Inside Radio News

Zenith: Internet Radio Revenue Will Grow Twice As Fast As On-Air This Year.

The consensus among the ad forecasters is radio revenue will increase this year. The only matter up for debate is by how much. The ad agency giant Zenith is out with its latest predictions and it pegs growth for U.S. radio revenue at five percent, estimating industry revenue will recover to $13.28 billion this year. The figures, which do not include radio stations’ streaming revenue, trail the $17.6 billion in revenue radio had in 2019 prior to the pandemic. But that gap will continue to close in 2022 when Zenith believes radio revenue will increase another 0.9% to $13.4 billion.

Digital audio is forecast to have bigger growth rates this year. Zenith predicts internet radio revenue will climb 11% to $2.9 billion as more dollars are spent to target mobile listeners rather than desktop listeners. And it expects podcast ad revenue to jump 26% to $830 million. And both are expected to have more double-digit growth in their future next year as Zenith predicts digital radio will grow another 10% in 2022 and podcasting will increase 18%.

Zenith forecasts overall U.S. ad spending will increase 13.1% this year to $271.6 billion. While internet advertising will grow 25.7% and outdoor revenue will increase 15.6%, radio and in-cinema advertising – which is estimated to double after last year’s theater closures – are the only other big media channels where growth is likely. Without the benefit of political revenue, Zenith forecasts television revenue will decline 4.4% Harder times are also ahead for both newspapers, which it sees losing another 20% of its revenue, and magazines, with an estimated 9.7% decline. The U.S. will be, by far, the largest contributor to global ad growth in 2021, accounting for 46% of the $67 billion added to the global ad market this year.

“After a very tough year last year, the ad market is enjoying rapid and broad-based recovery, and will end this year well above the level it achieved in 2019,” said Jonathan Barnard, Head of Forecasting at Zenith. “Digital advertising is becoming a more effective tool for brand growth as media and commerce continue to move online, attracting greater investment from large brands and small businesses alike.”

On a global basis, Zenith thinks total ad spending will increase at a slightly slower rate of 11.2% this year with global radio revenue tracking to increase four percent versus 2020. It also predicts that digital advertising will account for 58% of global ad spending this year, up from 48% in 2019. It believes that trend has been accelerated as more retail moves from bricks-and-mortar sales to ecommerce.

“Brands have responded by forming partnerships with retailers and creating new direct-to-consumer operations, using performance-driven advertising – primarily in social media and paid search – to lead consumers down the path to purchase,” said Zenith. Still, it anticipates the shift to ecommerce will slow down as coronavirus restrictions lift and economies open up again. “But [it] won’t go into reverse,” it adds.

Looking ahead to 2022, Zenith is forecasting U.S. ad revenue will grow 6.8%. While TV will benefit from a return to political ad dollars, Zenith is predicting just shy of double-digit growth for internet spending. It says the segment will be up 9.9%.

Inside Radio News

Global Sports Podcasters Unite To Create The Sports Podcast Awards.

The sports podcast genre is getting its own awards show. Benchmark, the company behind the 20-year old Sport Industry Awards – has organized a new independent body called the Sports Podcast Group from creators around the globe. Its first effort will be the Sports Podcast Awards set to take place in February 2022.           

The Sports Podcast Group is led by former Spotify U.K. executive Dylan Pugh, who opened his own consultancy last year. “Our ambition is to create a community of sports podcasters around the world, with the core mission of boosting discoverability for both creators and listeners,” said Pugh. “We want podcasters of all shapes and sizes to engage – through entering awards or becoming judges – and the more they engage, the more visibility it will bring to their own podcast. We’re also excited to be working with our partners to bring unique offers and benefits to any podcasters that join our community.”

The Sports Podcast Awards has begun accepting entries across 27 categories, including Sports Podcast of the Year and a Listeners Choice Award, and other awards covering a range of different sports and sub-genres. Each entry will cost $99 for professional producers or $50 for independents.

Short-listed award entries will be made public on podcast platforms and streaming services and winners will be announced via a live-streamed virtual awards event next February. Organizers say the awards will offer a level playing field, with the biggest podcast networks in the world and the bedroom content creator both having an equal chance of winning.

“We’re very passionate about the audio space and we know how much sports audio content means to fans, so we’re excited to use our legacy in sports awards programs to create something fresh and exciting, and to reward those who work tirelessly to create excellent content week after week,” said Benchmark founder Nick Keller. “We are very much looking forward to cultivating a community, to celebrate the best and to help bring the industry together.”

The advisory board for the awards encompasses some of the biggest professionals in the sports industry, including Global Sports Partnerships Director of Facebook, Peter Hutton, UK sports broadcaster Gabby Logan, and former CEO of Sky Sports Barney Francis. Also playing its part is the Beyond Sport Awards, the global organization.

“The launch of an independent body like this one is vitally important to ensure that the category continues to grow, but also to shine a spotlight on future stars as they rise through the podcasting ranks,” said Hutton.

Submit entries or get more information HERE.

Radio's A Better Bet For Sports Betting Advertising, New Study Says.

The results from a pair of MARU/Matchbox studies commissioned by Cumulus Media show that not only are AM/FM radio listeners significantly more interested, experienced and engaged in sports betting than TV viewers, their listening covers a wide span of formats as opposed to just sports programming. These findings and more, as reported in the latest Westwood One's Everyone's Listening blog, suggest that the current ad buying balance between radio and TV should be readjusted in radio's favor.

"AM/FM radio is the ideal platform for online sports betting sites to build their brands and businesses,” Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “Compared to TV viewers, AM/FM radio listeners have far more experience with online sports betting, greater interest, greater awareness of, and greater engagement with online sports betting brands.”

The second of MARU/Matchbox's two studies, conducted in April among more than 700 adults over age 21 in the 12 states where online sports wagering is fully legalized – Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – found that interest in sports betting skews younger and more male, with nearly half of adults 21-34, and one-third of men, very or somewhat interested in wagering. Overall, nearly one-fourth of adults 21+ say they are very or somewhat interested in online sports betting.

Across those 12 states, heavy AM/FM radio listeners significantly outscore heavy TV viewers when it comes to having ever placed an online sports bet, and interest in doing so. Along these lines, the blog also points out research from Nielsen Scarborough that AM/FM radio sports play-by-play broadcasts are almost twice as likely to attract sports bettors compared to the same broadcast on television. “AM/FM radio’s much younger age profile means it has a much larger concentration of those interested in online sports betting, [while] linear TV leans quite old, with the majority of the audience over the age of 50,” Bouvard says. “The greater the time spent with TV, the lower the interest in sports betting, [while] AM/FM radio is the opposite. As AM/FM radio time spent listening grows, so does sports betting behavior.”

Radio listeners also score higher when it comes to being able to name online sports betting brands, although unaided, more than half are not able to name a brand. “This is shocking considering that the vast majority of online sports brand advertising runs on TV,” Bouvard says, citing Kantar Media research that for every dollar spent on AM/FM, sixteen are spent on television. “A TV campaign will generate massive impressions among those who have no interest in online sports betting, [while] AM/FM radio campaigns will generate a greater proportion of impressions with those inclined to online sports betting.”

Unaided or aided, DraftKings and FanDuel show the highest awareness levels, with 22% and 19% of adults 21+ respectively able to come up with either, while when shown a list of brands, those numbers move to 71% and 69%, with higher awareness of both among radio listeners compared to TV viewers, and among adults 21-34. While running a distant third, BetMGM did run the most radio ads in measured markets in these 12 states during April 2021.

While it may be no surprise that seven of 10 listeners of Sports radio formats say they are very or somewhat interested in sports betting, that percentage is nearly matched by listeners of Urban formats, while six of 10 Alternative listeners show interest. Interest in sports betting sites is also strong among listeners of Alternative Rock, Adult Contemporary, News/Talk, Country, Top 40, and Rock formats. It's notable that while the share of ad impressions during April 2021 on Sports, News/Talk and Classic Rock is over-weighted compared to each format's listeners' level of interest in sports betting, the opposite is the case for Rock, Top 40, Adult Contemporary, and Classic Hits/Oldies. Also worth noting is the power of podcast, with Nielsen Scarborough figures in the report showing podcast listeners are 63% more likely to be sport bettors compared to the general population, and that sports bettors listen to news/government/history, comedy and society and culture podcasts in addition to just those focused on sports.

Given results showing the skew toward AM/FM listeners, MARU/Matchbox's study suggests a restructuring of sports betting ad spend to a mix more representative of, and favoring, radio vs. TV. “January through April 2021 spending in the online sports betting category skews 94% television and only 6% AM/FM radio,” Bouvard says. “This is a massive misalignment. Among those interested in sports betting, 40% are heavy AM/FM radio listeners and 30% are heavy TV viewers, a relationship that converts to a ratio of 57% AM/FM radio and 43% TV.”

Neal Weiner Rises At Westwood One; Sue Falco Returns To Network.

Westwood One elevates Neal Weiner to VP of Affiliate Sales for the 24/7 formats, while industry veteran Sue Falco returns to the network and will serve as Director of Affiliate Sales for the Music & Entertainment division.

“With more than a quarter century with Westwood One, Neal knows this business inside and out. And Sue’s new role brings her full circle back to Westwood One, along with valuable experience and strong industry relationships.” Senior VP of Affiliate Sales Stuart Greenblatt said in a release. “There are no better people to assume these roles and drive Westwood One’s affiliate sales.”

Weiner is a 26-year veteran of Westwood One and has been an integral part of the Affiliate Sales team, working with 24/7 Formats, Music and Entertainment Shows, Sports and Prep Services. His industry career began at “Pirate Radio” in Los Angeles, which was owned by Westwood One at the time.

“We have fantastic new offerings in the pipeline for helping our affiliates to operate smoothly and efficiently, and to sound amazing,” Weiner remarked. “I’m honored to assume this role at such an exciting time.”

Falco previously spent six years at the company as part of both the News/Talk and the Country affiliate sales teams. She most recently served for ten years as Director of Affiliate Sales with United Stations.  

“Westwood One is synonymous with great programming and super-sized talent,” Falco added. I’m thrilled to be back on the team with such a well-respected brand.”

What To Expect When Townsquare And Other Broadcasters Report Q2 Results Next Week.

Next week marks the start of earnings season for radio’s publicly traded companies with seven broadcasters set to report their latest financial results. Among them is Townsquare Media which has provided a sneak peek of what to expect on its call, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3 before the opening bell sounds at the New York Stock Exchange.

For the first half of 2021, the small and medium market specialist says it has “significantly grown” its local spot market share. Citing Miller Kaplan data, Townsquare says it increased its local spot market share by 7% year-to-date. For the month of June, the company outpaced local radio industry growth in 88% of the markets where it operates that report revenue to Miller Kaplan. “I think this raises a key point,” says Townsquare COO – Local Media Erik Hellum. “Half of our revenue is digital but we are also growing local market share in radio. One doesn’t have to come at the expense of the other. The opposite is true, in fact. The better we do digitally, the better we do in our core local business, because the digital solutions we provide to local SMB’s encourages them to trust us with their broadcast marketing budget as well.”

While 49% of the company’s revenue comes from digital – an industry high, by far – 20% is subscription-based, generated by Townsquare Interactive, which sells digital marketing services.

Townsquare says it expects digital revenue to grow by a double-digit percentage in full year 2021. The company got off to a strong start in first quarter with a 13% year-over-year digital revenue bump, which was twice the growth rate experienced in 2020. Total first quarter 2021 revenues at Townsquare Media declined 5% to $88.8 million from $93.4 million in Q1 2020, the last quarter largely spared from the ad pullbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic. Q2 revenues are expected to be up dramatically when compared to the same period in 2020, which marked the absolute abyss of the pandemic-caused ad pullbacks.

The more telling comparison will be to gauge its financial performance against 2019 levels, which the company has pledged to do. “Our business continues to improve each and every quarter, so much so that we feel it is most relevant to compare our financial results to pre-COVID 2019 levels, as we believe we are on the verge of a full revenue and EBITDA recovery,” CEO Bill Wilson said when reporting Q1 numbers in early May.

That is one of the key metrics to look for next week among those following the financials results action: how companies performed when compared to the pre-pandemic second quarter of 2019.

Following are the radio companies that have announced their Q2 results calls for next week, so far:

Tues, Aug. 3

Townsquare Media, 8am

Weds, Aug. 4:

Cumulus Media, 8:30am

Salem Media, 5pm

Thurs, Aug. 5:

Saga Communications, 11am

Beasley Media Group, 11am

iHeartMedia, 4:30pm

Fri, Aug. 6:

Audacy, 10am

All times are Eastern.

Podtrac Says June Downloads Were Up Five Percent When Accounting For Apple Glitch.

Apple Podcasts alerted publishers earlier this month that download numbers reported by third-party hosting providers may have been smaller than they actually were because of a now-repaired glitch in a recent iOS software update. Among those to have been affected was Podtrac, which has shown a consistent downward trend in the year-over-year growth rate of downloads since the beginning of June.

While downloads had been slightly above or on par with 2020 through May, Podtrac said among the publishers it measures June was the first month where 2021 saw less traffic than 2020. Or was it?

After a deeper analysis and adjusting for the problems with Apple Podcasts numbers, Podtrac says it now believes that absolute downloads for June would have grown by five percent compared to a year ago. That would have put the month in line with the average it has seen for the first five months of the year.

In data released Monday, Podtrac said the number of downloads it measured on Apple Podcasts declined by more than 20% during June compared to mid-single digit declines for several other providers and a mid-single digit increase in downloads for iHeartRadio.

Apple last week released the latest update to its operating system that comes packed with a fix that has been causing some podcasters to have fewer than normal downloads. The iOS 14.7 update will no longer prevent automatic downloads for new episodes from completely downloading in the background. Apple said that the glitch, while not impacting listening, could reduce downloads reported by third-party hosting providers.

Based on the timing of the release, it is expected that July numbers from Podtrac and other third-party measurement companies will show a second month of year-over-year declines in downloads for this month.

Podtrac earlier reported that iHeartRadio was the top publisher in June. It had a reach of 31.7 million last month with nearly 252 million downloads. NPR ranked second, followed by the New York Times, Wondery and NBC News.

Eleven of the top 20 podcast publishers measured by Podtrac had month-to-month increases in their U.S. monthly audience during June. And among the top 20 publishers, downloads went up an average of 1%, compared to the prior month.

When Should Streaming Numbers Impact Music Programming Choices?

Look at most any streaming chart from Shazam to Apple Music lately, and you’ll see one of two titles as the highest-ranked country track: Walker Hayes’ “Fancy Like” or Nelly & Florida Georgia Line’s “Lil Bit.” In fact, “Lil Bit” is the No. 1 track overall on the Pandora Top Spins Chart, while “Fancy Like” is No. 1 overall at Amazon Music. Yet with a handful of exceptions, the airplay on terrestrial country stations doesn’t mirror the songs’ streaming popularity. The question becomes increasingly more important: How and when should streaming success factor into programming decisions?

“When the song starts racking up huge numbers in the streaming world, damn right you better look at it, you better think about it,” Johnny Chiang, director of operations at Cox Music Group Houston and CMG’s country format leader, tells Inside Radio sister publication Country Insider. “You’re foolish if you don’t. Our competition is everywhere – it’s Pandora, YouTube, Apple Music. Anything that’s generating buzz anywhere else, we as PDs need to think about that.”

In Portland, OR, KUPL currently has “Lil Bit” and “Fancy Like” in its Top 10 and has introduced Aaron Lewis’ “Am I the Only One,” which made a huge splash upon its release.

“All three of those records are hitting on full cylinders right now, says MD and afternoon host Danny Dwyer. “They are what everyone is wanting. It proves it on the socials — TikTok, Instagram reels and Twitch. If you’re not on these, then you are missing the boat.”

Different Demographics

Interpreting streaming buzz from readily available data presents some challenges, though. Different services have different demographics and different percentages of country listeners. A recent Integr8 Research examination of streaming charts, for instance, showed country comprising 40% of the 20 most-streamed tracks on Amazon Music and Pandora, while no country appeared on Apple Music’s chart.

Additionally, some streaming apps — Shazam, for instance — break out local-market data, but others — such as Spotify — don’t.

“While the tried-and-true methodology is broken out in the key demos, we don't get that from streaming,” says Dave Parker PD at Sinclair Communications “US 106.1” WUSH Norfolk, VA. “So, I have to balance the goals of labels, and the uncertainty of streaming, with the mantra that I don't want the only place that people are finding their favorite songs to be on digital platforms.”

Brent Michaels, PD at Buck Owens Broadcasting KUZZ Bakersfield, CA (550 AM/107.9 FM) pays particular attention to Spotify and Apple, the most-used services in his market. “However,” he adds,” “I don’t discount two things that have been repeatedly pointed out at CRS with [Stone Lab Media’s] Jeff Green that are indicators of success — Shazams and Pandora Thumbs Ups.”

Spikes Vs. Trending Growth

Streaming numbers can spike for any number of reasons, ranging from placement in a television show to dedicated fanbases determined to give their favorite artists an impressive chart debut. A spike may warrant a look at a track; trending growth warrants more serious consideration.

“I look at trends over a few weeks,” Michaels says. “Things like an album release or being a service’s featured artist or song of the week can cause a short-term spike, that isn’t reflective of the lifetime of the record.”

No matter how much success a track shows at streaming services, programmers have to feel like it fits their market. That’s one reason Audacy “93.1 The Wolf” WPAW Greensboro, NC, Brand Manager Clay Walker has “Lil Bit” and “Fancy Like” among WPAW’s most-played tracks, while Parker hasn’t added either at WUSH.

“It could be the most viral thing in the world, but, from an artistic standpoint, if you don’t think that fits your brand, don’t play it,” Chiang says. “Whether you change your mind down the line, that’s totally up to you.”

Bonneville International KYGO Denver (98.5) PD Brian Michel says he tries to expose and test songs that show streaming strength in the Denver area, “but I can tell you there are things that stream that I have played and don't test well and things that had a ton of streams but had no familiarity when I tested them.”

For Nate Deaton, GM for Empire Broadcasting KRTY San Jose, CA (95.3), spinning a song from an artist with limited or no history with the format means more than a commitment to the song. At some level, it’s a belief in the act, as well.

“I am more artist-driven than I am song-driven — which is the opposite of streaming,” Deaton says. “If I have a new guy that comes out and it’s a song, but it’s not a career, that doesn’t do me any good.”

Believing in an artist usually includes believing in the team that surrounds them — the label, the promotion staff, even management and booking agencies. That may help explain why an act like Priscilla Block, who broke via TikTok, is now flirting with the Top 20 with “Just About Over You,” while heavy streamers like Kidd G or Chase Matthew’s “County Line” — which recently put up 4.5 million first-week streams — have yet to make the jump from the DSPs to the airwaves.

“We are not on these artists yet,” Dwyer says, “but we are keeping a close eye on them to see what happens.”

Walker compares his eyeing streaming spikes and trends to a surfer trying to anticipate the perfect wave.

“If we catch the peak of the wave and understand that just because we play a song it doesn’t have to go Number One, but we’re doing what our people want today, then radio is going to win every time,” he says. “The streaming stuff helps me do a better job figuring out when the wave is at its biggest swell.” – Country Insider

As MTV Turns 40, Pittman Interviews Fellow Co-Founders About Channel’s Early Days.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the birth of MTV, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman takes listeners down memory lane to his days as an MTV co-founder on an encore episode of his podcast, “Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing.” The episode tells the story of the beginning of MTV through the eyes of the people who were actually there when it happened.

“It’s the beginning of the 80s. Cable TV was still a crazy idea. Most business executives and most of America didn't understand or believe in how TV was about to change,” Pittman says in the podcast intro. “And here comes this pack of 20-year-olds with an attitude. None of us had ever done the jobs before and all we knew was we had grown up with rock ‘n’ roll and we’d grown up with TV and the two had never successfully come together.”

While the idea of MTV may seem like a natural today, until it launched in 1982 the idea of merging music and television was seen as a bad fit. Pittman said TV producers wanted to make music too much like the format they’d grown accustomed to. What the team of twentysomethings did differently was to make the channel about a mood and an emotion. “MTV was going to be about attitude, and something people wanted to join,” he said.

The story of the wildly successful, culture-bending channel plays out in a string of interviews with Pittman’s MTV co-founders and friends – iHeartMedia President of Entertainment Enterprises John Sykes, former CEO of MTV Judy McGrath, Frederator Networks founder Fred Seibert, former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, and former NPR CEO Jarl Mohn.

Among the memories are how the first MTV logo was designed on crinkled paper (it spent a little time in a trash bin), how a tiny record store in Tulsa helped save the business, how a cereal inspired the channel’s “I want my MTV” slogan.

“MTV was a wonderful ride... from the very beginning, my co-founders and I knew we were doing something that was important to culture, but we had no idea we were going to change culture,” Pittman says. “MTV changed TV. It changed music. It changed graphic design. And it certainly changed my life. No matter how old I get and whatever else I do, MTV is still an important chapter in my life. And all of us as co-founders are still a very tight family.”

The collection of conversations offers a first-person account of how the worlds of TV and music collided in an explosive way.

“The funny thing is, as hard as we worked, I never thought we were going to fail. I got scared when you'd come in and say, ‘They're going to cut the budgets. We've got a few more months, we've gotta make our numbers,’” Sykes reminisces about his early days with Pittman. “That just made me say, ‘Well, we're gonna have to work harder to make our numbers.’”

Lowe’s Torques Up Radio Presence To Land At No. 1 On Spot Tally.

For the first time in more than 14 months, Lowe’s is radio’s top national advertiser based on spot volume. The home improvement giant jumps to No. 1 with 68,986 spots aired during week of July 19-25. That’s an increase of just over 20,000 airings compared to the week before when it ran 48,981 spots and ranked No. 3. Lowe’s hasn’t occupied radio’s pole position since the week of May 18-24, 2020.

Arch rival The Home Depot., which typically out-guns Lowe’s at radio, has fallen to No. 77 with 7,866 spots. Menard’s, which has traditionally trailed both big box giants, placed ahead of The Home Depot at No. 70, with 8,946 spots. Meanwhile a new entrant in the category has debuted on the list: Ferguson, which sells bath, kitchen and lighting supplies, ranks No. 94 with 5,840 spots.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer line of cleaning and household products moves into the top 10 for the first time with 30,319 spot detections, ranked ninth, up from 26,658 the week before when it was No. 14. This is Swiffer’s highest position since Jan. 11-17 when it clocked in at No. 11. Swiffer has become P&G’s top entry on the radio spot tally, which reflects advertising in 110 markets tracked by Media Monitors. It’s one of a dozen P&G brands that dot the latest chart. Among them are toothpaste Crest at No. 30, dish detergent Dawn at No. 35, Olay Body Wash at 36, laundry soap Tide at 40, toilet tissue Charmin at 43, household cleaning product Mr. Clean at 46, dishwasher detergent Cascade at 54, laundry and home products Gain at 77, nutritional supplement Nervise at 92, upset stomach elixir Pepto-Bismol at 94, and heartburn remedy Prilosec OTC at 96.

Returning to the top 10 this week is industrial manufacturing and supplier Grainger at No. 10 with 30,034 spots, an increase from 28,075 the week prior when it ranked No. 13. The business-to-business distributor of maintenance, repair and operating products and services has come a long way during the past two years. In 2019 it was radio’s No. 42 advertiser. Now it is a regular in the top 20 and occasionally roosts in the top 10.

For the week of July 19-25, 2021, the top 10 on the Media Monitors tally are Lowe’s at 1, iHeartRadio at 2, Progressive at 3, Indeed at 4, Babbel at 5, GEICO at 6, the “Murder in Illinois” podcast at 7, Bank of America at 8, Swiffer at 9, and Grainger at 10.

Next Legal Battle For Ed Stolz’s Efforts To Regain His FM Trio May Be A Stack Of Unpaid Bills.

The ownership fate of the former CHRs “92.7 The Revolution” KREV San Francisco, “104.3 Now” KFRH Las Vegas, and “Hot Hits 97.7” KRCK-FM Palm Springs, CA may depend on whether a federal court thinks their sale is needed to pay more than $2 million in unpaid bills and other claims against Ed Stolz’s Royce International Broadcasting. Judge Jesus Bernal has set an Aug. 23 hearing to examine the financial state of the FMs operated by receiver Larry Patrick since last summer.

Patrick has secured a $6 million deal to sell KREV, KFRH and KRCK-FM to religious broadcaster VCY America. Originally the sale was designed to pay an outstanding $1.7 million judgement held by a group of music companies, including Sony/ATV, Universal Music, Warner Music Group and ASCAP, which successfully sued the Stolz stations for copyright infringement. But Stolz came up with the money on his own and last month paid the music companies. He is now arguing that the Patrick-run receivership should be dissolved, the pending sale cancelled, and control of the FMs returned to him.

But Patrick has told the federal court in Riverside, CA that such a move is premature. In a nearly 300-page court filing this month, Patrick detailed more than $2.5 million of bills against the Stolz stations. He calculated that includes $400,241 in unpaid legal judgments against Stolz plus another $1,295,809 in claims against Stolz that includes unpaid transmitter site and office space rent and unpaid fees to BMI and SoundExchange.

Patrick said his receivership is also due $852,190 in fees and expenses for running the stations during the past year – a figure that would cover legal fees, consultant expenses, various filing fees with the Federal Communications Commission, and the $210,000 brokerage commission on the sale. The only way Patrick has said he and others owed money can be assured they receive what they are due is if the court allows the pending sale of the FMs to go forward. Any money left over, said Patrick, would go to Stolz.

Despite what Bernal acknowledged are “voluminous” exhibits and requests detailing what is owed, the judge said he needs a “more substantive accounting” of what the Stolz stations are on the hook for. Bernal said he also needs the legal authority that would allow him to expand the scope of the pending case to order the payment of debts outstanding. The court hearing his month will be a step in that direction. And while Bernal did not give Patrick an immediate victory, he assured in a brief order that he does not intend to allow Patrick to be stiffed for a year’s worth of work.

“The court intends to order Stolz to make the receiver whole,” wrote Bernal. But Patrick has previously expressed doubt that he or others would ever see anything from Stolz whose record of refusing to pay when he loses a court case led to the present situation.

Stolz has not yet responded to the court order, but the Aug. 23 hearing will present him with a new opportunity to argue for the receivership to end. That is something he has repeatedly been pressing the court to do. In the meantime, his three FMs now carry VCY America’s religious network. VCY America last month urged the court to approve its purchase, noting it agreed to buy the FMs last December and the company has been trapped in six months of limbo. Until Bernal does so, it is not expected the Federal Communications Commission will give its approval.

Meanwhile, another court case looms. Stolz has continued to push forward in the U.S. Court of Appeals with his case arguing the district court judge erred when he refused to dissolve the receivership. The Ninth Circuit has so far sided with the lower court, but the three-judge panel in May also rejected Patrick’s request that Stolz’s appeal be dismissed outright. It is accepting briefs in the case into October, suggesting a resolution is unlikely until year-end at the earliest.

What Will Impact Radio In Washington This Year

By Frank Saxe

    The clock is ticking on the 115th Congress and if its first half accomplishments are any indication, legislation that would impact radio may struggle to gain traction in the coming months. No issue looms larger for radio than a performance royalty and music copyright reform. But unlike in years past, today the radio and record industries are talking.

      There’s more than just a potential performance royalty keeping radio’s lobbyists busy. Washington insiders say that although conventional wisdom says not much gets done in an election year, the best chance of a legislative action impacting radio is passage of a bill that would allow stations to tap into the fund paying for the TV spectrum repack.

        The elevation of Ajit Pai to chairman of the Federal Communications Commission a year ago has delivered a number of regulatory changes that have long been sought by broadcasters as he’s followed through with his pledge to “take a weed whacker” to FCC regulations. Washington insiders think it’s a course Pai will continue down in 2018.

        PEOPLE MOVES

        Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 31 for St. Louis market veteran John Larrabee aka “Johnny Mac,” who passed away July 10 at the age of 73. Larrabee was with KYKY (98.1) for 21 years, where he hosted the “Cartunes” afternoon show.

        University of Northwestern St. Paul contemporary Christian “Life 107.1” KNWI Des Moines recruits Mariah Lewis for middays, effective Aug. 9. Lewis, who succeeds Meredith Foster in middays, will also serve as a programming assistant and manage listener engagement. She was previously PD at Des Moines Radio Group crosstown AC “104.1 EZ FM” KQEZ.

        Heather Maack will cover middays at iHeartMedia AC “Mix 99.5” WMAG Greensboro, NC. Maack, who is based at the company’s hot AC “My 99.5” KJMY Salt Lake City where she hosts afternoons, succeeds WMMX Dayton’s Kim Faris, who was tracking the shift prior to her retirement earlier this month.

        Miquel Calcada is named GM of Pacifica Foundation variety KPFK Los Angeles (90.7). Calcada has 14 years of experience in public radio administration and production in Barcelona and has owned two radio stations.

        The Inside Story On Nielsen’s New Podcast Listener Buying Service.

        Nielsen last month unveiled its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service, a qualitative measurement service that shows insights into podcast listeners’ buying habits. Nielsen says the new service will leverage Nielsen Scarborough’s nearly 30,000-person database to connect specific types of listeners with particular advertisers and specific program-level insights. It also matches podcast listeners with their buying behavior.

        Six months after the project was hatched inside Nielsen, five podcast companies that have signed on as charter clients—iHeartMedia, Cadence13, Stitcher, Westwood One and cabana—are just weeks away from getting their hands on the first data. Podcast News Daily caught up with Bruce Supovitz, Nielsen’s Senior VP of National Audio Services, to get an inside look at the Podcast Listener Buying Power Service and what may be next for Nielsen in the podcast business. An edited transcript follows.

        A good place to start is probably a description of how the Podcast Listener Buying Power Service works?

        We start with Scarborough USA, the very well-known and accepted qualitative database that’s been used to plan and buy various media for years. People have used it to buy and sell radio, television, cable, newspapers, internet, and sports. The challenge was there wasn’t a lot about podcasting in there. So from that large database we do ask a question about whether someone was a podcast listener in the past 30 days. So we use that pool of people, which is rather robust, to re-contact and complete an online survey that we have developed that focuses strictly on podcast listening habits and preferences.

        The Scarborough sample is quite large.

        Scarborough USA is a 200,000-person sample and we know from that there is a pool of people, probably 15-20%, that we know have said they listened to at least one podcast in the last 30 days. So that’s our starting pool and from that we can re-contact those people who have already filled out a rather in depth booklet that talks about whether they are planning to buy a car, change insurance, do home improvement. And even deeper than that, it asks about some specific brands and categories, for instance, which big box home improvement store they shop in or which insurance company they use. So it’s not just intent to purchase, which is very valuable, it does drill down to brand-specific names. Planners and buyers have been using this for radio, television and cable for a long time but there was never anything specific tying back to podcasts. So that’s what this service is going to do.

        What sort of questions will you ask people who listen to podcasts?

        We created a questionnaire of about a dozen questions of things that you would normally think about, such as do you listen to podcasts? How often do you listen? How much time do you listen? How many podcasts do you listen to in an average week? What’s the typical length of a podcast? What devices do you listen to podcasts on? How did you hear about or discover podcasts? What kind of apps do you use to listen? We ask a question in there as a nod to radio stations, asking if they listen to a podcast from a local radio station. We even ask a question if they’ve purchased something after they’ve listened to an ad in a podcast. We ask a lot of questions that paint a very good picture about the type of person, whether they’re a light, medium or heavy user of podcasting. And then we top it off using the 18 Apple Podcast categories and ask them to identify their favorite formats and genres.

        So what does that get you?

        If a planner is given instructions to make a buy for a large brand, the brand has told them what the demographic target is and other qualitative criteria. And then they’re presented with 700,000 podcasts to choose from. Now they can go into this and say they want to reach Women 18-49 who listen to five or more podcasts a month, use the following apps and are fans of true crime and then tie that exactly back to a brand and a competitor’s brand to see what the indexes are and the coverage composition. From a pre-buy attribution point of view, that’s really very powerful stuff.

        Will you get to program-level data?

        We are going to allow subscribers to have the ability to submit a limited number of program titles to us for inclusion in the survey. That way, when the data comes out, they will see their own programs—they won’t see the other program titles—and walk in to the buyer and show their downloads and a direct profile of their program and the people who say they listen to the show and the places they shop. That’s very powerful.

        The Podcast Listener Buying Power Service is a twice a year product, correct?

        The first release will be coming out later this month for the very first time. It’s going to be available to clients through our Prime Lingo, a very user-friendly web-based piece of software. We will probably be targeting our next release in December and then in 2020 we’ll look to have a two times-a-year release schedule.

        How did this service come together?

        We’ve been in this space for a couple of years talking to podcasters about what they need and solutions. We are doing a very large business with media analytics for our podcast clients, which are the brand lift and ad effectiveness studies. We’re engaged with a large number of podcast sellers, where we do these studies focused on an advertiser and what their ad recall, resonance and reaction was from listeners to that spot on the podcast. Those are very campaign-focused. What we like about that is it helps people on both sides. The agencies and the advertiser get to see how their campaign resonated. The podcaster can use it to generate revenue and ad sales. We see the Podcast Listener Buying Power Service as the next step. What else can we do to help podcasters drive sales, specifically brand dollars? We heard from podcasters and agencies that they need analytics about podcast listeners. And here we are sitting with this fantastic database that’s been used for years and is widely accepted. So we linked that to podcasting.

        How will this compare to some of the other research that we see on podcasting?

        Anyone can do a questionnaire or a study on podcast listening, but how many can link that data back to the same people who said that they bought or planned to buy the following products. That’s what we feel is the Nielsen advantage of having a big dataset and why some very large podcasters have signed-up for this service before the first data even came out.

        You’re launching with some big names. Have you heard from any other podcasters considering it?

        We are definitely going to add clients. Some were talking a wait-and-see and weren’t as familiar with Scarborough as others that have taken comfort in the big companies supporting this. But we’ve been getting inbound inquiries from as far away as the U.K. and Australia from podcasters who want us to offer the service in their countries. As well as podcast divisions within larger media companies that are just beginning to explore podcasting and, when they saw this announcement, they’ve been reaching out to Nielsen to find out more.

        What do you make of that?

        I think it’s the natural evolution that people want data and they want it tied to the brands and they want attribution. This once again gets them closer to that. If you’re an average CMO or an ad agency and you’ve been presented with the challenge to purchase “new ears” and podcasting is red-hot. So how do they begin? It’s a pretty big universe out there. This helps them.

        So this is part of the bigger effort to bring more ad dollars to podcasting?

        Yes, and surround podcasting with tried-and-true data analytics that have been acceptable and advertisers know that works.

        What feedback have you had from the ad community?

        They’re excited. There’s a lot of interest and they say there’s a ton of podcasts out there and they need help to narrow that down to the type of listener and that this is going to be a big help for them.

        Can you give us a sense of how big a focus podcasting is within Nielsen?

        In the Nielsen Audio division, it’s one of the fastest-growing segments for us in terms of year-over-year work with clients. It’s also a natural extension of working with our audio clients because not only are podcasters big in this space, but radio groups have taken positions in podcasting companies, have created podcast divisions, and it’s important to them to reach as many ears in as many distribution points as possible. So it’s a strategically important thing for Nielsen Audio and the work we’re doing is growing rapidly.

        So is this new service a step toward eventually having Nielsen podcast ratings?

        The two are distinct and definitely different. We have a technology that could measure podcasting and we tested it years ago. That approach requires that each mobile app put our code on it and then you collect the consumption through that code. In order for that to be successful, you need all the apps to participate to have a good collection of data. And if you don’t have all the apps, and specifically if you don’t have some of the major podcast apps, then you have an incomplete picture. You don’t get the whole environment and I think people want to get everything they can, that’s what they’re used to in the digital world. The habits and behaviors of people using two different apps aren’t the same so we can’t just model this out. So we decided that while the industry was deciding amongst itself what measurement means, instead we’ve turned our focus and resources to helping people generate dollars from advertising campaigns using our insights. But just because we’re not doing it today doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it tomorrow.

        Editor’s Note: Bruce Supovitz will be among the panelists on the Evolution of Podcast Advertising panel at the Podcast Movement conference in Orlando today (Aug. 1) at 9am.