Reporting both its fourth quarter 2023 and full-year 2023 operating results, Sweden-based Spotify reveals Q4 2023 revenue of €3.67 billion, an increase of almost 16% over the same period in 2022. For the full year of 2023, Spotify posted revenue of €13.25 billion, an increase of almost 13% over the full year of 2022. However, the company also reports a net loss of €70 million for Q4 of 2023 and a net loss of €532 million for the full year of 2023, the latter an increased loss of almost 24% from 2022 to 2023.
The third quarter 2023 revenue for SiriusXM was $2.27 billion, basically flat from the same period in 2022. The satellite and internet broadcaster reports net income of $363 million for the quarter. SiriusXM noted that it lost about 96,000 self-pay subscribers during the quarter and states that its current total subscribers stands at 34 million. SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz says, “We are very excited to unveil SiriusXM’s next-generation platform on November 8th, a key component of our long-term vision for the company’s consumer offerings. Our content portfolio continues to differentiate us in the audio marketplace with exclusive access to live sports, talk, music and one-of-a-kind content.”
Relative to the preceding story, on Friday (9/29) Urban One filed an 8-K Form containing its preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2023. The company reports consolidated revenue of $109.9 million, a decrease of 2% from the same period in 2022. Urban One breaks down its report into segments and states that its broadcast radio division brought in revenue of $35.2 million, an increase of 11.7% over the same period in 2022. For the first quarter of 2023, Urban One reports a net loss of $1.5 million compared to the net income of $16.5 million it reported in the first quarter of 2022.
iHeartMedia Inc reports its operating results for the first quarter of 2023 and revenue for the period was $811.2 million, a decline of 3.8% over the same period in 2022. After reporting operating income of $12.3 million in Q1 of 2022, the company posts an operating loss of $48.8 million. Also, iHeartMedia’s net loss increased from $48.7 million in the first quarter of 2022 to $222.4 million in Q1 of this year. The company’s Digital Audio Group segment’s total revenue was $223.4 million, up 4% over the same period in 2022. The company’s Multiplatform Group reports total revenue of $529 million (a decline of 7%) and that segment breaks down as follows: Broadcast Radio revenue was $383.2 million (down 7.7% from Q1 2022) and Networks reports revenue of $107.9 million (down 8.2% from Q1 of 2022). Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “We are pleased to report that our first quarter 2023 results were a bit above the high end of our Adjusted EBITDA and Revenue guidance ranges – and that more importantly, while both the macroeconomic climate and the advertising marketplace remain uncertain, the audio and digital advertising markets appeared to be stronger in the quarter than we had initially anticipated. We expect that our second quarter Adjusted EBITDA, while below 2022 levels, will be approximately double what we generated in the first quarter, and this, in combination with our Q1 first quarter performance relative to guidance, gives us confidence that our Adjusted EBITDA results will continue to improve throughout 2023, and that we will be well positioned to build further in 2024 in terms of revenue growth, profitability, and Free Cash Flow generation.”
Radio pro Nikki Ramirez (Cumulus Media Atlanta and Audacy Miami) joins Research Director Inc as sales & business development lead. Research Director says that “in this new position, Ramirez will accelerate radio stations’ awareness of Research Director’s powerful Programming & Ratings Toolbox, designed to provide a deeper understanding of market performance immediately after Nielsen’s data release.” Company CEO Marc Greenspan says, “We’re excited to leverage Nikki’s extensive radio industry knowledge and experience, both on-air and behind-the-scenes, to fuel our growth in helping radio stations across the U.S. maximize the value of data to improve both their ratings and their revenue. She joins our team at a pivotal time as we look to showcase our unique ability to help clients improve their programming effectiveness and sales success.”
LiveOne – parent company of audio services PodcastOne and Slacker – reports operating results for its third quarter of Fiscal 2023 and the first nine months of Fiscal 2023. At the same time, it announces that it is following through with its plan to spin-out PodcastOne into a separate company by filing an S-1 with the Securities Exchange Commission. For the company as a whole, LiveOne reports Q3 Fiscal 2023 revenue of $27.3 million – a decrease of 17% from the same period in Fiscal 2022. However, the company has reduced its net loss for the quarter from $11.8 million in Fiscal 2022 to $3.2 million. Its Audio Division that includes PodcastOne and Slacker produced record revenue of $22 million in Q3 Fiscal 2023 compared to $19.1 million in the same period in the prior year. LiveOne’s CEO and chairman Robert Ellin comments, “Over the past year, we have been laser focused on optimizing and streamlining our operations, led by our audio business, which includes Slacker Radio and PodcastOne. The combination of improving Contribution Margins, coupled with over $30 million in annual expense and overhead reduction, is resulting in record operating results. We are excited about the continued strong growth of paid memberships coming largely through B-to-B partnerships, including our nine-year relationship with Tesla. We expect our strong operating performance to continue for the foreseeable future led by our Audio Division and for it to collectively achieve revenue in excess of $88 million in Fiscal 2023 and generate more than $18 million in Adjusted EBITDA.”
SiriusXM reports results from the fourth quarter of 2022 as well as the year in full. For Q4, revenue was $2.28 billion, flat compared to the same period in 2021. For the full year of 2022, revenue was $9.0 billion, an increase of 4% over the full year of 2021. The company ended 2022 with 32.4 million self-pay subscribers, an increase of 348,000 for the year, aided by a growing base of streaming-only subscribers. Net income for Q4 of 2022 was $365 million, up from the $318 million posted in Q4 of 2021. For the year, net income was $1.2 billion, down from the $1.3 billion reported in 2021. CEO Jennifer Witz says, “2022 was a strong year for SiriusXM, as we continued to focus on bringing consumers the best in audio entertainment both in-car and on the go, reaching record high revenue and record low churn. Our strong operating and financial performance in 2022 are a testament to our resilient business model and growing contribution from streaming, which helped us deliver 348,000 net new self-pay subscribers. In 2023, we expect SiriusXM to deliver strong operating performance and generate significant cash, even as we face a challenging economic environment and continue to make material investments in our technology infrastructure.”
Radio sales pro Jeff Clewett is promoted to the director of sales position at Bonneville Denver, which operates sports talkers KKFN-FM “Denver Sports” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver,” plus two music brands. Clewett has been serving the company as general sales manager for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports.” Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Katie Reid says, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jeff join our sales team. I know he will show our clients exceptional results and take Denver sales to the next level through his keen strategic thinking, business acumen and strong focus on community.” Clewett comments, “I am humbled and excited to work with such a talented team and iconic brands that are so meaningful to the market. The Bonneville Denver sales team has a track record of tremendous success and I look forward to finding new ways to maximize revenue, deliver extraordinary results for our partners and develop our people.”
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, “Trick or Tweet,” looks back at this past week of 10/31-11/4. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Murray Sabrin, professor emeritus of finance, Ramapo College, NJ; Mark Davis, talk show host, 660 AM The Answer, Dallas/Fort Worth; Bobbie Winston a.k.a. La Femme Bobbie, musician/artist/American ex-pat, Rio de Janeiro; Renee Kohanski, M.D., forensic psychiatrist/podcaster, Somerset, NJ; Matthew B. Harrison, Esq., associate publisher, TALKERS/law professor, Springfield, MA. 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.
iHeartMedia Q3 Revenue Up 7%. Reporting its financial data for the third quarter of 2022, iHeartMedia says revenue was $989 million, an increase of 7% over the same quarter a year ago. The company is also posting an operating loss of $211 million for the third quarter of 2022 compared to the operating income of $80 million it reported for Q3 of 2021. Additionally, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of almost $310 million compared to the net income of $3.6 million it posted in the third quarter of 2021. iHeartMedia breaks its operations into three segments. Third quarter results for those segments are as follows: the Multiplatform Group that includes its radio stations and program networks was basically flat with a revenue increase of 0.1% “as a result of increased political advertising revenue as 2022 is a midterm election year, partially offset by a decrease in revenue due to a more challenging macroeconomic environment. Broadcast revenue grew $2.1 million, or 0.4% year-over-year, driven by higher political advertising revenue and an increase in trade and barter revenue, partially offset by lower spot revenue, while Networks declined $(0.7) million, or 0.5% year-over-year.” The Digital Audio Group was up 23.4% on revenue of $254 million. This group’s revenue increased by $48.2 million compared to the prior year, “including growth from Digital, excluding Podcast revenue, which grew $21.1 million to $162.7 million, driven by increased demand for digital advertising as well as Podcast revenue which increased by $27.1 million to $91.3 million, driven by higher revenues from the development of new podcasts as well as growth from existing podcasts. Digital Audio Group revenue increased as a result of general increased demand for digital advertising and the growing popularity of podcasting.” And the Audio & Media Services Group was up 17.7% on revenue of $77.8 million. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of solid operating results for iHeart, and our performance in the midst of the current climate of economic uncertainty is a strong indication of the successful transformation this company has undergone in which our high-growth digital revenues comprises 26% of total company revenues. Our Digital Audio Group continues to deliver industry-leading growth, and our Multiplatform Group has again demonstrated its resiliency during a difficult economic environment. We believe the strong positions of both of these groups with both consumers and advertisers give us the ability to both navigate through this period of economic uncertainty and position us for continued growth through the recovery and beyond.”
Salem Media Group Total Revenue Rises 1.3%. The company reports that its total revenue for the third quarter of 2022 was $66.9 million, an increase of 1.3% over the same period in 2021. Salem Media Group also reports an operating loss of $8.8 million compared to operating income of $15.8 million in Q3 of 2021, and a net loss of $11.9 million compared to the net income of $22.1 million is reported during the same period in 2021. Salem presents its financial data in three segments. The Broadcast segment reports revenue of $51.1 million, an increase of 3.1% over Q3 of 2021, Digital Media revenue was $10.2 million, down 4.3% from the third quarter of 2021, and Publishing revenue was $5.5 million, a decrease of 3.7% from the same period a year ago.
Round Four of October PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. 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 the Raleigh market, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM tacks on three-tenths to wrap the survey with a 9.1 share that puts it in the #1 spot, while Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF sheds one-tenth for a 1.8 share finish to remain ranked #15. The top dogs in Milwaukee flip as iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN adds a full share for a 10.6 share finish that lifts it from #2 to #1, while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ loses 1.9 shares for an 8.1 share finish that drops it from #1 to #4. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence adds on nine-tenths for wrap the survey with a 6.4 share that lifts it from #6 to #5. And in Jacksonville, Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM is up one-tenth to a 7.9 share good for the #3 rank in the market. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the previous three groups) here.
Comrex Unveils New BRIC-Link III Audio Codec. The company officially unveils BRIC-Link III – the newest addition to its popular BRIC-Link family of codecs. Comrex says there are more than 10,000 BRIC-Link codecs circulating world-wide, and BRIC-Link III is an updated version that takes advantage of the latest improvements in IP audio transmission technology. BRIC-Link III is a true codec, offering a full-duplex stereo encoder and decoder in each box. A jitter buffer manager is incorporated that automatically balances delay and stability, dynamically increasing and decreasing delay based on network performance. BRIC-link III offers a wide range of encoding algorithms including stereo and mono linear mode, FLAC modes, AAC/HE-AAC modes, Opus, G.722 and G.711. BRIC-Link III features a new, more powerful processor for improved reliability. It also features enhanced front panel indicators, including four buttons which will trigger contact closures by default and configurable for auto-connections to other Comrex IP audio codecs. BRIC-Link III is compatible with all other Comrex IP audio codecs, including the ACCESS codec line as well as older BRIC-Link models. BRIC-Link III also works with Gagl, a new service now available for purchase for audio contribution. Gagl turns any Comrex IP audio codec into a hub for up to five remote participants. Like other BRIC-Link codecs, BRIC-Link III includes CrossLock VPN technology, Comrex’s proprietary suite of reliability tools. In addition to bonding technology, CrossLock also includes a Redundancy Mode for mission-critical applications. BRIC-Link III can take advantage of HotSwap, meaning that users can set a 4G/5G modem as a backup connection to only be engaged when the primary internet fails, providing an extra layer of reliability. Customers can also choose to purchase an optional one-time license per codec to utilize SwitchBoard, a private server that Comrex maintains which allows for easy connections between IP codecs. You can get more information on this and other Comrex products here.
GAB Radio Talent Institute Returns to University of Georgia. The RAB’s National Radio Talent System announces the return of the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. The institute takes place in person May 15 – 24, 2023 thanks to sponsorship from The Georgia Association of Broadcasters. The talent incubator spans 10 days and is led by broadcast professionals that bring their real-world industry knowledge from around the state and country to educate students. RAB says that college students from universities throughout the state and region apply to be accepted into the GAB Radio Talent Institute. This provides an ideal networking pool for the students and a wide variety of potential interests within the classroom for industry professionals to identify and actively recruit from. Upon completion of the Institute, students can further their networking capabilities with the ability to access the National Radio Talent System’s Career Center. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “We are delighted to have the GAB Radio Talent Institute make its return after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Collaborating with Bob Houghton and the Georgia Association of Broadcasters enables us to bring this world-class program to life in the southeast and further develop the next generation of broadcasters.”
TALKERS News Notes. Inside Towers’ Leslie Stimson writes an interesting piece about the FCC’s creation of a Space Bureau. Stimson writes that FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the move at the Satellite Industry Association meeting yesterday (11/3). “She said the growth of satellite broadband internet plays a big part in why the agency is making the move. ‘Ninety-eight percent of all satellite launches in 2021 were deployed into low-earth orbit to provide internet connectivity back here on Earth. They can help advance the FCC’s goals to connect everyone, everywhere,’ Rosenworcel said. ‘More than that, the success of these low-earth orbit communications satellites could be seen as an early litmus test for the broader commercialization of space.’” Read Stimson’s entire piece here…..Three Hillsdale College students have won national College Broadcasters, Inc. awards for their work with “Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM.” The awards were announced at the National Student Electronic Media Convention in Baltimore. Sophomore Lauren Smyth placed first in Best Newscast or Sportscast category for “Lauren Smyth News,” senior Josh Barker placed third in Best Hard News Reporting for his feature “The Policy Corner: Michigan Voting Laws,” and Rachel Kookogey (class of ’22) received both first and second place for two segments of her feature, “Sports Story Time.” WRFH general manager Scot Bertram says, “I’m very proud of our students for their well-deserved wins. It is great to see our students being recognized on the national level for their continued hard work and dedication.”…..SiriusXM announces its play-by-play coverage of the 2022-23 college basketball season that begins Monday (11/7). The opening night schedule features 24 teams from the men’s Associated Press Top 25, including defending national champion and #5-ranked Kansas facing Omaha and top-ranked North Carolina, coming off their 12th National Championship appearance, hosting UNC Wilmington…..Host Bethenny Frankel, the most successful business mogul to emerge from “The Real Housewives” franchise, and iHeartPodcasts launch a first-of-its-kind rewatch podcast titled, “ReWives.” Frankel, formerly of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York,” breaks down the franchise that launched her career. In each episode, she’s “joined by unexpected celebrity guests ranging from superfans to Housewives newbies for hilarious conversations and surprising insight on real topics.” “ReWives” premieres on November 14 with Elisabeth Moss as Frankel’s first guest. New episodes will post each Monday with additional guests including Jerry Springer, Suze Orman, Kevin Nealon, Dave Portnoy, Griffin Johnson and more.
Broadcaster Raising Awareness of Need for Organ Donors. Western Massachusetts broadcaster and public relations pro Mark Auerbach (pictured) is revealing his battle with kidney disease in an effort to raise awareness of the need for organ donors. Auerbach hosts “ArtsBeat,” “On The Mark” and “Athenaeum Spotlight” on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He’s also the ArtsBeat reporter for Pioneer Valley Radio. On today’s program that you can see here, Auerbach reveals his battle with Stage 5 kidney disease and the need for donors. Auerbach says people can help by taking any of three steps: 1) becoming an organ donor upon your death; 2) consider donating while you’re alive (get details at kidney.org); and 3) donating to him at Mass General Hospital’s living donors program (https://mghlivingdonors.org/).
Politics and Midterms Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 31 – November 4. The politics leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the economy combined with the Fed’s rate hike, followed by the aftermath of the Pelosi home invasion 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.
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, “The Bird is Caged,” looks back at this past week of 10/24-10/28. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Mark Davis, talk show host, KSKY, “660 AM The Answer,” Dallas/Fort Worth; Holland Cooke, media consultant/author; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; and Brad Shepard, talk show host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. 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.
Cumulus Net Revenue Declines 1.8% in Third Quarter. Reporting its financial data for the third quarter of 2022 – as well as the first nine months of 2022 – Cumulus Media reveals that net revenue was $233.5 million in Q1, a decrease of 1.8% over the same period in 2021. For the first nine months of this year, the company reports net income of $16.3 million compared to the loss of $360,000 it reported for the first nine months of 2021. Cumulus breaks out its revenue into segments and the total broadcast radio revenue for Q3 of 2022 was $177 million, down 4.7% from the same period in 2021. While spot revenue was $124.8 million – up 2.3%, network revenue was $52.3 million, down 18.2%. Digital revenue was $34.9 million, an increase of 4.7% over the third quarter of 2021. Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner states, “Notwithstanding a difficult macro environment, consistent execution of our strategic plan has put us in an enviable financial position to effectively navigate through the continuing headwinds. Our solid Q3 results reflect that execution – although total revenue declined, driven by weakness in national advertising channels, digital revenue continued to grow, and we increased profitability as well. We also generated $24 million of cash from operations, repurchased $3.9 million of shares, opportunistically retired $2.8 million of senior notes at a discount and finished the quarter with net leverage of 3.7x, the lowest it’s been in more than a decade. Looking ahead, we will continue to rigorously implement our plan, which includes: furthering our multi-platform evolution; supporting growth of multiple, profitable digital businesses; reducing our fixed cost base; investing in high-ROI internal initiatives; maintaining a disciplined approach to M&A, including enhancing cash generation from non-core asset monetization; bolstering liquidity; reducing net leverage; and optimizing a multi-pronged capital allocation strategy. Given our track record, we continue to have strong confidence in our ability, under this plan, to grow shareholder value even in the incrementally challenging macro environment.”
Beasley Names Ron deCastro Market Manager for Tampa. Radio sales and management pro Ron deCastro joins Beasley Media Group as market manager for the company’s Tampa station group that includes business news WHFS-AM “Money Talk 1010 AM” and five music brands. DeCastro was most recently market president and chief revenue officer at WQHT-FM and WBLS-FM in New York. He says, “I’ve spent a significant amount of my career leading some of the most iconic brands in America and I am excited to join the team at Beasley and help continue grow these fantastic brands.” Beasley EVP and COO Brian Beasley says, “We are happy to welcome Ron into the Beasley Media Group family. His vast experience, valuable insight and proven leadership made him the perfect choice to lead and grow our Tampa/St. Pete-based radio properties.”
NPR and Edison Research Unveil Results of Spoken Word Audio Report. The latest Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research concludes that “almost half (46%) of the U.S. population listens to spoken word audio content daily.” This is the fourth version of this study that “explores the ways spoken word media consumption in the U.S. has increased over time, including the number of listeners, and how long they listen.” This year’s study includes a special focus on how younger demographics are increasingly more interested in the medium, and reveals a 214% increase in listening to spoken word audio among those age 13-24. Key findings include: 1) There are an estimated 26 million more people listening to spoken word audio in the U.S. than eight years ago. An estimated 131 million people in the U.S. age 13+ are daily spoken word audio listeners, up from 105 million daily listeners in 2014; 2) Spoken word’s share of all audio is increasing among all listeners. Listeners age 13+ spend 29% of their total audio time with spoken word content, up from 20% in 2014, a 45% increase; 3) Listeners age 13-24 show the most explosive growth with share of spoken word audio. That Gen Z segment spends 22% of their time with spoken word audio, compared with those age 13-24 in 2014 who spent only 7% of their time with spoken word audio, a 214% increase for this age group; and 4) For the first time ever, daily spoken word audio listeners spend a majority of their audio time with spoken word. Those who listen to spoken word audio daily spend 51% of their total daily audio time with spoken word. You can see the report here.
TALKERS News Notes. Just in time for the 2022 Major League Baseball World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros, Audacy drops the new national daily podcast, “Baseball Isn’t Boring,” hosted by longtime baseball columnist, author and WEEI-FM, Boston broadcaster Rob Bradford. The podcast is a project born from the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” campaign instituted by Bradford and major league pitcher Joe Kelly. Kelly and Bradford have also co-authored the soon-to-be-released book, A Damn Near Perfect Game: Reclaiming America’s Pastime. Bradford says, “As we wrap up what has been a very ‘un-boring’ postseason, we’re thrilled to launch this fun new daily podcast to rally behind the great sport of baseball – America’s national pastime. I look forward to speaking with some of the biggest names in sports to prove that baseball is alive and thriving.”…..CNN Audio premieres the new eight-episode, limited-series podcast, “The James Brown Mystery,” that investigates the suspicious death of the legendary musician and questions if he was murdered. The investigation began after CNN reporter Thomas Lake received a phone call from a woman who said she was in James Brown’s inner circle almost 40 years ago and the relationship nearly destroyed her career. Decades later, she’s trying to solve the mystery of Brown’s death. When she makes the call to Lake, “the two stumble into a world of secrets, intimidation, and suspected foul play.” “The James Brown Mystery” is the first podcast hosted and reported by Thomas Lake, who in 2019 published his exclusive CNN investigative series, “Lost in the Woods with James Brown’s Ghost,” exploring unanswered questions around the singer’s death and the many people still calling for an autopsy and criminal investigation. “The James Brown Mystery” expands upon Lake’s reporting and covers Brown’s complicated past, the mysterious death of his third wife, and the biggest questions surrounding his demise…..WDAS-AM/W273DO, Philadelphia “FOX Sports Radio, The Gambler” sports show “The Divide Live” – hosted by Mike, a diehard Mets fan and Corey, a diehard Yankees fan – are broadcasting a one-hour special recorded live from the Toms River Field of Dreams Comedy Night Benefit last weekend (10/22). The special broadcast will include interviews with former MLB third baseman Todd Frazier for his take on the Mets, Yankees, “retirement” and life after the MLB; mixed martial artist Frankie Edgar who breaks down what it’s like to prepare for his final UFC fight at Madison Square Garden; and WFAN, New York afternoon drive star Craig Carton talking career, giving back, life’s successes and unfortunate failures. It airs tonight at 9:00 pm ET…..Edison Research, provider of Edison Podcast Metrics, announces it has developed a complementary service to count downloads for participating publishers. After months of research, Edison is utilizing a new method for determining U.S. downloads that does not employ a redirect nor involve delivery of log files. Edison president Larry Rosen says, “We have developed an elegant new solution that will enhance our unique Edison Podcast Metrics survey. While our survey of 20,000 podcast listeners each year provides the most complete look at the totality of actual listening to podcasts, download data will provide deeper information to subscribers, especially for smaller and short-run shows.”
KTSA, San Antonio Helps Raise Almost $170,000 for Thanksgiving Dinner for Those in Need. San Antonio news/talk KTSA helped raise a record $163,893, during the annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner radiothon Friday, October 21. Funds raised will go to feed more than 25,000 seniors and needy people on Thanksgiving Day. The Alpha Media news/talk says the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner is the largest dinner of its kind in the country. Pictured above (l-r) are KTSA talk hosts Sean Rima, Jack Riccardi, and Trey Ware with a staffer from the Raul Jiminez Thanksgiving Dinner charity.
WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina Owner Honored for Station’s Service. Pictured above is broadcaster and WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller (left) receiving a proclamation by Charles Moates (right), chair of the Greenwood County Council, in honor of the station’s 81 years of service and Eller’s service to the community. Speaking to The Index-Journal about her work as an independent broadcaster, Eller says, “Each day gives me the chance to connect with my listeners through delivery via traditional radio, livestreaming on the Internet, podcasts on our website and promotions via social media. Radio is as relevant in the business of communications as ever before – maybe more so. I am proud of the honors my station and I have received recently, and I look forward to many more great years as a broadcaster,” Photo by Damian Dominguez, The Index-Journal
Politics and Midterm Elections Tie as Top News/Talk Stories for Week of October 24-28. The debates ahead of the November midterm elections and the politics surrounding them came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the economy, including inflation and threats of a recession, followed by former President Donald Trump’s legal issues 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.
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, “Mixed Messages,” looks back at this past week of 8/1 to 8/5. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Jack Heath, talk show host, The Pulse of NH, New Hampshire; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Greta Van Susteren, talk show host, Newsmax TV. The show airs weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on almost 100 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.
iHeartMedia Q2 2022 Revenue Up 10.7%. The company reports that its 2022 second quarter consolidated revenue was $954 million, an increase of 10.7% over the same period in 2021. For the quarter, iHeartMedia posted net income of $15.2 million compared with the net loss of $32 million it reported for Q2 of 2021. iHeartMedia reports financial data in three segments: the Multiplatform Group (broadcast, networks, and sponsorships & events), Digital Audio Group, and Audio & Media Services Group. The company says revenue from the Multiplatform Group increased $27.5 million, or 4.5% year-over-year, primarily as a result of the continued recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcast revenue grew $12.2 million, or 2.7%, driven by higher spot revenue and political advertising revenue as 2022 is a midterm election year, partially offset by lower trade and barter revenue due to the impact of the timing of the iHeartRadio Music Awards show, while Networks grew $3.9 million, or 3.2%. Revenue from Sponsorship and Events increased by $9.5 million, or 33.2%, primarily as a result of the return of live events. Revenue from iHM’s Digital Audio Group increased $54.6 million, or 27.6% compared to the same period in 2021. Digital, excluding podcast revenue, grew $22.4 million, or 15.5%, driven by increased demand for digital advertising. Podcast revenue increased by $32.3 million, or 60.4%, driven by higher revenues from the development of new podcasts as well as growth from existing podcasts. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of solid results for iHeart in terms of consumer usage, revenue and earnings growth and, most importantly, strong free cash flow generation. The Digital Audio Group continues to deliver industry-leading growth, and our Multiplatform Group continues to demonstrate that it is a growth engine for the company as well. As the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio and podcasting – and the largest consumer reach audio company in the U.S. by far, we remain committed to building our businesses for future growth and continuing to deliver both trusted companionship to our listeners and significant and unique value to our advertising partners.”
Audacy Q2 Net Revenue Rises 5%. Citing “declining macroeconomic conditions,” Audacy reports net revenue of $319.4 million, an increase of 5% over the same period in 2021. The company says that core spot revenue was $200.5 million – flat compared to the second quarter of 2021, and digital revenue was $69.3 million, up 19% compared to the second quarter of 2021. The company reports a net loss of $773,000 in Q2 of 2022 compared to the net income of $1.4 million it reported during the same period a year ago. Audacy breaks down its revenue by format categories and says that the news/talk category revenue (news/talk and all-news stations) was $51.8 million, an increase of 4.2% over the same period in 2021. Audacy president and CEO David Field comments, “After a very strong first quarter in which we grew revenues by 14% and significantly increased margin, our second quarter results were adversely impacted by declining macroeconomic conditions and ad market headwinds which reduced our top line growth to 5%. While we navigate the turbulent current market conditions, we are excited by our future growth potential across our scaled, multi-platform businesses, capitalizing on a number of important recent developments that include an enhanced national sales organization, expanded podcast and streaming audio networks, and during the second half of this year, the rollout of a new, reimagined digital platform and ad tech capabilities that will enable us to unlock pools of ad demand and supply that we can’t effectively monetize today. Our transformational development over the past couple of years has meaningfully enhanced our competitive position, strengthening our capacity to serve listeners and customers and enabling a powerful set of opportunities for revenue and EBITDA growth in the dynamically growing audio market.”
Audacy Gets Listing Standards Notice from NYSE. The company received notification from the New York Stock Exchange that its Class A common stock is not in compliance with the exchange’s continued listing standard requiring a minimum average closing price of $1.00 per share over 30 consecutive trading days. The notice does not result in the immediate delisting of the common stock from the NYSE. Audacy says it plans to notify the NYSE that it intends to regain compliance and is considering all available options that are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders. Audacy can regain compliance during a six-month cure period if, on the last trading day of any calendar month during the cure period, the common stock has a closing share price of at least $1.00 and an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month.
Salem Media Group Revenue Climbs 7.7% in Second Quarter of 2022. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2022, Salem Media Group reveals total revenue of $68.7 million, an increase of 7.7% over the same period in 2021. The company also reports net income of $9.1 million, an increase of more than 300% from the net income of $2.25 million reported in the second quarter of 2021. Salem reports in three segments: Broadcast, Digital Media, and Publishing and for Q2 of 2022, net broadcast revenue increased 12.1% to $52.5 million. Digital Media revenue increased 4.5% to $10.8 million, while Publishing revenue decreased 18.5% to $5.4 million.
Saga Communications Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 6.3%. For the second quarter of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc posts net revenue of $29.8 million, an increase of 6.3% over the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 10.6% to $9.3 million and operating income was $5.4 million compared to $4.6 million for the same quarter last year. Free cash flow was $3.2 million in Q2 of 2022 compared to $4.2 million for the same period last year. Capital expenditures for the quarter were $2.6 million compared to $921 thousand for the same period last year. Capital expenditures for the quarter included the $1.1 million purchase of a building in Norfolk, Virginia that will replace the company’s existing leased studio and office facility. Saga reports net income of $3.8 million for the second quarter of 2022 compared to net income of $3.3 million for the same period a year ago.
Audacy and CBS Sports Digital Patner for Content Distribution and Ad Sales. This exclusive, multi-year deal between Audacy and CBS Sports Digital makes Audacy the exclusive, ad sales and distribution partner for CBS Sports’ network of sports podcasts. The press release states that CBS Sports Digital has grown to reach more than 90 million monthly active users, making it the second-largest sports group in the U.S, and with more than 65 shows and nearly 100 million downloads in 2021. Audacy EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with CBS Sports in the podcasting space – properties I know well from my time spent there. Adding this family of content to our roster provides Audacy with a number of the leading sports, fantasy sports and betting podcasts, areas we have enjoyed significant success to date and are important to our clients. This partnership could not come at a better time with football season fast approaching.”
TALKERS News Notes. The John Fredericks Media Network announces a programming agreement for the newest member of its growing portfolio of radio stations as the network’s programming is now airing on Chesapeake-Portsmouth Broadcasting Corporation’s WTJZ-AM, Portsmouth, Virginia. JFMN chief operating officer Anne Fredericks says, “The Norfolk market is critical to our Virginia network as it represents the biggest U.S. naval base in the world at a very uncertain time for our nation’s Navy personnel. The uncertainty of potential hostility in the Asian perimeter and the South China sea makes this opportunity more important than ever. We will continue to provide all our listeners with extensive and in-depth coverage of China’s military and economic moves in the area, as well as top-flight analysis of the evolving events.”…..FOX Sports Radio’s LaVar Arrington announces an addition to his Up On Game Presents podcast lineup as musician, songwriter and creative director Flash Garments launches the “Under Appreciated with Flash Garments” show. Arrington says, “We’re super excited to have Flash Garments join the Up On Game Presents lineup with the launch of his ‘Under Appreciated’ podcast. Flash knows everybody, is very well respected, and has a lot to say! I think listeners will really enjoy this inspiring and enlightening program, and we look forward to sharing it with our audience every Friday!”…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro has been filling in this week for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dawn Stensland on her 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program…..The GCN-syndicated program “Classic Radio Theater with Wyatt Cox” adds new affiliate stations as KVOE-AM, Emporia, Kansas and KGEZ-AM, Kalispell, Montana adds the show to their program schedules. Cox comments, “I grew up on Sunnyslope Street in Emporia and listened to KVOE, enjoying some of the great music of the 60s and the fun personalities like the late Roger Hartsook. It’s a source of pride to be back in Emporia, if just virtually, every weekday.”
Video Tribute to Rich Stevens. The radio personality died on July 30 after suffering a heart attack. Rich Stevens enjoyed a career in music radio as well as in the talk radio format, hosting a program on Hubbard Radio’s WFTL, Fort Lauderdale. “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo put together a tribute video that you can see here.
The Economy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 1-5. The state of the U.S. economy – the still-high cost of food and gasoline and the threat of a recession – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between partisan politics, the elections, and abortion rights, followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan tied with the related U.S.-China relations 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.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
On the one hand, you know your station and market inside out. You are the tour guide who can navigate the advertiser through every fork in the road. You are proud of your station’s heritage and conversant with the demographics, psychographics, and socioeconomic profile of the population that resides in your coverage area. Rates, packages, program lineups, and historical revenue figures are at the tip of your tongue. Any out of the ordinary question is answered with a fast access, “Let me get back to you.” All are important traits that are critical components for top sellers and managers.
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, “Mothers of Contention,” looks back at this past week of 5/2 to 5/6. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; and Gregg Stebben, correspondent, beamz.live. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio UK and many more. 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 now 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.
iHeartMedia Reports Q1 2022 Consolidated Revenue Up 19.4%. Financial results from the first quarter of 2022 for iHeartMedia Inc. reveal consolidated revenue of $843 million, an increase of 19.4% over the same period a year ago. The company’s net loss shrank during the first quarter to $48.7 million from the $242 million net loss posted during Q1 of 2021. iHeartMedia posted operating income of $12.3 million for the first quarter, compared to the operating loss of $76.4 million it reported in Q1 of 2021. Looking at the company’s reporting by segment, broadcast radio was up 16.2% on revenue of $416.5 million, and networks was up 2.1% on revenue of $117.6 million. Those, along with sponsorships & events, comprise the company’s Multiplatform Group. The Digital Audio Group consists of digital excluding podcasting, which reported revenue of $145.7 million (up 22.2%), and podcasting, which reported revenue of $68.5 million (an increase of 78.7%). The company’s Audio & Media Services Group reported revenue of $60.9 million (up 10.4%) for the quarter. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of strong results, and believe our performance is further evidence of the successful execution of our digital transformation and multiplatform strategy, and the power of our position as the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio, and podcasting. We remain committed to building on iHeart’s transformation into a data-led, digitally focused business; to investing in areas with high-growth potential; and to continuing our focus on innovation and being at the forefront of new technologies and digital platforms which create incremental growth opportunities for Audio.”
‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show Expands to Springfield, Mass. Market. The “Toucher & Rich” morning program based at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be heard on rock Saga Communications’ WLZX-FM/W253CD in the Springfield-Northampton, Massachusetts market beginning on May 9. The program, hosted by Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right), began expanding to affiliate stations throughout New England last fall. This is an uncommon move for Saga, which has a history of keeping its morning drive programs live and local. Toucher & Rich comment, “We’re excited to be launching ‘Toucher & Rich’ in Springfield and Northampton on ‘Lazer 99.3 and 98.5’ with our new friends at Saga Communications. We’re fortunate to have some of the most loyal listeners in radio and look forward to introducing our show to a whole new audience of potential T&R diehards.”
Moms & Media 2022. “Two years into COVID,” Moms’ media consumption is changed. “The Research Moms” at Edison Research updated their annual report in a Thursday webinar consultant Holland Cooke attended; and HC’s “one-sentence version” is: “To reach Mom, use smartphones, Alexa, Facebook, and TikTok.” Click here for his notes, and links to download the report and watch a video of the narrated presentation. Read more here.
WJR-AM, Detroit Celebrates 100 Years on the Air. On Wednesday (5/4), Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM, Detroit kicked off a year-long Centennial celebration. WJR signed on for the first time on May 4, 1922, as WCX, which changed a few years later to WJR to reflect the ownership of the Jewett Radio and Phonograph Company. Cumulus says, “The station has served the community with excellence for 100 years, with a 50,000-watt signal that can be heard across nearly half the country at night, providing the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the Upper Midwest with news, music, sports, and information by some of the most talented people in the radio industry. Through the years, WJR’s legendary lineup has featured broadcasting giants such as Paul W. Smith, Jack Parr, Mitch Albom, J.P. McCarthy, Frank Beckmann, Ernie Harwell, Guy Gordon, and Rush Limbaugh.” In the last several months leading up to Wednesday’s 100th year birthday, WJR has presented dozens of on-air vignettes that mark memorable moments, tell interesting stories, and feature the unique sound and talented people from WJR’s history. In addition, the station has populated www.wjr.com with archival video, audio and photos that tell the story of WJR’s first 100 years. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manage Steve Finateri comments, “Being at WJR is like being part of an all-star team at every position in this famous Fisher Building. WJR is iconic because of the extremely high standards set by so many world class broadcasters over the past 100 years. Today, those same high standards and our ‘blow torch coverage’ is what still attracts top newsmakers from around the Great Lakes Region and is the reason for our continued success. We take great pride in our programming, our business and civic relationships, and serve the community by raising millions every year for numerous worthy charities that improve the quality of life in Detroit. The best-of-the-best seem to find their way to WJR, and I know that tradition will continue on for the next 100 years.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media personality and former WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive host Steve Cochran is going to be heard on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM in mornings next week. Cochran will guest host the program that is without a permanent host since Bruce St. James exited the station last month. Since exiting WGN, Cochran has been producing a twice-weekly podcast titled, “Live from My Office.”…..Audio streaming service TuneIn names Tom Fuelling chief financial officer. Fuelling has served as CFO for Hulu, OpenX, ARTISTdirect and most recently, Spokeo, Inc. TuneIn CEO Richard Stern says, “Tom is an incredible addition to our growing leadership team. His experience scaling global media businesses that consumers love is unparalleled. Working in a competitive landscape, TuneIn has emerged as a leader in live audio streaming and we look forward to working with Tom as he’ll help us sustain and maintain our growth both domestically and abroad.”…..FOX News Media, in partnership with the National Merit Scholarship Program, announces the selection of the recipients of the third annual Dr. Charles Krauthammer Memorial Scholarship. This year’s scholarships will be endowed to Emmett Gaffney, son of vice president of documentary programming, Brian Gaffney and Grace LeCroy, the daughter of FOX News assignment desk manager Lillian LeCroy and FOX News Edge photojournalist Phil LeCroy. The winners will be featured on the network’s evening newscast, “Special Report with anchor Bret Baier,” on which Dr. Krauthammer was a fixture over the years. Additionally, Daniel Krauthammer will appear on the program tonight to discuss his father’s legacy. In making the announcement, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “We are pleased to continue the tradition of honoring Charles Krauthammer’s extraordinary and celebrated career. Emmett and Grace are exceptional students whose many talents extend beyond the classroom. It is our hope that Charles’ brilliant intellect, integrity and courage will serve as an inspiration for them throughout their next endeavors in higher education. Congratulations to Emmett, Grace, and their families.”
Roe v Wade Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 2-6. The leak of a draft decision indicating the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics tied with the 2022 and 2024 elections, followed by January 6 committee activity tied with Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the 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.
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,“Predators,” looks back at this past week of 2/28 to 3/4. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Ronn Owens, talk show host (retired), KGO, San Francisco; Chris Hansen, investigative reporter/commentator, “Predators I Have Caught with Chris Hansen”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City/FOX News Radio; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now 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.
RT Shuts Down American Operations. The management of RT, the international Russian government-funded television network, informed its staff of American and Russian broadcasters that it is shutting down operations of its Washington, DC-based U.S. operations, RT America, effective immediately due to the condemnation it is receiving in the United States as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The news was broken at an all-hands-on-deck staff meeting held at the network’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Washington, DC on Thursday (3/3) at 12:00 pm. Noted media consultant and TALKERS contributing columnist Holland Cooke has been hosting a weekly show on RT America titled, “The Big Picture,” since 2017. He tells his story in a TALKERS exclusive feature. Please click here.
Salem Media Group Reports 2021 Q4 Revenue Up 7.2%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group reveals total revenue for the period was $69.1 million, an increase of 7.2% over the same period in 2020. Breaking the quarterly results down by segment, the company reports net broadcast revenue of $51 million, an increase of 6.1%, year-over-year. Salem’s digital media revenue was $11.6 million, up 2.9%, and publishing revenue was $6.5 million, an increase of 27.1% over Q4 of 2020. For the full year of 2021, consolidated revenue was $258.2 million, up 9.3% over the full year of 2020. Full-year net broadcast revenue was $191.4 million, a year-over-year increase of 7.5%; digital media revenue was $42.2 million, an increase of 6.5% over 2020; and publishing revenue was $24.6 million, a year-over-year increase of 33.1%. For the full year of 2021, Salem reports net income of $41.5 million compared to the net loss of $54.1 million reported for the full year of 2020.
The John Fredericks Media Network Launches ‘Liberty Radio’ Simulcast Serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Region. Talk media personality and media operator John Fredericks announces the John Fredericks Media Network’s acquisition of the former WVCH-AM, Chester – now WJFP-AM – and translator W277DL, Malvern (103.3) in Pennsylvania and his operation of translator W237EH, Pennsauken, New Jersey (95.3) to simulcast as “Liberty Radio.” The company says the new radio signal additions to the John Fredericks Media Network will give the it enormous reach into Philadelphia, all surrounding suburbs, half of Delaware – south to Dover, all of Wilmington and most of South Jersey. Fredericks owns or operates four radio stations in Central Virginia – WJFN-AM, Chester; WJFN-FM, Goochland; and translators at 92.7 FM and 107.7 FM – as the simulcast “Newstalk WJFN.” He also owns WMLB-AM, Atlanta. “The John Fredericks Radio Show” is carried on both networks. He also hosts the television show “Outside the Beltway with John Fredericks” on Real America’s Voice News. Fredericks comments, “The acquisition of iconic radio station WVCH in greater Philadelphia and its accompanying FM translator is an essential component of our growth strategy. We want to provide our growing audience with hard-hitting news and incisive analysis to cut through the cancel culture and the woke fake news networks that dominate the airwaves today. Our proprietary network of show hosts is leading the radio industry, and our vision of all live weekday coverage and weekend live sports has resonated with both our listeners and advertisers.”
MIW’s ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’ Accepting Applications. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting, announces the opening of the application window for its 2022 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program today (3/4) through March 21, 2022. Established in 2002, MIW’s the annual mentoring initiative connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2022 program. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff commented on the announcement, “We’re extremely appreciative of our sponsors, Entravision and Beasley Media Group. We look forward to welcoming our newest group of mentees, especially as we consider the data presented in our recent MIW Gender Analysis Study. There’s work to be done and we’re eager to continue our mission of mentoring!” See more about this program and apply here.
TALKERS News Notes. A deal between United Stations Radio Networks, Audacy, and AccuWeather, is extended and expanded. The new pact provides for the continuation of AccuWeather’s services on existing Audacy affiliates, and adds 14 new Audacy stations to the list of AccuWeather outlets, including FM stations in New York City, Detroit, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Buffalo…..Chicago radio personality and South Side native William J. Kelly is co-hosting a charity benefit called “Chicago Stands with Ukraine” on Friday, March 11 to benefit Nevada-based Revived Soldiers Ukraine. Kelly says, “‘The William J. Kelly Irish Hour’ on WPNA is proud to support Revived Soldiers of Ukraine and the courageous work they do. We are joining together here in the Land of Lincoln and beyond to support the brave men and women in Ukraine who are fighting and sacrificing their lives for freedom.”….. The board of trustees for Boston public media producer GBH elects Stacy L. Cowan, Susan G. Fentin, Susan X. Luo, and Lynn Perry Wooten as trustees. President and CEO Jonathan Abbott states, “GBH is fortunate to have a strong, committed group of community and business leaders dedicated to helping the organization achieve its mission. As the landscape for media evolves, we continue to rely on their expertise and leadership.”
The Russia-Ukraine Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 28-March 4. Russia’s continuing invasion of the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response to the crisis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the soaring price of consumer goods and gasoline 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.
Bell Seeks Senior Manager, Affiliate Relations & Content. Canadian media giant Bell is looking for a senior manager, affiliate relations & content for its Orbyt Media. The company says, “We’re looking for innovative team players ready to take some of the most well-known entertainment brands in the country to the next level. Are you looking for a unique opportunity to play a critical role in content creation and syndication of programs and services across the broadcast industry? The Orbyt Media team is looking for someone who will foster and grow internal and external relationships and be bold in their idea generation and planning. Integrity and strong leadership are core attributes that are required in this role.” Find out more and apply here.
iHeartMedia 2021 Fourth Quarter Revenue Up 14%. Reporting its financial results from the fourth quarter of 2021 and the year as a whole, iHeartMedia, Inc. says Q4 revenue was $1.06 billion, up 14% over the same period in 2020. Reporting by segment, iHeartMedia says its Digital Audio Group revenue was $273.2 million, up 59% over Q4 in 2020; Podcast Revenue was $96.6 million, an increase of 130% year over year; and Broadcast Radio revenue was $519.1 million, up 4.9%. Net income for Q4 of 2021 was $112 million compared to net income of $2.9 million in Q4 of 2020. For the whole of 2021, the company reports a net loss of $8.4 million compared to the net loss of $1.9 billion reported for all of 2020. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “We are pleased to report another strong quarter and to wrap up a very strong year, further evidence of our momentum and the continuing digital transformation of iHeartMedia into a data-led, digital business with important new platforms like podcasting built on the unparalleled scale and audience reach of our broadcast radio assets. We believe that this strong performance in Q4 and full year positions us well for continued growth in 2022.”
Audacy Q4 2021 Revenue Climbs 8%. The company reveals that net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $344.7 million, an increase of 8% over the same period in 2020, led by double digit growth in both digital and spot radio. Audacy reports that core spot revenue (local plus national excluding political) was $218.4 million, up 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 while digital revenue was $68.1 million, up 16% year over year. Operating income for the quarter was $48.1 million, compared to an operating loss of $204.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Audacy reports Q4 2021 net income of $21.4 million compared to the net loss of $162.3 million reported in Q4 2020. For the whole of 2021, Audacy reports a net loss of $3.6 million compared to the net loss of $242.2 million reported for all of 2020. President and CEO David J. Field states, “In 2021, we accelerated our organizational development through a number of important strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, and content and senior talent additions. This was also the year in which we rebranded the company to reflect our evolution into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and important leadership positions across the full spectrum of the dynamic, growing audio market. Our 2021 acquisitions of Podcorn and AmperWave, plus BetQL just prior to the start of the year, are important additions to our capabilities that will fuel accelerated growth and enhance how we serve our listeners and customers. Audacy today is well positioned to capitalize on the exciting growth opportunities within audio at the same time as we anticipate the continuing recovery of radio ad spending. We are off to a very good start to 2022 and our team is excited about the year ahead.”
Live From Donetsk. The Russia-Ukraine crisis has escalated to the major news/talk radio topic on the table triggering a scramble for hosts to sort out the facts from the fiction as a variety of perspectives – some quite controversial – are being aired out in the national conversation. WABC, New York all-night host Frank Morano provided the listeners of his program “The Other Side of Midnight” with something to think about early Monday morning (2/21) in terms of the “other side” of the story. He conducted a long-distance, live phone interview with a man named Russell Bentley, an American expat and avowed communist who has lived in Donetsk for eight years after moving there to fight, alongside the separatists, against the Ukrainian government. Morano tells TALKERS, “I think Bentley did a good job not only describing what’s happening there with Russian troops being on the ground, but also explaining the mentality of how people there feel. I think it’s so unique compared to what folks are doing with this in talk radio. Russia’s recognition of Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic has drawn global condemnation, with the U.S. and several European countries agreeing to move quickly to respond with economic penalties. This was truly something different.” To listen to the entire interview, please click here.
Round One of January PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s January 2022 PPM survey is released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s January 2022 sweep covered January 6 – February 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR rose seven-tenths to a 2.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #13 while Red Apple Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC-AM/WLIR-FM also rose seven-tenths to finish with a 3.0 share good for the #12 rank in the market. Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM, Chicago is back in the #1 spot after adding a full share for a 5.7 share finish. Across town at Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, a 1.7 share increase gives the station a 5.2 share finish good for the #4 rank in the market. After a series of declines, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on 1.1 shares for a 6.9 share finish that pushes it up to the #3 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.
WOR-AM, New York Turns 100. Pictured above is the staff of iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR-AM, New York celebrating the station’s 100th anniversary on the air. It was on February 22, 1922 that the station first went on air and the celebration included on-air reminiscences from past WOR personalities including: John R. Gambling, George Meade, Joan Hamburg, Shelly Strickler, Bill Korbel, and Daria Dolan. Above are (from l-r): assistant program director Scott Lakefield, creative services director Howard Hoffman; morning co-host Len Berman, morning show executive producer Natalie Vacca, morning co-host Michael Riedel, midday host Mark Simone, and program director Tom Cuddy.
Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Broadcast from Mar-a-Lago. The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” did a live remote broadcast from The Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach on Tuesday (2/22) during which former President Donald Trump joined the program for a full hour to talk about subjects including the current crisis in Ukraine, COVID mandates, Democratic contenders in 2024, the Canadian Trucker protests, his future political goals and more. Trump also complimented the duo on the success of their show, saying “Congratulations. You’re knocking it dead. And that’s good. Rush would be proud of you.”
Michael Harrison Discusses the Concept of the “Media Station” on New Podcast. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison presents a detailed explanation of the emerging concept he calls the “media station” in the debut installment of a new podcast titled, “Masters In Media,” hosted by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick of the firm, Goldman/McCormick Public Relations. Harrison explains the impact multimedia cross-platform branding is having on 20th century analog entities such as radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, magazines, movie theaters and record companies. He states, “All these different entities operated within their own lanes and were quite isolated from each other in terms of their mother platforms. Now there is no solitary mother platform for any media organization and companies cannot put all their ‘eggs in one basket.’ Today’s radio station is actually a media station. So are today’s newspapers and the like. They are all in the business of producing and distributing audio, video, graphics, text, information and entertainment.” Harrison also discusses what it takes to make it these days as a radio talk show host. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio syndication pro Adam Wilbur is promoted to SVP of affilaites sales & operations at Compass Media Networks. Wilbur continues to be based out of the company’s Los Angeles office and continues to spearhead the company’s affiliate sales, affiliate marketing, affiliate technical operations, and select content relationships. He says, “This 13-year journey has been an incredible ride. Thank you to all the hosts, producers, colleagues, affiliates and potential affiliates that make each day unique and unpredictable. I love it.”…..CNN Audio expands its podcast programming with the upcoming debut of “Diversifying” on February 28. Fostering insightful discussions about how the financial system can work for us, instead of against us, host Delyanne Barros creates a welcome space for people of color, women, single households, and others who have traditionally been left out of conversations around personal finance. Throughout the series, Barros speaks with real people, as well as with money experts, who are faced with the challenge of balancing cultural expectations with their own financial needs. Whether that’s struggling to negotiate pay as a woman of color, or supporting one’s parents as they enter retirement, “Diversifying” offers listeners actionable steps toward better financial health, all while validating struggles with money, no matter what the starting point.
Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, SCOTUS Trump Ruling, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Arbery Verdict/Floyd Case, Inflation/The Economy, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22). The Western condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine incursion after his recognition of separatist provinces; the slowing rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Canada’s prosecution of trucker protesters, and threats of a trucker protest in Washington, DC; the Supreme Court rules against Donald Trump in his bid to keep his records from the January 6 committee; November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the jury deliberates in the federal hate crime trial of the three men found guilty if killing Ahmaud Arbery; the soaring rate of inflation and the sliding financial markets; and the frigid winter weather affecting much of the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.