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Citing “the growing social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Salem Media Group has withdrawn its revenue and operating expense guidance for the first quarter of 2020.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

The events of the past two weeks have ushered in a new, albeit temporary, era of virtually no station visitors, no live music performances, and for many, no on-air contesting. Half (50%) of respondents to an informal Inside Radio readership poll say they have temporarily pulled on-air contesting while 32% say contests continue and 11% had no contests on the air when the crisis began. Read more

Friday, March 27, 2020

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

The events of the past two weeks have ushered in a new, albeit temporary, era of virtually no station visitors, no live music performances, and for many, no on-air contesting. Half (50%) of respondents to an informal Inside Radio readership poll say they have temporarily pulled on-air contesting while 32% say contests continue and 11% had no contests on the air when the crisis began. Read more

WDRV Chicago presents a “Chicago Sing-A-Long”… KUOW Seattle no longer carrying White House press briefings live… KRRL Los Angeles’ “The Cruz Show” highlighted on local TV newscast for community efforts… WBAP/KLIF Dallas to host on-air Town Hall with Mark Cuban… Cox Media Group Atlanta holds a virtual food drive… CBS Audio is offering two special one-hour programs this weekend. Read more

Religion remains podcasting’s most active genre, according to an analysis of what shows are being published. Dan Misener, head of audience development at Pacific Content, says that’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the months since Apple’s new podcast genres took effect last August. But one thing that has changed is the rise of Daily News, which is now among the categories with the most episodes. Read more

Thursday, March 26, 2020

With tens of millions of Americans camped out at home due to the spread of the coronavirus, media consumption is peaking. According to Nielsen, 83% of American adults report spending the same or more time with radio as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as Inside Radio reported Wednesday. Now newly released data sheds a light on how listeners are using radio to help them deal with the outbreak, feel more connected to the community and feel less alone. Read more

With Washington state one of the earliest and hardest hit areas of the country by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Bonneville and Hubbard Seattle clusters are partnering to bring vital information to residents. In a unique cross-company collaboration, hourly news updates from KIRO-FM will air on Hubbard’s KQMV, KRWM and KNUC. In return, KIRO-FM will encourage listeners to tune into the music stations as a break from the news. Read more

Society needs “comfort and leadership” from businesses during these trying times, according to Norm de Greve, Senior VP and CMO of CVS. De Greve, former MTV exec Judy McGrath and iHeartMedia EVP/CMO Gayle Troberman join iHeart CEO Bob Pittman on the latest episode of the “Math & Magic” podcast, which focuses on how companies should communicate to consumers during these challenging times. Read more

iHeartMedia said Thursday that it has withdrawn its financial guidance for 2020 “due to heightened uncertainty related to the novel coronavirus pandemic” and that it boosted its cash reserves by drawing $350 million from its revolving credit facility to “maintain maximum financial flexibility.” The additional cash gives the company “a prudent level of liquidity at this time,” President, COO and CFO Rich Bressler said. Read more

Digital audio advertising company AdsWizz has a new feature within AudioMatic, its audio-centric programmatic buying platform, to enhance podcast planning and buying for large agencies. The new features include automating host-read campaigns and offering brand safe audience buys. Read more

President Donald Trump appoints Westwood One-syndicated conservative talk show host Michael Savage to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Presidio Trust… Nielsen Audio will release a revised February 2020 Washington Radio Market Report after audience estimates for EMF contemporary Christian WLVW were inadvertently omitted… Focus 360 enters into a partnership with GroundSwell Group to align brands with non-profit organizations. Read more

With news about the spreading coronavirus breaking hourly, radio has become far more news-oriented – and not just spoken word stations. Many music FMs are airing hourly updates about the pandemic and its pummeling impact on the economy. Jocks on music stations, meanwhile, are striking a delicate balance between keeping listeners informed and offering a much needed escape from the often frightening news. Read more

With tens of millions of Americans working from home, the daily commute may be only down a flight of stairs instead of 30+ minutes in the car. That could impact radio listening levels and how Americans access their favorite radio stations. The hope is that Americans spending less time in the car and more at home could lead to an increase in listening to the online streams of broadcast radio on smart speakers, smartphones and other digital devices. Read more

Add the FCC’s upcoming Auction 106 to the ever-growing list of cancellations brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. The FCC said Wednesday it is postponing indefinitely the auction of 130 FM station construction permits to protect the health and safety of Commission staff and to allow parties additional time to prepare to participate in the process. Read more

A $1.2 million check gives iHeartMedia its eighth radio station in San Diego. In a quick-closing deal, Riverfront Broadcasting adds a fifth station in Rapid City, SD. New York Public Television closes a nearly $1 million deal to buy its first radio station on Long Island’s East End. Check out all the action in this week’s Deal Digest. Read more

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

With Americans stuck at home and actual concerts on hold for the foreseeable future, iHeartMedia and Fox have teamed up to simulcast performances from some of music’s biggest artists – playing from the safety of their living rooms. Hosted by Elton John, “Fox Presents The iHeart Living Room Concert For America” will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw and other performers to be announced. Read more

No matter what’s happening on Wall Street or in the White House, you need to focus on what’s happening in YOUR house. Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze will share practical money and career advice to spread hope in the middle of national uncertainty through the Message of Hope livestream at 7pm (CST) this evening. Read more

As the global health crisis continues to transform nearly every aspect of radio operations and sales, new data illuminates the extent of the changes. Three in four respondents (75%) to an informal Inside Radio readership poll say their company or station has either required or encouraged all employees, except on-air personnel, to work from home. Clients cancelling their ad campaigns or making extensive copy changes are also widespread. Read more

The 2020 edition of iHeartRadio’s “Wango Tango” concert, scheduled for Saturday, June 6 has been cancelled. The annual event, hosted by iHeartMedia CHR KIIS-FM Los Angeles, was to feature Harry Styles, who was announced in January as the first artist. The complete artist line up was to be revealed in April. Refunds for the event are being issued. Read more

The coronavirus crisis has Americans listening to more news/talk streaming radio broadcasts.  New data from Triton Digital shows the news/talk format experienced a 14% increase in share of online streaming, growing from 29% in the week of March 6-12 to 33% during the period of March 13-19. The share of streaming for sports radio remained at 8%, while the share of streaming for music formatted radio declined. Read more

A group of radio stations in Portland, ME will go silent, following the recent passing of company owner and former Auburn mayor Dick Gleason and the effect the coronavirus is having on the economy. The stations include country combo WOXO-FM/WRMO-FM, hot AC “Maine`s Big Z” WEZR/WPNO and sports WTME. Gleason has run the company since the 1975 purchase of WOXO. Read more

The COVID-19 pandemic is making an impact on virtually every angle of life in the U.S., including Americans’ appetites for podcast listening. The latest rankings from Podtrac find that weekly downloads and audience numbers have been trending downward since March 9, while overall growth in those metrics remain positive on a year-over-year basis. The one podcasting category seeing a big spike: news. Read more

What was it like for the major ad agencies last week, facing an onslaught of calls from clients wanting to postpone, shift or outright cancel their advertising plans? In a word, “crazy,” says Kathy Doyle, Executive VP of Local Investment at agency holding company Magna Global. While ad agencies remain “in the battleground phase of this,” Doyle said some clients this week began to inquire about getting back on the air. Read more

New research from Comscore finds in-home data usage is skyrocketing as millions of Americans work from home and at least 70% of U.S. schools are shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart speakers (+44%), in particular, saw a major year-over-year uptick. Smart-speaker data usage for March is up 30% over February. Read more

A new blog post by attorney David Oxenford urges broadcasters to strategize how to maintain their operations in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as a growing number of states and municipalities urge social distancing, issue shelter-in-place orders or put restrictions on travel. One immediate issue, Oxenford says, is access, and whether broadcasters are “essential services” or whether they can be shut down like other businesses. Read more

Gracie Awards postponed… KSPN Los Angeles takes part in the “TeLAthon for Los Angeles.” … WYXB Indianapolis and KESZ Phoenix plan Christmas music programming features… Jacobs Media launches survey to address health crisis… WGN Chicago playing back Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup run… KIRO-FM Seattle creates the “Covid-19: Seattle Podcast.” Read more

Radio companies saw a rise in their streaming numbers with the start of 2020, with most groups posting double-digit percentage increases from December 2019, according to the latest Triton Digital Monthly Webcast Rankers. The largest increase came from Educational Media Foundation, which saw a 40% month-over-month AAS bump, returning the Christian broadcaster to the Top 10. Read more

Count the American restaurant industry among those calling on the federal government to rescue their depleted industry in the era of COVID-19. With life in the U.S. at a virtual standstill due to the proliferation of “social distancing” and “shelter in place” measures, the industry is facing sales declines of a whopping $225 billion over the next three months, according to the National Restaurant Association. But some help is already on the way. Read more

It looks like an updated Android app was just the start of Google’s plans for a podcast overhaul. Google has released its first version of Podcasts for iOS, giving users a way to listen to podcasts that sync with virtually any device where your Google account works. This new app is also a showcase for a larger redesign meant to not only help you find new shows, but satisfy curiosity about subjects mentioned in those shows. Read more

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Radio Mercury Awards, originally scheduled for June 4, have been pushed back to Oct. 6 at Sony Hall in New York City. The awards ceremony, which honors creativity in radio advertising, is the latest radio industry gathering to be postponed or cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The call for entries remains open and will be extended until Aug. 3. Read more

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing Atlanta upstart talk outlet WTZA to shutter. The station was built around Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson in afternoons and former WYAY cohort Shannon Burke in mornings (from an Orlando base). Local entrepreneur Will Regan launched the station in February, but now as investors have backed out, he’s been forced to cease operations, effective Friday March 27. Read more

As media buyers and sellers confront extraordinary upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, the RAB has launched a new section on its website populated with a raft of tools for radio sellers and marketers. The new section, titled “Business Unusual: Best Practices For When It’s Not Business As Usual,” includes a new white paper, articles and blogs, a social media campaign, research studies and other tools that RAB members can use and share with their clients. Read more

Red Apple Media talk WABC New York launches special programming on the coronavirus pandemic this week, featuring Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” from 5-6pm and a number of special guests, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Bill O’Reilly and Brian Kilmeade, from 3-5pm. An earlier release from WABC said Giuliani would be hosting daily from 4-5pm. The special programming schedule has since been revised. Read more

NPR’s kid-friendly podcast, “Wow in the World,” is adding a daily game show. Curious kids and their parents can expect to hear all new full-length episodes of “Wow in the World” every Monday and a brand new interactive, science-based game show, “Two Whats and a Wow!,” every Tuesday through Friday. The seven-minute daily game show was created as a rapid response to worldwide school closures affecting almost a billion children due to the coronavirus. Read more

Kevin Ryder and Jimmy Kimmel appear on Adam Carolla’s podcast… Entercom launches “Radio.com Live: And The Beat Goes On,” a new 24/7 channel… Salem Media Group names Candace Owen the “Cultural Warrior of the Year.” … WNWZ Grand Rapids adjusts to Hip-Hop and R&B and adds Rickey Smiley. Read more

Frosty Stillwell, one-third of the “Frosty, Heidi & Frank” morning show on Meruelo Media classic rock KLOS Los Angeles (95.5), has been furloughed due to “decreased advertising revenue” following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Read more

With “shelter in place” and “work from home” the new normal for millions of Americans, some big national marketers have reduced their radio presence while others have stepped on the gas. The nation’s two largest home improvement retailers pulled back their spend but remain solidly on the air. And despite dire predictions for the restaurant industry, the latest tally includes five accounts in the QSR category, led by McDonald’s at No. 5. Read more

A pair of iHeartMedia clusters has launched initiatives to provide resources to their communities during the coronavirus crisis. iHeartMedia San Diego created a website called iHelpSD.com, while iHeartMedia Charlotte offers “Carolina Cares,” highlighting local organizations and services. Meanwhile, Indiana-based Federated Media is focusing on helping local businesses with the launch of its “Restaurant Rescue” program. Read more

A new blog post by Cumulus Media’s Pierre Bouvard outlines seven strategies to help advertisers maintain their viability — and protect future sales — amid turbulent economic times. The coronavirus pandemic that’s brought the U.S. economy to a virtual standstill has proven to be the catalyst for a number of “back to basics” workshops and webinars designed to reinforce best practices during a time of substantial uncertainty. Read more

With the coronavirus pandemic upending American lifestyles, broadcast sales consultant Paul Weyland offered ways to keep current clients on the air and how to approach new businesses and ad categories that aren’t regular radio users. “This could be our finest hour if we make it so. We should be the heartbeat of our communities,” Weyland said Monday on a conference call for managers and sales professionals sponsored by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. Read more

iHeartMedia has officially filed to purchase news/talk KFMB San Diego from Local Media San Diego for $1.2 million. Local Media closed on its purchase of KFMB and adult hits KFMB-FM (100.7) from Tegna on March 18 and immediately announced the sale of the AM station to iHeartMedia. KFMB will continue to broadcast its existing talk format and will retain the majority of its programming. Read more

So much of everyday life has been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, with millions of Americans now working from home – and spending a lot more of their free time in their house than in the past. The impact that will have on podcast consumption is something the industry is still trying to determine. “It would not surprise me if there’s a bit of a flight to comfort,” Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster said. Read more

Monday, March 23, 2020

Conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt and Salem Radio Network have inked a new contract extension that will keep him on air through 2028. Hewitt, whose nationally-syndicated program airs 6-9am (ET), has been with Salem since July 2000. The morning show is heard on more than 450 affiliates nationwide and is accompanied by a video simulcast on Townhall.com. Read more