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.”
Ranking the Top Podcast Genres for the third quarter of 2022, Edison Research says that Comedy remains the genre most consumed by weekly podcasts listeners, based on audience size. Edison says its research indicates that #2 genre was Society & Culture (up from #3 in Q2 2022); #3 was News (down from #2 in Q2 2022), followed by True Crime at #4, Sports at #5, Business at #6, Arts at #7, History at #8 (up from #11 in Q2 2022), Religion & Spirituality at #9 (up from #10 in Q2 2022) and Education at #10 (down from #9 in Q2 2022). Podcasts are classified according to the self-identified genre submitted by the podcast to Apple Podcast API. Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+ for Q3 2022.
Townsquare Media’s 2022 Third Quarter Net Revenue Soars 8.4%. Third quarter net revenue was $120.6 million – an increase of 8.4% over the same period in 2021. Townsquare Media reveals in its 2022 Q3 financial report that net income for the quarter decreased $10.1 million to $2.8 million, as compared to $12.9 million in the same period in 2021, primarily driven by non-cash impairment charges to the company’s FCC licenses of $10.3 million. Townsquare Media breaks its financial reports in to three operating segments. For the third quarter of this year, Digital Advertising net revenue increased $6.5 million, or 21.3%; Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions net revenue increased $2.1 million, or 9.7%, as compared to the same period in 2021 due in part to the addition of approximately 850 additional net subscribers during the third quarter of 2022; and Broadcast Advertising net revenue increased $2 million, or 3.4%, compared to Q3 of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson comments, “I am proud to report another record setting quarter of results that clearly demonstrate the undeniable success and differentiation of Townsquare’s transformation into a Digital First Local Media company. The Townsquare team reached all-time Q3 highs with net revenue growth of 8% year-over-year, and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 6% year-over-year, meeting our Q3 guidance. In addition, net leverage declined to an all-time low of 4.54x as we continue to make progress towards our 4x net leverage target. Our growth engine has been and will continue to be our digital solutions, which were the primary driver of our third quarter growth, accounting for half of Townsquare’s total revenue and total profit. Total digital revenue increased 17% year-over-year in the third quarter, and trailing 12-month digital revenue grew to $225 million. As a uniquely positioned Digital First Local Media Company focused principally on markets outside of the top 50 in the United States, Townsquare has a resilient digital growth engine supported by both a recurring subscription digital marketing solutions business, with a large addressable market and limited competition, and a highly differentiated digital advertising technology platform.”
Ramsey Solutions to Give Free Finance Course to 1,000 Veterans in Recognition of Veterans Day. In honor of Veterans Day this Friday (11/11), Dave Ramsey announces that he is giving away access to his company’s Financial Peace University for 1,000 veterans on “The Ramsey Show.” Ramsey Solutions says the nine-lesson digital personal finance course has helped millions take control of their money for 30 years. Veterans who enter their information on the company’s website and are selected, will be able to join a class in-person or go online to watch videos on-demand as they learn the fastest way to pay off debt, save for emergencies and invest for the future. Military members list financial troubles among their top stressors. In the first 90 days of working the FPU plan, the average household pays off $5,300 of debt and saves $2,700 for emergencies.
KFI, Los Angeles Set to Begin 12th Annual Pastathon with SoCal Wendy’s Restaurants Joining the Cause. The annual KFI Pastathon charity event that encourages listeners to donate money, pasta, and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club gets underway on Tuesday (11/15) and includes new partner Wendy’s restaurants in Southern California. The iHeartMedia news/talk station says that Caterina’s Club provides more than 25,000 nutritious meals every week to children in need in Southern California. The charity also helps families get back into stable home environments and teaches teens the skills they need to work in the hospitality industry. This year, all 168 Wendy’s restaurants in Southern California will offer their customers a donation option from November 16 through December 4. In addition, on November 29, ‘Giving Tuesday,’ these Wendy’s will also donate $1 from every Frosty sold to the KFI PastaThon. With the help of listeners, local businesses, and the continued partnership with Smart & Final stores and Barilla Pasta, the 2021 event raised a record-breaking $1 million dollars and 115,000 lbs of pasta and sauce. Since 2010, the KFI PastaThon event has raised over $4.6 million and 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for children in need in the community. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci states, “We are so delighted to have Wendy’s partner with us on our efforts to feed Southern California kids. Because of generous partners like Wendy’s, Chef Bruno is feeding over 25,000 kids every week. As we embark upon our 12th annual KFI PastaThon we know the need is bigger than ever but so are the hearts of our listeners and partners. Our goal this year is to once again raise over a million dollars. Thank you to Wendy’s for helping us make that dream a reality!”
Radio and Podcast Power Session Being Made Available for Colleges & Universities. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation (LABF), in partnership with Benztown, the University of Maryland and the Broadcast Education Association (BEA), are creating a produced 90-minute, on-demand recorded Zoom video session focused on radio and podcasting for colleges and universities utilizing the LABF collection. The LABF Radio and Podcasting Power Session initiative, led by LABF board members Dave “Chachi” Denes – Benztown president – and BEA executive director Heather Birks, features University of Maryland reference specialist Michael Henry hosting a virtual walk-through of the library, followed by an insightful conversation about the vast collection highlighting incredible moments in U.S. history captured through the eyes and voice of television and radio broadcasters. Additionally, industry professionals from across different disciplines of the podcasting and radio business, including radio executive Mike McVay along with Benztown’s R Dub! from “Sunday Night Slow Jams”, Darren Silva and MJ Bloch, Tom Green, Susan Aksu, Beasley Media Group chief revenue officer Tina Murley and other experts speak to the students about the many career opportunities available to them in the industry. Denes says, “Everyone involved with this program is passionate about radio and podcasting. It’s an absolute honor to be able to share our knowledge with students that will someday be leading the industry.” The initiative initially launched as a semester-long course with Clark Atlanta University in 2021. The school is the first to utilize the 2022 90-minute abridged class-offering. It will be available to colleges and universities.
TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM and Motor Racing Network will have the station airing the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2023. This three-year pact comes on the heels of the news that the City of Chicago has signed a three-year deal with NASCAR as the home of the first-ever Chicago Street Race. The unprecedented 12-turn, 2.2-mile Chicago Street Race will take the Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series past and through many of Chicago’s most renowned downtown landmarks during Fourth of July Weekend, July 1-2, 2023. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to be the new Chicago radio home of NASCAR and we look forward to growing this new partnership as we gear up for the first-ever Chicago Street Race next summer – and what promises to be an unforgettable Fourth of July weekend.”…..SiriusXM announces the launch of a new original comedy channel, Team Coco Radio. Executive produced by Conan O’Brien, the channel will feature exclusive audio content as well as select Team Coco podcasts, including the popular “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” The channel debuts on November 15. Subscribers can hear the biggest interviews and the funniest stand-up moments from Conan’s iconic TBS show, as well as select Team Coco podcasts, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” plus “Inside Conan” and “Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan.” Fresh commentary from Conan will also be weaved throughout the programming, as he recalls funny behind-the-scenes stories and other entertaining and insightful anecdotes.
Midterms/Trump’s 2024 Aspirations, The Economy, China COVID Lockdowns, Meta Layoffs/Twitter Chaos, January 6 Cases, Russia-Ukraine War, Powerball Jackpot, and Tropical Storm Nicole Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). Tuesday’s midterm elections, the battle for control of Congress combined with former President Donald Trump’s expected announcement he’ll run in 2024; inflation and fears of a recession; the COVID lockdowns in China and their effect on the global supply chain; Facebook parent Meta to lay off 11,000 workers and Elon Musk’s mercurial leadership of Twitter; the trials of Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy relative to the January 6 Capitol attack; Russia’s attack on Ukrainian infrastructure; a ticket for the record $2 billion Powerball jackpot sells in California; and Florida braces for Tropical Storm Nicole were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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.
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.
Urban One Net Revenue Up 8.9% in Q3 of 2022. The company issues its third quarter 2022 financial data and reports net revenue of approximately $121.4 million, an increase of 8.9% from the same period in 2021. Urban One reports net income of approximately $4.2 million compared to the net income of $13.9 million it reported in the third quarter of 2021. The company says broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $50.8 million, an increase of 3.5% over the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Q3 was another very solid quarter, during which we grew both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA. Following a soft July for radio advertising, August and September rebounded and we finished the quarter +1.4% on a same station basis, and -1.3% excluding political. Same station radio pacings for Q4 excluding digital are currently +16.0% including political and +0.1% excluding political. Layering in the recent Indianapolis acquisition should push radio revenues to a double-digit percentage increase for Q4. Political spending has steadily gathered momentum, and we anticipate net political advertising revenues to be between $12-$13 million, of which radio is $9-$10 million, which is significantly ahead of both our budget and the 2018 cycle. Our cable TV business had another successful broadcast upfront season, and we were able to increase both our CPM’s and total dollars committed. Our Digital segment posted growth of approximately 40% in both revenue and Adjusted EBITDA as demand for our audience and digital products remained strong. Our liquidity and leverage profile remained robust, and we continued to opportunistically repurchase our 7.375% bonds in the open market.”
Saga Communications’ Third Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 3.9%. Third quarter 2022 financial results for Saga Communications, Inc. reveal net revenue of $30 million – and increase of 3.9% over the same period in 2021. Station operating expense increased 2.8% for the quarter to $22.3 million compared to the same period last year. For Q3 of this year, station operating income increased 4.1% to $8.9 million, and operating income was $1.1 million compared to $4.6 million for the same quarter last year. Free cash flow was $1.6 million for the quarter compared to $4.0 million for the same period last year. Saga reports a net loss of $104,000 for the quarter compared to net income of $3.5 million for the third quarter last year. The company says, “Despite strong underlying performance the results were impacted by one-time payments related to the passing of our founder Ed Christian. As a result, the company is required to make several payments to his estate as outlined in his employment agreement. These expenses were accrued as of September 30, 2022 increasing the reported corporate general and administrative expense line item by $3.8 million for both the quarter and nine-month period ended September 30, 2022. Without these expenses operating income would have increased 5.8% to $4.9 million, free cash flow would have increased 36.5% to $5.4 million and net income would have increased 7.9% to $3.7 million.” Saga’s balance sheet reflects $58.3 million in cash and short-term investments as of September 30, 2022 and $45.3 million as of October 31, 2022.
Round Three of October PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s October 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s October 2022 sweep covered September 15 – October 12. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM drops 1.1 shares to finish with a 7.3 share (6+, weekly AQH share) but remains ranked #4 in the market, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX adds four-tenths to wrap the survey with a 3.9 share that lifts it to the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio stays ranked #10 after dipping three-tenths for a 3.6 share, while Alpha Media’s crosstown news/talk KTSA sheds one-tenth for a 3.3 share finish and falls to the #12 rank in the market. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM puts up seven-tenths for a 12.3 share that cements its #1 rank as Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KSL-AM/FM adds six-tenths for a 7.3 share finish that puts it in the #2 slot. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds) here.
Andrew Colton to Host Mornings on WIOD, Miami. Taking over for longtime South Florida broadcasting legend Jimmy Cefalo on January 9, 2023 as host of the morning program on iHeartMedia’s WIOD “NewsRadio 610 AM” is Andrew Colton. He comes to iHeartMedia from his most recent work as CEO of Colton Legal Media Worldwide. He’s also been an award-winning national correspondent for ABC News, CBS Newspath, and hosted the nationally syndicated “Wall Street Journal This Morning” program. Cefalo will continue to provide commentary on WIOD as well as his role as play-by-play announcer for the Miami Dolphins. “South Florida First News with Andrew Colton” will include veteran news anchor Nathalie Rodriguez, William Althoff with more news and sports, Doug Lindsay with traffic and the Weather Channel’s Ray Stagich. Vice president of news and AM programming Florida Region and iHeartMedia NTS brand coordinator Grace Blazer says, “Jimmy and Andrew both share a passion for news, information, commonsense, and our South Florida lifestyle. We are excited and fortunate to have Andrew Colton continue WIOD’s spoken-word tradition and digital expansion.”
Philadelphia Sports Radio Broadcasters Honored with Hall of Fame Inductions. Two Audacy Philadelphia sports radio personalities are being recognized for their contributions to the Philadelphia sports media landscape. Longtime WIP radio host Howard Eskin is being inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on November 3. Eskin says, “It’s an honor to be selected and to be in such great company – really overwhelming. They say do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. As hard as I work, I have to admit, it is a labor of love.” Al Morganti, co-host of WIP’s morning show, is being honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame and will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism. Morganti comments, “It’s the honor of a lifetime to be inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and a huge part of any success I have had is because of the fans of Philadelphia. Having been on WIP for so many years and working at the Philadelphia Inquirer, I can attest that the emotional investment Philadelphia fans make to their teams makes everyone raise their game. Thank you!”
TALKERS News Notes. Legendary college basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and SiriusXM ink a multi-year agreement for Krzyzewski to continue hosting his exclusive weekly SiriusXM show, “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K.” Krzyzewski has been hosting the show since 2005 and today (11/3) the first episode of the show’s 18th season drops. Krzyzewski says, “This will be the first fall in nearly 50 years that I’m not on the sidelines, and I’m so pleased to extend my long relationship with SiriusXM and continue hosting ‘Basketball and Beyond.’ Having the creative freedom to do a really unique show has been incredibly important and rewarding to me. I can be a part of the national conversation on basketball, while also exploring interesting topics with a variety of guests who make an impact far beyond the basketball court.”…..Red Apple Audio Networks announces it is signing 17 stations to its affiliate roster, including 11 Saga Communications stations. The newly added stations are carrying shows hosted by Larry Kudlow, Rudy Giuliani, and Judge Jeanine Pirro, as well as Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight.”…..Compass Media Networks partners with Wisebuddah and its sister company imager – European providers of sonic branding, radio imaging and jingles. The London-based companies currently curate the sound of BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, Bauer Media and Virgin Radio alongside dozens of radio stations (iHeartMedia, Alpha Media Group) in the United States.
Midterms/Trump in 2024, The Economy/Fed Rate Hike, Elon Musk’s Twitter, Russia-Ukraine War, and Pelosi Attack Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2). The campaigning ahead of the November 8 midterm elections and expectations that former President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 presidential campaign shortly thereafter; the state of the U.S. economy and the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates again; the spate of celebs claiming they are leaving Twitter as a result of Elon Musk’s taking ownership of the social media platform; Russia’s war on Ukraine and its relationship with Iran, North Korea and China; and the conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on Paul Pelosi were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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.