Audacy keeps it within the family, elevating sports WIP-FM Philadelphia Brand Manager Spike Eskin to VP/Programming for “The Fan” WFAN-AM/FM New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin succeeds Mark Chernoff, who has led America’s first sports talk station for nearly 30 years. Chernoff will remain in his current position through the transition and officially step down July 1. Read more

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) partners with iHeartMedia to air live play-by-play audio streams on a new dedicated digital channel on the iHeartRadio streaming platform. Branded as NWSL Radio, the station will feature two of the biggest league games each week. The exclusive deal marks the first live audio partnership in NWSL history. Read more

More radio stations ran local news in 2020, even while nearly 20% of news managers – double the total from 2019 – reported budget cuts, and nearly 60% reported ongoing impacts from the pandemic, including 8% reporting coronavirus or the associated economic disruption ended local news programs. That's according to the first installment of the annual Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Newsroom Survey. Read more

In what CEO Alfred Liggins called a “solid first quarter,” Urban One reported a 3.6% decrease in revenue to $94.1 million, compared to $94.9 million in Q1 2020.  Radio revenues fell 20.4% while core radio ad sales dropped 13.7% to around $33 million as trends improved each month during the quarter. Core radio billings in January were down 28.4% and February fell 19.9% before the trend turned positive with an 8.8% increase in March. Read more

The iHeartRadio Music Festival returns as a live event September 17-18 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Performers and additional details about the signature event will be announced at a later date. The festival will broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the country across more than 150 markets and also will be featured as an exclusive national television broadcast special on The CW Network at a later date. Read more

Radio Training Network, operators of the Christian AC “The Joy FM” network, expands it Florida footprint with the purchase of WTSM Tallahassee and WHLG Port St. Lucie from Horizon Broadcasting Company for $1.3 million. The purchases come on the heels of Radio Training Network’s $4 million acquisition of WNUE Melbourne from Entravision Communications. Read more

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau says podcast ad revenue grew 19% to $842 million last year. And the trade group sees even stronger growth rates on the horizon, with revenue forecast to top $1 billion in 2021 and to double to $2.2 billion by 2023. “It’s a perfect storm of a lot of good things happening,” says IAB’s Chris Bruderle. For the first time, the IAB says in 2020 most podcast ad revenue is tied to dynamically-inserted advertising and not baked-in ads. Read more

“Sometimes it’s hard to not think that video gets all the attention,” said Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO David Cohen as he opened the IAB Podcast Upfront Tuesday. But he told ad buyers – gathered to hear what is on the horizon among 30 companies presenting during the three-day event – that the “power of podcasting” is only starting to ramp up. “The future of the audio industry is very bright indeed,” said Cohen. Read more

Gordon Smith used his final speech before the annual NAB State Leadership Conference as President and CEO to praise broadcasters for their dedication and bravery in keeping Americans informed throughout the pandemic, to rally the troops to advocate on Capitol Hill for key issues impacting the business, and to reflect on his past dozen years working in Washington on behalf of radio and television. Read more

The correlation between music genres and demographics – and between genres and how and where music is consumed – is the focus of Coleman Insights' third “Tuesdays With Coleman” blog devoted to the results of its “Contemporary Music SuperStudy 3.” The results show that while the Pop genre is strong across the board, Country and Hip Hop/R&B tend to define listeners by age, race, location, music listening source and even political orientation. Read more

Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel praised broadcasters’ efforts to keep communities safe and informed during the pandemic and to educate the public on COVID-19 vaccines at the NAB State Leadership Conference Tuesday. “When I think of the importance of broadcasting, I think of your role as first informers in times of crisis,” Rosenworcel told the annual gathering of 500 radio and TV station owners and execs. Read more

Tasheka Young, who used the on-air name “Young Tasheka” while at Cox Media Group hip-hop/R&B “Power 106.1” Jacksonville, is suing the company claiming she was denied a second maternity leave and instead was fired for what were deemed “performance issues.” Young alleges pregnancy/sex discrimination and is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees and costs. Read more

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tasheka Young, who used the on-air name “Young Tasheka” while at Cox Media Group hip-hop/R&B “Power 106.1” Jacksonville, is suing the company claiming she was denied a second maternity leave and instead was fired for what were deemed “performance issues.” Young alleges pregnancy/sex discrimination and is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees and costs. Read more

Loyd Ford doesn’t want to say “The Radio Rally,” his weekly show on Clubhouse, is like going to church, but it’s sort of like that. “It’s the church of radio,” says Ford, who co-hosts “The Radio Rally” with Robin “Heather Froglear” Ward of Audacy “K-Frog 95.1” KFRG Riverside, CA, and Hubbard Broadcasting’s “B-105” WUBE Cincinnati’s Jesse Tack. “We congregate together on Monday night, and we have a little rally.” Read more

Gene Sandbloom makes it official: The OM and Content Director of Alpha Media adult alternative KINK (101.9) Portland, OR, adds the role of Content Director at country sister “98.7 The Bull” KUPL Portland, OR. Before joining Alpha Media, Sandbloom spent 25 years with CBS Radio Los Angeles, overseeing modern rock KROQ and adult hits KCBS-FM until his exit in 2017. Read more

Against the backdrop of the NAB State Leadership Conference, the war of words between lobbyists on opposing sides of the performance royalty issue is heating up. The musicFirst Coalition has accused the NAB of misleading lawmakers with “false claims” about how artists are discovered. The NAB responded by accusing the music group of resorting to “misguided attacks on the mutually beneficial relationship between radio and artists.” Read more

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Mark Chernoff, Senior VP Programming for New York sports station “The Fan” WFAN- AM & FM, Audacy NY and CBS Sports Radio, is one of four broadcasters named to the New York State Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame Class for 2021. “Mark Chernoff is a legendary radio executive in New York sports radio,” NYSBA President David Donovan says. Read more

Usher will host and perform at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards. Also performing at the annual event will be The Weeknd with special guest Ariana Grande, Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak), Dan + Shay and Doja Cat. Elton John will receive the 2021 iHeartRadio Icon Award, which will be introduced by Chris Martin and Lil Nas X. Read more

Changes made by Nielsen to its TV ratings panel procedures caused it to understate Total Usage of Television (TUT) among Persons 18-49 by 2% to 6%, according to the Media Rating Council. In addition the ratings watchdog said Persons Using Television (PUT) estimates among Persons 18-49 were understated by a range of 1% to 5% in February 2021. The undercount in February could have reduced ad revenue for TV companies by $39 million to $234 million, the trade group VAB said. Read more

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A key component of radio’s connection to its audience – and an important revenue stream – is making a welcome return as live events begin to repopulate station calendars across the country. Safety is key as radio dips its toes into a post-pandemic concert world to “ensure that all staff, vendors and patrons [are] safe,” Townsquare Media VP/Live Events, Ashly Emerson Keating says. Read more

Osiris Media, the podcast studio focused on music-based storytelling, has formed a joint venture with Audacy that will result in a podcast that will benefit from the broadcaster’s portfolio of rock stations. Breaking Waves: Seattle will offer an oral history of the emergence and growth of grunge and alternative music in the city in the 80s and 90s. The podcast series will also air on Audacy’s rock stations. Read more

Magnum Media launches “Alt 107.1” filling the hole for modern rock in the La Crosse, WI market. The new station is broadcast on the La Crosse-licensed translator W296EH at 107.1 with programming originating on WKBH-HD3. The signal, which moves from 107.3 to its current position, previously simulcast CHR “Mix 96.1” WXYM. Owner Reid Magnum says “our research indicates that for alternative music fans Alt 107.1 will be a hit.” Read more

Veritone introduces a bunch of enhancements to Veritone Digital Media Hub, its cloud-native, AI-enabled content management platform. The updates were born from production challenges brought on by the pandemic which revealed the need for remote collaboration and compatibility with existing applications and the need to derive increased revenue from existing content. Read more

Omny Studio is getting expanded reporting and categorization capabilities as part of an update to the Triton Digital-owned podcast platform. The company says the expanded reporting functionality includes granular visibility into the total number of episodes and total minutes of audio content published. growing their audiences. The updates are the first since Triton Digital became part of iHeartMedia. Read more

WAXQ New York and the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp present “Q104.3 Backstage Pass” with Simon Kirke… WABC morning co-host Sid Rosenberg is profiled in the Brooklyn Eagle… iHeartMedia Memphis’ “Sista Strut” will be a drive-through parade again this year… “Big Machine’s Tim McGraw & Friends Memorial Day Weekend Celebration” available as a non-exclusive special for country radio. Read more

North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield is pledging to revive his fight to bring back the minority tax certificate program. His bill would use the federal tax code to incentivize current radio and TV station owners to spin-off stations to women and minorities. “It’s time for Congress to do its part to ensure women and racial minorities have equal access to the market,” Butterfield told the NAB State Leadership Conference on Monday. Read more

Sports betting is a small ad category for radio but it has the potential to grow exponentially as more states legalize mobile sports betting. According to Nielsen, local radio booked $3.9 million in ad sales from online sports gambling in first quarter while network radio attracted $488,000. Meanwhile the category has become a “golden goose” for local TV, contributing $154 million to the market in Q1 after a mere $10.7 million at the start of 2019. Read more

Agency interest in podcast advertising is at an all-time high, according to data in Westwood One's latest “Everyone's Listening” blog entry. A deep dive into ad spending during first quarter 2021 shows the top 100 podcast advertisers spent an average of nearly $500,000. Underscoring the top-heavy nature of spending, just 5% of advertisers represent more than half of the total podcast spend. Read more

The race to 218 – the number of House members needed to effectively block any legislation from becoming law – has begun again for broadcasters as the radio industry looks to sideline any bill that requires stations to pay performance royalties for on-air music use. The march took ten steps forward in the House during the past week as members on both sides of the aisle sided with radio. Read more

Blavity, the media company creating content geared toward Black Millennials, is teaming up with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its popular series Black Tech Green Money. The Will Lucas-hosted show is part of Blavity’s AfroTech vertical. “With Charlamagne and The Black Effect Podcast Network, we’re set up to reach so many more people all over the world,” said Lucas. Read more

Among the mainstay marketers within the latest top 10 tally from Media Monitors are a pair of newcomers that have gone all in on broadcast radio. Uber Technologies, whose products include its signature ride-sharing service as well as Uber Eats, debuted at No. 8 with 32,479 spots for the week of May 3-9. Uber, which has previously only dabbled in radio, is running a campaign offering additional financial incentives to recruit drivers for its food delivery service. Read more

Monday, May 10, 2021

Radio and TV stations are not being fairly compensated for content, especially local news, provided to technology platforms such as Google and Facebook, according to a new study out today from BIA Advisory Services. The study finds local stations are losing nearly $2 billion in value annually due to these platforms' leveraging of their substantial market power to advance their own growth to the detriment of broadcast news. Read more

Digital was the growth propeller for Townsquare Media in Q1 as the company now positions itself as a “digital first company.” With digital continuing to grow at a double-digit rate and rebounding broadcast ad sales, Townsquare has begun to gauge its financial performance against 2019 levels. “We are on the verge of a full financial recovery to pre-COVID levels, and one of the key drivers is our strong digital performance,” says CEO Bill Wilson. Read more

Heritage CHR “Z100” officially elevates night host Maxwell to afternoons, where he will be joined by Crystal Rosas for “The Maxwell and Crystal Show,” weekdays 2-6pm effective June 1. Rosas comes to “Z100” from rhythmic CHR sister “Wild 92.9” KYLD San Francisco. Maxwell has been covering afternoons since the departure of Mo Bounce in April. Joining for nights is Josh Martinez. Read more

The syndicated “Bob & Sheri” morning show has found a new flagship station in its home base of Charlotte. The program, which had been at WLNK-FM for nearly 30 years, will be heard from 5-8:30am at Beasley Media Group AC “K104.7” WKQC beginning Monday, May 17. Current morning hosts, “Phil & Melany” will continue from 8:30-10am and also host afternoon drive, as PD Jack Daniel moves to middays. Read more

SiriusXM is combining the advertising sales organizations of its three audio companies – SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher – into a single unit. The new organization, which will operate under the name SXM Media, will create a unified sales team crossing satellite radio, streaming music, and podcasting. SXM Media is also being pitched as a rep firm to work with other platforms and podcasters. Read more

The Missouri House of Representatives has voted on a bill that would declare each Jan. 12 as “Rush Limbaugh Day.” The late conservative talk show host was born in Cape Girardeau on Jan. 12, 1951. The GOP-controlled House passed the bill, but not without opposition from Democratic state lawmakers and criticism from the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Read more

The SuiteRadio-syndicated “Bud and Broadway” show will keep its name following co-host Victor “Bud Ford” Ward's departure. According to Ed Moloney, who handles affiliate relations for the show, affiliates were notified of Ward’s exit Friday. Moloney tells Country Insider that producer T. Wall and correspondent Becca Walls remain with the show and that lead host Jerry Broadway “may or may not add another voice to the lineup.” Read more

The podcast studio Lemonada Media is taking its advertising revenue fortunes into its own hands. The company has formed a new sales team that will take its portfolio of shows whose stated goal is “to make life suck less” directly to marketers. “Lemonada has an ambitious growth plan for 2021 and beyond,” said CEO Jessica Cordova Kramer. “This is the right moment to steer our own sales efforts.” Read more

The IAB Technology Laboratory – the non-profit consortium that has created the Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines and a Podcast Measurement Compliance Program among other things – will soon have a new leader. Nearly four years after Dennis Buchheim was tapped to run the organization, he has announced plans to exit the IAB on May 21. The trade group says SVP Shailley Singh will serve as interim General Manager until a successor is hired. Read more

VP Broadcasting debuts an on-air lineup for hip-hop/R&B “Loud Radio,” which launched in January on WHOL/WEST Allentown, PA and a trio of translators. Superadio’s “E-Bro In The Morning with Peter Rosenberg and Laura Stylez” will anchor mornings; “DJ H Vidal” Newton will host middays, owner/Brand Manager Pat “DJ Grooves” Cerullo hosts early afternoons, followed by Vijay Das and Diamond Boy Luis. Read more

ABC Audio will provide three different, three-hour specials to affiliates for Memorial Day weekend… The nationally-syndicated “Nick Cannon Radio” is added to “The Box” Richmond… Moe Mitchell, cast member of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Bert Show” inks contract extension… KQWB Fargo signs a broadcast rights extension with North Dakota State University… Paul Coates to relinquish his stake in Ozark Mountain Media Group. Read more

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First quarter revenues at Townsquare Media declined 5% to $88.8 million from $93.4 million in Q1 2020, the last quarter mostly spared from the ad pullbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance,” CEO Bill Wilson said. Read more

While there were several bright spots in Audacy’s first quarter, local ad sales was not one of them. Local spot “remained well behind” Q1 2020 levels as roughly one third of the company’s local client base remained off the air due to the pandemic. “Because the local advertiser base is significantly weighted to later stage recovery categories, we anticipate strong recovery of advertising across these businesses will occur in Q3 and Q4,” says CEO David Field. Read more

Digital listening platforms continue to gain ground with radio listeners, with streaming claiming 35% of time spent with a favorite station in a typical week, up from 14% in 2013 and 32% a year ago, pre-pandemic, according to Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 2021, “Radio in the Year of COVID.” Time spent using traditional means of listening, such as on an AM/FM radio at home, office or in a car, have declined from 85% in 2013, and 65% a year ago, to 61% in this latest survey. Read more

Increased participation in outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and camping since the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for clothing and retail advertisers, according to research presented by Provoke Insights during last week’s RAB webinar “The Great Outdoors.” “There is a newfound love for the outdoors,” Provoke Insights President Carly Fink says. “Not only are people participating in outdoor activities, they're participating more frequently.” Read more

The Broadcasters Foundation of America is putting out an urgent plea for donations following the cancellation of its primary fundraising events due to safety restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The 501(c)3 charity says personal and corporate donations can be made by visiting www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate. Read more

Friday, May 07, 2021

A 17% year-over-year gain in digital advertising and a rebound in national business weren’t enough to offset steep declines in local ad sales at Audacy in first quarter 2021. In its first financial report under the new moniker, the former Entercom said total Q1 revenues declined 19% to $240.8 million from $297.0 million in the same period one year ago. That marks a sequential improvement over the 23% decline the company reported for fourth quarter 2020. Read more

All 50 state broadcast associations have backed a joint resolution urging members of Congress to oppose any proposal that would change federal copyright law and allow music companies to collect a royalty on music aired on radio. The resolution says such a change would “upset the mutually beneficial relationship” between the two industries and notes local stations contribute $2.4 billion worth of promotional value to record labels and artists. Read more

Podcast ad revenue soared 142% during the first three months of the year at iHeartMedia, which reports its first quarter podcast revenue totaled $38.4 million. And the gains could be even larger in the current quarter as iHeart reports its April podcast revenue was up 170% compared to a year ago. But subscription revenue is unlikely to be something iHeart will tap even as pay models are being rolled out by others. Read more

During the pandemic, radio's emotional benefits – companionship, mood elevation and escape from daily stress – were more likely to be main reasons to tune to a favorite station, with 76% of listeners agreeing that they feel a sense of connection to that station, a significant increase from a year ago. That's just one of the key findings in Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 2021, “Radio in the Year of COVID.” Read more

If you are a podcast listener and you were exposed to a HelloFresh ad during the past several months, chances are you remember it. The home food delivery service topped Edison Research’s list of the top ten most recalled brands in podcasting for first quarter. The research company has expanded its podcast research to create the new Brand Tracker feature targeting advertisers. Read more

Handicapper Kelly Stewart is joining ESPN as a sports betting analyst, expanding the network’s roster of analysts as coverage of sports betting continues to grow across ESPN’s platforms. Known on social media as @KellyInVegas, Stewart will serve as an analyst on ESPN’s daily sports betting news and information program “Daily Wager” along with the Daily Wager podcast as well as ESPN Radio shows. Read more

Valerie Smaldone is ending her “Bagels and Broadway” Saturday morning program on Salem Media Group talk WNYM New York but will continue it as a podcast. Smaldone has been named Executive VP of the Audio Drama Initiative, a content creation house specializing in audio drama, TV and film projects. The podcast version of the show will debut this fall. Read more

WJXL Jacksonville celebrates its roots with a week of radio featuring past and present hosts celebrating the legacy of the station… WKSE Buffalo, raised more than $84,000 to benefit Oishei Children’s Hospital… WWFG Salisbury-Ocean City’s Randy Scott is running 5k a day for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital… KYWH Lockwood, MT flips to adult alternative as “The River.” Read more