Friday, October 28, 2022
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.