Broadcasters are now more than three quarters of the way to the needed number of supporters in the U.S. House to effectively block any effort to change federal copyright laws to mandate a performance royalty for AM/FM radio. The list of Representatives on a bipartisan resolution opposing such a fee has grown by an additional ten names, bringing the total number of House members siding with radio to 169. It takes a majority 218 to block any measure. Read more

Darren Davis, COO of iHeartMedia’s Digital Audio Group, has decided to step down from his role effective Jan. 1, 2022, the company announced this morning (July 23). Davis has been with iHeart for 30 years – CEO Bob Pittman says he has in essence “grown up through our organization” – starting as a programming intern in 1992 at WASH-FM and rising through a succession of senior management positions. Davis will continue with the company as an advisor. Read more

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Host-read ads are poised to grow as influencer marketing budgets continue to expand. In its first-ever forecast for U.S. influencer marketing spending, eMarketer projects the segment will grow 33.6% to reach $3.69 billion in 2021. It is forecast to exceed $4 billion next year. That growth rate is more than twice the increase eMarketer says the influencer marketing segment experienced last year. Read more

Stonecom launches classic hip-hop “The Dawg” on the Cookeville, TN-licensed translator W227EC at 93.3, with programming originating on WKXD-HD2. “We are excited to bring a new musical genre to the Upper Cumberland,” Operations Manager Marcia Lee said. The station features artists including Bobby Brown, Jay-Z, Outkast and the Notorious B.I.G. Read more

The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation is accepting applications through Aug. 2 for the 2022 Broadcast Leadership Training program. The program, which returns to in-person weekend sessions in September, is designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions. The executive MBA-style curriculum is recognized as the foremost executive training program for the broadcast industry. Read more

With home improvement mania showing no signs of abating, Cox Media Group Tulsa is hosting the “Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma.” The event is being promoted by news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, hot AC “Mix 96” KRAV, country “K95” KWEN, classic rock “103.3 The Eagle” KJSR and KOKI-TV, all of which will be on-site throughout the weekend. Additionally, KRMG will host its “Ask the Expert” show from the expo. Read more

While the impact of the pandemic increased the need for legal services, radio advertising campaigns for attorneys have brought double-digit growth to legal website traffic, according to Analytic Owl. In the research company's analysis of over 684,000 radio ads for over 200 legal services advertisers in 2020, and over 337,000 during the first half of 2021, campaigns upped website traffic by 13% and 10% respectively. Read more

NPR weathered last year’s economic wallop better than most, according to a new report from Pew. It shows the public radio network’s operating revenue slid just two percent in 2020 to $270.1 million. Across all stations that carry NPR programming, data provided by the network shows stations’ broadcast radio listening declined seven percent in 2020 to 26.1 million. Read more

Sometimes it takes just getting back to the basics. Take some time to look at the things that drive listeners. The 3 M’s still are key in the success of your station: Music, Mornings and Marketing. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day we lose sight of the three parts of the “engine” that drives the success of our stations. Read more

Podcast advertising continues to be a good investment for marketers according to Podsights’ latest quarterly analysis of how their ad spending plays with listeners. Its latest benchmark report says brands received an average $2.23 return for every $1 of their podcast advertising investment as the medium scored high on converting listeners into buyers with a 97% lift rate on purchases after hearing a podcast ad. Read more

Yet another reason for advertisers and marketers to flock to radio: out-of-home advertising demand is “off the charts,” Dan Levi, EVP/CMO at Clear Channel Outdoor says. Post-pandemic vehicle and foot traffic are back, and with it are the rising costs of OOH advertising. “There’s an urgency of the marketers to get back to the industry,” Levi explains. Read more

Friday, July 23, 2021

Podcast advertising continues to be a good investment for marketers according to Podsights’ latest quarterly analysis of how their ad spending plays with listeners. Its latest benchmark report says brands received an average $2.23 return for every $1 of their podcast advertising investment as the medium scored high on converting listeners into buyers with a 97% lift rate on purchases after hearing a podcast ad. Read more

Yet another reason for advertisers and marketers to flock to radio: out-of-home advertising demand is “off the charts,” Dan Levi, EVP/CMO at Clear Channel Outdoor says. Post-pandemic vehicle and foot traffic are back, and with it are the rising costs of OOH advertising. “There’s an urgency of the marketers to get back to the industry,” Levi explains. Read more

Former CBS CEO Joe Ianniello is still a believer in media and he has formed a blank check company that aims to raise money to make investments in the industry. Argus Capital has filed paperwork with the SEC to raise up to $300 million from investors through a special-purpose acquisition company or SPAC. As some media giants spin off some of their noncore assets, Ianniello says he believes there will be an opportunity for his firm to snatch some up. Read more

A lawyer who filed thousands of photo copyright infringement lawsuits – including hundreds targeting radio companies – lost his appeal over a punishment order imposed on him for repeated misconduct. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld harsh sanctions against New York attorney Richard Liebowitz, ruling that his misconduct justified the scope of the lower court’s sanctions. Read more

Charlamagne Tha God, one-third of Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club,” extends his multi-platform reach to Comedy Central, where he will host “Tha God’s Honest Truth With Lenard ‘Charlamagne’ McKelvey.” The weekly half hour late-night series will debut on Friday, Sept. 17 at 10pm. Stephen Colbert returns to the network to serve as Executive Producer of the program. Read more

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Larry Elder has won his legal battle to get on the list of candidates for the California gubernatorial recall race. “Victory! My next one will be on Sept. 14 at the ballot box,” the Salem Radio Network host exclaimed. The conservative talker was excluded from the original list of candidates due to redaction issues with his tax returns. Read more

The quarterly Media Monitors Podcast Listener survey shows a turnaround for The Joe Rogan Experience after posting softer numbers earlier this year. The new survey finds Rogan once again with the top-ranked series. The Daily was second, followed by Audiochuck’s Crime Junkie. There was also a rebound for the True Crime genre. Overall, Media Monitors says iHeartMedia had the most shows in its top 200 with 17, followed by NPR, with 12. Read more

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With local economies reopened for business and ad spending accelerating, BIA Advisory Services has revised its 2021 forecasts. The firm is now calling for U.S. local advertising revenues to reach $142.4 billion this year. That’s up $4.8 billion, or 3.9%, from its November 2020 estimates. BIA’s revised forecast says local radio advertising will rebound somewhat to $11.7 billion in 2021 and to $12.3 billion in 2022. Read more

Salespeople looking to generate new revenue now have a handbook from a radio industry leader. Bernie Weiss, Market President at iHeartMedia New York, has penned “Ace It! How Sales Champions Win New Business.” The 304-page book aims to provide a competitive advantage to account managers “that will set you apart from your colleagues and competition.” Read more

Canadian broadcaster Corus is making a commitment to podcasts by giving its Curiouscast podcast network a regular timeslot on the radio. The Curiouscast Podcast Hour will air each weekend on eight news-talk stations. After taking radio content to make podcasts, Corus National Director of Talk Radio Larry Gifford says the time has come to head in the other direction. Read more

Norsan Media officially debuts Latin hip-hop/R&B “Fuego 105.3” WYKB Jacksonville… WGN Chicago’s Joe Brand to host Blackhawks pre- and post-game shows… WOKV-FM Jacksonville’s Mark Kaye giving away copies of his new book… KVCR Riverside-San Bernardino will receive $4 million as part of the passage of additional state budgets bills. Read more

Radio has only begun to explore the interactivity potential of smart speakers but the next big step is about to roll out in four test markets as iHeartMedia beta-launches a new song request feature for its Alexa skill. The company teamed with Amazon to use updates to Alexa’s voice AI. And it says more interactive features are in the works, including Q&As with air personalities, voice-driven polls, and contests. Read more

Radio Research Consortium's just-released analysis of Nielsen Audio data for PPM markets over the course of the pandemic shows total average weekly cume listeners in Spring 2021 revisited the 130 million mark, 95% of where it was in Winter 2020 before COVID. At the same time, total average quarter hour listening, up 11% from Winter to Spring 2021 to pass 8 million, is at 89% of pre-pandemic levels. Read more

Retail sales revenue for the tech industry in the U.S will reach a record-breaking $487 billion in 2021, a 7.5% year-over-year increase. “The biggest story for portable audio is the explosion of true wireless earbuds,” the Consumer Technology Association says in its twice-yearly report. CTA expects a 27% increase in unit shipments of wireless earbuds in 2021. Read more

Audacy Chief Revenue Officer Bob Philips is relinquishing that C-suite role to take a new position as President of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. The company has begun a search for a new CRO. Until then, Chief Operating Officer Susan Larkin will oversee the company’s sales leaders and teams. “We believe Bob will deliver significant revenue impact and client outcomes by focusing on growing our Network and multi-market sales businesses,” Larkin said. Read more

As more people participate in outdoor activities and family gatherings during the summer, beer continues to be a favorite beverage choice. According to Information Resources Inc., total U.S. beer sales increased 9.5% for the 52 weeks ending May 16, 2021. Radio listeners also enjoy a cold brew and the data from five of The Media Audit’s Spring 2021 surveys reveals adults 25–49 are the prime target audience. Read more

The online mental health service provider BetterHelp was podcasting’s biggest advertiser during June. It was the tenth consecutive month that the brand has topped Magellan AI’s list of the biggest spenders in the medium. It estimates BetterHelp spent $6.56 million during June. NBCUniversal, ZipRecruiter, Hello Fresh, and ExpressVPN rounded out the top five. And a tech brand topped Magellan’s ranking of movers and shakers for a second month. Read more

McDonald’s may be radio’s top fast food advertiser but it is Chick-fil-A that has the most satisfied customers. Chick-fil-A, a regular radio user, ranked No. 1 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index with a score of 83 out of 100, placing it at the top of the tally among what the survey refers to as limited service restaurants. Close behind is Domino’s, an occasional radio user with an 80, followed by KFC which tied with Starbucks at 79. Read more

Religious broadcaster VCY America is buying its way into the Des Moines market. Also this week, Educational Media Foundation parts with a Minneapolis FM. A low-power FM spends six-figures to buy an FM translator in Tulsa. And a couple of “good guys” strike a deal in Alabama. Check out all of the buyers and sellers in this week’s Deal Digest. Read more

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

In a marriage of traditional and digital media, Cox Media Group will now offer Amazon Advertising digital products to local clients. The strategic initiative means CMG Local Solutions sales teams can sell display and OTT ads – bought programmatically through Amazon’s demand-side platform – along with radio and TV ads on CMG’s broadcast stations, digital assets and digital marketing services. Read more

Big Tigger, the Atlanta-based radio and television personality, is adding another gig to his dance card. Starting Friday, July 23, he’ll co-host hip-hop countdown show “Off Top” with rapper Rapsody on Sean "Diddy" Combs’ Revolt TV. Described as “a modern rap video countdown show with a nostalgic twist,” Revolt’s newest show will also include music performances and interviews with legendary rappers and new and upcoming artists. Read more

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More than a year after the death of George Floyd sparked a national conversation about racial inequality, new research shows the Black community has mixed reactions about whether the racial climate has changed. While there are concerns about how Blacks are portrayed by the media, the study, conducted by Horowitz Research in conjunction with iHeartMedia, underscores the deep emotional connection Black consumers have with radio. Read more

Larry Elder has followed through on his threat to sue the office of California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber for being omitted from the original list of candidates in the state’s gubernatorial recall election. Elder, who stepped down from his Salem Radio Network-syndicated evening program to run in the Sept. 14 recall election, says he’s a target of bipartisan “shenanigans.” Read more

VCY America, which continues its efforts to take control of Ed Stolz’s former stations in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Palm Springs, is expanding its national footprint with the $825,000 purchase of religious KTIA Des Moines from Truth Broadcasting. The Milwaukee-based religious broadcaster operates stations in 13 markets in Wisconsin and across 15 additional states. Read more

Clear Media Network has developed a new format offering, R&B adult hits. The format targets adults 30-49 and comes from the creative minds of programming veterans Mark McCray, who serves as President of Programming and Operations for Clear Media Network, and TenShare Media, the programming consultancy led by former Radio One and CBS Radio national programmer Jay Stevens. Read more

Netflix has had 4.2 million downloads to date of the podcasts it has created and the recent hiring of N’Jeri Eaton to lead the company’s growing podcast business signals it aims to grow those numbers. But Netflix CEO Reed Hasting says the aim of podcasts remains to serve as a promotional tool for its video streaming service, not to make money on its own. “We’re a one product company with a bunch of supporting elements,” he said. Read more

The decision of whether to further dig into radio’s consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI may soon fall to Jonathan Kanter. He was nominated by President Biden on Tuesday to become Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division at the Department of Justice. That is the post that oversees not only the antitrust implications of mega-mergers but also the scores of consent decrees already on the books such as those between radio and the performance rights organizations. Read more

As unprecedented as the $9 billion total media expenditure on political advertising was during 2020's presidential election campaign, ad spend for the 2022 election year is projected to equal that amount, even without a presidential election or money from self-funding billionaires running for office, based on AdImpact's just-released forecast. Radio's share of that is expected to be $220 million, twice what it was during the corresponding 2018 elections. Read more

Efforts to enable a more diverse media industry gained bipartisan steam in Washington on Tuesday. By a vote of 319 to 105, the House of Representatives passed a bill and a resolution intended to thwart barriers to media ownership for underserved populations. Both actions received a quick thumbs-up from the National Association of Broadcasters. Read more

While federal regulators and consumer advocacy groups call for breaking up media conglomerates given the dominance of companies such as Facebook and Amazon and super-mergers like Warner Bros. with Discovery, most advertising executives feel media consolidation is good for the industry and for advertisers. Three-fourths say it makes ad spending decisions easier and seven in ten feel it improves the overall company. Read more

It was 15 years ago that iBiquity Corp. launched HD Radio in the U.S. “HD Radio smashes the old limits of radio and expands the creative options we have with our listeners,” veteran broadcaster John Gehron said at the time. The BMW Group was the first automaker to include the new technology in its vehicles. Today, iBiquity successor Xperi notes that HD Radio comes standard in all BMW models in the U.S. and is available in more than 75 million automobiles worldwide. Read more

As radio gears up for the planned Aug. 11 national test of the Emergency Alert System, so are equipment manufacturers. It is not only the broadcast daisy chain that will be tested during next month’s national EAS test. The government is also conducting a simultaneous national test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. The FCC has just struck partnerships with 11 federal, state, and local agencies to provide information on their performance following the upcoming test. Read more

Two years ago Subway was radio’s second biggest quick-serve restaurant account and No. 20 overall with nearly 800,000 spots placed in 2019. But last year the sandwich shop fell off radio’s radar, apart from October and November 2020 when it aired about 5,500 and 6,500 spots per week. Now the chain has launched one of its largest media investments ever. Will that bring Subway back to radio? Read more

Apple has 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 also has a few other updates for Apple Podcasts. The podcast library will now allow users to choose whether they want to view only the shows they follow, or all shows. Read more

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Using cash on hand, iHeartMedia has completed a voluntary prepayment of $250 million of debt. As the company first announced June 22, the payment was divvied up on a pro-rated basis with $206 million being used to prepay a portion of iHeart’s $2.07 billion term loan and $44 million to repay its $446 million incremental term loan. At the same time, the audio giant is taking advantage of low interest rates. Read more

Skyview Networks’ 2022 Upfront Sales Conference kicked off Monday with insights from industry leaders and networks executives, including Nielsen VP of Audio Insights Jon Miller; Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs; and Suzy’s Founder and CEO Matt Britton, as well as Skyview Networks’ President/COO Steve Jones; Executive VP Jeanne-Marie Condo; and VP Syndication and Content Development Rico Colindres. Read more

The iHeartCountry Festival returns as a live, in-person event for its eighth year on Saturday, Oct. 30 and will feature Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, Lee Brice, Carly Pearce, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice performing live at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. The concert will be hosted by Premiere Networks-syndicated host Bobby Bones. Read more

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Four former heads of the FCC from both sides of the political spectrum said Monday they see increasing diversity in broadcasting as one of the agency’s ongoing challenges. But the group told an MMTC symposium that a potential fix is already in front of regulators: bringing the minority tax certificate program back to life. It comes as efforts to make the move part of a federal infrastructure bill are gaining traction. Read more

The Interactive Advertising Bureau will use the fall IAB Podcast Upfront as the foundation for a newly-expanded fall marketplace for digital advertisers. The four-day affair kicks off Sept. 9-10 with the 2021 IAB Podcast Upfront Fall. As part of the event, the IAB will release its first-ever Audio Landscape report, examining consumption trends, ad spend patterns and measurement. Read more

Audioboom reports its revenue during the first six months of the year nearly doubled compared to a year ago as it not only set a record during the second quarter compared to a year ago – when the pandemic’s impact was the most significant – but the entire first half. That delivered a second consecutive profitable quarter. Audioboom also saw the number of advertisers on its roster top three hundred, pushing up its ad fill-rate. Read more

During the second quarter of 2021, ad spending on radio has displayed powerful year-over-year increases including a 127% jump in May, as reported in MediaPost. The level of growth in ad spend has been rivaled only by out-of-home advertising, up 107% during the same period. The rate of the ad recovery continues to vary across media, with major electronic media, especially digital, showing the best gains. Read more

Spanish Broadcasting System alerted the FCC in March that it planned to seek approval to increase its level of foreign ownership. It has now followed through, filing a petition that seeks a waiver to the 25% foreign-ownership benchmark currently allowed. The request is tied to a proposed stock sale that, if allowed, would see a group of preferred shareholders convert their stock into publicly-traded common shares and close their legal battle with SBS that began in 2017. Read more

Fashioning a thriving digital business from a company that operates exclusively outside the top 50 markets may seem counter-intuitive to some but that strategy is paying off for Townsquare Media. In an interview with Noble Capital Markets Senior Research Analyst Michael Kupinski, CEO Bill Wilson explains how the company’s disciplined small market approach gives it a competitive advantage in the local media marketplace. Read more