Aiming to fill audience appetites for short-form sports updates, iHeartMedia today launched the iHeartSports Network across 500 broadcast stations and their digital streams throughout the country. The company says the new network will deliver short-form national, regional and local sports reports to listeners in multiple formats that index high for interest in sports, including rock, country, hip-hop, classic hits, news, talk and sports. Read more

With data and analytics playing an increasingly important role in advertising, Entercom has filled its Chief Information Officer opening with an exec who brings 25 years of experience in the media technology business. Sarah Foss joins the company from FreeWheel Advertisers, a Comcast-owned company that provides media planning, buying and selling services for linear and digital TV. She replaces John Graefe, who exited in December. Read more

“Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” has picked up its first Canadian affiliate, Evanov Radio Group hot AC CIRR-FM Toronto. Branded as “Proud-FM 103.9,” the 50-watt class A1 station is said to be the world’s first full-time LGBTQ+ commercial radio station, having launched in 2007. Duran and the crew make their Great White North debut Oct. 5 through a partnership between Premiere Networks and Bell Media’s network syndication arm Orbyt Media. Read more

featured

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and expected battle over her replacement, has put the Supreme Court in the headlines in recent days. For broadcasters, the Court will play a pivotal role in the fate of media ownership limits well before Ginsburg’s replacement is confirmed. The Court is scheduled to discuss this week whether to hear an appeal by the FCC and National Association of Broadcasters seeking to reinstate several updates to the ownership rules. Read more

The podcast studio Wondery has reportedly hired financial advisors to look at options for the company, including a possible sale. Bloomberg says the Hernan Lopez-led Wondery could fetch as much as $200 million from a buyer. That would be twice what the company was valued for last year when it raised money from several venture capital firms. It would also be one of the largest deals in the industry to date. Read more

Cox Media Group rolls out “Epi and Bebo In The Morning” on the recently launched Spanish CHR “Exitos 96.5” WOEX Orlando. The duo most recently hosted mornings on Florida Broadcasters Spanish R&B WURB. “The names Epi and Bebo are very recognizable because of their years of work here in the community,” VP/General Manager Jason Meder said. Read more

WNYL New York’s “Postmodern” weekend specialty show added to a dozen Entercom modern rock stations… With PD Mike McCurdy exiting WGLT Bloomington and WCBU Peoria, Ryan Denham is named Content Director of the stations… KOMO-AM/FM and KVI Seattle to air presidential, vice presidential and gubernatorial debates… iHeartRadio’s brand new Apple Watch app is now available in the App Store. Read more

Talk Radio Network, the Oregon-based syndicator run by Mark Masters, has been sued by a nonprofit religious organization founded by his father, Roy Masters, which alleges the network reneged on millions of dollars in loans. Foundation of Human Understanding is seeking a $7 million judgement against TRN for a loan it granted the independent network in September 2004 that came due on Sept. 2, 2014. Read more

Marketers are missing a big opportunity when it comes to baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, according to a new blog post from the Radio Advertising Bureau. The RAB notes that boomers are the wealthiest generation in America and will be for at least another 10 years. Yet this group, which includes devoted radio listeners, is rarely targeted, with just 10% of marketing budgets set aside for boomers. Read more

Florida’s battleground status in the presidential election has made it a hotbed for political misinformation targeting the Hispanic community. At least according to members of Congress, who are asking the FBI to investigate what they say has been the role of local radio and newspaper outlets in spreading false information. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) want the FBI to look into whether there are any ties to coordinated efforts from foreign actors. Read more

What do rock radio and new technology have in common? Young males. And so it should come as little surprise that just-released results from the annual Infinite Dial study show rock radio listeners are most likely to listen to podcasts. Edison Research says eight-in-ten alternative rock radio listeners and three-quarters of hard/rock heavy metal listeners have given podcasting a try. But it is age more than musical preference that matters. Read more

The 2020 holiday season will feature less travel, smaller gatherings and a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online retail, according to the latest report from GfK Consumer Pulse. That study echoes a survey by Numerator released in August that found 49% of consumers plan to spend less on the holidays overall this year vs. 2019, 32% plan to spend less specifically for Christmas/Hanukkah, and 65% expect to shop “at least somewhat differently.” Read more

Monday, September 28, 2020

The 2020 holiday season will feature less travel, smaller gatherings and a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online retail, according to the latest report from GfK Consumer Pulse. That study echoes a survey by Numerator released in August that found 49% of consumers plan to spend less on the holidays overall this year vs. 2019, 32% plan to spend less specifically for Christmas/Hanukkah, and 65% expect to shop “at least somewhat differently.” Read more

Braden Gall, a former morning on-air personality at Cromwell Radio Group’s sports “102.5 The Game” WPRT-FM Nashville, is diving headfirst into podcasting. Let go from the station in February after a four-year stint, Gall has launched a new podcast that will be the basis of a sports-focused podcast network, 440 Sports. Read more

Sunday, September 27, 2020

MJ (Todd Schnitt) is bringing his “crotchety old man” calls and other bits from his historic run in Tampa morning radio back to the market starting Monday, Oct. 5. Only this time “The MJ Morning Show” will air on Beasley Media Group classic hits “Q105” WRBQ, the stations that MJ and his former “Power Pig” co-conspirators competed with in one of radio’s most infamous format wars. Read more

Friday, September 25, 2020

Charges will not be filed against Josie Huang, a reporter at Pasadena Area Community College news/talk KPCC Los Angeles, who was arrested earlier this month during unrest that followed the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Compton. The Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office said Huang did not intentionally interfere with deputies who were making an arrest of another individual. Read more

We may have the first “official” Christmas flip of the year as Cumulus Media puts oldies on hold at “Z104” WWIZ Youngstown and launches “Christmas 104,” the Valley’s Christmas station. “We Need A Little Christmas” by Percy Faith and his Orchestra ushered in the holiday season at, appropriately enough, 12:25pm on Friday, Sept. 25, three months ahead of the holiday. Read more

There is another change at the top of a public media outlet. Tim Eby has been removed as General Manager of news/talk “St. Louis Public Radio” KWMU. According to a KWMU report, Eby and other station leaders have come under fire over allegations of a “legacy of racism” at the University of Missouri-owned station. Read more

featured

As programmers strategize how – and where – to connect with their most loyal listeners, new data illuminates the differences in the devices they use, social media they favor, how much they listen on headphones and other behaviors across 11 top formats. “Radio Listener Profiles,” a new Infinite Dial study from Edison Research, breaks out behaviors from a national online survey of more than 3,000 Americans 12+ that listened to AM/FM radio in the past week, either over the air or online. Read more

Apple has quietly been putting more focus on its podcast business this year, recruiting staff and making tweaks to its operating system and hardware to become more podcast-friendly. It is also apparently buying companies, not that it wants anyone to know. Apple is now confirming a Bloomberg report that revealed Apple purchased the startup Scout FM earlier this year. Read more

WNYC Studio’s Radiolab, one of its most popular and influential podcasts and radio shows, announced that creator and host Jad Abumrad will be joined by two new co-hosts following the retirement of longtime co-host Robert Krulwich. Abumrad is joined by Lulu Miller, a veteran of the show and former co-host and cofounder of NPR’s Invibilia podcast. Also taking on co-host duties is Latif Nasser, who is currently Radiolab’s Director of Research. Read more

Joshua “Crisco Kidd” Carmona has stepped down from afternoons on Riviera Broadcasting rhythmic CHR “Power 98.3” KKFR Phoenix to run for mayor. “With the events that have affected our city since March, and our elected officials' lack of response and leadership, my mind and my heart, feel it it’s time to represent and serve the people of Phoenix,” Carmona says. Read more

Vertical Bridge REIT has completed its second successful securitization of 2020 with the issuance of $360.5 million of secured tower revenue notes, according to a news release. Proceeds from the notes will be used to refinance Vertical Bridge’s October 2016 securitization, fund its recently announced acquisition of Cumulus Media’s broadcast tower portfolio, and fuel company growth. The Boca Raton, FL-based company is the nation’s largest private owner and operator of communications infrastructure. Read more

Radio was hoping for a big 2020. With the November elections, many were counting on a strong financial year thanks to an infusion of political ad dollars. Then in March, the pandemic brought the country to a halt. Veteran executives Susan Larkin, Marv Nyren and Roy Laughlin joined programmers Jim Ryan, Jon Zellner and Leslie Whittle on Thursday to talk about how they managed their staff during trying times. Read more

Podcasting remains more of a passion project than a personal money-maker for many radio hosts, especially in the current business climate where local broadcasters are focused on rebuilding core revenue rather than focusing on what is still a small part of their billings. That is not discouraging several personalities who told Thursday’s Morning Show Boot Camp that podcasts are allowing them to go beyond the confines of what they’re allowed to do on-air. Read more

The ability to solidify lifetime customer relationships means big bucks for auto dealerships — and underscores the crucial messaging role that local radio and other forms of media play in the overall buying process. According to a webinar hosted by BIA Advisory Services and SalesFuel, however, traditional media will take a 19% hit within the space this year — with OTA radio falling 12.5% — as the spending trends toward digital. Read more

Broadcasters will get a few more days to pay their annual regulatory fee to the federal government. The Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline to 11:59pm ET on Monday, Sept. 28. In a brief public notice the FCC offered no explanation for the delay, but said it would apply to fee payers across all industries. Read more

With the presidential race in Florida looking both tight and potentially decisive, supporters of Democrat Joe Biden have launched a multi-channel Spanish-language ad campaign to shore up support among the Sunshine State’s Hispanic voters. According to The Hill, the ad spend will draw from the $100 million pledged by former New York City mayor (and billionaire) Michael Bloomberg to help the Democrats win Florida in November. Read more

The latest Share of Ear data from Edison Research shows that Americans spend nine percent of their time listening to audio sources with YouTube. Some podcasters have looked to the video sharing site as a way to reach people who may not yet be listening to podcasts. That list includes NPR, which has been testing what role YouTube will play in its distribution since this spring. Read more

A bill that would require the FCC to issue a report within six weeks after an activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System or DIRS, has been passed by the U.S. House by a voice vote. Introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), the bill would only require the FCC to report on mobile, broadband and public safety network outages. Data about radio, television or cable systems would not be included, although the FCC could add any additional information it determines is “appropriate.” Read more

As more in-home radio listening is taking place via smart speakers, Amazon has introduced a new lineup of Echo devices. The tech giant says they feature “completely new designs, enhanced audio, more powerful hardware and experiences that make Alexa smarter, more engaging and helpful.” Read more

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A sneak peek of the HBO documentary on Craig Carton reveals that a deal for his return to radio is all but done. The text “Craig has negotiated a radio comeback,” appears on the screen at the end of the film. “He vows to be as outrageous as ever on air.” Carton also says in the film that shortly before his arrest he considered suicide. Read more

With the virtual Radio Show 2020 less than two weeks away, more details have been released about conference sessions covering podcasting, finance, diversity and inclusivity, audience measurement, tech and sales strategies. The annual event, produced by the RAB and the NAB takes place Oct. 5-9, replacing the originally scheduled in-person confab that would have occurred Sept. 13-16 in Nashville. Read more

featured

Morning shows had to adjust on the fly as the country dealt with the effects of a global pandemic. Morning show hosts and panelists Scott Shannon, Bert Weiss, Dana Cortez, Dave Ryan, Roula Christie and BJ & Migs told attendees of the opening session of Morning Show Boot Camp how they entertained and kept it real for their listeners. Read more

The internet radio station founded by former WMMS Cleveland Program Director John Gorman will cease operations at the end of October. Launched in February 2015 as a regionally-focused online radio outlet for the Cleveland area, oWOW has struggled financially due to advertising cancellations due to the pandemic. “oWOW radio is no longer viable in this negative business environment,” a release read. Read more

When E.W. Scripps Co. sold its radio, newspaper and podcasting properties, it signaled its intention to focus resources on building a bigger footprint in television. The Cincinnati-based company made good on that pledge today, saying it will buy national broadcast network Ion Media for $2.65 billion. Read more

When America reaches the other side of the pandemic, radio may sound very different from how it did in the pre-COVID era. For air talent, that may require a new “tonality or tenor,” Brian Philips told attendees of the virtual Morning Show Boot Camp Wednesday. As radio evolves into a new reality, the Cumulus Media Executive VP of Content and Audience suggested there may be “less shtick for a while and a little more humanity.” Read more

A report published this week by Zenith Media forecasts a 21% dip in automotive industry ad spending across 10 key markets worldwide, making the sector one of the hardest hit by the current economic crisis. However, Zenith forecasts a rapid recovery in 2021. “Automotive ad spend is poised to outperform the market in both 2021 and 2022, with 10.5% growth in 2021 and 11.4% growth in 2022,” Zenith says. Read more

Although it seems appealing for consumers to order groceries online, a recently released study by consumer research firm Incisiv shows the vast majority of shoppers (78%) prefer to make their purchase at brick-and-mortar stores. Released in late August, the survey shows online shopping with a 22% share of grocery sales, up 60% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Read more

Podcasts are running more ads that they were pre-COVID. That is the conclusion of a new analysis by MediaRadar. Its data shows the average podcast ran 3.7 advertisements during the first half of 2020. That is up 12% compared to the average 3.3 ads than ran during the second half of 2019. “Ads typically last fifty seconds,” the report said. MediaRadar also found more marketers embraced mid-roll ads. Read more

Cyber Monday will dethrone Black Friday this year as 30% of those surveyed by the website BlackFriday.com plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year, compared with 24% on Black Friday. The survey of 4,597 people also found that this year’s holiday season will see a surge in curbside pickups, with half of consumers saying they’ll use it more this year than in 2019. Read more

Radio stations looking for podcast talent are increasingly going beyond the morning show team and even outside the station to recruit interesting people in their local community. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM Washington (103.5) offers another idea for programmers looking to expand their podcast presence. Julia Ziegler, WTOP’s Director of News & Programming, found her next podcast host on her own Instagram feed. Read more

If you’re sick of hearing about “the new normal,” brace yourself: They’re already talking about the next normal. And according to a recent McKinsey report, it’s likely to be very different from the old normal, with more and more Americans migrating online for work, school, entertainment, and even grocery shopping. Read more

Salem Media Group sold two of its three Miami stations last year. It has just struck a deal to sell its last AM in the metro to Nelson Votaire, who already owns another religious station in market No. 11.The biggest deal of the week is Educational Media Foundation’s Austin deal to buy “Spirit 105.9” KFMK as Crista Media focuses on the Pacific Northwest. Plus Entercom sells in Greensboro-Winston-Salem. Check out all the details in this week’s Deal Digest. Read more

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

American Public Media, the Minneapolis-based broadcaster that produces some of the biggest public radio shows and podcasts like “Marketplace,” “In The Dark” and “The Weeknight Kitchen,” is seeing a change at the top. Jon McTaggart has told board members and staffers at APM — which also operates Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio — that he is stepping down from the organization that he has led since 2011. Read more

Morning Show Boot Camp got underway today with the distressing news that Cumulus Media Executive VP, Content and Audience Brian Philips recently tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantining alone. Heather Cohen, Executive VP of The Weiss Agency, broke the news during a panel discussion on talent contract negotiations she was moderating that included Philips as a panelist. “I’m having my own personal pandemic experience right now,” Philips said. Read more

featured

The 2020 holiday shopping season poses a do-or-die scenario for local businesses. To make it to 2021, they’ll need a thoughtful marketing strategy — and execution, said two marketing experts in a Tuesday webinar. Small businesses have recovered a bit since the COVID-19 lockdown in March, and many plan to boost their advertising spending in the next six months, said Gordon Borrell, chief executive of Borrell Associates. Read more

Salem Media Group has been downsizing its Florida holdings for the past few years and its latest move will see the company exit the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metro. Salem has reached a $3.5 million deal to sell Spanish Christian “Radio Luz” WKAT (1450) and the Miami-licensed translator W270CV at 101.9 FM to Nelson Votaire’s Radio Piment Bouk. Read more

You don’t usually connect BTS with NPR, but after the K-Pop boy band performed on “Tiny Desk Concert,” which set a record for online viewership, fans of the band showed the love to public media broadcasters across the country with an outpouring of donations. BTS fans have been sharing screen shots of donations to NPR Member stations on social media. Read more

A day after being added to the lineup at Kansas City’s KCMO, Chris Stigall inks an extension at his Philadelphia home base of WNTP… Chris Hahn added to WABC New York weekend lineup… WMGQ/WCTC Middlesex, NJ holds its “Give Hope Radiothon.” … WAXQ-FM Syracuse’s “Binge This Fest: A Virtual Concert Experience” is this weekend… WLTG Panama City flips to rhythmic CHR as “Hot 101.7.” Read more

There has been a lot of attention in Washington on the hurdle lenders have placed in front of minority and women broadcasters looking to grow. But there is also a growing focus on how ratings metrics could be an obstacle facing owners. The FCC’s Diversity Advisory Committee wants Nielsen to help identify potential rating metrics to help minority stations. Meantime, the pandemic has hit lenders. “Nobody is loaning money right now,” says one broadcaster. Read more

Radio stations in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, Phoenix, Raleigh, Milwaukee and dozens of other markets are benefitting from ramped-up radio spending by Joe Biden as the former Vice President makes AM/FM a bigger part of his Presidential election campaign. New radio ads are running across multiple formats with a heavy emphasis on stations and formats that reach African Americans. Read more

After COVID-19 took the wind out its business in the second quarter, Beasley Broadcast Group says advertiser demand is recovering, following an extreme low point in April. In an investor presentation, the company says it rate of net advertising declines improved each month since April when business fell a staggering 59.8%, year-over-year, during the height of pandemic-induced ad pullbacks. August’s 23.9% decline, while nothing to write home about, was less than half the downturn rate experienced in April. Read more

Attribution and analytics provider AnalyticOwl has opened up its database of 4 billion responses to advertising to media sellers, ad agencies and advertisers. The free self-serve platform offers industry-specific attribution data and insights to show how radio drives response and predicts return on investment from ad spend. The prospecting tool is designed to provide access to data to help win new business. Read more

California station owner Ed Stolz avoided a potential arrest earlier this month when a federal judge said he was in contempt of an order to turn over control of three radio stations to a court-appointed receiver. He turned over the keys a day before he was to surrender to federal marshals. Now Stolz is offering cash to the record companies that sued him rather than allow them to take the stations and collect what they can for the trio. Read more

More ad dollars are on the table for radio as TV ad spending is projected to drop 15% this year, the lowest the industry has seen since 2011. Even with a rebound expected in 2021, TV ad spending will remain below pre-pandemic levels through at least 2024. Meanwhile, by the end of the year, 6.6 million U.S. households will cut the cord with their cable TV service. Read more

Coronavirus lockdowns and their aftermath continue to drive a boom in the smart speaker market. And according to a new Adobe survey, they’re also becoming a more effective platform for advertisers. Adobe finds that when it comes to connecting with consumers and striking the right chord, brands are getting better. Among consumers who own a smart speaker, Adobe says, 51% remember having heard an ad on it — up from 25% in May 2019. Read more