Top Story

    Are country radio programmers out of touch with their audiences? A new study suggests a disconnect between the two camps when it comes to how radio is defined and used and why listeners choose it over streaming audio platforms. The attitudinal study by Mark Ramsey Media shows country radio listeners have a much broader definition of radio and use a wider array of platforms and devices to consume it. Read more

    Inside Radio News

    Decades ago, radio programmers made music decisions based on gut and a smidgen of research: music sales, airplay and requests. Today’s brand managers have a firehose of data at their fingertips. A new study by Stone Door Media Lab identifies ten metrics that can help programmers predict which new songs will become major hits. It found a mix of both familiar and new metrics can help identify future hits early in the song cycle process. Read more

    Podcast advertising metrics haven’t kept pace with consumer adoption, but that gap is quickly closing. The marketing research company Claritas was the latest to extend its reach into the audio marketplace. In a new white paper, Claritas says its data shows podcast ads are significantly outperforming media channels like online display and TV. And a case study suggests podcast ads don’t cannibalize other streaming audio ad spending. Read more

    For the first time SoundExchange is asking the U.S. Trade Representative to take action against six countries for not paying royalties when American-made musical works are used on digital radio and music services. Because there’s no performance royalty on U.S. radio stations, the U.K., France, Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and Canada have refused reciprocal pay demands for AM/FM airplay in their countries. Read more

    How do you win with black audiences? That question was the subject of robust conversation at the Black History Month Celebration hosted by iHeartMedia last week at its New York headquarters, attended by more than a hundred leading marketers from GroupM, Publicis, Omnicom and other ad agencies. The event explored the global influence of black consumers and how companies are increasingly eager to engage them. Read more

    A slowing new car sales marketplace could impact the rollout of digital radio in 2020. Executives at Xperi – the company that licenses HD Radio technology to automakers – said this week that they saw an impact in the second half of 2019 and don’t expect to see much of a change so far in 2020. But they also said a turnaround is anticipated by year-end. Read more

    Last year saw record-setting shipments of smart speakers. That’s according to a new report by Strategy Analytics, which says 146.9 million units were shipped — a 70% increase over full-year 2018’s total of 86 million. In the fourth quarter, Amazon and Google continued their collective domination of the global marketplace. Read more

    Meruelo Media Holdings has filed to sell a 10% stake in its Southern California radio stations to Luis Armona, Executive VP at Meruelo Enterprises, a construction services company that’s a corporate sister to the radio operation. Billionaire Alex Meruelo doesn’t need the money and Armona will pay just $1.5 million, a discounted price tag that suggests the move was more about rewarding a company executive than anything else. Read more

    The popular “Stuff You Should Know” podcast is expanding its reach into the print medium. A publishing deal with Flatiron Books gives the iHeartPodcast Network its own imprint, branded as “Stuff You Should Read: An iHeartBook.” The nonfiction imprint will start with four books based on the podcast, with the first book, “Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things” available Sept. 29. Read more

    Entercom Chief Digital Officer J.D. Crowley will receive the NAB Digital Leadership Award at the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas. Crowley will be honored at the Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner Monday, April 20 at the Encore in Las Vegas. Crowley oversees the strategy and operations of Entercom’s digital portfolio and has been guiding the modernization of the company’s top brands. Read more

    Continuing to bring together regional stations to fill local news gaps, National Public Radio is creating a third regional newsroom. The Gulf States Newsroom includes news/talk WBHM Birmingham, news/talk/classical WWNO New Orleans, news/talk WRKF Baton Rouge and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The Gulf States Newsroom follows the creation of the California Newsroom and the Texas Newsroom. Read more

    People Moves

    Cumulus Media has named Chris Connors Program Director of R&B radio station "Kiss 103.1 FM", WLXC in Columbia, SC. Connors joins Cumulus Columbia after more than 19 years with Alpha Media in Columbia, where he was OM for the six-station group. Prior to that, Connors was Program Director for WMMJ-FM in Lanham, MD, and was PD for WFXC and WFXK in Durham, NC. Read more

    Jonathan Zaslow, one-half of “Zalsow and Amber” (10am-2pm) on Entercom sports “790 The Ticket” WAXY Miami, signs a new multiyear contract extension. In addition to hosting middays with Amber Wilson, Zaslow will continue as pregame and postgame host for Miami Heat game day broadcasts. Read more

    Jade Springart is named APD/midday host at Beasley Media Group rock WRIF Detroit (101.1). Springart, who has been with the station for 12 years, most recently serving as MD and weekend talent. She succeeds Anne Carlini in middays, who exited as part of year-end cuts that also included PD Mark Pennington. Read more