A recent podcast appearance by Cerise Castle, a former producer and reporter at KCRW Los Angeles, results in a public apology from the station, which also disputes disputing some of Castle’s claims of her treatment at the influential public media outlet. Castle said that her time at KCRW was “marked by microaggressions, gaslighting and blatant racism.” Read more

Entercom sports “93.7 The Fan” KDKA-FM will remain the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates under a freshly-inked broadcast contract extension. The station has served as the radio flagship of the MLB team since 2012. Under terms of the updated agreement, all weekday afternoon Pirates games will also be carried on news/talk sister KDKA-AM, which also broadcasts on the Pittsburgh-licensed translator W261AX at 100.1. Read more

A complaint has been filed with the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s claiming that Curtis Sliwa is violating campaign rules by promoting his mayoral candidacy during his program on WABC New York. Sliwa, who is seeking the Republican nomination for mayor, admits he occasionally mentions his political aspirations during his 12-3pm show. He says he also understands that he may have to come off air as the race for mayor progresses. Read more

The sooner COVID-19 fades away the better, but the impact of the pandemic may not be entirely bad for radio. One in five listeners surveyed by NuVoodoo Media said compared to early 2020 before the pandemic they are listening to more FM radio today. And 37% said their listening levels are holding steady. The data also shows what time is now best to air the workday commercial-free music sweeps. Read more

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While it’s difficult to predict with accuracy the pace of the COVID-19 ad recovery, senior executives at iHeartMedia said Thursday that their business is on track to return to 2019 performance levels by the end of 2021. “We continue to see pent-up consumer demand across the country and we expect that the vaccine rollout and the easing of restrictions on businesses and consumers will set the stage for a rapid economic bounce-back,” CEO Bob Pittman said Thursday. Read more

To give investors greater visibility into the performance of its two main businesses, iHeartMedia is reorganizing its operating structure. Separating its fast-growing streaming audio and podcasting business from the more mature broadcast radio division will give the investment community a better appreciation of the rapid growth, profitability and improving margins of its digital business; and the scale and cash generating power of its 860-station broadcast radio platform, company officials said Thursday. Read more

Nielsen is the dominant audio measurement provider in the U.S. and also tracks audio consumption around the globe. But because it’s a relatively small part of a massive company, it rarely gets floor-time during the company’s quarterly earnings calls with investors. On Thursday, CEO David Kenny spent some time talking about Nielsen’s audio business, after an investor posed a question during the Q&A portion of the call. Read more

News and news/talk stations are new top rankers in Portland (KOPB-AM/FM), Sacramento (KFBK-AM/FM) and Salt Lake City (KNRS-AM/FM). Classic hits stations in San Antonio (KONO-FM) and Orlando (WOCL) are the new leaders in their respective markets in the January 2021 PPMs. Meanwhile, there’s no change at the top in Charlotte (WKQC), Pittsburgh (WWSW-FM) and Las Vegas (KSNE-FM). Read more

A federal judge in Los Angeles has given Royce International Broadcasting owner Ed Stolz a checklist of items he needs to hand over to the court-appointed receiver operating his stations or face being sent back to jail. U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal said Stolz must comply with the dozen things on his list before a hearing set for this morning to prevent being taken back into custody. There are also new twists at the FCC. Read more

Broadcasters at 150 radio stations can be on the lookout for letters from the Media Bureau for the first round of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) audits in 2021. The FCC this week began sending letters to stations notifying them they are on the list to come under review. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has reduced the number of stations selected in the first round of audits. It is also giving stations more time to file their reports. Read more

Friday, February 26, 2021

A federal judge in Los Angeles has given Royce International Broadcasting owner Ed Stolz a checklist of items he needs to hand over to the court-appointed receiver operating his stations or face being sent back to jail. U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal said Stolz must comply with the dozen things on his list before a hearing set for this morning to prevent being taken back into custody. There are also new twists at the FCC. Read more

Broadcasters at 150 radio stations can be on the lookout for letters from the Media Bureau for the first round of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) audits in 2021. The FCC this week began sending letters to stations notifying them they are on the list to come under review. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has reduced the number of stations selected in the first round of audits. It is also giving stations more time to file their reports. Read more

Radio is able to achieve excellent reach of bar and nightclub patrons in markets that have faced restrictions and safety protocols during the pandemic. A data comparison from The Media Audit’s 60-Market 2020 Aggregate Survey reveals reach percentages in selected markets, ranging from 72.8% in New York to 94.6% in Boise, ID. Read more

Entercom has recruited cable television veteran Brian Swarth to the company to lead marketing efforts for its podcast units Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios. In this newly created role, Swarth will lead all strategy and execution around marketing and audience development for each studio brand. He will also work with Entercom’s radio and streaming divisions to develop strategic and creative ways to grow podcast listenership. Read more

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The impact of the pandemic may not have been entirely gone, but iHeartMedia said Thursday things are heading in the right direction. Fourth quarter revenue totaled $936 million, which although an 8.8% decline from a year earlier, was less than half the 22% drop reported during the third quarter. Political helped, as did a doubling of podcast revenue. “The company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn,” said CEO Bob Pittman. Read more

In a move that iHeartMedia says will better align its operating structure with the way its business is evolving, the company said Thursday it was creating a new business operating structure. The move will create a new Digital Audio Group, which the company said will reflect the increasing size and importance of its digital business. And its new Multiplatform Group that will build on the success that has powered the digital transformation. Read more

Nielsen’s revenues held steady in fourth quarter 2020, with a modest 1.1% dip to $1.67 billion compared to the same period one year ago. Revenues at Global Media, the unit the company is not selling, decreased 1.9% to $872 million. Audience Measurement, the part of Global Media that includes its syndicated TV and radio measurement services, inched up 0.2% to $624 million. COVID had a larger impact on Nielsen’s full year results. Read more

Programming update from Entercom Dallas: Vince Richards is upped to Rock Operations Manager of adult hits “100.3 Jack FM” KJKK and “Alt 103.7” KVIL. Concurrently, “100.3 Jack FM” Assistant Brand Manager and morning host JT Springer is elevated to Brand Manager of the station. KVIL has been without a day-to-day programmer since the September 2020 exit of Jim Fox. Read more

Alpha Media enters into a long-term agreement with media workflow software provider vCreative. The deal has vCreative extending its vPPO service as well as adding the vTrade service across all Alpha stations nationwide. vTrade is billed as the industry’s first software product developed to provide companies with the ability to easily track, manage, audit and report on trade inventory. Read more

WNYC Studios has released its first dual-language podcast. It has partnered with Futuro Studios to produce La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience, a seven-part podcast series created by a team of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians, and artists about life, politics, and history on the island. WNYC Studios has released the entire series in both English and Spanish in one fell swoop. Read more

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Events and local spot sales were laggards for Entercom as the pandemic continued to take its toll on the radio industry during fourth quarter 2020. Spot sales fell 24% year over year, "reflecting the continuing deep impact of the pandemic on local economics and important business segments,” CEO David Field said Wednesday. Field expressed optimism that the combination of widely available vaccines, government stimulus spending, and pent-up consumer demand would propel a strong recovery for the company. Read more

While core spot radio and events are causing the biggest drag on its business, Entercom is investing in new emerging areas such as podcasting, digital audio, digital marketing solutions, and sports betting. CEO David Field said the company expects to grow sports betting revenues by "at least 50%” in 2021, albeit from a small base, and predicts it will became a $100 million ad category for Entercom over the next several years, more than tripling what the company booked in 2020. Read more

Radio emerged largely unscathed from a more than three-hour hearing Wednesday as the House Energy and Commerce Committee took aim at what Democrats on the panel said is traditional media’s responsibility for a rise in misinformation. The size and source of the problem expectedly depended on where on the political spectrum House members sat, with Republicans on the Committee seeing the focus as an attempt to silence right-leaning media outlets. Read more

With more than 1.7 million podcast titles available for listeners to choose from at the start of 2021, advertisers looking to add podcasts to their marketing plans are faced with a dilemma: how to ensure that their programs and messages align with who’s listening. A new report from Nielsen examines audience trends for what has become the new audio darling to help focus both advertisers and content creators on where the growth is. Read more

An active January news-cycle results in news/talkers leading the market in Washington (WAMU), Boston (WBZ) and Minneapolis (KNOW-FM), while Detroit and San Diego also crown new market leaders, WMXB and KXSN, respectively. The fall from the Christmas mountain was evident with double-digit cume losses for WASH, WMJX, KRWM, WNIC, KESZ and KYXY. Read more

The Broadcasters Foundation of America says it is providing emergency aid to broadcasters hit hard by the deep freeze and power failure that left millions of people in Texas and nearby states shivering in darkness. The group says more than 20 requests have come in during the past five days from employees of Radio One, Entercom, Fox, Tegna, Nexstar and other companies with the first checks going out to qualifying individuals Wednesday. Read more

In announcing its fourth quarter 2020 results, Xperi said it has made inroads with its HD Radio technology, DTS AutoStage or Connected Radio Solution and DTS AutoSense in cabin monitoring solution. “Despite COVID-related headwinds we executed against our plan to deliver a range of new products before the end of 2020,” CEO Jon Kirchner said. Read more

Sony Music Nashville partners with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One in support of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Artists on Sony’s roster including Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Maren Morris and Chris Young join the campaign with Westwood One Nashville hosts Paul Koffy, Lia Knight and Elaina Smith to support athletes and spread word on the games, held June 5-12, 2022. Read more

The week’s biggest deal hails from South Carolina where Broomfield Broadcasting has added a third station in the Columbia market. Also this week, Pham Radio Communications secures a translator for its San Francisco AM and Bunyard Broadcasting finds a buyer for its last station in Fayetteville, AR. And iHeartMedia donates another AM, this time in West Virginia. Check out all the details in this week’s Deal Digest. Read more

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Gains in digital, political, sports betting and network advertising were not enough to offset continued steep declines in local and national spot advertising caused by the pandemic at Entercom in fourth quarter 2020. Total company revenues fell 23% to $319.5 million, down from $414.1 million, but rose 19% sequentially compared to third quarter. Investors responded by sending shares of ETM down 18% in Wednesday trading in New York to their lowest point in nearly a month. Read more

Depending on how you read the numbers, either “The Michael Kay Show” on “ESPN NY 98.7” or “Carton & Roberts” on “The Fan” can claim a victory in the first month of the New York Winter book. WFAN leads 5.6-5.5 (M 25-54), when its broadcast and streaming AQH are combined. However, pull out the streaming share from “The Fan” and Kay and company hold a 5.5-4.1 advantage. Read more

The online counseling service BetterHelp remained podcasting’s biggest advertiser during January, despite cutting its budget by more than a third in what is traditionally one of marketing’s quietest months of the year. Magellan AI says CarMax topped Magellan’s monthly list of movers and shakers – the brands that had the biggest month-to-month increase in their spending. Read more

Maybe it is the leaner times that many Americans are living through. Or perhaps it is just having more time on their hands. Either way, new data from NuVoodoo Media finds listener susceptibility to contesting has shifted during the past year. Its survey finds one in ten listeners who never used to participate in radio contests say they do now. “The closer it is to cash, the better,” Executive VP Leigh Jacobs says. Read more

SummitMedia enters into an enterprise-wide partnership with Futuri, that adds the tech company’s full slate of products, including TopLine, TopicPulse, Futuri Streaming and Futuri Mobile for use across its roster of 47 radio stations in nine states. SummitMedia stations have been using Futuri’s podcasting, logger and audio management system POST, and now add the full line of tools as part of the expanded agreement. Read more

With the full integration of T-Mobile and Sprint still three-to-six-years away, an industry watchdog groups recommends that new T-Mobile radio and TV ads be modified so that benefits of the merger are not thought to be “imminently available” to customers. The radio ad says T-Mobile and Sprint are “joining forces” and “building America’s largest, most reliable 5G network.” Read more

WLHK Indianapolis’ virtual “Acoustic Stars & Guitars” concert is Thursday… Midwest Communications Kalamazoo moves “Jack FM” from WZOX to WVFM… Buck Sexton and Ben Ferguson will broadcast live from CPAC 2021… WCHQ Ashland City, TN rebrands as “Q Country 103.9.” … Americans for Prosperity (AFP) launches ad campaign opposing COVID-19 relief package… NRG Media rhythmic CHR “Power 106.9” KOPW Omaha revamps its on-air lineup, adding “The Breakfast Club” in morning drive. Read more

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Nearly one year after world health officials declared a global pandemic, the radio industry continues to make progress in regaining the momentum it had at the start of 2020. But more work lies ahead. “We’re not out of the pandemic woods yet, so we will continue to focus on the cost-reduction efforts that have proven so valuable to us over the past few years,” CEO Mary Berner said Tuesday. Read more

Cumulus Media reports it had more than one billion downloads for its podcasts last year, a noteworthy milestone that illustrates how on-demand audio is growing in importance for the radio broadcaster. “Digital has been our best-performing revenue channel,” said CEO Mary Berner. Podcasting business is currently pacing up more than 30% in the first quarter at Cumulus. Read more

The transition from the holiday PPM ratings period to the January monthlies brings with it the inevitable loss of share and cume for many AC stations that traditionally rise to the top of their respective markets, thanks to the implementation of an all-Christmas approach. Even so, AC outlets still lead the rankings in New York (WLTW), Los Angeles (KOST) and Houston (KODA). A momentous January news cycle boosted news/talkers. Read more

Several country stations see a post-holiday bounce in Nielsen Audio’s first day of January ’21 PPMs, as New York; Los Angeles; Dallas; Houston; Philadelphia; Nassau-Suffolk, NY; San Jose, CA; and Middlesex, NJ, all have stations with rising 6+ AQH shares. In Dallas, Cumulus Media “New Country 96.3” KSCS rises from a tie for 7th to 3rd in the market with a 5.1 share. Read more

The FCC will begin taking steps to revise some rules tied to the Emergency Alert System at its March meeting. Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday the Commission will vote on whether to advance a proposal that would, among other things, require radio and television stations to repeat alerts issued by the President, rather than limit them to a single airing. The idea does not come from the FCC. Instead the agency is implementing a law passed by Congress last year. Read more

The podcasting technology firm Backtracks is adding new features to their technology stack, most notably the ability for listeners to interact with podcast and audio content simply through head movement or head gestures. “Publishers and app creators can now create dynamic, interactive and totally immersive audio storytelling experiences based on human activity and gestures like nods,” said CEO Jonathan Gill. Read more

There’s positive news for clients in one of radio’s top ad categories – automotive. New vehicle sales in January are expected to grow by 6.1% year-over-year, when adjusted for selling days. According to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, January 2021 retail sales are projected to reach 890,800 units. The strong month, “points to a positive outlook for the balance of 2021,” J.D. Power’s Thomas King said. Read more

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Fourth quarter 2020 revenues at Cumulus Media declined 13.1% on a same-station basis to $245.9 million, compared to the same period in 2019. While the negative impact of COVID continued, the rate of decline was less than half of what the company endured in third quarter. Digital billings rose 9.4% year-over-year, driven by podcasting growth of nearly 40%. Record political spending also helped buoy radio’s third largest group in fourth quarter. Read more

Entercom sports “SportsRadio 94.1” WIP-FM Philadelphia has signed a multi-year broadcast extension with the Philadelphia Phillies. “We’re eagerly awaiting the return of Phillies baseball,” Senior VP/Market Manager David Yadgaroff said. Most of the terms remain the same, with a key difference being an increased role for DraftKings, which will be the presenting sponsor of the Phillies pre-game show. Read more

Radio broadcaster SummitMedia has entered the podcast industry with a strategic alliance with CurtCo Media. The radio company, which owns and operates 47 radio stations in nine states, has made an undisclosed financial investment in CurtCo, with several other investors also part of the Series A financing round. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer said the alliance will give his company a path to “develop and explore the rapid-growing podcast medium.” Read more

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused the broadcast deal market to plummet in 2020 to just $1.02 billion worth of transactions, an 87% drop from 2019. But it wasn’t as bad as the Great Recession. Last year’s deal volume was 27% higher than in 2010, when the deal market felt the full impact of the 2008-2010 financial crisis. At radio, the focus of deal activity shifted to small transactions in small markets. Read more

The NAB launches “Voices From The Field,” a new digital campaign highlighting stories of local broadcasters through first-person accounts. The trade group says the campaign will illustrate how broadcasters are using their expertise, experience and dedication to local broadcasting to serve their audiences and communities. It will feature local reporters, on-air radio talent, photojournalists, broadcast engineers, producers and editors. Read more

The Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, home to the National Radio Hall of Fame, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of commercial radio in the United States with a yearlong celebration that kicks off in March. The celebration will commence with a series of panel discussions and online content, which will be followed by a full-scale display slotted to open at the end of May. Read more

WKNR Cleveland adds a new one-hour segment, “RBS Next” during “The Really Big Show.” … Clark Howard will be the recipient of the “Andrew Ashwood Award” at the 2021 Talk Show Boot Camp… Jacobs Media and the RAB will host a free webinar on Thursday recapping CES 2021… The 81st Annual Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference takes place virtually March 2-6. Read more

A group of more than 30 female members of Congress are publicly calling on President Biden to select Jessica Rosenworcel as the permanent Chair of the Federal Communications Commission. Rosenworcel was named Acting Chair last month, but the lawmakers see her as the right choice to break the FCC’s glass ceiling. “The FCC has embarrassingly never had a woman as a permanent chair,” the group said. Read more

Having to hold CRS virtually may have been a blessing in disguise, as two waves of ice and snow in Nashville almost certainly would have disrupted an in-person event last week. “I feel fortunate to have been able to attend this way,” Stone Door Media Lab’s Jeff Green tells Country Insider, “as I surely would have been stranded en route and probably would still be sleeping on the floor at DFW trying to get there or to return home!” Read more

Nearly five years after investing $40 million in MGM National Harbor casino resort in Maryland, Urban One is set to pour millions more into a second casino. On Tuesday the African American media specialist is expected to announce a proposed partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment to operate a new casino as part of a $517 million, 300,000-square-foot complex in Richmond. Urban One would be the majority investor. Read more

A video licensing agency has sued Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts for copyright infringement. FNTV, which specializes in breaking news content, accuses Beck’s company of posting on GlennBeck.com and on Beck’s YouTube channel a copyrighted video of protesters destroying restaurants in Rochester without licensing the footage from FNTV, which says it owns the rights to the video. Read more

It’s no longer just Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video duking it out in the subscription streaming video space. Now there are at least fifteen services clamoring for consumer attention. “Streaming video brands are turning to AM/FM radio like never before,” according to Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media. He chronicles a case study for a video streamer to show how broadcast radio “plays a powerful and unique role” in its media plan. Read more

While millions in Texas suffered without power, water and heat in much of the state due to an unusual cold snap, radio stations in the Lone Star State also struggled to remain on air and staffed. “It was a scramble. We did not expect it to last as long as it did,” Cox Media Group Director of Operations Johnny Chiang said. Read more