Top Story

    With tens of millions sheltering in place due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, listeners are seeking out radio on new platforms. Fresh data from Nielsen’s flash survey of 1,000 adults 18+ in the U.S. conducted this past weekend shows more than one in four (27%) say they’ve “looked for new ways to listen to my favorite radio station/personality” because of the coronavirus outbreak and its associated restrictions. Read more

    Inside Radio News

    Rush Limbaugh provided listeners with an update on his health as he battles advanced lung cancer. Limbaugh revealed that he had problems from the treatment, which included a high fever along with pain and swelling of the legs. The issues forced Limbaugh to be bed ridden for a week and he has decided to discontinue chemotherapy as he looks into alternative treatment. Read more

    Camila Cabello, Dave Grohl, H.E.R. and Sam Smith have been added to the bill for “Fox Presents The iHeart Living Room Concert For America,” simulcasting Sunday from 9-10pm Eastern/6-7pm Pacific on Fox, iHeartMedia radio stations and on the iHeartRadio streaming app. They join previously announced performers Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw. Read more

    A number of radio groups are being forced to make difficult decisions as mandatory restrictions designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus have torpedoed the U.S. economy. Small and medium market operator Adams Radio Group says all of its employees have agreed to take a temporary 10% cut in pay while other groups are furloughing part-time employees. Read more

    Citing “the growing social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Salem Media Group has withdrawn its revenue and operating expense guidance for the first quarter of 2020. Salem isn’t the first publicly traded broadcaster to pull its financial guidance due to the turbulent U.S. economy and likely won’t be the last. Read more

    Two New York City landmarks are coming together to help entertain millions of residents stuck at home due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus. In a combination of radio airwaves and tower lights, iHeartMedia CHR “Z100” WHTZ will air the city’s modern day anthem, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” synced with the Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights, Friday, March 27 at 9pm. Read more

    The Federal Communications Commission is now allowing broadcasters to give away spot time in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic without affecting their lowest unit charge (LUC). The new guidance issued this week from the FCC’s Media Bureau lets broadcasters exclude freebies given to commercial advertisers, “provided the free time is not associated with an existing commercial contract for paid time or otherwise considered bonus spots.” Read more

    Radio’s local orientation continues to grow in importance among those that matter the most to the medium – its core users. The portion of listeners that strongly agree or agree that radio’s local feel is one of its primary advantages increased for a fourth consecutive year to 88%, according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2020. That’s up from 86% in 2019 and 77% in 2016. Read more

    More than one in four (26%) core radio listeners now consume podcasts at least every week, led by Gen Z and Millennials and fans of spoken word formats. That represents a five-percentage point gain in one year, up from 21% in 2019, with men slightly more likely than women to listen weekly. This is according to Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2020, released Thursday. Read more

    A new survey from Advertiser Perceptions finds that more than two-thirds (68%) of advertising executives are bracing for reduced 2021 ad spending due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the economic damage done by COVID-19 has been substantial, the most dramatic impact will take place in Q2 of this year, according to the survey, which recorded responses from more than 200 advertisers and ad agency executives. Read more

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is getting $75 million courtesy of the $2 trillion emergency coronavirus economic relief package that gained Senate approval on Wednesday. The money will support the facilities of noncommercial TV and radio stations, in addition to helping stations — especially rural ones— maintain operations. Read more

    The efforts of radio talent from coast to coast is not going unrecognized in the consumer press as daily newspapers are writing what those in the industry already knew. Separate articles in the Los Angeles Times and Newsday highlight the connection between radio hosts and their listeners and the medium’s ability to provide companionship in a time of social distancing. Read more

    Two prominent Chicago communications consultants are teaming for “The Crisis Cast,” a podcast focused on crisis management “in uncertain times.” Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin offer up expertise in the first project from Chicago-based EarSight Studios, founded by media innovator Todd Manley, former station manager and VP of content at news/talk WGN (720). Read more

    People Moves

    AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications classic hits “Rewind 100.9” WYNZ Portland, ME as morning host. Dukette, who exited Townsquare Media crosstown AC WHOM (94.9) last week, succeeds Chuck Igo, who retires. Read more

    Cameron Broadcasting VP of Operations Craig Powers exits the company after 12 years to join Curb/Word Entertainment as Vice President of Media, effective Monday, March 30. Powers previously worked for the company as West Coast Regional Rep for Curb Records in the 90s. Read more