Industry News

Nielsen Audio Releases Audio Today Report on the Black Audience

The most recent edition of Nielsen Audio’s Audio Today report focuses on Black consumers and concludes that of all audio services – both ad-free and ad-supported – AM/FM radio dominates in drawing Black listeners. For Blacks 18+, AM/FM reaches 89% of the population monthly, compared to itsim next best competitor – YouTube Music – at 31%. When it comes to Blacks 35-49, AM/FM reaches 90% of that demographic. The Nielsen report dips into Edison Research’s Share of Ear study and notes that when it comes to share of daily time spent listening to all audio sources (Black adults 18+) 44% of that time is spent with AM/FM radio compared to its next best competitor – streaming audio – with 14%. Not surprisingly, when it comes to the top radio formats listened to by Blacks 18+, rhythmic music stations rank at the top. However, out of the 20 radio formats Nielsen lists in its study, news/talk comes in as the 6th most-listened-to format with a monthly reach of almost 2.4 million. That comes out ahead of sports talk with a monthly reach of almost 1.98 million. See the study results here.

Industry News

Bloomberg: Audacy Gambled on CBS Radio Merger

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’sim 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.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Audacy Third Quarter Net Revenue Falls 4%. The company reports Q3 net revenue of $317 million – a decline of 4% over the same period in 2021. Additionally, Audacy reports an operating loss of $151.9 million compared to operating income of $29.3 million in Q3 of 2021. The company reports a net loss of $141 million for the third quarter of 2022 compared to the net loss of $4.76 million it reported during the third quarter of 2021. Breaking down Audacy’s revenue by segment, it reports local and national spot business was $205 million, a decline of 7.2% over the same period in 2021. Digital revenue (including podcasting) was $62.7 million, an increase of 2.1% over Q3 of 2021. Network revenue was $23.7 million, up 0.9% over the third quarter of 2021. Audacy chairman, president & CEO David J. Field comments, “Our third quarter revenues declined 3.8% as advertising headwinds impacted company performance. Solid double-digit growth in streaming audio and digital marketing solutions were offset by declining radio revenues. Our radio revenues were negatively impacted by our concentration in the country’s largest markets as small to medium market radio outperformed large market radio by 8% during the quarter. We remain deeply focused on executing our action plan to navigate the storm and emerge healthy and strong. We completed the sale of $56 million in real estate to enhance our financial position with additional sales in the pipeline. We launched the next generation of our Audacy streaming platform with innovative features including segment chaptering of live spoken-word radio shows. Since launch, digital listeners are up 25% while registrations have increased 15% and we have high expectations for the impact of the new platform on our future growth. We also continue to make progress on core strategic growth drivers such as national enterprise business development and our ad tech product roadmap to open important pools of demand and accelerate future performance. Looking beyond the challenging current macro environment, Audacy has been transformed into a leading, scaled multi-platform audio content and entertainment company, better able to serve listeners and customers than ever before. We are excited by the opportunities ahead and are deeply focused on continuing to best position the company to compete for significant growth in the dynamic audio market.”

Audio Pros Gather at FOX News for Reception. Pictured above are (from l-r) “FOX Across America” host Jimmy Failla, Westwood One SVP, head of operations Tim Seymour, FOX News Audio account manager, affiliate sales & marketing Tamara Karcev, and TuneIn chief content officer Kevin Straley at FOX News headquarters in New York as FOX hosted the reception to showcase its collection of radio and podcast offerings with media pros in town for the NAB Show New York last week. FOX News Audio vice president John Sylvester along with hosts Brian Kilmeade, Guy Benson, and Jimmy Failla spoke during the cocktail reception.

Talk Host Austin Petersen Joins Missouri’s ‘Real Talk’ Network. Former KWON, Jefferson City, Missouri morning drive talk host Austin Petersen – a former Libertarian candidate for president and U.S. Senate – joins Ellis Broadcasting & Media LLC’s “Real Talk” format as host of the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm show. The programming airs on a
number of Missouri radio stations including: KXEN-AM, St. Louis; KRTK-FM, Hermann; KVMO-FM, Vandalia; and KRTE-FM, Steelville. Petersen says, “I can’t wait to take on this new challenge and get the chance to talk about the big issues with the good people in the St. Louis region. It’s a huge opportunity and I couldn’t be more grateful. You can expect hard-hitting interviews, freedom rants, and plenty of jokes and fun. I love gold, guns, freedom and my smokin’-hot, redheaded wife. We’ll look at the issues from all angles. We’ll think outside the box, avoid groupthink, and declare our independence from the tyranny of big government. Most of all, we’ll make freedom fighting fun again!” The network is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Rick and Tracy Ellis. Tracy Ellis says, “When Rick and I started the ‘Real Talk Radio Network’ it was always important to us to make sure our listeners were kept up to date not only on local news and politics, but throughout the state of Missouri. We have followed Austin Petersen for some time and with his home base in Jefferson City, we felt he was the perfect fit to the puzzle at ‘Real Talk.’ Many local politicians came to us directly and spoke highly of Austin and how much they enjoyed being on his former show and would love to hear him on our stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. Announcing its coverage of the midterm elections, SiriusXM says it is presenting programming on its original political channels – Patriot, P.O.T.U.S. and Progress – with team coverage that extends from its regular daytime schedule into new live primetime and overnight programming. Additionally, on SiriusXM Triumph, starting at 9:00 pm ET Megyn Kelly will host a special live, commercial-free edition of her program on which she’ll share her perspective and analysis of election results as they come in, and will speak with leading experts and political observers. The Urban View channel, which focuses on issues affecting the African-American community, will also be live with special programming from 8:00 pm – 12:00 am ET…..PodcastOne is partnering with original “Friday Night Lights” cast members Zach Gilford, Scott Porter and self-proclaimed “Friday Night Lights” superfan Mae Whitman for an exclusive podcast and vodcast, “It’s Not Only Football: Friday Night Lights and Beyond” that debuts on Thursday (11/10). Each week, the trio will break down an episode of “Friday Night Lights,” giving listeners and viewers exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories and the latest going on in their lives. Episodes will feature guests that range from fellow cast members to close friends and colleagues…..Virtual News Center adds Flagler Broadcasting’s WBHU, St. Augustine Beach, Florida to its growing list of affiliate radio stations. Virtual News Center will provide local newscasts anchored by Amy Cherry with daily reporting from Rich Petschke.

Midterm Elections/Trump in 2024, The Economy, Elon Musk & Twitter, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6, Powerball Delay, and Subtropical Storm Nicole Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). Today’s midterm elections that will determine control of the House and Senate for the next two years and former President Donald Trump’s teasing his bid for the White House in 2024; inflation and fears of a recession; the uncertain state of Twitter in Elon Musk’s second week as owner of the social media platform; Ukrainians and Europeans brace for a long, cold winter as Vladimir Putin continues his war; the Oath Keepers on trial for seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 Capitol attack; the record $1.8 billion Powerball jackpot drawing is delayed due to “security protocol issue”; and the development of subtropical storm Nicole were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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Friday, August 5, 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, “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.

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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Triton Digital Releases Streaming Metrics Ranker for April. The monthly rankings of streaming properties in the U.S. for the month of April have been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions (calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period). The following is based on listening in the U.S. for 6am-12am Mon-Sun. This month, iHeartRadio is #1 with 300,843 AAS, followed by NPR Member Stations at #2 (73,677 AAS), and Audacy at #3 (67,798 AAS). Other radio-related companies finishing in the top 25 include Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (42,061 AAS), Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (19,207 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (15,095 AAS), Salem Communications at #11 (8,816 AAS), Urban One at #12 (8,456 AAS), and Bonneville International at #13 (7,358 AAS). See the complete ranker here.

 

Edison Research to Present ‘The Smart Audio Report’ Five Years In. On June 16, Edison Research will present a live webinar to reveal the results of its The Smart Audio Report 2022. Edison says that back in 2017, it and NPR went into the homes of smart speaker owners to learn how the new technology was being integrated into people’s lives for the original Smart Audio Report. Five years later, they revisited some of those same families to see how they have grown and how their usage of voice assistant technology has changed. “The 2022 installment of the Smart Audio Report will not only offer an update on some of those original families, but also fresh data from a recent national study that measures attitudes around voice tech among those who use it and those who don’t.” Ahead of the June 16 webinar, Edison reveals that recent data shows (for people 13+) share of time spent listening to audio on a smart speaker breaks down as follows: Streaming Audio (Spotify, Pandora, etc.) 41%, AM/FM Radio 13%, YouTube (music and music videos only) 11%, SiriusXM 11%, Owned Music 8%, Podcasts 8%, Audio Books 7%, and Other 1%. You can get more information about the webinar and register here.

 

Conservative Commentator Tomi Lahren to Host Outkick Programs. Conservative media figure Tomi Lahren is joining OutKick Media to host the evening program “Tomi Lahren is Fearless,” premiering on June 20. New episodes will air every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:00 pm ET and will be available on demand on YouTube and social channels as well as outkick.com later this summer. Outkick SVP Gary Schreier says, “Tomi has amassed a loyal following throughout her career, and we are excited to bring her signature style and insights to our highly engaged audience at OutKick where she will be an invaluable addition to our expanding programming lineup.” Additionally, Lahren is being named the exclusive voice of “FOX News Commentary” where she will offer her perspective on everything from pop culture to politics with a 60-second FOX News Audio produced feature. The segment will be syndicated three times per weekday across more than 160 FOX News Radio stations.

 

Hutton, Withrow, and Kuharsky Return to Nashville Airwaves. According to a report in The Tennessean, the sports talk program “OutKick 360,” hosted by Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky and formerly known as “Midday 180,” is returning to the Nashville market on the radio. The program has been broadcast digitally on Outkick.com since January of 2021. It originally aired on Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone.” Beginning on June 13, the show will air from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Cromwell Media’s WBUZ-HD3/W235BW “94.9 The Fan” – sister station to sports talk WPRT-FM “ESPN 102.5 The Game.” Station program director Chase McCabe says, “One of my goals as the new PD was to figure out a way to add ‘OutKick 360’ to our talented lineup. Re-imagining 94.9 as ‘The Fa’n made that possible because not only do we add three voices that Nashville knows, but we are able to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to the Music City. It’s a huge win for us and for our city.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. Today is the beginning of the 2022 Women’s College World Series at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official audio partner of the NCAA – is broadcasting every game of the series…..A new podcast titled “R&B Money” hosted by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-producer TANK and his business partner, multi-platinum singer-songwriter-music executive J. Valentine is launching on iHeartMedia’s and Charlamagne tha God’s Black Effect Podcast Network. The series “is for the super dedicated R&B fan, highlighting everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Sweat$. ‘R&B Money’ has produced an exciting space for artists & executives in the game to reminisce with exceptionally compelling storytelling while building a place of discovery for the fans.”…..Journalist Katie Couric is releasing a new iHeartRadio Original special limited podcast series titled, “Abortion: The Body Politic.” In this series, she speaks with historians, doctors, activists, reproductive justice leaders, everyday women who have had abortions, and others to discuss the realities of a country without Roe v. Wade. Guests on the program will include Gloria Steinem; Mary Ziegler, foremost abortion law expert; Jessica Chastain, Academy Award-winning actress; Busy Philipps, actress and activist; Dr. Warren Hern, abortion doctor; and more.

 

Tulsa Hospital Shooting/Uvalde Aftermath, Inflation-Recession Fears, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Durham Investigation, COVID-19, Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Depp-Heard Verdict Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). A shooting at a Tulsa medical center claims the lives of four and the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas school massacre; the still-rising price of gas & food and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, its effects on the global economy and Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear force; the primary races for the midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; special counsel John Durham’s probe into the Trump-Russia investigation; the high rates of COVID-19 in parts of the U.S.; Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee; and the verdicts in the Johnny DeppAmber Heard defamation case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.