A piece at Bloomberg by Ashley Carman looks at the $1.5 billion 2017 merger of Audacy (formerly Entercom) and CBS Radio and concludes that the deal has been a back-breaker for the company as Carman writes, “Now, six years later, Audacy is struggling under the weight of $1.92 billion in debt and shriveling demand for radio advertising, an industrywide plague.” The piece goes beyond just Audacy’s financial struggles and looks more broadly at how radio as a legacy medium is facing “the same headwinds as other traditional media.” Carman adds, “Stations are losing their grip on younger audiences, and advertisers are tuning out. Fresh sources of revenue, like podcasts and streaming audio, are going to new contenders such as Spotify Technology SA or just failing to make up for the lost radio ad dollars.” The U.S. radio business has always touted its reach, but according to Lauren Russo, EVP at ad buyer Horizon Media, broadcast radio faces real problems. “The broadcast marketplace is extremely soft for ’23 and similarly for ’24. The overall audio ecosystem continues to grow from a streaming and podcasting perspective, but at the expense of broadcasts.” Read the Bloomberg piece here.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Which is the more important “check the box” trait – persistence or passion?
Is it easier for your air talent to answer that one? Of course, we want passionate on-air talent – those who live for the opportunity to get behind the mic, break it all down for the audience or deliver the critical information that can save lives and calm the fears of an anxious audience.
In a week, for the 22nd time we will remember the events of 9/11. During that historic window of time, I had the privilege of experiencing firsthand the passion that drives great on-air talent to power through the most difficult unknown to stay close to their audience and calm the fears of an audience in shock.
But we must also consider the day-to-day. How about your on-air talent and their producers who compete every day for that exclusive interview that will surely drive audience levels, advertiser results, and maybe a bonus or promotion?
They power through the multiple calls that are not returned, the polite put-off and unkept promises. Especially stinging is when a competitor winds up with the prize.
Persistence or passion? Stop. Right there you must consider the Abraham Lincoln theory of persistence. His mother died when he was nine, he went bankrupt at 27, had a nervous breakdown before he was 30, lost eight elections, finally in 1860 was elected president of the United States and one year later faced the greatest internal conflict in the history of our country – the Civil War.
Let’s go to sales.
Anyone passionate about selling? My number one theory in recruiting sellers from South Florida to San Francisco was and still is, nobody grows up wanting to sell radio advertising. On the other hand, many of us were and still may be passionate about being ON the radio (before or alongside podcasting, YouTube, Rumble, Tik-Tok and Instagram). The passion to perform runs deep through all media, music, theatre, sports, the law, medicine, even business. The passion to sell? Now that is one complicated conversation.
For what it’s worth, here is my theory. It takes both passion and persistence to be great. What attracts any high achiever to a long-term career typically begins with a passion play. A love for the game and the need to achieve. The harder you chase the dream, the more persistence comes into play. The more you learn the ins and outs of refining persistence, the more you will hit your stride in performing.
And there you have it! Touch those three magic “Ps” every day, passion, persistence, performance and the fourth will come your way: Profit!
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Simple question, tricky answer. Unless you are organized.
If you are a professional athlete, you are paid to put points on the board or stop the opponent from scoring. Did you ever watch a competitive body builder work in the gym? Some have a journal and a tripod to mount their mobile phones recording technique as they work through their routine, carefully blending form and precision. The professional entertainer? Paid to sell tickets. Professional politicians? Easy, get the most votes.
Professional ad seller? You get paid to close business.
Is the better question, “What business will you close today?” Of course, it is. Wait, most sellers never start every day with the stomach-churning question, “What business will I close today?” Maybe that question is a little too focused. After all it drills down the process to the very measurable result of being organized, skilled, and focused. Just like that high achieving athlete or getting a ticket to that sold-out performance, someone was ready to answer that elegantly simple question, “What will you focus on today?”
Let’s start the process of learning how to better sharpen our focus skills. Suppose we start with an easy how-to, as in how-to prioritize your call activity. Your sales calls will fall into five major categories:
— New Business. The lifeblood, the very oxygen of the radio business. Remember this: radio advertising, when measured honestly (political ads, COVID economics adjusted) is a single digit growth business. Unless you are making developmental calls, attrition, competition, and the wobbles in the economy will overwhelm you. Make the developmental calls a priority.
— Renewals. The most efficient sale you will make is the business you currently have. Work on renewals when timely.
— Service. My experience is this is the number #1 weakness of most radio ad sellers. Learn how to follow-up, check-in and listen without looking for a transaction. It’s about making sure your rapport is healthy and ready.
— Collections. Do you need an explanation? Just be sure of your numbers and documentation before you make the call or send the email.
— Internal. Collaboration with management, programming, production, or biz ops starts here.
Simple enough. Five columns to list, prioritize and budget your daily call activity. Owners and managers who are reading this, help your sellers when they get distracted. What will you focus on today?
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Are you a multiplatform juggler? If you sell or manage for a radio station, the answer is yes.
Why? Because it’s been part of the radio ad sales DNA since radio advertising shrunk to single digit growth.
Maybe someone reading this column can research or remember the last time radio industry pre-pandemic ad sales grew at double digits. It’s a tough putt, for sure.
Radio sellers were the first to reach across the aisle and “cross-sell” event sponsorships, concert tie-ins, publications, prize catalogues, bridal fairs, recruitment fairs, half-off fairs, sports and leisure tie-ins, hurricane guides, meet and greets, and it all started with a simple concept called a “remote.”
Radio ad sales strategy has come a long way since the first five-year plan had no projected double-digit growth. Even worse was the negative growth forecast for many markets. I remember that famous local market slogan “last one out, please turn off the lights.”
Those simple, linear, fun-to-present packages that required nothing more than easy-to-follow graphics, reasonable pricing, and a testimonial letter required little training, re-skilling, and new technical understanding. The toughest questions were about electrical outlets, display details, and when do we load in?
Covid killed some of those income generators, but you can add in pre-pandemic tired, low-energy sellers and managers taking concepts for granted as the final nail in the coffin.
Wait a minute. Aren’t brides still making decisions? Is inflation driving us back to coupons and looking for daily deals? Seems like sports-related advertising always thrives, right?
Some concepts will return, others will be reimagined, and a few are gone forever. Back to the future. Digital and social media sales will shape your sales future whether you like it or not. The digital/social media growth trend is moving at a non-stop, double-digit pace, pushing every competitive sales team to learn more and sell faster.
Smart, energetic thinkers are planning the next move, reshaping the past for what will sell tomorrow. It’s been almost 25 years since the first Blackberry phone. Sometimes innovation leaves iconic concepts in the dust. Here is where all of this goes. Get your attitude ready to learn and earn.
— Your glass is never full. The next time a manager introduces a new opportunity open your thinking
— Ask questions. Remember “new” is a powerful sales world door opener. Be sure YOU know how this new opportunity works. Leave your ego outside the sales meeting.
— Local advertisers like a competitive edge. Procter & Gamble built the most successful package goods marketing in the world with “New and Improved.” Learn from the legacy winners.
Managers and sellers want to win new business. Are you prepared to learn how?
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com. Steve Lapa will be moderating the “Generating Revenue” panel at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University.
This week’s report from Cumulus Media | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group reveals the results of a study from data analysis agency Colourtext and UK commercial AM/FM radio industry group Radiocentre. Calling it the “largest and most comprehensive AM/FM radio ad effectiveness report in the world,” WWO says the study measured 59 tier-one auto campaigns for brands like Toyota, Honda, Land Rover, BMW, VW, Nissan, Volvo, Lexus, and Jaguar. The conclusion is that “AM/FM radio advertising generates significant increases in advertising awareness, brand relevance, brand trust, and brand consideration.” Other key findings include: 1) AM/FM radio increases the efficiency of automotive media plans: Colourtext and Radiocentre compared AM/FM radio’s average share of total media spend to the increase in advertising awareness, brand relevance, and brand trust generated by AM/FM radio campaigns. In each case, the auto brand lift is four to 11 times greater than AM/FM radio’s share of media spend; 2) the best performing auto campaigns place an emphasis on creative consistency; 3) AM/FM radio creates future demand for automotive brands; 4) Nielsen Scarborough: American auto intenders clock a lot of miles in their vehicles: A Nielsen Scarborough study of 199,118 Americans finds new car buying intentions in the next year increase as miles traveled grows; 5) among ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio has a dominating 89% share of in-car time spent; 6) Nielsen Scarborough: Heavy AM/FM radio and digital consumers are way above the norm for auto purchase intention; and 7) new vehicle purchasers are similar in profile to heavy AM/FM radio listeners, and heavy Internet users, and podcast listeners. See more about the study here.
Urban One Net Revenue Up 8.9% in Q3 of 2022. The company issues its third quarter 2022 financial data and reports net revenue of approximately $121.4 million, an increase of 8.9% from the same period in 2021. Urban One reports net income of approximately $4.2 million compared to the net income of $13.9 million it reported in the third quarter of 2021. The company says broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $50.8 million, an increase of 3.5% over the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Q3 was another very solid quarter, during which we grew both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA. Following a soft July for radio advertising, August and September rebounded and we finished the quarter +1.4% on a same station basis, and -1.3% excluding political. Same station radio pacings for Q4 excluding digital are currently +16.0% including political and +0.1% excluding political. Layering in the recent Indianapolis acquisition should push radio revenues to a double-digit percentage increase for Q4. Political spending has steadily gathered momentum, and we anticipate net political advertising revenues to be between $12-$13 million, of which radio is $9-$10 million, which is significantly ahead of both our budget and the 2018 cycle. Our cable TV business had another successful broadcast upfront season, and we were able to increase both our CPM’s and total dollars committed. Our Digital segment posted growth of approximately 40% in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA as demand for our audience and digital products remained strong. Our liquidity and leverage profile remained robust, and we continued to opportunistically repurchase our 7.375% bonds in the open market.”
Saga Communications’ Third Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 3.9%. Third quarter 2022 financial results for Saga Communications, Inc. reveal net revenue of $30 million – and increase of 3.9% over the same period in 2021. Station operating expense increased 2.8% for the quarter to $22.3 million compared to the same period last year. For Q3 of this year, station operating income increased 4.1% to $8.9 million, and operating income was $1.1 million compared to $4.6 million for the same quarter last year. Free cash flow was $1.6 million for the quarter compared to $4.0 million for the same period last year. Saga reports a net loss of $104,000 for the quarter compared to net income of $3.5 million for the third quarter last year. The company says, “Despite strong underlying performance the results were impacted by one-time payments related to the passing of our founder Ed Christian. As a result, the company is required to make several payments to his estate as outlined in his employment agreement. These expenses were accrued as of September 30, 2022 increasing the reported corporate general and administrative expense line item by $3.8 million for both the quarter and nine-month period ended September 30, 2022. Without these expenses operating income would have increased 5.8% to $4.9 million, free cash flow would have increased 36.5% to $5.4 million and net income would have increased 7.9% to $3.7 million.” Saga’s balance sheet reflects $58.3 million in cash and short-term investments as of September 30, 2022 and $45.3 million as of October 31, 2022.
Round Three of October PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 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 October 2022 sweep covered September 15 – October 12. 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 drops 1.1 shares to finish with a 7.3 share (6+, weekly AQH share) but remains ranked #4 in the market, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX adds four-tenths to wrap the survey with a 3.9 share that lifts it to the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio stays ranked #10 after dipping three-tenths for a 3.6 share, while Alpha Media’s crosstown news/talk KTSA sheds one-tenth for a 3.3 share finish and falls to the #12 rank in the market. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM puts up seven-tenths for a 12.3 share that cements its #1 rank as Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KSL-AM/FM adds six-tenths for a 7.3 share finish that puts it in the #2 slot. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds) here.
Andrew Colton to Host Mornings on WIOD, Miami. Taking over for longtime South Florida broadcasting legend Jimmy Cefalo on January 9, 2023 as host of the morning program on iHeartMedia’s WIOD “NewsRadio 610 AM” is Andrew Colton. He comes to iHeartMedia from his most recent work as CEO of Colton Legal Media Worldwide. He’s also been an award-winning national correspondent for ABC News, CBS Newspath, and hosted the nationally syndicated “Wall Street Journal This Morning” program. Cefalo will continue to provide commentary on WIOD as well as his role as play-by-play announcer for the Miami Dolphins. “South Florida First News with Andrew Colton” will include veteran news anchor Nathalie Rodriguez, William Althoff with more news and sports, Doug Lindsay with traffic and the Weather Channel’s Ray Stagich. Vice president of news and AM programming Florida Region and iHeartMedia NTS brand coordinator Grace Blazer says, “Jimmy and Andrew both share a passion for news, information, commonsense, and our South Florida lifestyle. We are excited and fortunate to have Andrew Colton continue WIOD’s spoken-word tradition and digital expansion.”
Philadelphia Sports Radio Broadcasters Honored with Hall of Fame Inductions. Two Audacy Philadelphia sports radio personalities are being recognized for their contributions to the Philadelphia sports media landscape. Longtime WIP radio host Howard Eskin is being inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on November 3. Eskin says, “It’s an honor to be selected and to be in such great company – really overwhelming. They say do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. As hard as I work, I have to admit, it is a labor of love.” Al Morganti, co-host of WIP’s morning show, is being honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame and will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. Morganti comments, “It’s the honor of a lifetime to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a huge part of any success I have had is because of the fans of Philadelphia. Having been on WIP for so many years and working at the Philadelphia Inquirer, I can attest that the emotional investment Philadelphia fans make to their teams makes everyone raise their game. Thank you!”
TALKERS News Notes. Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and SiriusXM ink a multi-year agreement for Krzyzewski to continue hosting his exclusive weekly SiriusXM show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K.” Krzyzewski has been hosting the show since 2005 and today (11/3) the first episode of the show’s 18th season drops. Krzyzewski says, “This will be the first fall in nearly 50 years that I’m not on the sidelines, and I’m so pleased to extend my long relationship with SiriusXM and continue hosting ‘Basketball and Beyond.’ Having the creative freedom to do a really unique show has been incredibly important and rewarding to me. I can be a part of the national conversation on basketball, while also exploring interesting topics with a variety of guests who make an impact far beyond the basketball court.”…..Red Apple Audio Networks announces it is signing 17 stations to its affiliate roster, including 11 Saga Communications stations. The newly added stations are carrying shows hosted by Larry Kudlow, Rudy Giuliani, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, as well as Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight.”…..Compass Media Networks partners with Wisebuddah and its sister company imager – European providers of sonic branding, radio imaging and jingles. The London-based companies currently curate the sound of BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, Bauer Media and Virgin Radio alongside dozens of radio stations (iHeartMedia, Alpha Media Group) in the United States.
Midterms/Trump in 2024, The Economy/Fed Rate Hike, Elon Musk’s Twitter, Russia-Ukraine War, and Pelosi Attack Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). The campaigning ahead of the November 8 midterm elections and expectations that former President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 presidential campaign shortly thereafter; the state of the U.S. economy and the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates again; the spate of celebs claiming they are leaving Twitter as a result of Elon Musk’s taking ownership of the social media platform; Russia’s war on Ukraine and its relationship with Iran, North Korea and China; and the conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on Paul Pelosi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: #NABShowNY. Consultant Holland Cooke reports “many long-time-no-see hugs among 9,500 of us at the Javits Center” as the National Association of Broadcasters rebooted the October event interrupted, “like much of life” by COVID. In this week’s column, HC offers “numbers for radio broadcasters fretting that listeners have wandered-off.” And about podcasting: Winners’ tips, and well-intended mistakes to avoid. Read it here.
Pending Business: The ‘Who Cares?’ Test. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says it’s always a good idea to review your sales proposal strategies to make sure they are as effective as they can be. How you pitch your talent’s host read spots is important because the host read spot is so important to news/talk stations. He says, “Radio advertising is still a real-time, single-digit growth business and competitive change is an important daily dynamic that’s out of your control. In plain English, if you are to grow your income through ad sales it will come to you through one of two obvious sources: new business or your competition.” He offers a four-point checklist for assessing your basic pitch features here.
WDAE, Tampa Announces New Program Schedule. Tampa sports talk outlet WDAE-AM/W237CW is beginning this week with a new program lineup. The iHeartMedia station says the “Pat and Aaron Show” – starring Pat Donovan and Aaron Jacobson – is the new morning drive program. They are followed by Premiere Networks’ “The Dan Patrick Show” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The early afternoon program is the new “Jay And Z Show” featuring Jay Recher and Zac Blobner, followed by the “Ronnie & TKras Show” with Ronnie Lane and Tom Krasniqi now in the afternoon drive daypart. FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm with ESPN Radio airing overnight.
Radio America Unveils New Sara Carter Podcast ‘Darkwars: The Border.’ Tomorrow (10/25), Radio America releases its new podcast, “Dark Wars: The Border,” hosted by award-winning investigative journalist Sara Carter as she “shares her perilous journey to expose how the porous U.S.-Mexico border has facilitated a deadly trail from China to your home town, with cartels, slavery, and death in between.” Carter is an investigative reporter, host of “The Sara Carter Show” on Radio America and a FOX News contributor. She says, “I am excited to release this podcast, which is a culmination of my on-the-ground investigative reporting of our border crisis. I embedded with border patrol agents via foot, horseback, car and helicopter – talking to coyotes and migrants alike – to reveal chilling stories about the opioid crisis and human trafficking that you haven’t read about in the news. I traveled to the native countries of these migrants to understand how cartels use social media to recruit migrants under the guise of easy passage and a better life. But in reality, they encounter abuse, rape, and death. ’m telling the stories of those being ignored by the media.” Radio America says, “The premiere episode features a wide range of perspectives, from U.S. Senators such as Rand Paul and Marsha Blackburn to Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to coyotes that work for the cartel among others, all to reveal a border crisis that is more serious and disturbing than what is reported in media. It’s a shocking portrayal of money and power that connects the Chinese government and Mexican cartels to the neighborhoods of everyday Americans.”
WGN, Chicago Schedules ‘Spook-tacular’ on Halloween. On Halloween, Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio in Chicago will air the “WGN Radio Theatre Spook-tacular with Carl Amari” from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am. The six-hour special will feature classic Halloween shows including “My Favorite Husband” starring Lucille Ball, “The Whistler,” “Our Miss Brooks,” starring Eve Arden, “Suspense,” starring Ronald Colman and more. WGN says that host Carl Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving original radio broadcasts and is the curator of the Classic Radio Club and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.
Midterm Elections, Trump Legal Issues, Russia-Ukraine War, British Politics, U.S. Math Scores, RSV/COVID-19, and World Series Matchup Set Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November midterm elections, speculation about control of Congress, and voter fraud issues; the several legal battles facing former President Donald Trump; Vladimir Putin’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and the attacks on its infrastructure; Rishi Sunak emerges as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom; the report indicating that math scores for U.S. students plummeted after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; the soaring rate of respiratory syncytial virus cases among young children in the U.S. and concerns about new COVID-19 variants; and the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros win their league championships to face off in the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Just email a schedule to a current client, build in a price increase attributed to everything from “political” to demand, and push your client to authorize.
Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Rises 10.4%. Reporting financial data for the second quarter of 2022, Urban One – parent company of Radio One – reveals net revenue of $118.8 million, an increase of 10.4 percent over the same period in 2021. Consolidated net income for Q2 of 2022 was $15.8 million, a decline of 14.4% from the same period in 2021. Urban One reports financial data for six separate segments including Radio Advertising ($44.5 million, up 4.5%), Digital Advertising ($17.8 million, up 19.1%), and Event Revenue ($1.1 million, up 2.3%). Urban One CEO and president Alfred Liggins III says, “We had a strong finish to Q2, driven by continued robust growth in digital and cable television advertising, both of which were up double digits. Our spot radio business outperformed the markets in which we operate by 230 Bps, and I was pleased with our overall 10.4% revenue growth, as a result of which we were able to post adjusted EBITDA growth of 6.1% y-o-y. Like other media businesses, we have experienced a slow-down in Q3, particularly in core radio which is currently pacing down low-to-mid single-digits. Given our diversified mix of assets, I still anticipate consolidated net revenues to grow in Q3, and we remain well positioned for political advertising later in the year. We will continue to be disciplined with capital allocation decisions and our cash position remains strong. We finished the quarter with net leverage below 4.0x, in line with our goal to continue to reduce leverage over time.”
Round Two of July PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 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 July 2022 sweep covered June 23 – July 20. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, DC, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM adds six-tenths for a 7.4 share (weekly, 6+ AHQ share) finish but still falls back to the #8 rank, while Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM is flat at a 4.1 share and recedes to the #8 rank. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM remains in first place in Seattle even after dropping six-tenths for a 6.7 share finish, while Lotus Communications’ crosstown all-news KNWN-AM/FM dips two-tenths to finish with a 3.1 share but stays locked in the #14 spot. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, Audacy’s news/talk WCCO adds three-tenths for a 4.4 share finish that boosts it to the #10 rank. Across town, Hubbard’s talk KTMY-FM falls two-tenths for a 3.3 share finish but stays ranked #13, while iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTLK-AM adds three-tenths to wrap with a 3.2 share good for the #14 rank. Hearst Television’s news/talk WBAL-AM leaps to the #10 rank after a 1.1 share increase gives it a 3.4 share finish as WCBM Maryland’s news/talk WCBM-AM sheds half a share for a 2.0 share finish good for the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as yesterday’s round one) here.
Premiere Networks Talk Hosts Front and Center at CPAC 2022. Pictured above (from l-r) at last weekend’s CPAC 2022 conference in Dallas are Premiere Networks talk radio hosts Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Jesse Kelly. Hannity’s address to the attendees covered election integrity, the upcoming midterm elections, the importance of conservative principles and more. Shortly before former President Donald Trump closed out the convention with his keynote address, Glenn Beck took to the stage with a presentation titled, “American History: What You Don’t Know,” and Jesse Kelly entertained the crowd with a satirical skit in which he posed as a news anchor covering the latest headlines at a faux network.
‘ESPN Chicago’ to Present Inaugural ‘Football Fest.’ Sports talk outlet WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is presenting its first-ever “ESPN Chicago Football Fest” that will bring together the station’s personalities and special guests ESPN senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN Fantasy Football expert Field Yates at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Saturday, August 20. Local personalities Tom Waddle, Marc Silverman, David Kaplan, Carmen DeFalco, Peggy Kusinski, Dionne Miller, Jonathan Hood, Chris Bleck, Adam Abdalla, and Jeff Meller will be at the event. Danny Zederman is content director for the Good Karma Brands station. He says, “Football Fest will be an amazing opportunity for ‘ESPN 1000’ fans to connect with our content team to kick off the 2022-2023 football season. Peggy and Dionne will be broadcasting live from the event, giving fans a front row seat to one of the station’s newest duos.”
Comscore Q2 2022 Net Revenue Up 4.3%. The second quarter financial report from digital media firm Comscore states net revenue for the period was $91.4 million, an increase of 4.3% over Q2 of 2021. The company reduced its net loss from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022 from $18.5 million to $5.1 million. Comscore CEO Jon Carpenter states, “I was honored to step into the CEO role in July and remain excited about the opportunity ahead for Comscore. This is a critical time for the industry, and we are committed and focused on delivering innovative products and solutions that our customers want and driving the growth and profitability our shareholders expect. The quarter highlights the momentum in our business, particularly in Cross Platform Solutions, which includes our growing local and national television businesses. While there is still work to be done, I am excited and energized about the opportunity ahead.”
TALKERS News Notes. Urban radio personality Angela Yee is leaving the WWPR, New York-based morning show “The Breakfast Club” after 12 years to launch her own midday program titled, “Way Up with Angela Yee” that will be syndicated via Premiere Networks. It will launch this fall and debut on more than 30 iHeartMedia stations. The company says the show “will feature the iconic personality in a fast-paced, listener interactive show, as she connects directly with listeners on the kinds of hot and timely topics in which she’s garnered trust over her decades on air – from relationships to Hip-Hop and R&B, headline news topics, and overall culture, both in and out of the music industry.”…..Audacy-owned podcast company C13Originals is partnering with Team Downey and Wink Pictures for “The Sunshine Place,” an investigative documentary podcast series examining Synanon, a former California-based experimental drug rehab facility and community that morphed into a dangerous and violent cult, led by its messianic founder Charles E. Diedrich. Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “This is a story we were immediately drawn to and wanted to tell. It’s an honor to be able to tell incredible stories like this with such a great team in Susan, Robert, Emily, and Josh in collaboration with our brilliant C13Orginals creative team.”…..American Public Media Group announces that Barry Gisser is the organization’s new senior vice president and chief financial officer, succeeding Morris Goodwin who after eight years significantly increased the value of APMG’s endowment and led its investment strategy. Gisser’s first day at APMG will be September 6.
FBI Raids Mar-a-Lago/NYC Deposition, Primaries/2024 Race, The Economy, Biden Health & Climate Bill, China’s Taiwan Threats, Russia-Ukraine War, and Serena Williams Announces Retirement Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago offices and his scheduled deposition by New York AG Letitia James; Tuesday’s primary races for the November midterms and speculation about the nominees for the 2024 presidential race; the high rate of inflation and concerns about a recession; the Inflation Reduction Act that affects health care, taxes, and climate incentives; China’s ramped-up military exercises around Taiwan; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and tennis great Serena Williams announces her plans to retire from the sport were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Urban One First Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 23%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One – says its net revenue was approximately $112.3 million, an increase of 23% from the same period in 2021. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $48.4 million, an increase of 33% from the same period in 2021. Net income was approximately $16.4 million or $0.32 per share (basic) compared to $7,000 or $0.00 per share (basic) for the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III, states, “We had extremely strong first quarter performance across the platform, with advertising revenues up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 49.5%, cable TV advertising revenues were up 46.9%, and radio advertising, excluding political and digital, was up 17.4%. This enabled us to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 38.9% year-over-year, and by $14.3 million or 51.6% vs. Q1 2019. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 11.5% compared to Q1 2019. Second quarter core radio advertising is pacing up mid-single digits, as we start to lap the tougher comps from 2021. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, with $166.4 million of cash and net leverage down to 4.07x.”
Cumulus Announces $25 Million Stock Buyback. On the heels of yesterday’s first quarter financial report and the board’s authorization of a $50 million buyback program, Cumulus Media Inc. announces its intention to commence a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase up to $25 million of shares of its Class A common stock, or such lesser number of shares of its Class A common stock as are properly tendered and not properly withdrawn, at a price not greater than $16.50 and not less than $14.50 per share of Class A common stock, to the tendering shareholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest (the “Offer”). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Following yesterday’s announcement of the board’s authorization of a $50 million share buyback program, we are launching this tender as a first step in our capital return plan. This action is underpinned by our strong financial and operating momentum, our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued and our desire to allow shareholders who seek it the ability to take advantage of the liquidity we can provide them. It is also our expectation that, even with this tender offer, we will be below our target of 3.5x net leverage by year end with significant continuing liquidity and financial flexibility for accretive M&A.” Cumulus will conduct the Offer by means of a procedure commonly called a “modified Dutch auction.” This procedure allows shareholders to select the price, within a price range specified by Cumulus, and the number of shares they are willing to sell at that price (or, should a higher price be determined as the “purchase price,” such higher price). The Offer is being made under Cumulus’s previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.
Saga Communications Net Revenue Increases 12% in Q1 of 2022. For the first three months of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc. net revenue increased 12% to $25 million compared to $22.3 million for the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 17.8% to $5.6 million and operating income was $1.7 million compared to $883,000 for same period a year ago. Saga reports net income of $1.2 million compared to net income of $758 thousand for Q1 of 2021. The company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on April 8, 2022. The aggregate amount of the quarterly dividend was approximately $970 thousand. Additionally, the company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share and a special dividend of $0.50 per share on January 14, 2022. To date Saga has paid over $78 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. Saga Communications reports that it had $55.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2022.
Russia-Ukraine War Correspondent Gregg Stebben is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran media editor/reporter Gregg Stebben is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Stebben is a former longtime editor of Men’s Health magazine who served 20 years as its radio spokesperson. He is currently reporting on a volunteer basis back to the U.S. via the beamz.live platform from Poland and Ukraine where he has been interviewing refugees and local citizens in both adjacent nations in addition to doing whatever he can to provide comfort and support to the frightened, displaced people in conjunction with international humanitarian groups. Harrison caught up with Stebben on the Ukrainian side of the border on May 2. They discuss the human element of the crisis and the catastrophic impact and escalating deadly potential of the war. Harrison states, “Not only is the information being gathered by Stebben of great value, he is a shining example of independent talk radio reporting in action serving as a one-man field unit reporting on the war while supporting Ukraine as a volunteer. I find his effort truly inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Premiere of 2,000 Mules Takes Place at Mar-a-Lago. The premiere of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film 2,000 Mules took place last night (5/4) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida as former president Donald J. Trump presided over the event. The film was executive produced by Salem Media Group and a number of its current and former talk hosts appear in the documentary. Pictured above are (from l-r): D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka, Eric Metaxas, Trump, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk, and Dennis Prager.
Triton Digital Streaming Metrics Ranker for March 2022 Released. The Streaming Metrics Ranker for the U.S. for March of this year has been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions and charts the top 25 performing digital audio publishers. For the daypart 6am-12am Mon-Sun, iHeartMedia leads the pack with 303,162 AAS. Some of the other radio-related companies appearing in the ranker include at #2 NPR Member Stations (81,035 AAS), #3 Audacy (69,281 AAS), #4 Cumulus Streaming Network (42,569 AAS), #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (19,203 AAS), #8 Hubbard Broadcasting (15,233 AAS), #11 Salem Communications (9,591 AAS), #12 Urban One (8,577 AAS), and #13 Bonneville International 7,612 AAS). See the complete ranker here.
WCKG-AM, Chicago Owner Buying Time on WLS-AM to Reach Voters for U.S. Senate Campaign. Chicagoland radio station owner Matt Dubiel – whose company DuPage Radio LLC owns and operates talk outlet WCKG-AM, Elmhurst – is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and is taking an interesting tack in his campaign. He says in a press release that “in the spirit of former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot, Illinois businessman Matt Dubiel has purchased airtime on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.” He will host a two-hour show every Saturday afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm until the primary election on June 28. Dubiel adds, “Nothing can replace the reach of radio. I’m consistently being shadow-banned on social media, corporate media refuses to cover my campaign, and the issues we need to discuss like CRT/SEL in schools, medical freedom, and other hot topics are virtually banned on social platforms that censor We the People, in America! The Illinois GOP even has me blocked on Twitter, and I’m running on their ticket! Hosting my own show on the radio home of Bongino, Shapiro, and Levin will allow Dubiel to speak directly to the people. The people in every county across Illinois need to know they have a guy who will actually represent them for a change. I am looking forward to talking to ALL Illinoisians about the issues that matter to them.” The 45-year-old Dubiel says he began his career in radio at 17, interning for the legendary Steve Dahl. He worked his way up through the radio ranks in Chicago, serving as a producer and talent, before transitioning into management.
Jeff Katz Show Honored by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left) as the governor recognizes the 6th anniversary of Katz’s “Lt. Jan McTernan Blue Friday Honors Program” that pays tribute to Central Virginia police officers by highlighting their positive contributions.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Jon Zaghloul is being promoted to sports director at DuPage Radio LLC’s WCKG-AM, Elmhurst, Illinois. In this new role, Zaghloul will continue to host his weekend program “Sports Talk Chicago” on the station. He says, “I am honored to be a part of this exciting new challenge with WCKG. Over the past two years with the station, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide Chicagoans with hard-hitting sports opinions and insightful interviews. Now, it is time to expand our iconic brand, and I am actively on the hunt for both fresh, and established local sports talent to bolster our daily lineup.”…..Los Angeles Comic Con, partners with iHeartRadio to produce the podcast, “Comic Con Meta*Pod.” The show launched on Wednesday (5/4) with a “May the 4th Star Wars” special featuring “Mandalorian” actor Giancarlo Esposito, “Clone Wars” and “Bad Batch” composer Kevin Kiner, and more. The podcast is hosted by Hector Navarro and art/culture critic Joelle Monique…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” afternoon drive host Shannon Burke (left) with former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik (right). Kerik appeared on Burke’s radio show on Wednesday (5/4) and the two discussed Kerik’s former police chief role in New York City, working with Donald Trump, the January 6 Committee, and more. “Florida Man Radio” is broadcast on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach.
Roe v Wade Leak/Protests, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Economy, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and Dave Chapelle Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade and the protests taking place around the country; the Fed raises interest rates a half percent and the effect of high gas and food prices; the primary elections for November’s midterm races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe and the global economy; Donald Trump Jr. sits for testimony before the January 6 committee; concerns about new Omicron variants causing a summer wave of infections; and Dave Chapelle is attacked while on stage at the Hollywood Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Go ahead and check your last proposal. How did you answer the Why Buy question? Chances are you either omitted the concept completely or channeled Captain Obvious. When it comes to fundamentals, gone is not forgotten.