Reporting its operating results for Q3 of 2023, Audacy says net revenue for the period was $299.2 million, down 5.6% from the same period in 2022. The company reports a net loss of $234 million, up from the net loss of $141 million it reported in Q3 of 2022. The company reveals that local spot revenue was down 3%, national spot revenue declined 15% and network advertising revenue was down 5%. Digital revenue was $64.8 million, up 3% compared to the third quarter of 2022. Audacy also reports broadcast radio revenue by format and notes that news/talk format revenue was $43.35 million, a decline of 10.8% year-over-year. Sports talk revenue was basically flat at $72 million. Music format revenue was $145.7 million, down 7.1% year-over-year. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field states, “Audacy’s third quarter net revenues declined 5.6%, in-line with our quarterly guidance as ad market conditions have remained challenging, particularly on national business. Cash operating expenses were down 2%. We gained revenue share in the quarter, most significantly in radio in which we have achieved accelerating share growth since the start of the year. We also delivered solid gains in radio ratings share and digital audience metrics while making important progress on our tech roadmap and meaningful expense savings to improve our current and future business model. Fourth quarter is currently pacing down 9% on an as reported basis and down 4% on a same-station, ex-political basis. We expect Q4 total revenues to decline by high single digits and costs to decline by high single digits. As noted in our recent public filings, we remain in constructive conversations with our lenders to recapitalize the company’s balance sheet to establish a strong financial footing and position the company to capitalize effectively on our growth opportunities. Notwithstanding current challenges, Audacy has established a strong position as a scaled, leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company distinguished by our exclusive premium content and top positions across the country’s largest markets. We salute our team for their strong work delivering solid growth against our key performance metrics and serving our listeners and customers with excellence.”
This morning (9/5) at 7:00 am, JVC Broadcasting launched the 24-hour Spanish-language news/talk format on WLIM-AM, Medford/W227CL, Port Jefferson branded “En Vivo.” The station is being programmed by Ana Maria Carbalo. JVC says, “Long Island has a huge Hispanic population that continues to be underserved. That was made abundantly clear during the pandemic. Long Island needed information in Spanish. ‘En Vivo’ will be a dedicated source that will not only deliver relevant information about what’s happening in our area but also educates and creates opportunities for the Hispanic population to prosper by providing the tools and resources they need.” Pictured above is the air staff producing the morning program.
By Holland Cooke
Why? Done right, it makes you special. Because new-tech audio competitors don’t do local news, and with most broadcast radio hours now robotic.
“Why waste your time with AM/FM radio?”
Responding to that recent SiriusXM Marketing campaign, NAB president & CEO Curtis LeGeyt:
- “Unlike our competitors, listeners do not need to fork over a monthly subscription fee, purchase a program or afford an expensive mobile data plan.”
- “During times of emergency, Americans are not told to turn to SiriusXM for lifeline information. They are not going to get emergency alerts, hear up-to-the-minute reporting or find out where to get help on Pandora or Spotify. No other audio medium can replicate our service when lives are in danger.”
- “Broadcast radio also provides an engine for economic activity. When local businesses want to get the word out about their goods and services, local radio stations provide an affordable way for them to advertise and reach the consumers who live in their area.”
These are not “normal” times
- When Trump was on the front burner, his controversies alone changed daypart-to-daypart, even hour-to-hour. The talk part of the news/talk format remains largely static, no minds change. But our news content is dynamic.
- In a monsoon in Las Vegas (NOT a misprint) someone drowned; and video of rain cascading through the ceiling onto blackjack tables at Planet Hollywood went-viral. We prayed as Kentucky drowned and Buffalo got snowed-under. After tumbleweeds piled-up around her Colorado home blocking windows and doors, Marlies Gross told AccuWeather: “We have so many fires here, and we have a drought and those tumbleweeds, they would just go up and explode into flames all over, and we probably would go with it.”
- After 2+ years of arguing about vaccines, Polio is back and COVID is back again’ and RSV isn’t just a kid thing. Increasingly noticeable in my travels: Without being required to, people are re-masking.
It’s easier to add Occasions than Duration-per
Translation: There’s little we can do to keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories. And AM/FM has never had more competition. So, to keep ‘em coming back, keep telling them something they can’t hear elsewhere, and make it sound different than last hour.
And TELL THEM that’s what you do:
- “Are you on-the-road? Stay up-to-speed with us!”
- “What happened since breakfast? We’ll tell you before dinner.”
- “Stay close to the news.”
Be known for knowing. And tell them when and how you’ll tell them, on various devices.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Going to Pot,” looks back at this past week of 10/3-10/7. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Jack Heath, talk show host, “The Pulse of NH”; Dr. Murray Sabrin, emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College, NJ/author; Matthew B. Harrison, Esq., associate publisher, TALKERS; Glenn Beck, talk show host, Premiere Networks/author; Tavis Smiley, author/talk show host/owner, KBLA, Los Angeles. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on 100-plus broadcast signals and networks across the U.S. and U.K as well as having developed a significant international following as a podcast. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
KGO, San Francisco to Begin Sports/Wagering Format on Monday. The end of the news/talk format on Cumulus Media’s legendary KGO-AM, San Francisco came in a way that many market observers are calling bizarre – just to give one adjective. During the late morning Mark Thompson show, the station suddenly ended the talk show and began airing a recorded announcement followed by music stunting. Thompson himself was as surprised as the listeners to learn the that station will flip to a new format on Monday (10/10) – some form of sports betting talk. The message from Cumulus was: “Today we say goodbye to the legendary KGO. Over the last 80 years, KGO has been here for Bay Area listeners covering and discussing all the news that has impacted our world and local communities. We thank you for your loyalty and for trusting KGO to be your source for information. We also want to sincerely thank all the talented men and women that worked so hard over the years to produce award-winning programming on KGO. On Monday, 810AM begins a new era. We hope you will tune in.” Northern California-based journalist Matthew Keys reports that sources say the new format will be branded “The Spread 810AM.”
Beasley and Audacy Swap Las Vegas Stations. The two companies are entering into an asset exchange agreement that will see Beasley Media Group’s news/talk KDWN-AM and FM translator K268CS (101.5) go to Audacy, which will give FM station KXTE (currently alternative rock) to Beasley. As part of the agreement, longtime Las Vegas-based syndicated morning personalities “Dave and Mahoney” will continue to be heard on KXTE-FM. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 61-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the communities where we operate with the best local programming and brands, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. The agreement to exchange KDWN-AM/FM translator for KXTE-FM addresses all of these strategic objectives and upon completion, will complement our Las Vegas market presence and content with five strong signals in the market.” The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year subject to Federal Communications Commission approval and other customary closing conditions.
Round Two of September PPMs Released. The second of two rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2022 sweep covered August 18 – September 14. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Hubbard Broadcasting’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington remains ranked #1 in the market after adding one-tenth to finish the survey with an 8.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM tacks on six-tenths for a 4.5 share that lifts it to the #7 rank. In Boston, iHeartMedia news/talk WRKO slips half a share for a 3.8 share that leaves it ranked #9, while the company’s all-news WBZ-AM adds seven-tenths for a 5.3 share good for the #5 rank in the market. Audacy’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis rises eight-tenths to finish the survey with a 5.6 share that lifts it to the #7 rank, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KTLK-AM is up one-tenth for a 3.1 share finish and Hubbard Broadcasting’s talk KTMY-FM dips two-tenths for a 3.1 share finish leaving them tied at the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.
iHeartMedia Sells New Orleans Office Building. The New Orleans City Business reports that iHeartMedia has sold the downtown New Orleans building that houses its operations there. The three-story, 17,765-square-foot building has been on the market for two years and was acquired by a Florida-based investment group. The story notes that the building was constructed in the mid-1990s. It has “a 250-kilowatt generator, 60 parking spots with a secured gate and two adjacent lots.” The sale price is reported to be just over $3.57 million. It was originally listed at $3.7 million in August 2020.
Grant Stinchfield Launches Show on Salem Podcast Network. KRLA-AM, Los Angeles morning drive personality Grant Stinchfield is launching a podcast on Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network on Monday (10/10) titled, “Stinchfield.” He currently hosts “The Morning Answer” show on KRLA alongside Jennifer Horn. Salem SVP for spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Grant does a great morning show with Jen in Los Angeles, and we’re excited that he’s moving up on the Salem platform. Now, listeners all over the country get to hear his take on the day’s news and events. We’re delighted to give him this opportunity.” Stinchfield comments, “America is in crisis and the corporate media establishment continues to silence strong conservative voices. This podcast is about pushing back and refusing to be silenced. We will expose the stories the mainstream media refuses to cover. I am so proud to be a part of Salem Media, an organization that refuses to sit idly by and watch our nation fall deeper and deeper into debt and despair. Its commitment to free speech is why I am proud to call Salem Media a partner.”
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Kevin Kinkead at Crossing Broad, Jamie Lynch is out at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 the Fanatic.” There is no information from the company on Lynch’s departure, although a cost-cutting motive is the most likely. Morning drive host John Kincade said on the program, “Obviously you will notice Jamie is not here. I can only say that we miss Jamie because a situation like this is a time when Jamie is of the greatest joy. We miss him not being here with us today. And if you miss Jamie this morning you can only imagine how much we do. I don’t know how much more to say. I’m not at liberty to say. But we miss him and we wish he was here with us.”…..Public media company GBH announces that Jim Braude will leave the WGBH-TV program “Greater Boston” at the end of this year. Braude also co-hosts the “Boston Public Radio” program on WGBH-FM, Boston with Margery Eagan and will continue in that role. Braude has hosted the “Greater Boston” television program since 2015 and co-hosted the radio program with Eagan since 2013…..Cipolla Analytics announces the appointment of Dr. Ed Cohen as chief research officer for the company, overseeing the expansion of its SpotGPS advanced intelligence software for radio. Developed especially for PPM markets, Cipolla Analytics says, “SpotGPS makes it easy to get the listening credit you deserve. SpotGPS reveals content placement and quantity on your stations and the competition in a way that is clear, colorful, and compelling.” Cohen was previously vice president, ratings and research for Cumulus Media, and led Nielsen Audio’s connected car streaming audio research initiative as vice president, measurement innovation.
Russia-Ukraine War and Foreign Affairs Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 3-7. Russia’s annexation of portions of Ukraine, its continuing military invasion of the country, and surrounding foreign affairs combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the economy – including inflation, the financial markets and the threat of a recession – followed by politics and the November midterm elections at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
KWAM Seeks News Staffers. KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” is expanding its local news coverage. KWAM has promoted Ben Deeter – executive producer of “Wake Up Memphis” – to full-time news anchor and anchor of the radio station’s political coverage. KWAM owner Todd Starnes says there are plans to add more reporters and anchors. Email resumes to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOX News Media Seeks Freelance Radio Anchor. This onsite position in either Los Angeles, Chicago or New York is a freelance radio anchor for the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Radio Network/FOX News Headlines 24/7 Sirius XM Channel 115. In this position, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a day’s notice. Learn more about this position here.
Reporter Position Open at FOX News Media in Washington, DC. For this onsite reporter position FOX News Media is looking for an experienced, full-time reporter to join the Washington DC team. You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgment and the ability to break important news stories. Learn more and apply here.
Freelance Producer/Editor Opportunity at FOX News Media. This exciting opportunity is based in New York for a freelance producer/news editor to supervise the staff for our network radio news operations (terrestrial and FOX News Headlines 24/7 – Channel 115 on SiriusXM Radio). In this role you are our editorial leader, working with news anchors to craft the content and structure of a 24/7 news operation. This is fast-moving news environment! Your ability to thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven newsroom allows you to deliver top-quality segments/newscasts. You excel at multi-tasking and pay close attention to details. Your writing and editing skills are excellent and your editorial judgment is first-rate. Find out more here.
Saga Communications CEO Ed Christian Passes. The company announces that its founder, chairman, president and CEO Ed Christian passed away on Friday (8/19) after a short illness. Warren Lada, a member of Saga Communications’ board of directors and former COO, has been appointed by the board to serve as the Interim CEO. “The Board is confident that Warren’s vast experience in the broadcast industry as a sales representative, sales manager, general manager, vice president of operations and ultimately as COO of the company will fill the void that Ed leaves as the company prepares for the next chapter in ‘Saga’s ongoing adventure.’” Saga says that Christian founded the company in 1986 and has fostered its growth to owning 79 FM radio stations, 35 AM radio stations and 80 translator stations in 27 markets. Under his leadership the company became a publicly traded company in 1992 and continues to be traded under the ticker symbol “SGA” on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The company adds, “The broadcast industry has lost a pioneer and giant. Saga expresses its heartfelt condolences to the Christian family and Ed’s friends and colleagues. Ed will be missed but not forgotten. He is and was a true radio broadcaster that never lost sight of his ‘true north’ in an industry he loved.”
Monday Memo: “Stay Safe.” “Because these are NOT normal times,” consultant Holland Cooke follows-up last week’s column about leveraging the news half of the news/talk format, with specific imaging copy points. Read it here.
Pending Business: This Is Urgent. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column Apple’s announcement it will soon sell approved advertisers space on the “Today” page of the App Store is a super-sized version of radio’s call-to-action ads. He says copywriting 101 and radio sales 101 intersect at the call-to-action and he offers six points to prove its efficacy. Read it here.
KWAM Celebrates 75 Years of Service to Memphis. News/talk radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” – owned by Starnes Media led by talk media industry personality and best-selling author Todd Starnes – threw a bash to celebrate its 75 years of service to the Memphis market. Pictured above at right are some of the 300 people who attended the event.
FBI Raid/Documents Investigation, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, CDC/COVID/Monkey Pox, and Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the documents investigation; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for the 2024 presidential race; inflation, the financial markets and the Inflation Reduction Act; a car bomb kills Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, the “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; the CDC’s announced overhaul, the rate of COVID cases and the concerns over Monkey Pox; and the nationwide drought & the Texas floods were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Renegotiate. Weekend ask-the-expert shows exploit the most proven concept in marketing: free samples. Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Done well, these shows can grow all sorts of service businesses. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke describes “an EXTERMINATOR who’s a rock star!” But HC observes that, “too often these shows are well-kept secrets because stations don’t promote them properly.” And in this week’s column he shares “two magic words” and other deal points for hosts who broker Saturday/Sunday airtime. Read it here.
Pending Business: Reimagining How News/Talk is Sold. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column in TALKERS that “chances are you are still pitching the news/talk format the same way you did when podcasting was still a rumor. Is anyone still wondering why podcast ad sales are exploding, while news/talk radio is proud to be hitting 2019 levels?” He suggests sales teams reimagine how news/talk radio is sold. Read more here.
Exclusive ‘Kim Komando Show’ to Air on WLS-AM, Chicago on Friday Nights. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talk WLS-AM and WestStar TalkRadio Network is bringing Kim Komando to the station’s listeners for a one-hour, Friday night program produced exclusively for WLS. The 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm show debuts this Friday (3/25) and “will showcase the latest news and insights in digital-lifestyle and technology that helps improve the daily lives of Chicagoland listeners.” Komando’s award-winning, nationally syndicated three-hour weekend show is also heard on WLS-AM 890 every Saturday and Sunday night from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to have more of Radio Hall of Famer Kim Komando on the ‘Big 89.’ For over 25 years, Kim has been part of the WLS-AM family, providing our listeners with the latest tech news. Now she brings that experience to Friday nights at WLS, where listeners will learn more about why tech matters.” Komando comments, “People have different interests — politics, cars, cooking — you name it. But there is one thing that affects us all and that’s tech. It’s hard to navigate Big Tech taking our privacy along with the hackers, scammers and stalkers. You can Google anything. You can’t Google trusted advice and that’s why I am honored to be our nation’s premier digital expert. I’m thrilled that WLS sees my show worthy for the Friday schedule. Tech isn’t a hobby. It’s our lives.”
Christopher Layfield Named OM for Cumulus Indianapolis. Radio programming pro Christopher “Boomer” Layfield is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WXNT-AM and five music brands. Layfield joined Cumulus Indianapolis in April 2018 and served as one of two operations managers for the cluster until January, and as program director for country WFMS-FM. He will continue to program WFMS-FM and adult contemporary WNTR-FM. Layfield comments, “It truly is a thrill for me to be able to work with such a gifted group of radio pros at these iconic broadcasting brands here in Indianapolis. Being given the chance to continue to lead these teams at this level is something that I look forward to making the most of, working together for the benefit of our listeners and advertisers… and having fun doing it! I’d like to thank Chuck Fredrick, Doug Hamand and Dave Milner for this amazing opportunity.”
Adam ‘The Bull’ Gerstenhaber to Exit Cleveland’s ‘92.3 The Fan’ on April 1. According to a report in TheFocus, Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber told his listeners that he will leave Audacy’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” on April 1. Gerstenhaber, who co-hosts the afternoon drive “Bull & Fox” with Dustin Fox, has been with the station for almost 11 years. Gerstenhaber is not saying what his plans are for his post-Fan career but tweeted: “In case you missed it, I am leaving @923TheFan. The last @BullandFox show will be April 1st (No, this is not an April fools joke). I leave with nothing but love for everyone…especially @DustinFox37 and @KeithBritton86!!”
NFL Insider and KIRO-AM Personality John Clayton Remembered. After last week’s passing of longtime sports media figure and NFL insider John Clayton, Bonneville International’s Seattle staff are remembering him with tributes. Clayton was a personality on the company’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports” for the past 14 years. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “John was a treasured member of our team. John was a legend in our industry and a true Hall-of-Famer. He was a consistent advocate for the game of football. His connections, friendships and relationships throughout the sports world were simply unmatched. His love of football was only surpassed by his love, loyalty and dedication to his wife Pat. John will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his family and friends.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown adds, “John was an amazing journalist, colleague and friend. A Hall-of-Famer both personally and professionally, John was one of the most loyal people you’d ever meet. While his loyalty extended to friends and co-workers, it was never stronger than in his commitment to his beloved wife Pat, who he cherished every moment of his life. Our ‘Seattle Sports’ family will miss John dearly and keep his family in our hearts.”
TALKERS News Notes. The air talent at Salem Radio Network – including Larry Elder, Sebastian Gorka and others – have been appealing for donations to the non-profit Food for the Poor, which provides food, water and medical supplies to 17 Caribbean and Latin American countries has no “footprint” in Eastern Europe. SRN announces that Food for the Poor has reached an alliance with Feed My Starving Children, which has had staff on the ground in Ukraine for the past eight years, and so effective today (3/21), SRN hosts will generate donations to rush food, clean water and other relief supplies to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees. SRN host Mike Gallagher says, “It took some diplomatic maneuvering between these two awesome charities to combine forces in order to rush emergency relief to the children and families of war-torn Ukraine. All of us at SRN are proud to play a role in this unique campaign, and we’ll be urging our listeners to open their hearts – and their wallets – in the exciting days ahead.”…..The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” announces the addition of new affiliate stations. Launched last fall, the show adds WJFP-AM, Philadelphia; KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas; KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz, California; and WJFP-FM, Trenton, New Jersey. The “Rob Carson Show” airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, the same time slot that Rush Limbaugh occupied. Newsmax notes that Carson wrote comedy for Limbaugh for over 20 years.
Russia-Ukraine War/Biden Europe Trip, Gas Prices/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, and Kanye Cut from Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the weekend attacks on Kyiv, plus President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Europe; soaring gas prices in the U.S. and the still rising price of consumer retail goods; the battle for control of Congress in November’s mid-term elections, the Republican prospects for president in 2024 and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rising rate of the Omicron variant BA.2 cases in some parts of the world and the U.S.; this week’s start of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Kanye West is ousted from performance at Grammy Awards for his “concerning online behavior” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.