Radio revenue has been, at best, flat over the last several years. Everyone knows that. What has executives scratching their head is whether or not it's just the anemic economy or if big dollars are moving to digital. According to Standard Media Index, over the past nine months, $150 million has gone directly from radio to digital. But don't feel too bad, that number is far higher for television. READ ON.
He calls it a tale of two cities with respect to national performance. What Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is referring to is how iHeartMedia is reporting their national business is up and the rest of the industry reports natoinal down, in some cases down big. The largest national rep firm, Katz, is owned by iHeartmedia. Dickey did give iHeart credit for building their scale and investment in national infrastructure. Cumulus is building a similar large-scale company but trying to catch up, building out Westwood and NASH. Dickey says the national business problem is systemic and he aimed his comments directly at iHeartmedia. HERE'S THE FULL STORY.
On his second anniversary with the company, CFO Richard Bressler told investors automotive, medical, and healthcare and financial services were the strongest categories for the company as revenue grew from $806 million in the second quarter of 2014 to $841 million this year. Expenses for the quarter were up 5% due to event production costs and higher sales compensation expenses on the national side. iHeartRadio went over the 71 million registered-user mark and total listening hours on the app were up 23% in Q2. Sixty percent of iHeartRadio's listening in Q2 was done on a mobile device. The company continues to have $20 billion in debt with $196 million in maturities coming due in 2016 and $934 million in 2018.
Another big quarterly revenue drop for Cumulus, down $28.9 million for the second quarter, compared to 2014. Revenue dropped to $299.3 million from $328.2 million. More specifically, national revenue was down 10 percent while revenue across Cumulus stations was down 5 percent. Westwood One also had a tough quarter, down 17 percent. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says Q3 is pacing down 6 percent with national the biggest drag pacing down in the low double-digits. Westwood One is also pacing down 6 percent. Dickey said, "This has been a building year for us, to pull all these pieces together. These assets have helped us recruit top talent into the company that will help us compete moving forward."
Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers is conducting due diligence on the property, which should take about 60 days. Cumulus is hoping to net between $85 and $95 million on the 75 acres in Bethesda, home to WMAL-AM. Cumulus says a deal with Toll Brothers was struck on July 8 and the plan needs to be approved by the local planning commission. Cumulus has a $10 million kicker if Toll Brothers is able to build a certain number of units in 2017.
Admittedly, the Research Director's Marc Greenspan says he used a small sample, however he says that after looking at pre- and post-Voltair meter exposure for several stations, he has seen more, sometimes considerably more, exposure by meter keepers after Voltair was installed. Greenspan says, "This has resulted in significant ratings increases." We wanted to dig a little deeper with Greenspan about his claims and the latest blog he circulated to the industry yesterday. LISTEN HERE.
(by Barry Blesser, Director of Research, Telos Alliance) Telos designed the Voltair to empower and enfranchise its owners. Aside from the detailed front panel display and remote browser interface, version 2.0 of an upcoming software upgrade (now in Beta), will provide back door access to all of the internal history data in a form that can be connected to the stations analytics tools. But there is also a very powerful tool built into the Voltair from the beginning: control of enhancement using a rear panel connector, called General Purpose Input Output (GPIO).
iHeartMedia announced the line-up for the fifth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, which will take place on September 18 and 19 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event will broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations in 150 markets and will stream live on Yahoo Screen. A recorded and edited version of the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival will also return to the CW Network as a two-night special on September 29 and 30. More...
According to a new report by Law360, New York federal judge Louis Stanton denied Pandora's motion to alter his previous decision ordering the music-streaming company to pay a 2.5 percent royalty rate to BMI. Pandora felt that since it purchased KXMZ/Rapid City, SD, that it should pay the lower rate negotiated by the Radio Music License Committee.
According to an application filed with the FCC this week, Radio Disney station WRDZ/Chicago has been sold to Chicago media company Polnet Communications for $3,450,000. This will be Polnet's fifth AM station in the Chicago market, with four others in the northern suburbs. Polnet also owns a television station in the market. William B. Schutz and Kozacko Media Services served as the brokers in this transaction, which is pending FCC approval.
Satellite radio provider SiriusXM announced that in mid-August, it will launch SiriusXM Comedy Greats, a new 24/7 comedy channel showcasing the greatest stand-up performers of all time. In addition to the stand-up comedy, the new channel will feature special vignettes and countdown takeovers, with various comics discussing their favorite comedians and those who influenced their careers.
The Florida Panthers and Multicultural Broadcasting announced that 1210 ESPN Deportes will broadcast all 41 Panthers home games in Spanish for the 2015-16 season. Arley Londono and Octavio Sequera will serve as announcers. The 41 games is a huge increase over last season's seven games that WMNA-AM was able to broadcast.
Kaspar Broadcasting's WSHW/Frankfort, IN, has altered its musical format. After stunting for a day with the sound of heavy construction tools, the station was back on the air Thursday morning with its new Hot AC format. WSHW had previously been a quieter Adult Contemporary station. Everything else about the station remains the same, including its on-air staff and its branding as Shine 99.
(By Steve Goldstein) This week, radio executives will get their much-anticipated 40 Most Powerful People in Radio issue of Radio Ink. Hate to say it, but the team at Radio Ink, while diligently assembling a list of the top radio executives, has missed several of the biggest names and biggest companies in the business. Tim Cook, Daniel Ek, and Tim Westergren arguably are doing more to change radio than just about anyone else. Big companies including Apple, Spotify, and Pandora clearly want in on the business of audio. That is an affirmation that radio is alive, and attractive. HERE'S WHY
Alex Berkett, the soon-to-be-former Townsquare Media Executive VP, joins Viacom as Senior VP for Corporate Development. Berkett will lead the company's global corporate development and mergers and acquisitions, much like he did at Townsquare, and report to Viacom CFO Wade Davis. Berkett will be asked to identify and develop growth opportunities for Viacom and its brands, including partnerships, acquisitions, investments, and joint ventures. He will also work closely with senior executives across the company to advise on and lead deal negotiations.
CBS Radio's WCBS-FM/New York announced it has signed radio hall of fame broadcaster Scott Shannon to a new multi-year contract, extending the host's run as the anchor of morning drive. Shannon has been heard on the station in mornings since the start of March 2014.
In the last two days, three longtime DJs from Radio One-owned stations in Atlanta have been released due to budget cuts. On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Rodney Ho reported the release of WAMJ/WUMJ midday host Carol Blackmon and evening host Rene Miller, both of which have long histories in Atlanta media. On Thursday, Ho reported the release of WHAT afternoon drive host and 20-year station veteran Dwayne "Emperor" Searcy.
Scott Thackrey, who has been a reporter with KUZZ/Bakersfield since November 2009, was arrested on Wednesday evening. Currently being held without bail, he is accused of arranging to meet with a minor for a lewd purpose and attempting to contact a minor with intent to commit a lewd act. Bakersfield police had received a complaint that the 46-year-old reporter was inappropriately communicating via the Internet with a juvenile. More...
With Colin Cowherd's show coming to an abrupt end last week, ESPN Radio has a major vacancy to fill. While that decision is being worked on, the company has announced who will be temporarily taking over Cowherd's late morning time slot for the next month. Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley of KSPN/Los Angeles have filled in this week and will do so again next week. ESPN 2's Michelle Beadle and KSPN's Ben Lyons will host the following two weeks. WMVP/Chicago's Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman will host the week of August 24. No decisions have been made regarding September.
Radio equipment manufacturer Broadcast Electronics announced the promotion of Tom Beck to the role of President and CEO. Beck has been with BE since 1995, most recently as VP of sales. He replaces Tim Bealor, who remain with BE as its Director Emeritus.
All Classical Portland, heard on KQAC/Portland and numerous repeaters and translators in the Pacific Northwest, has announced the hiring of Suzanne Nance as its new program director and on-air host. Nance now leaves her role as afternoon host and producer for WFMT/Chicago, where she has been since 2013. Starting in September, Nance takes over the PD role from VP of Programming John Burk.
Woof Boom Radio's WHBU/Anderson-Muncie-Marion, IN, is moving afternoon host Doug Zook to mornings. Anderson Live with Doug Zook will air weekdays from 7:30-9 a.m., focusing on local issues important to Madison County. Zook, an Anderson native, replaces Sean Harshey in mornings. Sean Hannity's syndicated show replaces Zook's 5 p.m. show.
(By Spike Santee) When a local business owner sets out to learn about advertising, they often imitate or mimic what they perceive to be successful advertising. They often try to do Call to Action advertising. That's when you see or hear an advertisement for a product or service with a big discount. The advertisement says that the offer is only available for a short period of time so you "must act now," "you must call before midnight tonight," "sale ends Saturday." Make no mistake about it, Call to Action advertising can be very successful if you have enough money to do it properly.
(By Loyd Ford) Everyone is always searching for the best angle for building a perfect social media "plan." People constantly want to "game the system" and I don't blame them. After all, there is so much to do in the average day of a radio personality, radio program director, radio promotions director and all other jobs inside a radio cluster. Who has time to do everything? Who has time to dedicate to building a whole persona on social media? Perhaps that's a good place to start to make things easier, more authentic, and more successful for you and your team.
(By Lisa Miller) Please let me begin by telling you that I have been very fortunate to have been married to a radio/TV personality for over 40 years and have enjoyed going to hundreds of rock/CHR/AC/country/urban concerts, many of which I attended with my husband on behalf of the radio station he was working for at the time. I have seen everyone from the Beatles to Elvis to RHCP to Michael Jackson, Muse and Marvin Gaye.
(A message from Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads) By now, everyone in the radio industry is probably sick of hearing about the controversy surrounding the Voltair unit, which supposedly boosts PPM recognition in Nielsen's ratings technology. I'm a little sick of it myself, frankly, yet since Radio Ink raised awareness of this issue, I feel we need to help bring it to a conclusion.
The raging debate as to whether Voltair is actually helping stations with ratings or not continues. Since consultant Randy Kabrich began analyzing real ratings data, going back years, and basically concluded that Voltair is not increasing ratings, the debate has gotten even more interesting. The latest to offer up an opinion is respected consultant Jaye Albright who says after a while all you start to see is contradicting and conflicting assertions. And that is certainly true. Read Jaye's full blog HERE.
(By Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads) Nielsen clients got on a conference call today with the company to address the Voltair controversy — and Nielsen addressed it by saying it doesn't support the Voltair unit. Company reps even went so far as to say they think it may introduce artifacts and noise into your audio stream. They also said they're making enhancements to the PPM service, to be introduced in the near future, and the Voltair is unnecessary. READ ON.
Many of you have spent a lot of money on a Voltair unit. Now you've been told by the ratings firm that impacts millions of dollars of revenue that comes into your industry that it does not support what the the Voltair may be doing to the ratings that control those dollars. If you take Nielsen at its word, that in some of its Voltair testing the PPM Watermark is being manipulated and, in some cases listeners can hear it, the folks at Telos Alliance should have to rebut what Nielsen representatives have said or explain why this is happening. READ ON.
On their special Tuesday afternoon webinar for clients when they were to reveal their Voltair testing results, Nielsen announced that they are not in support of Voltair. Nielsen stopped short of telling clients who have purchased Voltair to remove it. They also did not say that nobody is allowed to purchase the devices. Nielsen simply reiterated its "non-support for Voltair." Keep reading...
One of the biggest stories of the year is the discovery of an audio processor that, when placed in the audio chain of a radio station, allegedly makes radio stations more likely to get noticed by the PPM's detectors. In case you've not kept up, when PPM was launched, there was a lot of disruption in listening levels for certain formats and dayparts, and it changed the balance of audience power, market by market. READ MORE.
Thanks to Charlie Tuna for sending us this classic when he received a studio visit from Henry "The Fonz" Winkler. Happy Days was taped next to the KHJ studios back in 1977 which is where Charlie did his morning show at the time. Send your classic photos to email@example.com
This week Radio Ink's most popular issue of the year will arrive in your inbox (if you're a digital subscriber) or in your mailbox (if you're a print subscriber). It will not be available online, it's for subscribers only. The 40 Most Powerful People in Radio issue has been published since 1996. Since 1996 only 164 people have even appeared on our list. In 2015 there remains only one executive who's been on the list since 1996. A few years ago, Bob Pittman made a $5 million bet on radio with his personal investment in Clear Channel, and, for the fifth consecutive year, Pittman is radio's most powerful person. READ ON
Nearly 20 years ago it was announced that GroupW/CBS Radio would be merging with Infinity Broadcasting. That would give Mel Karmazin control of 83 stations, a roster of stars including Howard Stern and Don Imus, Infinity Radio Sales, Westwood One Radio Networks and Shadow Broadcast Services. Enough power to put him on top of our power list in year one. He would remain in the top three for 8 consecutive years before leaving radio. Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays was a close second, followed by Jacor CEO Randy Michaels. At the time Clear Channel had 104 stations and Jacor owned 53. Of course, eventually those two would merge. Here's a look back at the entire 1996 list of the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio.