Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser
Insideradio.com - Inside Radio Newsletter
Friday, December 6, 2019

TOP STORY

As Media Winds Shift, Pittman, Bressler Feeling A ‘Bit Of A Breeze At Our Back.’

With TV ad rates roughly triple those of radio, even as TV’s reach erodes and radio holds steady, are large brand advertisers ready to move a portion of their budget from video to audio? iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and COO Rich Bressler said this week they’re starting to see a shift in that direction. Pittman told the Wells Fargo TMT Summit in Las Vegas that for the first time since he joined the company in 2010, he’s feeling “little bit of a breeze at our back.”

According to Nielsen, live + time-shifted TV’s reach slipped to 86% in first quarter 2019 while radio held steady at 92%. And TV only reaches 74% of 18-34 year olds, compared to 90% for radio. Marketers that rely on TV to reach Millennials miss about one-fourth of their target, Pittman said. “TV has always been the foundational buy because it provides reach,” he explained. Now radio has an opportunity to fill that missing audience – at a fraction of the cost to advertisers. “Most people will acknowledge that the performance of radio and TV are about the same at the same weight level,” Pittman added. If TV continues to hold ad rates steady, its cost per thousand impressions could go as high as four times that of radio, he and Bressler told the investor crowd. And that could lead to “a tipping point” where some ad dollars move from TV to radio. “Radio is wildly efficient. We’ve became the way you keep your marketing going and you save money,” Pittman argued.

As radio industry leaders consider the pros and cons of shifting from the current cost per rating point sales model to one based on impressions, Pittman said he sees a strong upside for radio in making the switch. After decades of radio being purchased in a separate silo by media buyers, the latest trend on Madison Avenue is cross-media planning. That involves using the same metric and tools to plan and buy media campaigns holistically. Selling radio based on cost per thousand impressions would allow the medium to be bought in the same way as digital, and soon TV. “That will be wildly beneficial to us because our CPM is so low and the ROI is so good,” Pittman reasoned.

Podcasting Opens New Doors

Building a multi-platform audio company, with tentacles that reach into events, social, digital and podcasting, has given iHeart multiple ways to hook new clients. “All these platforms work together,” Pittman offered. “We now let advertisers use this seamless reach of our consumers across all of our platforms, and come in to us through all these new doors.” Last month the company hit an all-time high in digital reach of nearly 100 million, Pittman said. And podcasting, which he called “an extension of radio,” has opened up a pair of growth vectors as the larger podcast market grows and iHeartMedia increases its share of it. Total podcast revenues hit $479 million last year and are forecast to surpass $1 billion by 2021. But more recently Forrester predicted the medium may hit the billion-dollar threshold as soon as 2020, Bressler said.

Not only is the podcast audience consistently growing but the channel is transitioning from being primarily dependent on direct response advertisers to attracting more mainstream marketers.

The advantage iHeart has in the rapidly growing space is its broadcast radio promotional bullhorn. “If someone wants the massive reach of radio they will come to us,” Pittman said, pointing to “Disgraceland,” the true crime podcast about musicians behaving badly. When the Jake Brennan-hosted show moved from being independently published to part of iHeartRadio with the launch of its third season, it went from fewer than one million downloads to more than two million.

Pittman likened the burgeoning podcast industry to the early days of the internet “when you distributed everywhere on the web and it cost you nothing.” Similarly, the money today in podcasting lies with the publishers, not the distributors, Pittman explained, noting that the company employs a distributed content strategy that puts its original podcast content on all the major distribution platforms. But after paying $55 million for Stuff Media in September 2018, don’t look for iHeart to snatch up another podcast company anytime soon. Buying the How Stuff Works parent gave it the genre diversity, podcast library and management team it was looking for, led by Conal Byrne, now President of the iHeartPodcast Network. “They know how to make successful podcasts, how to market and distribute them,” Pittman continued. “We know how to monetize and promote them.” Aggressively expanding its roster of original podcast content, iHeart has recently signed or renewed deals with Will Ferrell, Chelsea Handler, Katie Couric, Stephanie Ruhle and Shonda Rhimes. Said Bressler: “They all chose to work with us – in terms of the relevancy of podcasting and the long term financial opportunity.”

AD - Top Story

Advertisement

INSIDE RADIO HEADLINES

Story

Univision Cleared By FCC To Increase Foreign Ownership Holdings.

The government won’t stand in the way of Univision Communications’ intra-company restructuring plan and it’s even increasing the cap on the broadcaster’s foreign ownership holdings. The Federal Communications Commission concludes the public interest wouldn’t be served by prohibiting Univision from exceeding the 25% benchmark. “This increased level of foreign investment,” the FCC said, “will facilitate investment from new sources of capital in Univision that would not otherwise be available.”

The approval process was no doubt made easier by the reality that Univision doesn’t have any specific investor proposing to take a stake in the company. Instead, Univision asked that the Mexico-based subsidiary Notivision be allowed to acquire a 21% stake in Univision Radio. The FCC had already given Univision permission to allow offshore entities to take a 49% equity stake in the company as part of a reworked relationship with Group Televisa, the producer of a lot of what’s carried on Univision’s television stations. Without a modification of that 2017 decision, the company said it would have the effect of lowering its foreign ownership cap to 28% to accommodate Notivision’s stake in the radio unit.

So last April Univision petitioned the FCC, asking it to raise the company’s foreign ownership cap to 70%—the sum of the already-authorized 49% plus the 21% stake that Notivision would take in Univision Radio. The company didn’t seek specific approval for any new individuals or entities to come onboard. In a ruling released Thursday, the FCC specifically acknowledged that and concluded that approving the request would be “consistent” with the 2017 decision. The Media Bureau also said it didn’t receive any filings asking it to reject the petition.

Univision offered no explanation to the FCC for why it is specifically allocating Notivision’s potential ownership in the U.S. parent company to the radio group. Notivision functions as a news bureau and conducts other activities such as marketing and technical assistance for Univision in Mexico.

Regulatory filings show 15.6% of Univision is currently controlled by foreign investors.

Univision is owned by Broadcast Media Partners, the consortium of five private equity firms including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Saban Capital, TPG Global, and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group bought the company in 2006 for $12.3 billion and has in recent years contemplated ways to liquidate some of their ownership, including through a possible IPO. It scrapped that plan last year, however, citing “market conditions.”

Story

‘Radiolab’ Co-Host Robert Krulwich Announces January Retirement.

Robert Krulwich, co-host of WNYC Studios’ “Radiolab” for the past 15 years, will retire from the influential show in January 2020. New York Public Radio says the weekly program, which airs on 589 public radio stations, will celebrate Krulwich with a special tribute episode in late January.

Krulwich, 72, announced his retirement in a statement Thursday, capping off an accomplished five-decade career in print, television, and radio journalism. “There comes a time — and I think it has come — when you get out of the way and let the future come flooding in,” Krulwich said in the statement. “We have a flood of people who are ready to step up,” he added, calling the show’s staff of reporters “the strongest bench in the business.”

A correspondent at ABC, Krulwich teamed up with “Radiolab” creator and co-host Jad Abumrad in 2005. Abumrad launched an earlier version of the show in 2002 on WNYC New York (820) called “Radio Lab.”

“When we set up shop years ago, the idea was to create a space where hard, hard subjects that nobody would think of as entertainment could be—well, entertaining. And disturbing. And Absorbing. Against the odds, and against our expectations, the thing took off,” Krulwich said in his statement.

“Radiolab” started as a five-episode seasonal program that aired locally in New York. Since, it has grown into a two-time Peabody Award-winning, nationally syndicated weekly show that is consistently one of the top-downloaded podcasts globally.

Krulwich and Abumrad are credited with forging a new approach to audio storytelling that combined first-person storytelling, interviews with experts, and innovative, cinematic sound design. The Washington Post declared that the show was “Not your grandfather’s NPR!”

Reflecting on their 17 years as co-hosts, Abumrad, said, “We’ve shared so many late-night edits, three hour tracking sessions, pre-live show jitters, and greasy diner meals that got a little too confessional and sometimes a little too argumentative. And in the process, we built a show together.”

While he’s hanging up the “Radiolab” headphones, Krulwich says he plans to work on some new projects, including a documentary and “a global warming interactive,” while devoting more time to “grandpa duty,” including blowing bubbles at pigeons.

Story

After 30 Years With KCFX, Kansas City Chiefs Move to WDAF.

A 30-year partnership between Cumulus Media classic rocker “101.1 The Fox” KCFX and the Kansas City Chiefs will come to an end with the conclusion of the current NFL season. Under a multiyear agreement, Entercom country “106.5 The Wolf” WDAF-FM will become the new home of Chiefs play-by-play and the flagship of its 70-station Chiefs Radio Network, starting with the 2020-2021 season.

The deal also makes WDAF sister “610 Sports Radio” KCSP the official broadcast partner of the Chiefs, with exclusive rights to Chiefs programming.

The deal with Entercom begins February 16, 2020, following the end of the current season, adding another NFL franchise to Entercom’s growing live sport portfolio. “We are extremely pleased to enter into this new partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the NFL’s most well respected and prestigious organizations,” said Dave Alpert, Regional President and Market Manager, Entercom Kansas City. “Entercom’s eight station cluster of music, news and sports talk stations hosted by Kansas City’s leading personalities align with vast digital and podcast opportunities, and will deliver the premium and comprehensive coverage Chiefs Kingdom desires seven days a week, all season long.”

As part of the agreement, KCSP will have exclusive rights to Chiefs programming, including the live radio broadcast rights to the Chiefs weekly in-season press conference with the club’s head coach and a weekly one-on-one interview with the starting quarterback. In addition, KCSP will broadcast the “Chiefs Kingdom Radio Show,” Mondays from 6-7pm, hosted by Chiefs play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus. The show includes call-ins from the head coach and live on-site guest interviews with key players.

Throughout the season, Chiefs players will turn up on regularly scheduled KCSP programming. The AM station will also deliver live reports from an exclusive tent and broadcast live post-practice interviews at Chiefs training camp.

After three decades as partners, the team and KCFX were unable to agree on a new broadcast agreement. “Our 30-year partnership with 101 The Fox and the Chiefs has a long history of which we are very proud. We love our team, the leadership and the fans,” Cumulus Regional VP/Market Manager Donna Baker said in a staff memo obtained by Inside Radio. That history includes the distinction of being one of the first FM stations to carry NFL play-by-play.

In the memo, Baker explained how the station negotiated “in good faith” with the team to keep the partnership going, “but ultimately chose to step away from negotiations as what was proposed was beyond unreasonable. Accordingly, we will not be renewing the broadcast rights starting with the 2020 season.”

Baker said the classic rocker will continue to provide game day programming “and fully support Chiefs Kingdom, including updates on all stations during the season as we do today.”

Cumulus has the top two stations in the market, according to Nielsen. KCFX ranked first with a 9.9 (6+) in the November 2019 PPMs, classic hits sister KCMO followed with an 8.6. With the Chiefs no longer part of the broadcast schedule as of next year, Baker said, “we will now have the added benefit of additional flexibility to invest in the stations and continue to soar.”

This isn’t the first time Cumulus has extricated itself from a major league play-by-play deal. During its 2018 Chapter 11 financial restructuring, the company ended long-running contracts with the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox.

Under the new multi-year deal with Entercom, “Voice of the Chiefs” Mitch Holthus will return for his 27th season as the play-by-play personality for the Chiefs Radio Network. Owning more years of service than any other “Voice of the Chiefs” in team history, Holthus has called a franchise record 426 regular and postseason contests for Kansas City.

“We look forward to partnering with 106.5 The Wolf and the powerful Entercom family of stations,” Chiefs President Mark Donovan said. “The ability to bring our game broadcasts and existing weekly radio shows under one roof is a large part of this change, but we are equally excited about creating new content and developing new opportunities for Chiefs fans to engage with their favorite team.”

Advertisement

Story

RAB: Local Radio Attracts Engaged, Active Civic Participants.

Updated

The Radio Advertising Bureau is touting the virtues of local — and underscoring radio’s ability to resonate with consumers and drive behavior.

An RAB insights piece published on the website of the Association of National Advertisers says a survey of more than 350 attendees at the 2019 ANA Masters of Marketing Week revealed that 72.4% of marketers consider local consumer engagement to be important or very important to their media plans.

“With more than 15,000 local broadcast radio stations, no other medium informs, entertains, or engages better than radio,” the RAB writes. “Rooted in the community where listeners live, work, go to school, or just go about their day, radio connects.”

According to Edison Research and GeoBroadcast Solutions, 77% of listeners agree they’d pay more attention to radio ads if they’re for local businesses or products.

Radio, the top live and local medium, has grown even more important with the disappearance of some 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers. According to Nielsen Audio RADAR 142 released in September, radio reaches nearly 249 million people weekly.

Among other insights noted in the RAB piece: radio listeners are frequently engaged with their local communities and are participants in events and with local organizations.

According to data from MRI Simmons (based on 24,000 interviews), 83% have attended a public meeting or town or school function; 80% have served on a committee of a local organization; 79% have written or called any politician; 79% have attended a country/rock/classical music performance in the past year; 76% try to buy locally grown/produced foods; and 89% visited a radio station, program or personality’s website.

Radio also maintains its prominent standing as the backbone of the U.S. information distribution system, the RAB says, noting that broadcasters see double-digit listening increases during local disasters.

“Advertisers in every single market across the country realize the power of local radio,” the RAB says. “They are leveraging the local connections that radio stations have to drive results for their brands.”

An RAB-commissioned study on radio’s ability to drive Google search activity determined that ads featuring local, personalized messages achieved greater incremental search activity.

Next year radio is poised to grab a slice of what Kantar says will be a $6 billion political ad spending pie. The RAB says that while television is the traditional leader among legacy media for political advertising, radio’s local focus keeps brands top of mind and relevant.

“Radio has an enduring connection to the local fans that it serves,” the RAB says. “Whether it’s a local personality who lives, breathes, eats and sleeps in the community or a national talent who broadcasts to millions of people across the U.S., listeners feel as though radio personalities are communicating with them directly. It’s content that marketers can emulate and a medium that provides the platform to engage and truly connect.”

Story

UK Court Lets TuneIn, Music Companies Appeal Copyright Suit.

Updated

A legal battle between online audio aggregator TuneIn and two major music companies is headed for the UK Court of Appeal after both adversaries challenged the original verdict, Bloomberg reports.

In London on Thursday, a court allowed TuneIn and the music companies — Warner Music UK and Sony Music Entertainment — to appeal a previous judgment, which saw both sides win on different points, TuneIn said in a statement.

Last month, the judge overseeing the case found TuneIn had breached Warner and Sony Music’s copyright by allowing subscribers to access music played by unlicensed stations outside the UK.

He also questioned the record function on TuneIn’s Pro app — saying the function let users create “a library of music” and effectively made the app into a “download on demand service.”

TuneIn says the situation as it currently stands allows it to operate what it calls the most important part of its UK directory service — providing UK users with links to UK stations. The company says it’s unable to provide links to foreign music stations, however.

“We hope to overturn this latter point on appeal as we believe that it is fundamentally bad for freedom of expression on the Internet and cultural diversity,” the company’s website statement says. “Many have also expressed concern about the broader implications of this decision for search engines and other Internet operators, as well as the risk that it will lead to a territorially segmented Internet.

“The Court of Appeal will now have to grapple with this complex case, which looks at whether we should be allowed to provide our U.K. users with access to hyperlinks to music radio stations that are freely available on the Internet.”

San Francisco-based TuneIn, which was launched in 2002, is a free digital radio service. It offers listeners an array of content, including music, sports, news, podcasts and audiobooks.

Story

Making Holidays Brighter: Radio Food And Toy Drives Fill The Calendar.

Updated

Beasley Media Philadelphia entered the final month of the decade with the 22nd annual “Preston & Steve’s Camp Out For Hunger” weeklong food drive. The WMMR morning show hosts live in an RV for a week, collecting food for Philabundance in what has been recognized as the nation’s largest single-location food drive.

The morning show is joined each day by local and national celebrities, politicians and musicians with WMMR talent Pierre Robert (middays), Jaxon (afternoons) and Jackie Bam Bam (nights) doing their shows live on select days from the setup in the parking lot of the sports complex in South Philadelphia. “Preston & Steve’s Camp Out For Hunger” continues through Friday, Dec. 6 at 11am. Last year the food drive netted a record-breaking 1.826 million pounds of food for needy families and individuals in Philadelphia. In April, the annual event was recognized with the Service to Community Award for Radio – Major Market, presented by The National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF).

As the “Camp Out” ends, the Beasley events staff shifts gears for the 20th annual Toy Truck Parade” staged by country WXTU (92.5) Saturday, Dec. 7. Each year, local fire departments, first-responders, businesses and listeners decorate their trucks, filled with toys, and follow a four-mile parade route from a local Walmart to the Montgomery Mall. The toy collection benefits the local branch of the USO and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. WXTU judges will award prizes for best decorated trucks in four categories – Big Rig, Commercial, Emergency and Personal.

Finally, on Monday, Dec. 9 adult hits sister WBEN-FM (95.7) hosts its annual “Adopt A Family Radiothon” to benefit needy families in the community. Matt Cord will kick off the 12-hour radiothon at 6am as he and afternoon host Kristen Hermann are joined by special guests encouraging listeners to assist Volunteers of America Delaware Valley’s “Adopt a Family Program.” The program purchases clothing and gifts for less fortunate families residing in shelters in the Philadelphia area. Last year’s radiothon assisted over 750 needy families by raising over $50,000.

Bonneville soft AC KOSI Denver (101.1) held its “Light The House” radiothon to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities Thursday, Dec. 5. KOSI was live from the Denver Ronald McDonald House from 6am-6pm, while listeners donated to help support families who are staying in the area while their child receives care at local hospitals.

“We’re very proud to partner again this year and join our incredibly generous listeners to help assist families with housing while they focus on the health of their child,” PD Jim Lawson said in a release.

Meanwhile, listeners of AC sister KOIT San Francisco (96.5) helped raise more than $110,000 during the second annual “Care For Kids Radiothon,” which was held on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 3). The money raised during the radiothon benefits UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, part of the Children’s Miracle Network.

The “PK in the Morning” show on iHeartMedia CHR “Power 96.1” WWPW Atlanta kicked off its annual “House of Toys” six-day toy-drive and fundraising event for the U.S. Marine Corps “Toys For Tots Program,” Wednesday, Dec. 6. The drive runs through Dec. 9 at 10am.

“We want to be sure that every child has the best holiday they can,” PK said in a release. “We are thrilled to team up with our listeners once again and help underprivileged children receive the joy of a new gift this holiday season.” In the past three years, House of Toys has collected over 150,000 toys to benefit children in the community.

Story

Used Car Owner Sues SiriusXM For Alleged TCPA Violations.

Updated

SiriusXM Radio has been hit with another lawsuit over the satellite radio company’s alleged use of robocalls. Filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Eveiana Nazario is seeking class action certification for her complaint, which accuses the company of “knowing and willful violations” of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Nazario, who lives in Berwyn, IL, bought a used Sirius XM-equipped vehicle in July 2019 from an Illinois dealership. While the 2018 Nissan Versa came with an application to subscribe to the satellite radio service, Nazario says she was never presented with any other materials relating to SiriusXM during the purchase process. Within weeks of driving the vehicle off the lot, the robocalls from Sirius XM began, soliciting a subscription. Yet even after telling a SiriusXM rep during one of the calls that she wasn’t interested and requesting that the calls stop, the satcaster kept calling any way, according to the suit.

The TCPA makes it unlawful to use an automatic telephone dialing system to place a call to a cellular phone without the prior express consent of the called party. In her complaint, Nazario says she never gave her cell phone number to Sirius XM or granted permission to receiving calls from the satcaster.

The suit claims the unsolicited telemarketing phone calls caused Nazario “actual harm, including but not limited to, invasion of privacy, nuisance, wasting Plaintiff’s time, the increased risk of personal injury resulting from the distraction caused by the phone calls, aggravation that accompanies unwanted telephone calls, emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, loss of concentration, deprivation of access to her cellular phone while the phone is ringing, loss of battery charge, and the per-kilowatt electricity costs required to recharge her cellular telephone as a result of increased usage of her cellular phone.”

Nazario is seeking class action certification from the court, filing on behalf of “thousands of consumers” who received similar unsolicited robocalls from the satcaster during the past four years. It seeks a total of $2,000 per violation for the plaintiff and for each members of the “putative class” that signs on to the suit.

The latest suit comes less than two months after Vanje Wray of Gastonia, NC, filed a complaint in the Western District of North Carolina, claiming that repeated auto-dialed calls from representatives of SiriusXM represent a violation of the TCPA. It followed similar suits filed in January, February and November 2018, and June 2019.

Over the past several years, SiriusXM’s robocalls have prompted an ongoing barrage of lawsuits—to the point that in 2016, the company paid $35 million into a cash settlement fund to settle several class action suits.

Story

Bernie Weiss, Steve DeLusant Take New Roles At iHeart New York.

Steve DeLusant’s ​ ​ ​Updated

iHeartMedia New York announced two significant promotions Thursday. Bernie Weiss has been named Market President, and Steve DeLusant has been elevated to Region Senior VP of Sales.

As Market President, Weiss, who first joined the company in 2004 and most recently served as Regional Senior VP of Sales, will work closely with the programming, business and sales teams for the company’s six-station New York cluster. He will also be responsible for overseeing the stations’ on-air and digital programming as well as creating new revenue opportunities. Weiss replaces Scott Hopeck, who remains Division President for iHeartMedia Market Groups. Weiss will continue to report to Hopeck.

Under Weiss’ leadership, the iHeart New York sales team held the No. 1 revenue position for five consecutive years in the market from 2015 to 2019. During a decade-plus stretch with the company, he held various sales positions including VP of Sales, General Sales Manager, Local Sales Manager and Account Manager.

In a press release, Weiss said of his new role, “Listeners continue to crave companionship and advertisers continue to demand ROI, and broadcast radio delivers on both fronts. iHeartMedia continues to be one of the most innovative media players – offering the best content and programming for hundreds of millions of listeners – and I am looking forward to working with the New York team to build on our already strong connection with listeners, advertisers and in the community.”

Succeeding Weiss as Region Senior VP of Sales, DeLusant will be responsible for fielding and leading a team of sales managers, salespeople and client support specialists in order to forge long term relationships with client partners and their agencies. DeLusant will report to Weiss. DeLusant has played multiple roles during his time with the company, most recently serving as Director of Sales, where he oversaw sales and strategy for the New York cluster. Under DeLusant’s oversight, in February of 2019, “Power 105.1” WWPR became the first urban station to ever dominate the market in total revenue. DeLusant earlier served as Senior Account Executive for Emmis Communications and worked in promotions for Cumulus Media.

“It’s especially rewarding to find the best candidates for key leadership roles in your own building,” Hopeck said. “They’re extremely knowledgeable about our ever-evolving business and have built their personal brands by accelerating the growth of our iconic stations. I’m confident that they will continue to elevate our New York operation to even greater heights.”

Story

ESPN Expands ‘First Take’ To ESPN Radio.

Updated

A replacement has been named for the Stephen A. Smith national ESPN Radio Show with “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” set to debut Jan. 20 at 1pm. As the “First Take” name implies, the show will continue the conversation from ESPN TV’s marque 10am-noon debate show with Smith and Max Kellerman. Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show.

“Sports fans are passionate, they love spirited debate and they know First Take is the must-watch show every morning to learn what Stephen A. and Max think,” Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive VP and Executive Editor, Production said in a release. “Weaving the best of First Take into this show will set the table for freewheeling discussion. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.”

With Smith hosting, the 1-3pm daypart experienced a 21% year-over-year increase in November on broadcast radio with men 25-54, according to ESPN. The timeslot also saw an increase of five percent across all platforms in the target demo.

The continuity of regular appearances by Smith will help Fitz transition into the new daypart. The former member of country act The Band Perry has most recently been one-half of “Spain and Fitz” on ESPN Radio and is a regular contributor to “Golic and Wingo.”

“I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the First Take topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me,” Fitz added.

“First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” will simulcast on ESPNEWS. The final edition of “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on ESPN Radio will air Friday, Jan. 17. Under a reported $8 million contract, Smith will focus more on his TV work for the network, while still having a presence on ESPN Radio.

The new radio show will feature a replay of the top arguments from that morning’s “First Take,” introed by Fitz, the New York Post reports. “I always thought that ‘First Take’ would be a great radio show,” Williamson told the newspaper. “There was a time there where I just wanted to simulcast it.” Adding that the way the radio show will be programmed, ESPN is “not simulcasting the whole thing. You are actually enhancing it.”

The Post continues to say that “ESPN New York 98.7” WEPN-FM will air a newly-created local show with Bart Scott, who is said to be leaving Entercom crosstown sports WFAN and Alan Hahn, who currently hosts nights at WEPN-FM.

Advertisement

Story

ESPN Expands ‘First Take’ To ESPN Radio.

Updated

A replacement has been named for the Stephen A. Smith national ESPN Radio Show with “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” set to debut Jan. 20 at 1pm. As the “First Take” name implies, the show will continue the conversation from ESPN TV’s marque 10am-noon debate show with Smith and Max Kellerman. Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show.

“Sports fans are passionate, they love spirited debate and they know First Take is the must-watch show every morning to learn what Stephen A. and Max think,” Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive VP and Executive Editor, Production said in a release. “Weaving the best of First Take into this show will set the table for freewheeling discussion. Jason will be joined daily by a lineup of experts and sports fans who call in to further the debate and deliver their strong opinions.”

With Smith hosting, the 1-3pm daypart experienced a 21% year-over-year increase in November on broadcast radio with men 25-54, according to ESPN. The timeslot also saw an increase of five percent across all platforms in the target demo.

The continuity of regular appearances by Smith will help Fitz transition into the new daypart. The former member of country act The Band Perry has most recently been one-half of “Spain and Fitz” on ESPN Radio and is a regular contributor to “Golic and Wingo.”

“I’m excited to host a show aligned with one of the biggest franchises at ESPN that will let me continue to push the First Take topics forward and keep building my relationship with ESPN Radio listeners that means so much to me,” Fitz added.

“First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” will simulcast on ESPNEWS. The final edition of “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on ESPN Radio will air Friday, Jan. 17. Under a reported $8 million contract, Smith will focus more on his TV work for the network, while still having a presence on ESPN Radio.

The new radio show will feature a replay of the top arguments from that morning’s “First Take,” introed by Fitz, the New York Post reports. “I always thought that ‘First Take’ would be a great radio show,” Williamson told the newspaper. “There was a time there where I just wanted to simulcast it.” Adding that the way the radio show will be programmed, ESPN is “not simulcasting the whole thing. You are actually enhancing it.”

The Post continues to say that “ESPN New York 98.7” WEPN-FM will air a newly-created local show with Bart Scott, who is said to be leaving Entercom crosstown sports WFAN and Alan Hahn, who currently hosts nights at WEPN-FM.

Advertisement

Featured

Deal Digest

Deal Digest – December 5, 2019

Updated

SALES – STATIONS

Multistate Deal – Standard Media Group strikes a $64.2 million deal to buy 15 radio stations and 11 television stations from Bill Christian and Mike Reed’s Sound Communications. The stations include:

  • Lafayette, IN: country “Y-95.7” WYCM, CHR “Z-96.5” WAZY-FM, adult hits “95.3 Bob FM” WBPE, talk “1410 The Patriot” WSHY
  • Elmira, NY: “Kickin Country 105.3” WKPQ, AC “Magic 92.7-97.7” WENI-FM/WENY-FM, classic hits “Gem 98.7” WGMM, and news-talk WENY/WENI (1230/1450)
  • Olean, NY: country “KZ-102” WZKZ and its simulcast WOEN (1360), classic rock “98 Rocks” WQRS, hot AC “Mix 101.5” WMXO, and talk “1590 The Patriot” WGGO

The deal also includes low-power television stations in the Rochester, NY: Jackson, TN; Lafayette, IN; Elmira-Corning, NY; Hattiesburg-Laurel, MS; Jonesboro, AR; and Meridian, MS markets. In addition to the radio and television properties included in the deal Sound Communications is also selling the Little Rock-based NewsHub, a recent acquisition that provides news anchoring and production services to stations around the country. Standard Media is led by Deb McDermott, CEO and Stan Knott, COO. McDermott previously served as the COO of Media General and CEO of Young Broadcasting. Earlier this year Standard Media Group closed on its first acquisition, purchasing low-power TV stations WLNE-DT in Providence, RI and KLKN-DT in Lincoln, NE from Citadel Communications for $83 million. Broker: Kalil

Illinois – Good News Radio files a $1.1 million deal to buy seven full-power stations and seven FM translators from Cornerstone Community Radio. The stations include WLUJ, Springfield, IL (89.7); WLWJ, Petersburg, IL (88.1); WRLJ, White Hall, IL (88.3); WJWR, Bloomington, IL (90.3); WHPA, Macomb, IL (89.7); WLLM-FM, Carlinville, IL (90.1); and WLLM, Lincoln, IL (1370). The deal also includes seven FM translators including the Bloomington, IL-licensed W284BT at 104.7 FM; the Beardstown, IL-licensed at 93.5 FM; the Decatur, IL-licensed W261CQ at 100.1 FM; the Jacksonville, IL-licensed W228BB at 93.5 FM; the Springfield, IL-licensed W287CK at 105.3 FM; the Lincoln, IL-licensed W287BP at 105.3 FM; and the Lincoln, IL-licensed W261AF at 100.1 FM. All of the stations and translators have carried a religious format.

Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA – Luis Cortes’ Latin Broadcasting Network files an $850,000 deal to buy Spanish CHR “La Selecta 1050” WVXX from Hindlin Broadcasting. The deal also includes the Norfolk, VA-licensed translator W271DF at 103.3 FM. Broker: CMS Station Brokerage

Illinois – Joey O’Rouke’s JKO Media Group files a $700,000 deal to buy classic hits WMMC, Marshall, IL (105.9) from JDL Broadcasting. The deal includes a $100,000 cash payment and a ten-year promissory note for the balance. O’Rouke is the morning host on WMMC and he doesn’t own any other stations. WMMC falls in the Terre Haute, IN market.

Michigan – Chris Bernier’s Armada Media Partners strikes a $650,000 deal to buy four stations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from Randy Michaels’ Radioactive. The stations include CHR “94.9 The Bay” WUPZ, classic country “Maverick 96.7” WUPG, and classic hits “100.3 The Point” WUPT in Marquette, MI. Armada also buys classic hits “Eagle 107.3” WUPF in the nearby Escanaba, MI area. Armada Media has been operating the stations since April 2016. It already owns five stations in Escanaba including country WCMM (102.5), oldies “Kool 105.5” WGKL, CHR “Magic 97” WGLQ, “News Talk 600” WCHT, and classic country “The Maverick 1490” WTIQ. Once the transaction closes it will give Armada a total of 14 stations in Michigan’s U.P. region including another five stations in the Marinette/Menominee area. Seller Radioactive will still own nine stations in the Burlington-Plattsburgh, VT-NY; Salina-Manhattan, KS; and Watertown, NY markets.

Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC – Latino Broadcasting files to donate Spanish-language religious WYSR (1590) to Iglesia Cristo Reyna. The appraised value of the donation is pegged at $325,000 to $350,000.

Nashville – Eben-Ezer Broadcasting files a $275,000 deal to buy “News Talk 1590” WDBL and country/oldies WSGI (1100) from Lightning Broadcasting. Eben-Ezer Broadcasting doesn’t own any other stations.

Bangor, ME – Lee L’Heureux and Patrick Cerullo’s Mainestream Media files a $100,000 deal to buy classic country WCYR (1400) from Port Broadcasting. The deal also includes the Bangor, ME-licensed translator W275CQ at 102.9 FM. Mainestream Media will operate WCYR under a local marketing agreement until closing. It currently owns CHR “Hot 104.7” WHTP in the Portland market and “Fun Oldies 1280” WJYE in the Augusta-Waterville, ME market. Once the sale closes, Port Broadcasting will still own oldies WGUY (1230) and soft AC “The Wave” WBAN (1340) in the Bangor market.

Wyoming – Educational Media Foundation files a $98,000 deal to buy KXJW, North Rock Springs, WY (101.9) and KWXR, Reliance, WY (98.7) from Ted Tucker’s Cochise Broadcasting. EMF currently owns two FM translators in the area including the Rock Springs, WY-licensed K299AG at 107.7 FM and the Green River, WY-licensed K232CU at 94.3 FM. Both translators currently air its contemporary Christian “K-Love” network. Broker: Kalil

Illinois – Covenant Network files a $47,000 deal to buy the currently-silent WQNA, Springfield, IL (88.3) from Capital Area Vocational Center. The Center took the station dark in November telling the FCC that it no longer had the funding to continue operating WQNA. Covenant Network will be a religious format on the station. Broker: Brian Byrnes, Paramount Media Advisors

SALES –TRANSLATORS

Houston – Music Masala files a $1.15 million deal to buy the Fairbanks, TX-licensed translator K254BZ at 98.7 FM from Hispanic Family Christian Network. The translator is currently fed from the HD2 channel of KBXX through a lease agreement between Hispanic Family Christian Network ant KBXX owner Urban One. The FCC filing says once the sale is completed the translator will be fed by Cox Media Group’s classic rock “The Eagle” KGLK (107.5).

Buffalo, NY – Radio One Buffalo files a $50,000 deal to buy the Buffalo, NY-licensed translator W262CM at 100.3 FM from Edgewater Broadcasting. Radio One Buffalo already uses the signal to simulcast oldies WECK (1230).

Binghamton, NY– Equinox Broadcasting files a $30,000 deal to buy the Endicott, NY-licensed translator W225BC at 92.9 FM from Kevin Fitzgerald and George Hawras. Equinox plans to use the signal to relay the HD3 signal of Binghamton market classic hits “Cool 106.7” WCDW.

Indiana – Olivet Nazarene University files a $30,000 deal to buy two FM translators from World Radio Network. The deal includes the Elkhart, IN-licensed W208BF at 89.5 FM and the Goshen, IN-licensed W207BF at 89.3 FM. The stations will carry the HD2 format of contemporary Christian “Shine FM” WONU, Chicago (89.7).

CLOSINGS

New York – Emmis closes a deal to sell a majority stake in urban AC WBLS (107.5) and rhythmic CHR “Hot 97” WQHT to Standard General, the hedge fund controlled by Soohyung Kim. The filing shows that in exchange for putting $91.5 million into Emmis, Standard Media will receive a 76% equity stake in the two New York stations. Emmis will retain a 24% equity stake a company they’re calling Mediaco Holdings. The deal also calls for Mediaco Holdings to pay Emmis an additional $5 million under a five-year promissory note. The complex deal also has several other components. Under a $1.25 million per year management agreement that runs until Dec. 31, 2020, Emmis will continue to operate the two FMs and employees remain employees of Emmis although they will technically be leased to Mediaco. Emmis continues to own gospel WLIB (1190) and under a local marketing agreement it will continue to have the right to simulcast its signal on the HD2 channel of WQHT for free through Dec. 31, 2022. The deal also calls for Emmis to pay Mediaco Holdings for any expenses that it incurs related to the WLIB operations or the long-term lease of sports WEPN (98.7) to ESPN Radio.

Georgia – Dennis Jones has closed a $715,000 deal to buy three stations in the Vidalia, GA area from John Ladson’s Vidalia Communications. The stations include “Sweet Onion Country 101.7” WYUM, AC “98Q” WTCQ (97.7) and “News Talk 970” WVOP. The deal also includes the Vidalia, GA-licensed translator W287CR at 105.3 FM which simulcast WVOP. RadioJones already owns seven other stations in the region including “100.5 Country” WXRS-FM and classic hits “The Rocket” WXRS (1590) in Swainsboro, GA; classic hits “100.7 The Boomer” WBMZ and contemporary Christian WHCG (1360) in Metter, GA; WEDB in East Dublin, GA; and hot AC “Magic 98.1” WDBG in Dexter, GA. Broker: Jason James, Patrick Communications

Las Vegas – Educational Media Foundation closes a $597,000 deal to buy KEKL (88.5) and KVKL (91.1) from Carl Auel. EMF had been operating the two FMs under a local marketing agreement and they air its contemporary Christian “K-Love” network. EMF already owns contemporary Christian “Air1” affiliate KAER (89.3) in Las Vegas. Auel still owns religious KKVV (1060) in the market. Broker: Rob Branch

South Dakota – Loren and Pace Maier’s 4 Paws Broadcasting closes a $405,000 deal to buy oldies “Solid Gold 98” KDSJ, Deadwood, SD from Goldrush Broadcasting. This is the first station for 4 Paws Broadcasting.

Evansville, IN – Way FM Media Group closes a $150,000 deal to buy adult alternative WUEV (91.5) from the University of Evansville. WUEV first signed-on as WEVC in 1950 when the university was known as Evansville College. The school began exploring the sale of WUEV in May 2018. The university will keep the studio facilities for its communication and journalism programs as part of the deal. It says the decision to sell WUEV will save $1 million over the next decade.

Albany, GA – Joe Morgan’s Pretoria Fields Collective Media closes a $90,000 deal to buy country “Nash Icon 102.1” WNUQ from Cumulus Media’s Mainstay Station Trust. Pretoria Fields Collective Media doesn’t own any other stations. It is a sister company to Albany, GA-based Pretoria Fields Collective, a family-owned farm brewery. WNUQ has been in the Elliot Evers-run trust since Nov. 2017 as part of Cumulus Media’s bankruptcy reorganization Cumulus still owns five stations in the Albany, GA market.

Augusta, GA – Michael Sbuttoni files to reclaim the silent WEZO (123) from Norma Lewis’ 21st Century Broadcasting. The FCC filing says no cash will change hands but Sbuttoni will release 21st Century from what’s still owed under a $350,000 promissory note signed when he sold the station three years ago. It’s the fourth time that Sbuttoni—an orthodontist in Albany, NY— has owned WEZO. His Eastern Broadcasting Group previously owned the station from 2003 to 2007, from 2009 to 2010, and from 2011 to 2016 with previous owners also defaulting on promissory notes.

Portland, OR – Educational Media Foundation closes a $90,000 deal to buy contemporary Christian “Air1” affiliate KWBX (90.3) from Corban College. EMF already owns four stations in the Portland market including “Air1” affiliates KZRI (88.7), contemporary Christian “K-Love” affiliates KLVP (97.9) and KLVU (107.1), and Spanish religious “Radio Nueva Vida” affiliate KXPC (90.3).

Portland, OR – ProMedia Partners closes an $8,000 deal to buy “Oldies 1260” KLYC from Celebrate Life Media. The deal also includes the McMinnville, OR-licensed translator K256DF at 99.1 FM.

Utah – David Barton’s Country Gold Broadcasting closes a $100 deal to buy adult hits “Jack FM 92.5” KCUA, Maeser, UT (92.5) from Evans Broadcasting. Country Gold Broadcasting already owns classic country KNEU, Roosevelt, UT (1250). Evans Broadcasting still owns AC “The Fox 98.5” KIFX, Naples, UT.

People Moves

Chris “Hoss” Neupert

PD Chris “Hoss” Neupert exits Hubbard sports “101 ESPN” WXOS St. Louis. Neupert has been with the station since 2009, joining when it was owned by Bonneville and serving as APD and Executive Producer of the St. Louis Ram’ radio network before rising to his current role in 2013, Barrett Sports Media reports. Read more

Kaylan Moody

Kaylan Moody, MD/morning host at MARC Radio Group modern rock “100.5 The Buzz” WHHZ Gainesville, is exiting the station Dec. 20 to pursue a record industry career in Nashville. Read more

Jason Fulmino

iHeartMedia Kentucky-Indiana names Jason Fulmino Regional Vice President of Automotive Sales. Fulmino comes to the cluster from iHeartMedia Tampa, where he served as General Sales Manager. Read more

Job Listings

Asset-image

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

Chief Radio Engineer - Wisconsin

Good Karma Broadcasting is seeking a Chief Radio Engineer with experience in broadcast media. View details

Market Manager - Fort Wayne Indiana

Federated Media seeks a Market Manager, Fort Wayne, IN. View details

Chief Engineer - Detroit

Crawford Broadcasting Company has an immediate opening for a chief engineer for its Detroit radio cluster, which consists of one FM, three AM and two FM translator stations. 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