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Insideradio.com - Inside Radio Newsletter
Friday, January 24, 2020

TOP STORY

AM/FM’s Share Of Smart Speaker Audio Listening Climbs To 24%.

Newly released data from the latest Smart Audio Report delivers good news for broadcasters: the share of time spent listening to AM/FM radio on a smart speaker rose to 24% in 2019, up from 18% in 2018. The latest numbers are derived from Edison’s ongoing Share of Ear survey, which employs a 4,000-person national sample of persons 13+ and has been conducted online and offline since 2014.

With 77% share of ear, music dominates listening on smart speakers. Spoken word audio captures 23%. That parallels the break-out on all devices: 76% for music, 24% for spoken word audio.

The rapid adoption of smart speakers is helping spur what’s being called an audio renaissance.

Yet smart speaker owners spend more time listening to audio at home on their mobile device or on an AM/FM radio receiver, than via an Alexa or Google Home-type device. Citing Share of Ear data, the Smart Audio Report says smart speakers capture 17% of audio listening at home, compared to 31% for a mobile device and 19% for AM/FM receiver. Keep in mind that this is among the 60 million Americans that own a smart speaker. Computers came in fourth with 17% of audio listening by device at home, followed by TV audio channels (6%), internet-connected TV devices (5%) and CD players (2%).

The study also broke out share of time spent listening to audio sources on a smart speaker. Streaming audio captured nearly half (46%), followed by AM/FM radio in second at 24%, then owned music (10%), SiriusXM (8%) and podcasts (5%). Within the streaming piece of the smart speaker audio pie, Amazon captured the largest slice (15%), which isn’t surprising when you consider its Alexa devices currently dominate the smart speaker market in the U.S. Pandora was close behind with 12% followed by “other” at 10% and Spotify with 3%.

The Smart Speaker Habit

The Smart Audio Report, conducted by Edison in tandem with NPR, also includes data derived from a national telephone survey of 1,002 adults 18+ from Dec. 31, 2019 through Jan. 5, 2020. While topline results were first presented during the 2019 VOICE Live event at CES in Las Vegas, Edison released additional findings Thursday. Among the 60 million people in the U.S. owning at least one smart speaker device, one third (33%) say they use the device several times a day. More than one in four device owners (27%) said they use them nearly every day, 21% at least once per week, and 8% once per month or less. Just over one in ten (11%) smart speaker owners say they never use them.

The data shows that 54% of the U.S. population has used some type of voice-command technology, such as voice assistants on smartphones, smart speakers and other devices. Of those who use voice assistants, 24% say they use the technology on a daily basis.

"This latest report again shows the steady growth in smart speakers and the substantial use of voice activation across platforms," said NPR CEO John Lansing. "NPR sees these increases reflected in the continuing growth of listening to NPR radio streams and podcasts on smart speakers. We're eager to see that growth continue."

As earlier reported by Inside Radio, 24% of the U.S. population owns at least one smart speaker, up from 21% in December 2018, 18% in December 2017 and just 7% in January 2017. Not only are an increasing number of American households adopting smart speakers, but the research shows households that utilize the technology currently own 2.6 such devices, up from 2.3 per household at the same time last year and only 1.7 in 2017. Indeed the number of smart speakers in U.S. households has grown by 135% in two years, from 67 million in December 2017 to 119 million in December 2018 to 157 million in December 2019.

Awareness of smart speakers jumped from to 84% in December 2019, up from 77% in December 2018, 75% in December 2017 and 62% in December 2017.

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Report: John Malone’s Liberty Global Exploring Bid for Univision.

John Malone may have eyes for Univision, according to a new report.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, says the billionaire’s Liberty Global, Liberty’s investment arm —with the help of Hemisphere Media Group—is considering a bid for Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.

There are other potential suitors in the mix, however. Bloomberg says private equity firm Platinum Equity has also expressed interest, in addition to Viacom CFO Wade Davis, who is said to be backed by institutional investors. Final offers are due next month.

Liberty Global has said little about the matter. “This is a small investment that Liberty Global Ventures is exploring,” Matt Beake, a spokesman for the international cable operator, said in a statement. Malone is frequently on the prowl for M&A opportunities, recently kicking the tires on an increased stake in iHeartMedia.

Bloomberg’s sources say no final decision has been made—and it’s possible that none of the interested parties will make an offer.

Miami-based Hemisphere Media, a Spanish-language media company that targets Hispanic TV and cable networks, owns five U.S. Hispanic cable networks, two Latin American cable networks and a TV network in Puerto Rico. It also has ownership interests in other media properties in the U.S. and abroad.

Univision’s owners, in addition to CEO Vincent Sadusky, have made no secret of their desire to sell. The company had $7.4 billion in debt as of late September.

Univision was purchased by billionaire Haim Saban’s Saban Capital Group and a consortium of private-equity firms in 2007 for $13.7 billion. It was the king of Spanish broadcasting at the time, but the outlook has changed dramatically since the purchase. It has struggled in an increasingly competitive marketplace, and it has lost ground to rival Telemundo, which is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal.

Univision in 2017 rejected a takeover offer from Discovery Communications, another media property in Malone’s ecosystem. Univision also nixed an IPO in 2018.

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Another Christmas Station Sets New Market Ratings Record.

Day Two of the Holiday 2019 PPM numbers show another all-Christmas station setting a new PPM era ratings high. This time it’s in Phoenix, where KESZ scored an astonishing 19.2 share (6+) for what ratings historian Chris Huff says is the largest PPM share ever recorded in the market. The iHeart AC shattered its previous record of 16.5, set in the Holiday 2015 book and repeated one year later, by nearly three shares.

The latest numbers from Nielsen show slightly more all-Christmas stations out-performing their Holiday 2018 numbers than falling short of them. In Baltimore, Entercom AC WLIF rose to a 16.0 in Holiday 2019, beating the 15.2 it had one year earlier. In Boston, Entercom AC WMJX climbed from a 14.5 in Holiday 2018 to 15.2 in Holiday 2019. Similar year-over-year gains were made by Bonneville AC KOSI Denver (12.8-14.4), Entercom AC KYXY San Diego (8.4-11.1) and iHeartMedia AC WASH (10.4-12.9).

Five all-Yule outlets didn’t do as well this past holiday season as they did in 2018. But in most cases that was due to new competitors. In Detroit, iHeartMedia AC WNIC fell 17.9-14.8 year over year. Some of that listening went to Entercom soft AC “98.7 The Breeze” WDZH which pulled a 4.9 in its first year with the Kringle format. In Minneapolis, iHeartMedia classic hits KQQL declined 12.6-11.6 from Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019. In Seattle, Hubbard AC “Warm 106.9” KRWM dropped 11.2-9.2 but some of the Christmas share ended up on Entercom soft AC “94.1 The Sound” KSWD, which notched a 5.1 during its maiden Santa fling. Some went to Sinclair Broadcast Group AC “Star 101.5” KPLZ-FM, which had a 4.4 Entercom AC KEZK-FM St. Louis (15.6-14.2) and Cox-Apollo soft AC “105.5 The Dove” WDUV Tampa (13.7-11.2) also showed year-over year declines, although Tampa sported a new Christmas convert in 2019 – iHeartMedia hot AC “Mix 100.7” WMTX Tampa, which pulled a 6.0 share. And when you’re racking up double digit shares, it’s hard to imagine programmers crying in their egg nogs.

No. 1 Across The Board

The Christmas format topped the ranker in every report released Thursday, including Miami a market that for several years had no 24/7 Christmas station. For the second year in a row Entercom AC “101.5 Lite FM” WLYF-FM filed Miami’s Christmas hole and was tied for No. 1 in the Holiday 2019 book with Cox-Apollo AC “Easy 93.1” WFEZ. Sleigh bells rang at the top of every major market report released Wednesday, except for Atlanta where the holiday music format was No. 2.

Christmas wasn’t the only winner in the Day Two of the Holiday 2019 ratings. In Minneapolis, University of Northwestern St. Paul contemporary Christian KTIS-FM came in second place with an 8.2, which Huff says is the largest share in the station’s history. And Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications classical WETA Washington’s 4.3 is largest share since March 2016.

Nielsen’s Holiday survey covers the period from Dec. 5, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020. Unless otherwise noted, all numbers quoted are Persons 6+, AQH share, Mon.-Fri., 6a-midnight.

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Experts: Ransomware Is A Fact Of Life, And Vigilance Is The Best Defense.

Updated

Ransomware is a major problem that’s on the rise, one that has brought the infrastructure of numerous companies—including several in broadcast radio—to their knees, costing millions of dollars and imposing substantial lost productivity in the process.

A webinar on Wednesday that featured several experts on the topic sought to provide guidance on how malware can be avoided.

One key piece of advice: Watch what’s happening to the competitors in your space, whatever that may be.

“Often what we see in cybersecurity generally, but in ransomware in particular, is a focus on individual industry segments,” explained Mercedes Tunstall, a partner at the New York-based law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and an expert on cybersecurity. “So you will see cybersecurity threats that run through financial services companies, healthcare companies… A good way to potentially identify that this may become a more real and present risk for you and your company is if you hear that there is a ransomware attack or cybersecurity attack in a company that is similarly situated to you that possibly is using industry-specific software or methodologies, data exchanges, that kind of thing.”

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that denies access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. It typically spreads through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website.

The radio industry has been hit on multiple occasions. An attack on Urban One cost the company more than $1 million and led to the hiring of a chief information officer to help combat the problem. Last year Oregon’s Gorge Radio said a ransomware attack shut down regular local programming on five of its Bicoastal Media radio stations. Entercom was also victimized last year, with hackers reportedly demanding $500,000 in ransom.

In fact, the attacks have become so commonplace that it’s led to industry-wide calls for stations to be vigilant in taking the necessary precautions.

John Hunt of management consulting firm Guidehouse said it’s key for individuals and big and small businesses alike to be proactive in avoiding victimization.

One strategy he said, is to be vigilant about who you connect with on social media. Another is to be alert for questionable email messages. A popular tactic among cybercriminals is phishing—or sending someone an email with an attachment that looks legitimate but, upon being opened, unleashes a malicious code.

“Maybe you’re saying, ‘I would never fall for such an email,’ but you’d be surprised,” Hunt said. “The emails can be very customized and look like they’re coming from your friends. They look like they’re relevant to your life. Sometimes they look like they’re from your CEO or a legitimate business partner.”

According to Emsisoft, which manufactures anti-malware software, ransomware attacks in the U.S. last year affected at least 966 government agencies, educational establishments and healthcare providers at a potential cost of more than $7.5 billion.

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Burning Man CEO’s Advice To Marketers: Allow More Big Ideas.

Updated

As CEO of Black Rock City, the organization that oversees the annual Burning Man event in the Nevada desert, Marian Goodell says she’s learned a lesson that anyone in marketing should find useful. “We need to be playful; we need to be innovative; we need to allow more big ideas to surface – and we need to help others manifest them, giving people the opportunity to think differently and be themselves,” she said on the latest episode of the iHeartPodcast Network’s Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing podcast. Goodell told iHeart CEO Bob Pittman, the podcast’s host, that her transformation from corporate life into leading a creatively-driven organization, that now has an operating budget of $45 million, offers a life lesson to others assessing the path through life. “The transformation is listening to what you are able to do and what you want to do when it comes in front of you [and] knowing enough about yourself,” said Goodell.

Started in 1986 on a Bay Area beach, Burning Man is now an eight-night event that attracts 80,000 people to Black Rock City, a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert each August. And while Goodell admits the event’s popularity has ebbed and flowed through the years, she said there’s no denying that it’s become a mainstream event since its early origins. “Culture and the world certainly changed. Media got ahold of Burning Man,” she said. “People are looking for ways to connect and Burning Man strips everything away and gives people an opportunity to connect.”

In a time when Americans seem more divided than ever, Goodell said Burning Man avoids political and religious divisions. “The goal is really to bring people together and connect to collaborate and do things greater than ourselves,” she told Pittman. “People are often surprised when conservatives are at Burning Man. It’s really quite rewarding to see people of different political backgrounds finding they have something magical in common. And in this day and age we need more bridges to understand each other.”

Burning Man has also become international with offshoot events in Israel, South Africa, Japan and Argentina. “What was a temporary community on the desert floor is not a temp community anymore. It’s a really a global, active engaged community year-round,” said Goodell.

Pittman told listeners of the podcast that’s become a regular at Burning Man, saying the event challenges what someone thinks they know and challenges their belief in what’s possible. “For anyone on the creative side of the business, it’s a great way to open your mind,” he said.

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Entercom Teams With Claritas On Podcast Ad Attribution Tool.

Updated

Direct response advertisers who’ve dominated podcasting have had a relatively easy way to know their ads were working just by looking at how many times a special discount code was used. But as podcasters and other digital audio publishers work to attract more blue-chip brand marketers, new attribution tools will be needed. And that’s led Entercom to strike a deal with Claritas to use its data to help show advertisers how their podcast and other digital audio ads translate into sales.

Entercom will incorporate Claritas’ identity graph into the information that it provides marketers. The Claritas tool encompasses a proprietary data set of over 120 million households and more than one billion devices. That allows the company to compare the buying behaviors of those households that listened to the podcast to those of similar non-listening audiences. Claritas says its analytics tool allows marketers to accurately isolate and measure the effectiveness of each channel, message or partner in their campaigns – not just podcasts. In doing so, marketers will be able to measure each specific portion of their campaigns and give an advertiser the return on investment feedback they’re seeking.

Ken Lagana, Executive VP of Digital Sales at Entercom, says the company will integrate Claritas’ measurement technology capabilities into its existing radio and digital audio attribution suite. By doing so, its clients will be able to calculate the total lift in business outcomes directly attributable to podcast and digital audio streaming. They will also be able to break out lift by the different components of a campaign, like target audiences, creative, geographic location visits and other variables. “This new tool helps us fill a critical gap in the industry and allows us the ability to offer clients the opportunity to accurately measure ROI for podcasts and other digital campaigns,” said Lagana.

When Entercom bought Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media last year, the company said it wanted to come up with ways to devise new measurement capabilities for podcasts. That included giving the company’s Advanced Audio team a directive to expand the existing attribution capabilities they were offering to over-the-air and digital ad buyers to clients who were spending money on podcast ads. “Podcasting is a critical and exciting business segment with exponential growth opportunities,” said Lagana.

It is not the only data that Entercom is relying on to sell podcasts. Cadence13 was among the podcast companies that signed with Nielsen last year when it launched its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service. It uses data from Nielsen Scarborough to help podcasters understand what their listeners buy and where they shop, while allowing advertisers to target audiences with specific interests and buying habits.

Claritas sees a growing opportunity to expand its service into podcasting and called the Entercom alliance a “game changer” in that effort. “With podcasting taking off so aggressively, and continued growth across all digital channels, we see our partnership with Entercom as a major strategic win to help the industry effectively shift the paradigm in the podcasting, streaming and other digital channels,” said VP Matt Drengler in a statement.

Claritas is also working with a handful of other podcast companies such as PRX, which relied on the research company’s data when it released a snapshot of PRX listeners in October.

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ESPN’s Traug Keller Saved ‘Mike & Mike.’ But He Regrets Letting Colin Cowherd Get Away.

Updated

“Mike & Mike” endured on ESPN Radio for almost 18 years, but the show was almost over before it even got out of the gate.

In an interview with the New York Post, Traug Keller—who is retiring from ESPN as the sports broadcaster’s Senior VP of Audio —said saving the show from being deep-sixed in the early 2000s was his proudest accomplishment.

“The show had been on for 18 months,” Keller recalled. “The TV [executives] in the room said, ‘We are not seeing any ratings results from this, we probably should switch it out.’ I remember holding my ground and saying, ‘No way. In radio, you have to let things bake. The medium works differently than television. It takes time. If you have people who can get along and can create a community, you have to give them at least a couple of years.’ They backed off and ‘Mike & Mike’ had a spectacular run.”

The show, which featured Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, eventually made its way to television, landing on ESPNews in 2004. In 2006 it began a long run on ESPN2, where it remained until its demise in 2017.

Keller also lamented letting Colin Cowherd jump ship. “I do regret letting Colin Cowherd get away,” Keller said. “I think he is a great talent.”

Cowherd, who joined ESPN in 2004 as a replacement for Tony Kornheiser, left for Fox Sports in 2015.

Another characteristic of Keller’s time at ESPN, according to the Post’s interview: emphasizing the idea of “ESPN Audio” as opposed to “ESPN Radio.” The former, the newspaper said, broadened the network’s perspective.

Keller, who will be replaced by ESPN New York’s Tim McCarthy, won’t be retired in the classic sense. He’s joining America Magazine, a Jesuit-affiliated bi-weekly, where he hopes to expand its multimedia initiatives as its Chief Operating Officer.

McCarthy will take over ESPN’s local stations in New York and Los Angeles. Scott McCarthy—who is unrelated to Tim—will lead the national network.

A substantial component of Keller’s time at ESPN is his role in facilitating the proliferation of podcasting, a topic he addressed at length in a March 2018 interview with Inside Radio.

“I think the thing that looms the largest is that the industry needs to find unified and consistent measurement across the board,” he said. “We are working with a few vendors and other big podcast players, so it is something that I expect to happen soon. Podcasting has already grown so much, and that will take it to the next level. There is no denying that people are listening to podcasts by the millions, it really has been fascinating to watch the growth and fun to be a part of it—so now we need to get that measurement piece done.”

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NY Lawmaker Wants to Tax Companies That Make Money From Consumer Data.

Updated

A Democratic lawmaker in New York State thinks companies that generate income from consumers’ data should pay a tax.

Earlier this week, Assembly member Stacey Pheffer Amato introduced legislation that calls for a 5% tax on gross revenues of companies that make money from data shared by state residents. The measure would also create a so-called “data fund” to distribute the money to residents, MediaPost reports.

“New York’s consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data,” according to a memo from Pheffer Amato. “Turn on your phone, check your email, watch TV, browse the web, drive through a toll or, talk to a friend on the phone. In all of these activities, data about our actions, behaviors, likes and dislikes, mood and feelings, purchases and choices are being recorded by a huge variety of organizations that never will inform you of the data they collect, sell and share.”

A similar measure was introduced last year in the state senate. Opponents say a data tax could encourage tech companies to take their business to other states.

MediaPost’s report notes that last year California Gov. Gavin Newsom floated the idea of a “data dividend” that Silicon Valley tech companies would pay to residents.

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NPR Appoints Keith Woods To Newly Created Chief Diversity Officer Role.

Updated

Vowing to bring “the public to public radio,” Keith Woods is named Chief Diversity Officer at NPR. In the newly created position, Woods “will guide NPR’s push to expand the diversity of its audience work across NPR and help build a more diverse and inclusive organization,” the public media organization said. Woods was most recently VP of Newsroom Training and Diversity.

“I want NPR to reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything we do. As an organization we should be leaders in providing news and cultural programming that speaks to our richly diverse country and connects with an audience that looks and sounds like America – all while creating a welcoming and supportive workplace for all,” CEO John Lansing said in a release. In promoting Woods, Lansing said “Keith will be a thought partner to me and the rest of the executive team, helping us set goals and craft a diversity plan that is responsive to – and accountable to – our staff and the public we serve.”

“I’m excited to work with John and my colleagues on these issues and truly focus NPR’s attention on bringing more of the public to public radio,” Woods added. “We know it will mean hearing more voices from across the country, building and strengthening the diversity of our staff, and reaching out more deliberately in all that we do to embrace audiences who don’t yet know who we are or don’t yet believe that their stories are our stories.”

NPR has been working to improve the diversity of NPR's on-air sources, with studies showing the organization had more work to do on this subject. In fiscal year 2018, the voices heard on NPR weekday newsmagazines were 83% white and 33% female.

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Mayor’s Suit Against Kirk Minihane And Barstool Sports Dismissed.

Updated

A lawsuit filed by Somerville, MA mayor Joe Curtatone against former WEEI-FM Boston morning co-host Kirk Minihane and his new employer Barstool Sports has been dismissed.

As earlier reported by Inside Radio, Curtatone sued after an interview he thought he was doing with a Boston Globe reporter, who turned out to be Minihane, was posted to Barstool Sports.

“Minihane recorded himself breaking the law, impersonating a Boston Globe reporter to obtain an interview with me, then Barstool posted the interview on its website,” Curtatone said in the lawsuit, according to WFXT-TV. “It's a clear violation of Massachusetts General Law, which forbids audio recording a person without his/her consent, and you can't obtain that consent through fraudulent means.”

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Maureen Hogan disagreed. In dismissing the case, Hogan said the state’s wiretap law, in part, defines the term “interception” as “to secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication,” Boston.com reports.

The defense argued that the recording itself was not secret and that the mayor knew he was being recorded, even though the identity of the interviewer was misrepresented. The judge agreed, saying that Curtatone did have “literal knowledge” that he was being recorded.

“The question of whether Mayor Curtatone could meaningfully consent to the audio recording when he was unaware of Minihane’s true identity is thus irrelevant,” Hogan wrote in her decision.

After a tumultuous breakup with WEEI-FM, Minihane announced in May 2019 – from the Entercom studios – that he was joining Barstool Sports. Bumped from WEEI-FM’s revamped “Mut and Callahan” morning show lineup in November 2018, Minihane was dismissed from Entercom in May 2019 after he gave the company an ultimatum. “Mut and Callahan” was replaced by Greg Hill in July 2019. Mike “Mut” Mutnansky returned to hosting evenings at WEEI with Hill’s arrival.

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Mayor’s Suit Against Kirk Minihane And Barstool Sports Dismissed.

Updated

A lawsuit filed by Somerville, MA mayor Joe Curtatone against former WEEI-FM Boston morning co-host Kirk Minihane and his new employer Barstool Sports has been dismissed.

As earlier reported by Inside Radio, Curtatone sued after an interview he thought he was doing with a Boston Globe reporter, who turned out to be Minihane, was posted to Barstool Sports.

“Minihane recorded himself breaking the law, impersonating a Boston Globe reporter to obtain an interview with me, then Barstool posted the interview on its website,” Curtatone said in the lawsuit, according to WFXT-TV. “It's a clear violation of Massachusetts General Law, which forbids audio recording a person without his/her consent, and you can't obtain that consent through fraudulent means.”

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Maureen Hogan disagreed. In dismissing the case, Hogan said the state’s wiretap law, in part, defines the term “interception” as “to secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication,” Boston.com reports.

The defense argued that the recording itself was not secret and that the mayor knew he was being recorded, even though the identity of the interviewer was misrepresented. The judge agreed, saying that Curtatone did have “literal knowledge” that he was being recorded.

“The question of whether Mayor Curtatone could meaningfully consent to the audio recording when he was unaware of Minihane’s true identity is thus irrelevant,” Hogan wrote in her decision.

After a tumultuous breakup with WEEI-FM, Minihane announced in May 2019 – from the Entercom studios – that he was joining Barstool Sports. Bumped from WEEI-FM’s revamped “Mut and Callahan” morning show lineup in November 2018, Minihane was dismissed from Entercom in May 2019 after he gave the company an ultimatum. “Mut and Callahan” was replaced by Greg Hill in July 2019. Mike “Mut” Mutnansky returned to hosting evenings at WEEI with Hill’s arrival.

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Deal Digest

Deal Digest – January 23, 2020

Updated

SALES – STATIONS

Kansas City – Reyes Media Group files a $600,000 deal to buy regional Mexican “La Grande 1340 KDTD and Spanish sports KCZZ (1480) from TBLC Media. Edward Reyes has been operating the stations under a local marketing agreement since July 2015. Reyes Media Group also has leased regional Mexican “La X 1250” KYYS from Entercom since 2010 under a $15,000-per month LMA.

Massachusetts – Educational Media Foundation files a $250,000 deal to buy WFNX, Athol, MA (99.9) from Northeast Broadcasting Company. The signal is used to relay Boston’s adult alternative “92.5 The River” WXRV into north-central Massachusetts. EMF currently owns contemporary Christian “K-Love” affiliate WKMY, Winchendon, MA (91.1) in the area.

Birmingham, AL – Pedro Zamora’s BAR Broadcasting files a deal to reclaim the currently-silent WZGX (1450) from Lyle Reynolds’ Red Mountain Ventures in exchange for forgiving $200,000 in debt. BAR Broadcasting sold WZGX to Red Mountain Ventures in 2017. Red Mountain Ventures also owns the Fultondale, AL-licensed translator W256CD at 99.1 FM in the Birmingham market.

Salisbury-Ocean City, MD – Vincent Klepac’s VinCo Media files a $175,000 deal to buy classic hits “Xtra 106.1” WXSH (106.1) from Michael Powell. It’s a quick profit for Powell who bought the station for $150,000 last year. VinCo Media currently owns classic hits WKHI (94.9) in the market but it has a pending $375,000 deal to sell that station to the Voice Radio Network. The purchase of WXSH is conditioned on that sale closing. In a full-circle nature of the deal-making, Voice Radio Network sold WXSH to Powell last year.

SALES – TRANSLATORS

Montana – Brandy Powell files a $10 deal to buy the Missoula, MT-licensed translator K279CP at 103.7 FM from Sheila Callahan & Friends, Inc. The signal simulcasts hot AC “Mountain 102.5” KMSO, Missoula, MT.

CLOSINGS

Nebraska – Tim Marshall and Craig Larson’s Nebraska Rural Radio Association closes a $1.75 million deal to buy seven stations from Alan Usher’s G.I. Family Radio. The deal includes country “Wild Country 106.9” KHYY Minatare, NE; CHR KOZY-FM, Bridgeport, NE(101.3); classic rock KMOR (93.3), Gering, NE; the currently-silent KETT, Mitchell, NE (99.3); classic country “690 The Legend” KOLT, Terry Town, NE; the currently-silent KOAQ, Scottsbluff, NE (1320); and oldies KUVR, Holdrege, NE (1380). The deal also includes the Holdrege, NE-licensed translator K245CK at 96.9 FM that simulcasts KUVR. Among the changes announced earlier: Nebraska Rural Radio Association plans to end the country battle between KHYY and the country station it already owned in the area – “94.1 The Brand” KNEB-FM by putting A classic country format on KHYY. The format has been the HD2 channel of country KNEB-FM and the Scottsbluff, NE-licensed translator K269DO at 101.7 FM which has allowed it to brand itself as “101.7 The Trail.” In another planned move, Nebraska Rural Radio Association has said it plans to put a news-talk format on KOLT and KUVR with another format change in the works for both KETT and KOAQ. Broker: Kalil

Iowa – Kathi and Patrick Kolar’s Open Roads Media closes a $795,000 deal to buy AC “97.7 The Bolt” KHBT, Humboldt, IA from Riverfront Broadcasting. Kathi Kolar had been the general manager and sales manager for the station.

Charlotte, NC – Norberto Sanchez’s Norsan Group closes a $500,000 deal to buy regional Mexican WNOW (1030) from TBLC Media. The deal also includes the Charlotte-licensed translator W256BP at 99.1 FM. The contract says Norsan would receive a $15,000 credit against the purchase price for what it spent on making the needed repairs to get WNOW back on the air during a time brokerage agreement since the deal was filed last July. The Norsan Group also owns tropical “Latina Tu Musica 102.3” WGSP-FM and Spanish oldies “Pepe 1310” WGSP and its simulcast WXNC (1060) in the Charlotte market.

Salina-Manhattan, KS – Divine Mercy Radio closes a $340,000 deal to buy KDJM (101.7) from Randy Michael’s Radioactive. Divine Mercy Radio already owns religious “Divine Mercy Radio 88.1” KVDM, Hays, KS and “Divine Mercy Radio 88.1” KRTT, Great Bend, KS. KDJM had most recently been operated by Rocking M Radio.

Dallas – Radio Punjab Dallas closes a $225,000 deal to buy the currently-silent KTXV (890) from James Su. Radio Punjab Dallas is a Washington-based company headed by Sukhdev Dhillon. The 20,000-watt daytime-only AM went silent in October due to a copper theft. After the sale Su will still own stations in the Atlanta; Portland, OR; Riverside-San Bernardino; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas and Honolulu markets. Broker: Kalil

Louisiana – Brenda Floyd and James Allwood’s Misslou Media closes a $200,000 deal to buy classic hits “107.1 The River” KFNV-FM, Ferriday, LA and classic country “104.7 The Gator” KWTG, Vidalia, LA from Tom Gay’s Riverside Radio Group of Louisiana. Gay previously sold his other radio properties in the region. Broker: Bill Whitley, Media Services Group

Nebraska – VSS Catholic Communications has closed a $40,000 deal to buy the currently-silent KETT, Mitchell, NE (99.3) from G.I. Family Radio. The FM is a spin-off from a larger deal that will see G.I. Family Radio sell its seven stations to Nebraska Rural Radio Association. In order to comply with FCC ownership limits, the Association wasn’t able to buy all seven stations. VSS Catholic Communications will flip KETT to its religious “Spirit Catholic Radio” format.

Indiana – Star Educational Media Network closes a $40,000 deal to buy the currently-silent WEAX, Angola, IN (88.3) from Trine University. Star Educational Media Network already owns three full-power FMs and six FM translators in Indiana which simulcast Fort Wayne, IN market contemporary Christian “Star 88.3” WLAB.

Tennessee – Greg Comb’s Providential Broadcasting closes a $10,000 deal to buy the currently-silent WXRQ, Mount Pleasant, TN (1460) from New Life Broadcasting. WXRQ went off the air in July when it told the FCC it had lost access to its longtime rented transmitter site following the death of the property’s owner. It said it was looking for a new site.

Texas – Weston Entertainment closes a deal to donate KBPC, Crockett, TX (93.5) to Houston Christian Broadcasters. The religious broadcaster currently owns 37 stations in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida.

People Moves

Chuck Sullivan

Chuck Sullivan is named Senior VP/Market Manager for Entercom Denver, effective Feb 3. Sullivan, who succeeds the recently retired John Fullam, was most recently Senior VP/Market Manager for the company’s Milwaukee and Madison properties. Read more

Lynda Lopez

Lynda Lopez returns to Entercom news WCBS New York (880) as Midday News Anchor and Special Projects Reporter. Lopez, who served as News Anchor and Correspondent for the station from 2009-2016, succeeds Pat Farnack who retired in December 2019. Read more

Syndi

Lotus Communications AC “94.9 Mix FM” KMXZ-FM Tucson promotes weekender Syndi Long to afternoons. “Syndi will be a great addition to the 94.9 Mix FM family. She has proven herself over and over again with her high energy and talent,” OM/PD Larry Mac said in a release. Read more

Job Listings

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VP/GM - SCRIPPS TULSA

Scripps has a rare opening for a VP/GM for our 5-station Tulsa radio cluster.  Read more

Job Listings

Director of Engineering

Legend Communications is searching for an Engineer to maintain our 23-radio station group. View details

Director of News and Programming, WTOP

The Director of News and Programming leads WTOP, an effective organization of over a 100 people consisting of news directors, writers, anchors, reporters, editors and staff to provide the best available local, national and international news, traffic, weather, sports and money news across all media… View details

Market Manager - Montana

Cherry Creek Media has a tremendous opportunity for a Market Manager in Missoula, MT. View details

General Manager - Minnesota

Alpha Media – Mankato, MN is seeking a bold, enthusiastic General Manager for the Mankato, Minnesota market. View details

General Sales Manager - Digital

Salem Media Group / Salem Surround - in Seattle offers an EXCEPTIONAL opportunity for a qualified General Sales Manager for our 3-station cluster and digital division. View details

Vice President of Programming

Beasley Media Group is looking for its next Vice President of Programming. View details

About Inside Radio

© 2015. This email is delivered to you by INSIDE RADIO, The Most Trusted News in Radio. On the web @ www.InsideRadio.com. No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced, forwarded, or retransmitted in any form without written permission. Subscribe to INSIDE RADIO Here. Publisher, Gene McKay. Managing Editor, Paul Heine. Inside Radio, PO Box 567925, Atlanta GA 31156. 800-248-4242. Newsroom: 800-275-2840. Contact Us | About | Advertise Read more