Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Connoisseur Media has completed a management buyout in which members of the radio company’s management team will now own substantially all of the company. Led by CEO Jeff Warshaw, the company has purchased the stake held by Perot Holdings, which bought a substantial piece of Connoisseur in July 2015. Read more

Second quarter earnings season for radio doesn’t begin until early August but preliminary results disclosed by the industry’s largest company offer promising signs. The preliminary unaudited estimates were disclosed in a regulatory filing as iHeartMedia prepares to meet with investors this week ahead of its listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange this Thursday. Read more

Two of the top five podcasts on Podtrac’s latest ranker of the most listened-to shows are daily news shows. ESPN will test whether a similarly-styled sports podcast can score as big. ESPN confirms that it will launch The ESPN Daily podcast in early-October. ESPN also says it drew 5.8 million podcast listeners in June. That was a 10% increase compared to a year earlier. Read more

A bullet and a pierced window at the iHeartMedia Washington, DC offices are at the center of an investigation of a pair of incidents ultimately resulting in damage to three windows at the building. Located in Rockville, MD, it is the home to WASH, WIHT, WMZQ-FM, WBIG-FM and WWDC. Employees have been warned to keep away from the windows. Read more

After spending five years in a studio that was already decades old when he arrived in Nashville, Bobby Bones unveiled a brand new studio Monday, July 15. Bones and his crew broke in the new digs with a performance by country artist Chris Janson, who performed a medley of some of his hits and a song he wrote for Tim McGraw. Read more

Southern California Public Radio has become the latest public radio entity to launch a dedicated unit geared toward developing podcasts. And it is leveraging the news website LAist which it acquired last year. LAist Studios aim to put a Southern California spin on podcasting, with shows about issues that the region is talking about. SCPR has hired former NBC executive Angela Bromstad as a senior advisor to the project. Read more

Sisanie, co-host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” adds correspondent duties at KNBC-TV’s “California Live” … Westwood One News will provide live, anchored coverage of the Democratic Presidential Debates from Detroit, July 30 and 31… The Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) will induct four new members into the ABA Hall of Fame during its annual conference Aug. 10. Read more

Apollo Global Management’s proposed buyout of a majority stake in Cox Media Group’s radio portfolio isn’t likely to close anytime soon. That’s because the Department of Justice has formally requested the FCC defer any action on the deal that would give the private equity firm a 77% controlling interest in the company. Cox Enterprises would retain a 23% minority stake under the transaction pending at the Commission. Read more

Moody Radio is the latest broadcaster to sell off a group of AM stations with plans to use the proceeds to invest in more promising ways to distribute its content. The Christian radio network has announced three AMs are for sale, including historic flagship WMBI (1110) Chicago, which became the first noncommercial educational and religious radio station in 1926. Read more

Denver has a new outlet for news/talk, this one specializing in big name national hosts. “Freedom 93.7” launched today (July 15) on iHeartMedia’s KDFD (760), simulcast on the Lakewood, CO-licensed translator K229BS at 93.7. The flip had been expected after iHeart dropped the “Orange & Blue 760” Denver Broncos-centric format on the AM signal last week and adopted the new KDFD calls. Read more

In the highly competitive automotive insurance industry, GEICO is typically within the top two or three among radio advertisers each week. For the tally ending July 14, it sits in typical position just behind The Home Depot. But this week the Berkshire Hathaway-owned carrier is pulling out all stops: It is also the week’s top national advertiser at both National TV and Cable TV, according to Media Monitors. Read more

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Public radio fans outpace the U.S. population when it comes to the use of such audio platforms as podcasts, smart speakers and streaming audio, according to new data from the Radio Research Consortium. Looking at how public radio listeners have used audio media over the past 30 days, RRC looked at figures of the U.S. population vs. the public radio audience. Read more

The cleanup has begun along the Gulf Coast where Tropical Storm Barry left many areas under several feet of rain. The good news for broadcasters is it appears radio and television weathered the storm without any significant problems. The FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System or “DIRS” says just one FM translator was silenced from the storm: the Baton Rouge, LA-licensed W266CD at 101.1 FM. Read more

Fox News has announced Jason Klarman will take over the job of overseeing the brand strategy for Fox News Media. In his new role as Executive VP of Marketing, Klarman will oversee a brand portfolio that includes Fox News Radio, Fox News Podcast, the satellite radio Fox News Headlines 24/7 channel, as well the news networks’ TV and digital portfolio. Read more

Putting music into podcasts remains a pretty cumbersome, if not impossible, task due to copyright licensing issues, but research shows that when listeners of the medium are asked about what they’d like to hear more of the answer is frequently music. Milwaukee’s “88Nine Radio” WYMS aims to bridge that gap with a new podcast focused on the city’s hip-hop history. Read more

Monday, July 15, 2019

Denver has a new outlet for news/talk, this one specializing in big name national hosts. “Freedom 93.7” launched today (July 15) on iHeartMedia’s KDFD (760), simulcast on the Lakewood, CO-licensed translator K229BS at 93.7. The flip had been expected after iHeart dropped the “Orange & Blue 760” Denver Broncos-centric format on the AM signal last week and adopted the new KDFD calls. Read more

Cumulus Media has promoted CHR KRBE Houston programmer Leslie Whittle to VP, Hot AC Formats. Whittle replaces Rob Roberts in the role, who left the company with the sale of WRQX Washington DC, where he also doubled as PD. In her new role, Whittle will serve as a corporate programming resource for the company’s Hot AC-formatted stations across the U.S., while continuing as PD for KRBE. Read more

Townsquare Media President of Local Programming Kurt Johnson returns as Board President for Country Radio Broadcasters for the 2019-2020 period. John Shomby, Nash Director of Programming for Cumulus Media and PD at WKDF Nashville, has been elected VP of the Board and Beverlee Brannigan, VP Of Programming for SummitMedia Wichita, returns as Secretary. Read more

It looks like Americans were a bit more curious in June than in May as revealed by Podtrac’s monthly ranker of the most popular shows among publishers it tracks. It shows the iHeartPodcast Network show Stuff You Should Know jumped to second place last month as the New York Times-produced The Daily remained No.1 based on U.S. unique monthly audience. Meanwhile an A-Rod appearance gave The Ron Burgundy Podcast a pop during its summer break. Read more

LBI Media is revamping its EstrellaTV entertainment program with a pair of hosts from the broadcaster’s radio division. Said Garcia, who produces and provides entertainment reports for LBI’s Don Cheto syndicated morning radio show, and radio-TV personality Gisselle Bravo, start today (July 15) as hosts on “El Mameluco,” the cable TV afternoon entertainment gossip show. Read more

Brian Wheeler, radio voice for the Portland Trail Blazers, has opted not to return next season, according to the team… The Media Institute will honor Beasley Media CEO Caroline Beasley, and Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, at its annual “Free Speech America” Gala Oct. 7 in Washington… “ESPN Radio Dallas” KESN will be the new radio partner of the NFL in Dallas-Fort Worth, with the addition of the Prime Time NFL Package from Westwood One. Read more

Like WPLJ in New York, Washington, DC’s WRQX lost half of its audience share in Nielsen’s June survey, after Cumulus Media cashed in on the station’s signal as part of a $103.5 million six-station sale to Educational Media Foundation. But the former “Mix 107.3” had a larger audience to divvy up among its former competitors than WPLJ. Read more

Nearly six in 10 (59%) radio and TV engineers received a salary increase in the past 12 months and the raises were mostly in the 2%-3% range. This is according to the fourth annual compensation survey conducted by the Society of Broadcast Engineers in spring 2019. The average SBE-certified engineer working in radio earned about $9,000 more than those without certification. Read more

Radio is dealing with another format conundrum. What to do when an artist from outside its universe releases a song that’s an undeniable fit? Think 1983’s “Beat It” from Michael Jackson, with that blistering guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen. This time it’s Ed Sheeran, whose “Blow” from new Atlantic Records album, “No.6 Collaborations Project,” features Bruno Mars & Chris Stapleton in an all-out riff-fest. Read more

Entercom sports WEEI-FM Boston announced July 12 that longtime morning host Gerry Callahan is out, to be replaced July 29 by “The Greg Hill Morning Show” from rock sister WAAF. Callahan announced on Twitter Friday morning that he had just finished his last show on the station, according to NBC’s WYCN-TV, adding, “Sometimes the bad guys win.” Read more

In the past quarter alone, copyright infringement attorney Richard Liebowitz filed lawsuits against the likes of Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media, CBS Broadcasting, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, Hubbard Radio, Scripps Media and Interactive One. With no sign of slowing down, he has again hit at Townsquare and for the first time, targeted Spotify, in a pair of copycat lawsuits. Read more

In a move that could allow more low-power FMs onto the radio dial, as well as open new technical opportunities for existing stations, the FCC is preparing to launch a rulemaking that would revise several engineering and technical rules. Among its proposals is allowing LPFMs to use FM boosters and directional antennas while also ending protection to TV channel 6 in July 2021. One idea apparently off the table is allowing LPFMs to boost power to 250 watts. Read more

Friday, July 12, 2019

A morning radio host at Entercom CHR “98PXY” WPXY-FM Rochester, walked away from her gig, claiming she wasn’t paid as much as a male co-host. She announced her exit on social media and then reached out to a local newspaper to publicly grouse. Whitney Young, who teamed with Corey James 5:30-10am for “#TeamPXY,” told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that James’ salary was nearly double hers. Read more

With the release today of Ed Sheeran’s new Atlantic Records album, “No.6 Collaborations Project,” iHeartMedia is featuring both an audio and video interview special with Sheeran and Premiere Networks-syndicated morning man Charlamagne Tha God. The interview launched on the artist’s YouTube Channel at 4am July 12, while iHeartRadio is broadcasting audio from the chat at 8pm on 150 radio stations, and digitally. Read more

There were roughly a third fewer call letter changes in June compared to what the Federal Communications Commission typically reports in its monthly update. The FCC says there were just 19 radio call sign switches across the U.S. As usual, format changes are behind many of the changes. Read more

The iHeartPodcast Network is launching its first-ever iHeart Original podcast in the travel genre. It has teamed with travel writer Daniel Scheffler to host “Everywhere.” The company says the mission of the 26-episode series is to support travelers in their quest to overcome fears and ditch preconceptions about travel. “It’s not head knowledge, it’s all heart knowledge,” Scheffler says. Read more

The pending sale of a majority stake in Cox Media Group’s radio stations will take more than just a standard review at the FCC. It’s going to also take a foreign ownership analysis. That’s because buyer Apollo Global Management has asked the FCC for permission to exceed the 25% cap on foreign ownership to account for how the agency views the private equity firm. Read more

In the past quarter alone, copyright infringement attorney Richard Liebowitz filed lawsuits against the likes of Townsquare, Cumulus, CBS Broadcasting, Mississippi Valley Broadcasters, Hubbard Radio, Scripps Media and Interactive One. With no sign of slowing down, he has again hit at Townsquare Media and for the first time, targeted Spotify, in a pair of copycat lawsuits. Read more

The latest batch of Nielsen’s June 2019 PPM ratings find new stations at the top of the 6+ ranker in five markets: Baltimore, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and Seattle. The new numbers, which cover the period from May 23 through June 19, also show the beginnings of summer’s impact on some formats, as lifestyles and behaviors change with the warmer weather. Read more

iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman looked inside his own home for the 10th weekly episode of his podcast “Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing,” talking shop with iHeart CMO Gayle Troberman. She explains to the CEO, “No matter what job I’ve had, I’ve realized that you follow great people and you’ll find your way to adding some value. Somehow that kept pulling me back into content and marketing.” Read more

Fireworks for the Fourth may just be cooling off, but RetailMeNot has issued its “2019 Guide to Prime Day and Back to School,” indicating that shoppers are hunting for deals earlier than ever. The online savings portal predicts that 250 retailers, a 30% increase, will participate in Amazon Prime Day-related promotions this year—which kicks off the back-to-school shopping season July 15-16. Read more

Here’s a headline for the ages. Did you ever expect to read a story about AC with the tag: “Can Adult Contemporary Radio Figure Out Its Hip-Hop Issue?” Billboard takes on how programmers of the perpetually popular format are dancing with the idea of adding rap into rotation. Read more

An Administrative Law Judge has not yet ruled whether Entertainment Media Trust (EMT) should have its licenses revoked. But Judge Jane Halprin is keeping the company on a short leash until a hearing into its behavior is set to begin in July 2020. Starting next month EMT and the Enforcement Bureau will be required to file monthly status reports as they build their respective cases ahead of that hearing date. Read more

Volkswagen rolled the last Beetle off the assembly line on Wednesday. The car's first generation sold over 21 million units between 1938 and 2003. The New Beetle was introduced in 1998 and the Volkswagen Beetle in 2011. They sold 1.16 million and 530 000 units respectively. But sales progressively slowed and only 15,000 Beetle cars were sold in the U.S. in 2017. The last batch of Beetles will be sold on Amazon.com in a move symbolizing the company's embrace of the future. Read more

With most programmers responsible for multiple stations, and within that, multiple formats, as well as promotion and digital assets, Gary Berkowitz, President of consultancy Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, says it’s easy to feel as if putting out fires on a daily basis supersedes true accomplishments. In a new blog post, he offers “ideas on how a PD can succeed in this multiple station/format reality.” Read more

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Outside the U.S. one of the biggest markets for podcast listening is the U.K. and that’s led Stitcher and Wondery to partner on a new podcast platform they’re calling Podfront UK. The joint venture will not only bring another way for the two companies to expose their catalog of more than 300 shows to U.K. audiences but also help scale the podcasts that are being produced there for an international audience. Read more

After eight years working in the Communications Department of the National Association of Broadcasters, Zamir Ahmed has been awarded VP stripes by the trade group. Ahmed has been promoted from Director, Media Relations to VP, Media Relations, tasked with shaping messaging for NAB communications in the public policy arena and serving as an occasional spokesman in dealing with the trade and consumer press. Read more

Westwood One and the eSports company Subnation last month announced they formed a strategic alliance to develop audio content for the growing eSports community. Now that partnership has led to the launch of a new podcast aimed at capturing some of the buzz around the fast-growing eSports audience. “The Voice of Esports” will be hosted by gaming legend Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner. Read more

Overland Park, KS-based Bott Radio Network has expanded its Christian Talk Radio service in Memphis, with the addition of a signal at 93.7 FM. The company relocated translator K280FN that originated in Cuba, MO—some 273 miles away—broadcasting from 103.9, to the new dial position and market. Read more

Cumulus talk WLS Chicago presents “Stone Free: Mancow & Roger Stone Uncensored,” with Mancow Muller and Trump’s former advisor Roger Stone, Sunday, July 21… Early 2000s alt rock band Guster will headline the Riverfest Seaside Music Festival, sponsored by “Boston’s Independent Radio, 92.5 the River” WXRV… Entravision Communications joins AL & CM Broadcasting for an anniversary concert for Alex “El Genio” Lucas to celebrate 30 years as a radio broadcaster. Read more

Educating consumers about CBD can be challenging with the limitations of digital advertising—and despite caution about marketing such products over traditional platforms, an increasing number of companies are turning to audio. Hath, a newly launched CBD brand, is spending money on podcasts for its newly launched CBD brand, while CBD company Koi has placed radio ads in Southern California. Read more

Streaming music services are cribbing another page from the broadcast radio playbook. Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify are now hosting intimate performances by artists in small venues, album preview parties and other exclusive music events intended to differentiate themselves from their competitors. But to any broadcaster who has worked in contemporary music radio during the past 40 years, these are tried and true AM/FM radio benchmarks. Read more

Will billionaire Haim Saban find any interested parties for Univision in Sun Valley at this week’s annual private gathering of media moguls? The Hispanic media giant is exploring options, including an outright sale and Saban – a Univision board member whose Saban Capital owns a stake in the company – is expected to be pitching Univision at the annual Allen & Co. event in the posh Idaho resort town. Read more

Radio listeners nationwide have the opportunity to vote for their favorite on-air personalities in two categories—Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word Format On-Air Personality—for this November’s Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Voting takes place July 15-28, with inductees announced Aug. 5. Read more

In what is being billed as a “proposal for small town America,” LPFM advocate REC Networks has turned its attention to full-power noncommercial FMs. It has filed a rulemaking petition with the FCC calling for more “fair and equitable distribution” in how noncommercial FMs are distributed. It wants either new rules or a waiver process that would make it easier to sign on noncommercial stations in rural and suburban communities outside the top 50 markets. Read more

When it comes to podcast listening, fresh data shows two hours outperform the rest of the clock. The podcast tech company Voxnest analyzed data from the five biggest podcast genres—religion, culture, sports, history and news and information—and concluded that in the U.S. the 7-8am and 9-10pm hours were consistently the top performers. But the biggest surprise may be when news and information podcasts do the best. Read more

Alpha Media has a new station in Amarillo and Amarillo has a new outlet for hip-hop. The company today (July 11) launches “WE 102.9” on the former home of Spanish adult hits “102.9 Mundo FM” KEYU-FM, which it acquired in a $250,000 deal from Gray Television. The new rhythmic CHR aims to shave some shares from “93-1 The Beat” KQIZ-FM. The Cumulus Media rhythmic CHR ranked second in the market in Nielsen’s fall 2018 survey with a 9.1 share (12+). Read more