Strength in numbers is increasingly radio’s morning show equation. Ensemble morning shows aren’t new; they’ve been a morning radio tradition for decades. But they are maturing and becoming more common, driven by a belief that a group of personalities with diverse backgrounds, outlooks and skillsets can attract a larger audience than one mega-talent.
Just three months into his tenure, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is preparing to put his mark on media ownership. While the current per-market limits on station ownership will remain the same, senior agency officials say Wheeler will propose abolishing the radio-TV and radio-newspaper cross-ownership bans. Specifics of his proposal haven’t been made public, but they’ll likely shift to regulations that rely on the local radio rules. MORE
Radio’s second-largest volume advertiser ran 40,568 commercials on Media Monitor-tracked stations last week. The only problem is the Vanda Pharmaceuticals ads appear to have violated FCC sponsorship identification rules. Radio networks have been scrambling this week to add a tag to the commercial that says the spot was sponsored by Vanda Pharmaceuticals. MORE
Even in the corner office on Madison Avenue, $100 million is enough to capture attention. That’s what Clear Channel’s recently announced big ticket deal with Horizon Media has done. “Our phone started ringing off the hook from the other CEOs of all the major advertising agencies,” Clear Channel president/CFO Rich Bressler said yesterday. MORE
The Echo Nest may be the most important, but least known company in the world of webcasting. Its “music intelligence” technology is used by most of the biggest streaming services, including iHeartRadio, Rdio and Mog, along with SiriusXM Radio. It’s also used by Spotify, which has just struck a deal to buy the company. The sale means Spotify will now serve as a vendor to some of its biggest competitors. MORE
Pandora spooked investors yesterday, with its stock falling 6%, after it announced it would discontinue releasing monthly updates on the size of its audience. Recent reports have shown slower growth and a decision to offer less transparency fed into those worries. Pandora has been releasing the metrics since March 2012 and the company says it will provide monthly numbers through June, after which the data will be released quarterly. MORE
Meruelo Media’s southern California television holdings won’t block its planned expansion into radio. The FCC has approved its $15 million deal to buy the Los Angeles urban “K-Day” combo of KDAY, Redondo Beach (93.5) and KDEY-FM, Ontario (93.5). The two FMs become sisters to its L.A. television station “Mundo Fox 22” KWHY-TV and several low-power TV stations in the region. Meruelo Media is already operating the stations under a local marketing agreement. It previously said a second quarter closing is expected.
The secret to a successful female-targeted talk format remains elusive as another attempt is set to go dark. Grand Slam Sports’ talk “1380 The Woman” KXFN, St. Louis plans to flip to sports on Monday. It’s a return to the format for KXFN, which flipped to the female-targeted format last May as talk/sports sister KFNS adopted the “590 The Man” branding. Nielsen says KXFN failed to show up in the ratings while KFNS clocked in with a 0.1 share (6+) in the January survey. The new format will use Yahoo! Sports Radio, giving the network a toehold in St. Louis. MORE
For the first time in 20 years, the Charleston RiverDogs will have a new radio flagship. The team has signed a deal with Cumulus Media news/talk WTMA (1250) to carry their play-by-play this summer. RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols says they had a “long and wonderful relationship” with Kirkman Broadcasting’s “ESPN 910” WTMZ (910, 98.9). “We felt now was the right time for a change,” Echols says. MORE
In a move sure to make investors happy Salem Communications says it’s boosting the size of its quarterly dividend by 4.5%. It’s the fourth consecutive quarter that the company has increased the size of its dividend. The company has seen revenue grow as it expanded beyond radio, and that’s likely fueling some of the decision. “All of us Salem, both management and the board, continue to be optimistic about the ability to generate free cash flow for the company and enhance flexibility and capital allocation,” CEO Ed Atsinger said on the company’s earnings call last month.
The Public Radio Program Directors Association has elected a new board, selecting Wisconsin Public Radio associate director/director of content Michael Arnold; WFAE, Charlotte (90.7) director of content Dale Spear; and KUT, Austin (90.5) program director Keith Neisler to lead the organization. PRPD president Arthur Cohen says the election was “very close” with 13 candidates running. Arnold made history becoming the only former board member to run and win a new term. He last served on the board in 2004 and was board chair from 1999-2004. MORE