Aftermath, Trump-Lavrov Meeting, W. Va. Capitol Police Arrest Reporter, GOP Health Care Plan, North Korea Threats, New Orleans Confederate Statue Removals, and MLB, NBA, and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The aftermath of President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey; President Trump meets with Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov; the West Virginia Capitol Police arrest a reporter for asking questions of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price; the Republican plan to replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and Kim Jong Un’s allegations the U.S. tried to assassinate him; controversy over the removal of Confederate memorials in New Orleans; and MLB, NBA, and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Trump 100 Days Event Draws Full House in Sarasota. In the photo above, Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher appears on the large video screen joining fellow SRN personality Larry Elder and local hosts at last night’s sold-out “Trump’s First 100 Days Event” in Sarasota, Florida. The event was sponsored by Salem-owned stations WGUL-AM and WLSS-AM. Gallagher told the crowd, “Sarasota is Trump Country and — unlike CNN and other cable networks — the audience loudly cheered the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.”
1010 WINS Anchor/Reporter Gene Michaels Loses Battle with Cancer. Friends, family and co-workers are mourning the death of WINS, New York reporter and anchor Gene Michaels (Free) who died on Wednesday (5/10) at 60 after a long battle with cancer. WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach states, “I can’t think of a single person who crossed paths with Gene over his long and incredibly successful career who didn’t find him to be among the kindest, smartest, and gentlest of human beings. Everything he touched, everyone he met, everything he did was better because of him. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife and daughter and to his entire family.” Michaels started his career in 1978 at WEJL, Scranton. He spent a decade at WALK, Long Island.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Legendary San Francisco air personality Steven Seaweed is retiring from Cumulus Media’s KSAN “The Bone 107.7” on June 30, wrapping a 44-year, on-air career. Seaweed – a Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer – started on the air at KLRB-FM, Carmel, California on New Year’s Eve, 1972. He joined KSAN in 1978, but left when it flipped to country in 1980. He served with KFAT-FM “The Wide Spot On the Dial,” KWSS-FM, KRQR-FM “The Rocker,” and KLLC-FM “Alice@97.3,” before rejoining KSAN in 1997. Seaweed says, “Forty-four years ago, nobody wanted to work at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Except me! I volunteered, got the job, and went on to have the most rewarding career in radio. I have been so lucky all these years to have worked with the most incredible people at many legendary radio stations, and with the best radio listeners on the planet. Thank you, everybody!”…..Beginning Monday, May 15, Cox Media Group’s CHR WSB-FM, Atlanta “B98.5” adds Drex Renner to the station’s morning show. He joins Tad Lemire for “Tad & Drew Mornings.” Renner previously led the “Drex, Cassidy and Tingle” show on Entercom’s crosstown hot AC WSTR “Star 94.” Lemire has been with “B98.5” co-hosting mornings since February of 2016. Kara Leigh will continue to serve as the producer and co-host for the new show, taking on a larger role and presenting a strong female voice…..At CHR KLUC, Las Vegas CBS RADIO announces midday personality Jon Que is inked to a contract extension and takes on the added duties of music director for KLUC and assistant program director and music director for 98.5 HD-2 “Da Shaka, Vegas’ Island and Reggae Station.”…..The syndicated “Murphy, Sam and Jodi” show announces the addition of three new affiliate stations: iHeartMedia’s Soft AC KTSM, El Paso “Sunny 99.9,” Little Engine Broadcasting’s classic hits WRBZ-AM/W238CE, Montgomery, Alabama, and Withers Radio’s KREZ, Cape Girardeau, Missouri “Soft Rock 104.7.”
‘Mighty 1090’ Host Dan Sileo Scores Moonves Interview; CBS CEO Explains Radio Division Philosophy. San Diego sports talk personality Dan Sileo interviewed CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves on XEPRS “The Mighty 1090.” Sileo asked the chief about his attitude towards radio as a business in light of the company’s announcement it is considering all options for its radio stations, including selling them. Moonves expanded on his previous comments, telling Sileo the current business is “a world for us that is keyed in video. Radio is still a wonderful, wonderful business. So our intent is to spin off radio so it’s its own self-standing company, which will fit better than being a part of a big conglomerate like ours, which is keyed more on television.” Moonves pointed out radio is a slow-growth business compared to video but he says he’s bullish on the ability of CBS RADIO’s 117 stations to function as a “great stand-alone company.”
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Nearing Sellout – Hotel Discount Ends Today. The 19th annual installment of the talk radio and media industries’ longest-running and most important national convention, TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations, set for Friday, May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University on Long Island, is nearing a sellout. More importantly, the amazing ($169) hotel discount available to conference attendees at the adjacent Long Island Marriott ends today (4/14)! Don’t miss out! People planning to register or who are registered but have yet to book hotel accommodations should move quickly to get the benefit of this significantly low price. To book with the hotel directly, please click here. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will feature more than 65 outstanding industry speakers in back-to-back general sessions from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Friday, May 20 including keynote addresses, panel discussions, “Breakfast with Hannity,” “Salem Luncheon,” and “Hofstra Radio Closing Reception,” plus the latest technology exhibits, live broadcasts, and fantastic networking opportunities. Total cost per person: $299. Open only to media professionals. For full registration, sponsorship and latest agenda information, please click here.
The Presidential Race/ Tonight’s New York Democratic Debate, U.S.-Islamic State Military Strategy, Russian Planes Buzz American Destroyer, Chicago Police Report, and Golden State’s Record Attempt Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/13). The activities of the candidates for president and tonight’s Clinton–Sanders debate in New York City; President Obama’s speech at CIA headquarters touting the U.S. military efforts against Islamic State; the buzzing of a U.S. destroyer by Russian war planes; a task force report concluding institutional racism in the Chicago police department is released; and the Golden State Warriors’ attempt to set the record for most wins in a season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of March 2016 PPM Data. The third of four rounds of March 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The March 2016 survey period covered February 25 – March 23. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Tom Leykis’ Pedal to the Metal Syrah Almost Sold Out. The 2014 Santa Ynez Valley syrah crafted by California Central Coast winemaker Joshua Klapper and talk show host Tom Leykis himself has been bottled and, according to Leykis, is just about sold out. In all, 120 cases of the wine were made available to California residents (due to shipping regulations). In typical Leykis fashion, he says the idea to create a unique wine and market it to fans was something he came up with years ago. “No one we worked with in radio wanted to hear about it, so we went and did it ourselves. There IS hope for those in talk radio working for dying companies: Stop being someone’s employee who just punches a clock to do talk shows with rants about the wonders of the ‘free market’ and start being an entrepreneur to live that freedom. I wonder how many hard-core conservative talk show hosts have ever actually run a business themselves. I’ve had plenty of success and financial rewards from years of working for radio stations and syndicators, but never had a day in which I was more proud.” Tom Leykis will appear on the “Generating Revenue in the Digital Era” panel at the TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on Friday, May 20.
Odds & Sods. The nationally syndicated pet program “Animal Radio” announces it now has 132 affiliates with the addition of WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina. The two-hour, weekly show – hosted by Hal Abrams – is in its 15th year in syndication…..Tonight (8:00 pm ET), SiriusXM is airing a special program in tribute to the career of retiring Los Angeles great Kobe Bryant on the NBA channel. Bryant played his final NBA game with the Lakers last night, capping a 20-year career…..Alpha Media news/talk WHIS, Bluefield, West Virginia takes home honors from the West Virginia Broadcasters Association’s “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards.” WHIS was given the highest honor of the night, “Legendary Station of the Year,” along with “Best Talk Show” for “Radio Active,” hosted by Craig Hammond. Dan Acquire won the “Best Sportscast” award for 2016…..Sun Broadcast Group brings the Cromwell Radio Group and Greater Media aboard the Shazam For Radio platform. The interactive radio service is being used on the 20 Cromwell stations and Greater Media’s WBOS-FM…..Alpha Media is working with software provider Aptivada to power its contesting, promotions, and database management. The software allows Alpha to tie everything into one system and have the ability to run national contests, promotions and sales-driven campaigns from the top down.
KFWB, Los Angeles Reportedly Sold. According to Los Angeles radio maven Don Barrett, there is finally a buyer for KFWB and it involves Charlie Banta-led Mercury Capital Partners. The Los Angeles Times also reports the story but does not name a buyer. The Times writes that staffers were told about the sale on Tuesday (1/5). As many TALKERS readers are aware, KFWB has been in the KFWB Asset Trust (while still benefitting CBS RADIO’s bottom line) for a long time. Some in the market have griped that CBS hasn’t been trying very hard to sell it and was basically getting away with violating the ownership limit. Regardless, in September of 2014 the station flipped from news/talk to sports talk as “The Beast 980” and is serving as the flagship for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, as well. Barrett Tweets that the new owners will assume control in February and since Mercury’s M.O. is ethnic programming and brokered radio, we’re likely to see a format change next month. That would put local sports talk personalities Fred Roggin, Bill Plaschke, Jeanne Zelasko, Chris Myers, Wes Clements and more out on the street. The Times reports that a format change is a certainty.
‘The Mighty 1090’ in San Diego Names Kevin Acee Evening Host. San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” is naming San Diego sportswriter Kevin Acee the host of its evening program, “Trending Now.” Acee is a columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, a position he will continue to hold. Acee also spent seven years as the San Diego Chargers beat writer and two years covering San Diego State football. Station VP of programming and operations Mike Shepard comments, “Kevin is a multi-media sports voice in San Diego who has the unique ability to connect and provide insight to sports fans on a variety of platforms. ‘Trending Now’ is the perfect showcase of his many talents, and we enthusiastically welcome Kevin to the full-time, all-star lineup on San Diego’s Sports Leader.”
Associated Press Offers 2016 Radio Campaign Kit. A new service for this year’s presidential election is being offered by the Associated Press. It’s called the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit, and AP calls it “a turnkey advantage that gives radio members election returns and AP journalists’ digital and on-air reporting on the presidential campaign in the months leading to Election Day and the inauguration of the 45th president in January.” AP has already inked Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, among other stations. AP says that subscribers will receive verified vote counts in their home state and surrounding areas in primaries and the November 8 general election up to 12 times an hour via online maps and other modules. The modules will show delegate counts for both political parties, the popular vote, Electoral College totals for U.S. president and the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. In addition to dynamic election-night maps, the 2016 Radio Campaign Kit provides a suite of embeddable white-label interactives for use on AP members’ digital and on-air properties, optimized for display on mobile devices, desktops and tablets. AP director of election services Brian Scanlon comments, “The AP’s 2016 Radio Campaign Kit represents an important step for us as we continue to push to make our services responsive to our members’ needs around big-event stories such as the presidential campaign.” Interested stations can contact Paul Memoli at AP via email at email@example.com or phone 212-621-6923.
Odds & Sods. Springfield, Illinois talk personality Ray Lytle exits Saga Communications-owned news/talk WTAX in a budget-related move. Lytle had been with the station for the past two years after previously serving with Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s crosstown news/talk WMAY…..CFRA, Ottawa legendary personality Lowell Green is retiring from his daily radio show at the Bell Media talk station. The 79-year-old Green began his career in the news department at CFRA in 1960. He became a talk host six years later and has been hosting the Lowell Green show on the station since 1993. He won’t be in full retirement mode as he’ll continue to make appearances on the station…..Weekend technology talk show “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” announces the addition of some new affiliate stations as WGKA, Atlanta “AM 920 The Answer”; WRKO, Boston; and CKLW, Windsor, Ontario/Detroit are now carrying the program.
New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards Opens Entry Process. In addition to the announcement that the New York Festivals 2016 International Radio Program Awards are open for entries, comes news that there are three new categories this year. Those include: Biography/Profiles, Climate Change & Sustainability, and Music. The worldwide competition honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠ has been taking place since 1982 and receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from 32 countries around the globe. Radio program awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “New York Festivals recognizes the ever-evolving nature of the radio industry. Time does not stand still in the radio industry – new ways of reaching listeners and new ways of telling the important stories of our day drive change. So, every year, we work with our advisory board and we update some categories as well as create new ones. It is an organic ecosystem. We embrace the new while keeping the best practices of what has come before.” Anderson says the three new categories will provide a platform for those with a distinctive voice and point of view regarding issues and topics of interest. Anderson continues, “In our ever-changing world, radio is the original social media. There is a universal language of radio which connects us all – giving us the ability to meet directly in each other’s imagination and guided by the textures of sound to understand each other.” New York Festivals Radio Awards enlists jurists from all over the world to become members of the Grand Jury. The Grand Jury includes some of the most recognizable voices and captivating programming producers in the industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. The ceremony for the World’s Best Radio Programs takes place at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York on June 20. The deadline for entries is March 18. To enter, log in here and find all the information you need. Inquiries can go to Gayle Mandel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama Gun Control Plan, Presidential Race, ‘White Anger’ Report, Saudi-Iran Diplomatic Break/Shiite-Sunni Tensions, Oregon Armed Protestors Standoff, Battle Against Islamic State, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). The executive order gun control plans announced by President Obama; the activities of the candidates for president; the Esquire/NBC News “American Rage” poll determining white Americans are the “angriest”; the diplomatic break between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the reported growing rift between Shiite and Sunni countries in the Middle East; the case of the armed protestors occupying an Oregon wildlife preserve; the recent military actions against Islamic State-held parts of Iraq; and this weekend’s NFL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CES 2016: Home and Health. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas reporting from the enormous Consumer Electronics Show and today he files a story tipping us to some of the new technology and gadgets that some believe will be ubiquitous in both our homes and our cars in the not-too-distant future. Cooke writes that many of the technological helpers for around the home can be operated from the “remote” device most of us already carry – the smartphone – and that device is where “smart broadcasters are also publishing.” Read today’s full report here.