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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Volume 2   |   Issue 54
 
Light at the end of the tunnel
Patrick Communications
Light in the Tunnel Second quarter’s looking better, say some nervous managers.
Several group heads have been reporting flat first quarters, but improved pacings for April and May. One market manager in the northwest says “March is about flat with the prior year, but April and May are pacing at double-digit growth.” He adds a prayerful “I just hope it holds.” And that’s the general narrative of the last few months – political helped keep fourth quarter relatively even (or up) compared to the previous year. While first quarter of this year was very bumpy – and second quarter looks and feels more promising. As Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey told Monday’s conference call, “we are encouraged by the pacing we are seeing in Q2 on the station side, with all three months pacing over 5%” ahead of last year. But Lew also mentioned a troubling issue that lingers from last year –

“A residual hangover on the talk side,” for revenue.
As cheerful as Lew Dickey is about his CBS Sports Radio Network partnership, he’s the other way about what the Harry Potter books might call “He Who Must Not Be Named” – Rush Limbaugh. Rush is Clear Channel’s property, through Premiere Networks, but his year-ago comments about Sandra Fluke are still causing problems, says station owner and syndicator Lew Dickey. He tells this week’s call “Clearly, it's been well documented that the talk side has been challenged. Most of that due to some of the issues that happened a year ago and so there has been residual hangover on the talk side in terms of advertisers sitting out and not placing there.” What started with Media Matters focusing on Rush widened out to talk radio in general. Dickey, owner of such big talk stations and Rush affiliates as WABC, New York (770) and WLS, Chicago (890) says “Clearly that’s had an impact not only on our network business [at Cumulus Media Networks], but it's had an impact on some of the news talk stations that we own.”

 
Presslaff
 

Bad weather = good ratings for all-newsers (even 25-54).
Almost all the big CBS news stations rank in the top 5 with adults 25-54 in these February PPMs just being released by Arbitron. Those big-tent stations often perform better 35-64 than 25-54, but the lousy weather helped along the east coast and in Midwestern markets like Chicago and Detroit. While San Francisco’s all-news KCBS (and its FM partner) didn’t need Mother Nature to stay top five. That’s an important benchmark, sales-wise. You may not be “on the buy” if you’re out of the top five. Market-by-market breakouts coming up in today’s NOW newsletter, but you’ll be reading about Boston’s WBZ (now tied for second place, 6+) and Detroit’s WWJ (a clear #1 this time, with a 9.0-share). Are you getting the new afternoon email with the latest Arbitron PPMs? If you didn’t get Washington DC, Boston, Miami, etc. yesterday just after 5pm Eastern time, sign up now. Here in today’s issue, scroll down to “Email options.” Click on “Update Subscriptions” and check “Would you like to receive ratings updates?” Day 3 PPMs are due today at 5pm Eastern.

Paul CaineDial Global imports Paul Caine from Time Inc. as its new CEO.
DG Chairman Neal Schore, representing the ownership group that includes Oaktree Capital and The Gores Group, says “Paul has the vision and experience to build audio assets into high engagement opportunities." Of course Dial Global has rights to the Grammys, the Super Bowl, “March Madness” and more. Caine has strengths in digital media (he’s “led the development of digital formats for some of the world’s most storied media brands” at Time Inc.). Also in multi-platform selling, working with clients like Procter & Gamble, CBS and Toyota. You probably know what happened yesterday to make room for Caine – Dial Global announced that current CEO Spencer Brown and current President Ken Williams are leaving those positions. That’s just one month after the re-org that had David Landau, the Third Musketeer of this longtime trio of friends, leaving as co-COO. Now Spencer says "the company needs a chief executive with a different skill set.” It was inevitable that some news organization would use the “Caine Mutiny” line, and it’s the New York Post. It suggests that Time Inc. Chief Revenue Officer Caine realized he probably wouldn’t get a shot at the CEO job that’s about to open up. The Post says Caine “has apparently been in negotiations to exit even before Time Inc. entered talks” to merge with Meredith – a deal that spun apart. Caine is 48 and “came up through the ranks at People, the company’s most profitable magazine.”

DG wants to leverage its presence at live sports and concert events.
And to “propel the growth of audio as the essential medium for the mobile experience,” says new CEO Paul Caine. The talk about digital and audio – and not radio, the company’s traditional base – reminds more than one NOW reader of when Westwood One, a DG predecessor, hired former Rodale Publishing executive Tom Beusse as its chief executive. That lasted less than a year and cost Westwood a large payout. The Gores Group parachuted in Rod Sherwood to guide the company. In this case, both Spencer Brown and Ken Williams will be around to work with Caine on the transition – and besides, they continue as stockholders.

Bob Struble“Can you handle the truth” about HD? Bob Struble offers a different set of facts from the Pew study.
The iBiquity CEO read yesterday’s Pew Center headline quote – “HD did worse than ever” – and has this response -

“We have had a net gain in stations broadcasting with HD Radio Technology every year since 2002, when stations first began HD Radio operations. Growth of HD2/HD3 stations is even stronger, and broadcasters are upping their commitment with new HD Radio features such as Artist Experience, the ability to broadcast images like album art, which has been added to over 400 stations.

“For the record, on December 31, 2011 we had 2,034 stations on-air using HD Radio Technology. A year later, that number was 2,048.” [The Pew study cited a drop from 2,103 to 2,048.] More broadly, HD Radio Technology and our business have never been stronger. This is best exemplified by receiver sales. In 2010, our partners sold 1.8 million HD Radio receivers. In 2011 that number was 2.2 million. Last year, in 2012, it was 3.9 million. That’s a 50% annual growth rate, and we forecast similar growth for this year and the next several years. And as you have reported, we are working with every automaker to include the technology in their cars.” Then Struble, now warmed-up, gets to something he’s been preaching for years -

“AM/FM is the last analog medium, which presents long-term challenges to broadcasters. HD Radio Technology, by improving quality, increasing programming content and adding features and services, allows broadcasters to compete more effectively with the many other digital entertainment and information sources. Our business results confirm the importance of broadcast radio’s digital upgrade.” What are you thinking about HD Radio? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.

 
Sound Targeting
 

What if AM went all-digital, and turned off analog?
Testing of that idea was conducted last November and December in Charlotte, using CBS Radio’s WBCN (1660). Radio World’s Leslie Stimson says “It’s been some ten years since there was any testing of the all-digital AM IBOC [in-band, on-channel] system,” and the new idea – dropping the so-called “hybrid” method of broadcasting both analog and digital signals – would need exhaustive testing. NAB Labs, CBS Radio and iBiquity Digital were involved in the Charlotte experiment, though engineers from other companies were also observers. A Monday, April 8 engineering-track session at the NAB Show in Las Vegas will hear a paper from the NAB’s David Layer about the tests, and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai may have his own ideas about the future of AM – also at the Show.

Playboy RadioPlayboy Radio disappears from satellite radio.
That’s the observation from the SiriusXM Board of RadioDiscussions.com – which recalls that in January, the satcaster announced the arrival of a new Comedy Central Channel this Spring. But the company didn’t say which channel it would occupy. You can call Hugh Hefner “venerable,” and the same adjective applies to his satellite radio channel, which was first heard on the XM service in September 2002. Three years later, XM dropped Playboy, but Sirius – which by then had a couple of Howard Stern channels – began offering Playboy Radio as part of its free-service tier. Since May 2011, it’s been available to subscribers of both the XM and Sirius lineups – until now. It’s not that SiriusXM is turning prim and proper. Next door to Channel 102, the former Playboy Radio, there’s a 24-hour channel named “Radio Sex” – so perhaps this change is about cutting costs, with management figuring they didn’t need a programming deal with Playboy. On PlayboyRadio.com, there’s a “what’s next?” splash page.

Another spat over an afternoon drive sports talker, this time in Atlanta.
We’ve seen these contests of will in Nashville (Cumulus trying to hold onto George Plaster) and Birmingham (Cumulus battling Cox for the services of Paul Finebaum). Now the Tampa situation involves Clear Channel and CBS, says Eric Deggans at TampaBay.com. He says “longtime WDAE (620) sports talk host Steve Duemig didn’t appear for his 3pm show Monday and may not show up for a while, sidelined over contract negotiations.” Duemig says his contract lets him talk with other companies in the 60-day window before his deal expires in May. But he tells Deggans that Clear Channel’s pressuring him to renew even before the window opens – presumably to keep him away from CBS Radio’s “98.7 The Fan” WHFS-FM. His stuff’s been pulled from the website at “Sports Animal” WDAE, and we appear to have the classic waiting game. Duemig says “I’m still under contract, ready, willing and able to work.” He’s been part of WDAE since it flipped to sports in the mid-1990s.

SiriusXM owner Liberty Media spends $2.6 billion in cable.
Liberty’s John Malone never talks about his strategy – he just writes checks when he’s ready. This time, he’s buying a 27.3% stake in Charter Communications, the large cable operator. Cable is a familiar world to Malone. There are plenty of names in this deal you’ll recognize, both individual and corporate. Reuters says Liberty is buying its stake from Apollo Management, Oaktree Capital (which backs Dial Global and Townsquare Media, among many other companies), and Crestview Partners. Crestview has a piece of Cumulus. Also, Crestview’s management team includes Jeff Marcus, who once ran AMFM Inc. before it became folded into Clear Channel. Marcus now sits on the board of Cumulus.

 
FirstFlash
 

An FCC visit to Cumulus-Atlanta finds an EAS problem.
The equipment belonging to the co-located Cumulus and Dickey Broadcasting stations was working fine – it’s just that you’re supposed to monitor two Emergency Alert System sources, and these stations were tuned in to just one. That’s a warning, as all these Notices of Violations are, to other operators. The NOVs follow a February 21 visit to 780 Johnson Ferry Road, home to Cumulus-owned rock WNNX, College Park (100.5) and CHR WWWQ, Atlanta (100.5). It’s also where the Dickey family’s own trio of all-sports stations is located. Those are WCNN, North Atlanta (680), WFOM, Marietta (1230) and WIFN, Atlanta (1340). As usual with Notices of Violation, the licensees have 20 days to respond. Read the note to Cumulus (as “Susquehanna”) here.

Day 2 February PPMs from Arbitron –
Washington, DC – A record-high share for WAMU raises this question - Could a non-commercial station crash the 10-share barrier in PPM, with age 6+ average quarter hour share? American University’s red-hot news/talk WAMU has grown 7.8-9.2-9.4 since the Holiday book. The 9.4 is not only a record for WAMU, but it’s the loftiest topline number for any public radio station in any PPM market. But over at Hubbard’s commercial-all-news WTOP (103.5 plus its two simulcast FMs), programmer Jim Farley tells his staff to focus on the money-demo 25-54 adult numbers – they’re #1 in that demo for the full week and for both drive times. ‘TOP is also #1 in drivetimes and nights with the broad 6+ count. Farley’s been known to tweak WAMU, running liners welcoming their listeners to his station during pledge weeks. Clear Channel’s AC WASH continues its post-Christmas descent, going 10.8-6.4-5.6. Lew Dickey ought to be smiling about this new number for his talk WMAL-AM/FM – up 2.4-3.3-4.3. WMAL now ranks #7. There’s also something positive for Dan Mason and Scott Herman at CBS – WNEW, their all-news challenger to WTOP, picks up grounds, 0.9-1.3-1.5. But for the first time, CBS sister urban WPGC (3.0-3.0-2.8) falls below a 3-share.

Boston – CBS brass should be beaming about the performance of news/talk WBZ, too – seriously crowding Clear Channel CHR “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM for the 6+ lead. Kiss goes 7.6-7.3-7.7. ‘BZ rises 5.0-5.7-7.2 – and yes, the record New England storm weather no doubt helped listeners find “1030” on their AM dial. The 7.2 is WBZ’s best topline number since January 2011. It’s tied for second with Greater Media’s AC “Magic” WMJX (11.8-7.9-7.2). Nice trend for Greater Media’s “Country 102.5” WKLB-FM, in fourth place. It improves 5.3-5.9-6.3. Also gaining – CBS Radio’s classic rock WZLX (5.4-5.8-6.1) and Boston University’s non-com news/talk WBUR-FM (3.3-4.4-4.6). The all-sports combatants both tail off, with the CBS “Sports Hub” WBZ-FM off 4.6-5.4-4.0, versus Entercom’s WEEI-FM, 2.7-3.5-2.9. How about Greater Media's recently-converted talk WTKK, now doing rhythmic AC as "Hot 96.9?" It's improved 1.8-1.8-2.4. And some last laughs for “Matty’s Comedy” WXKS, which goes 0.3-0.3-0.4, before being replaced in late February by more serious stuff - a Bloomberg-led biz-talk format. A reminder here – these are all “subscriber only” numbers from Arbitron, so we see only the topline shares of stations that bought the book.

Miami – Immediate growth for Clear Channel’s WMIA (2.8-3.1-4.1), which adjusted from rhythmic AC to hot AC in December. Cox owns the three stations at the top - urban AC “Hot 105” WHQT (9.3-9.2-9.6), urban WEDR (6.9-6.8-6.3), and soft oldies “Easy 93.1” WFEZ (6.0-5.4-5.7). The leading Spanish station in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale is #4-ranked “Amor,” Univision’s Spanish contemporary WAMR (6.2-5.6-5.3).

WWJDetroit – More success for all-news, with CBS Radio’s WWJ surging 7.0-8.3-9.0 – perhaps fueled by the lurid trial of a former mayor, plus the savage Winter storms. The 9.0 is the best-ever for “J” in PPM. Second place belongs to another CBS station with a PPM-best - classic hits WOMC (5.1-6.7-7.0). Third place and on a very nice run is Clear Channel’s urban AC “Mix” WMXD, 4.4-5.4-6.1, also setting a PPM high for itself. Country stays hot on CBS-owned WYCD (5.9-6.3-6.1), now in fourth place. CBS all-sports “Ticket” WXYT-FM is probably counting the minutes until the first pitch of the Tigers opening day. In past baseball seasons it has ruled the market, but now hangs in the low-4s (4.2-4.3-4.3).

Seattle – It’s a record-high PPM share for Sandusky’s #2-ranked CHR “Movin’” KQMV, advancing 4.2-4.9-5.5. Its sibling, soft AC “Warm” KRWM (14.2-5.8-5.7) won’t surrender first place, even without the all-Christmas playlist. Crista Ministries’ commercial contemporary Christian KCMS also harbors fond memories of Christmas past, down 6.3-5.0-4.4. Nice streak for Clear Channel’s classic hits KJR-FM, 2.8-4.0-4.3. In the sports world, Bonneville’s KIRO travels 3.1-3.3-2.1, CC’s KJR goes 1.8-1.9-1.4 – and new CBS Sports Net affiliate KFNQ, the former lib-talk KPTK, doesn’t show, this time.

KESZPhoenix – Things get very compressed after #1 KESZ, the Clear Channel soft AC (15.9-6.9-6.4). You’ve got a two-way tie at 4.7 (Clear Channel’s hot AC “Mix” KMXP and CBS Radio’s KOOL) and then somebody at a 4.6 (Clear Channel’s talk KFYI). Consistent growth at Hubbard’s news/talk KTAR-FM (3.5-3.9-4.3). In the country matchup, it's Clear Channel's seventh-ranked KNIX (3.7-4.4-4.2) versus CBS Radio's 12th-ranked KMLE (3.4-3.3-3.3).

Minneapolis – Non-commercial KTIS-FM, Northwestern College’s contemporary Christian station, holds onto second place (7.5-7.4-8.0). That’s its best PPM stat ever. It’s behind Clear Channel CHR KDWB (8.2-8.4-8.5). In the country wars between Clear Channel and CBS, it’s CC’s “K102” KEEY at #6 (4.9-5.6-6.3) and CBS Radio’s “Buz’n” KMNB (3.8-4.8-4.9) at #9.

San Diego – Country’s getting stronger and stronger in San Diego, with Lincoln Financial Media’s KSON/KSOQ growing 6.0-7.2-7.8 – its best PPM topline to date. There’s a tie for second place between Clear Channel CHR KHTS (5.1-5.2-5.2) and San Diego State University’s public radio news/talk KPBS (4.2-5.4-5.2).

Tampa – “US 103.5,” Clear Channel’s country WFUS, elbows into second place with its best-ever PPM share and rank. It’s up 5.0-5.8-6.5. CBS country rival WQYK goes 4.8-5.2-4.6. #1, as usual, is Cox-owned soft oldies “Dove” WDUV, 8.7-10.1-9.3.

KTCLDenver – At least in the numbers we can see, CC's "Channel 93.3" KTCL looks to be #1 – a rare feat for an alt-rock station. But as this NOW newsletter told you last month, the market’s true #1 at that time was K-Love’s contemporary Christian non-com KLDV, and it’s not a subscriber to the PPMs. CC’s adult alternative KBCO has a nice trend building, up 4.4-5.0-5.2. While Denverites still like to laugh, even after falling short with Peyton Manning and the Broncos – Lincoln Financial Media’s “Comedy 103.1,” the HD Radio-fed translator that’s officially listed as KYGO HD-2, grows 1.9-2.4-2.6.

“The history of radio in Ithaca” is the subject of a planned new book from Arcadia Publishing.
Rick Sommers and Peter King are gathering material, for a picture-filled tome about radio stations and people who’ve come through Ithaca the town, Ithaca the college, or Cornell. Rick is the Broadcast Member Liaison at the New York City Local of SAG-AFTRA, and his brother Peter King is a familiar voice at CBS News. They both studied at Ithaca College and got their first professional grounding at WTKO (1470). If you’ve got some pieces of Ithaca-related history (they call them “ephemera”), like photographs, Rick and Peter would love to hear from you. Email ithacaradioproject@gmail.com.

 
Career Clinic
 
Worth Reading

“I’m sick and tired of radio being sick and tired,” says researcher Mark Ramsey. When Mark’s got a hunch about where things are going, he does a survey, and this one wasn’t pleasant. For the question “Radio brands create unique and compelling content,” 51% of those in a 1,000-person poll said “disagree.” Mark says “radio needs to embrace fresh and exciting consumer-facing ideas” to stay relevant, and that’s why he’s announcing a “Radio Ideas Festival” named “Hivio.” That stands for “a hive of smart people in and around radio.” The one-day in-person event (at “a secret location in San Diego”) is free, though it’s invitation-only, for 25 to 50 people. More about “Hivio” here.

“It’s a long road” to pulling Pandora’s revenues close to its claimed 8.5% share of listening, says new CFO Mike Herring. Bloomberg covers his appearance at a Roth Capital Partners event in California, where Herring says they believe their ability to target listeners and offer their clients interactivity should help them boost advertising rates. Speaking of rates, there’s the problem of high music royalty rates, and Herring says that long-term, they believe they can trim those costs from about 60% of revenue now to around 40%.

 
Transitions

Rickey SmileyRickey Smiley can exhale – his TV One cable show has been picked up for a second season, says AJC.com. The site’s Rodney Ho says “the first season of ten episodes opened to the biggest ratings in TV One’s history,” but “the ratings fell quickly.” TV One, a division of Rickey’s morning show employer (Radio One) decides there’s enough upside to go for Season 2. After all, there’s his radio audience of six million people and his history as a standup comic “with great appeal to the TV One target demo of black women 25-54,” says the AJC. Look for more characters from Rickey’s established standup routine, like “Bernice Jenkins,” in season two of the TV show.

Scott Roddy travels west from Indianapolis, where he’s programmed variety hits “My 107.9” WNTR and what’s now “CBS Sports 1430” WXNT, both for Entercom. Before that, Scott spent ten years with Susquehanna, at the cluster that was sold to Cumulus. He’s accepted his new job with Saga, out in Bellingham, Washington. There, he’ll work with veteran VP/GM Michael O’Shea as the PD of “Today’s Soft Rock” KAFE (104.1). That job came open when Ken Richards left last year to move to Spokane.

Dick Chapin turns 90 today, and this week also marks his 60th anniversary in the radio business. His friend Dean Sorenson says "Dick ran the Stuart family's group of Midwestern stations for decades. There, he developed some of the people who have left big marks on the radio landscape, like former RAB President Gary Fries." Chapin was the first radio executive to serve as both Joint Board Chairman of the NAB and Chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau. After running radio stations, he became a media broker in the early 1980s. Sorenson says, "If I know Dick Chapin, he'll celebrate his 90th birthday at his office, where he still works six days a week. And he goes to the radio stations in nearby Fremont, Nebraska to share his ideas, wisdom and hopes for bigger and better local radio service." Reach Chapin at DChapin@Inetnebr.com.

Mitch ScottMitch Scott, second generation station owner and president of Great Scott Broadcasting, has died at 56, of leukemia. Delmarva Now quotes his Ocean City general manager Jim McHugh saying “Mitch was a bigger-than-life kind of guy” who was a quiet philanthropist in the community and a friend to his employees. Great Scott Broadcasting, founded by Herb Scott and carried on by his wife Faye and sons Mitch and Todd, began in Delaware in the 1960s and grew to include stations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Its current holdings include Salisbury-Ocean City’s rhythmic “OC104” WOCQ, Berlin. Mitch died Sunday, and there will be a celebration of his life (no doubt featuring plenty of funny stories) Sunday in Ocean City.

 
You Can't Make This Up

"Good Advertising, Great Scott Broadcasting" - Jay Meyers, now the CEO of Adelante Media and Broadcast Management & Technology, has this story about Herb Scott, the father of Mitch Scott - "The Great Scott flagship was WPAZ in Pottstown, which was legendary for the way they answered the phone: 'Good Advertising, WPAZ.' In fact, all Scott stations, while Herb was alive certainly, answered the phone that way. In 1982 I was at Greater Media's WCTC in New Brunswick and I noticed in Broadcasting Magazine that the beautiful music station in Baltimore had just changed call letters to WRLX-FM. Having spent time in upstate New York, I knew that those were the long time call letters of Scott's beautiful music FM in Auburn, just outside of Syracuse. So I called WPAZ and asked for Herb. He took the call and I said, 'I'm curious. I saw that a station in Baltimore picked up WRLX, which is probably the best set of call letters in the country for the format. I can't understand why you would give them up.' Herb says, 'You're a young guy in the business, right? Let me give you an important lesson. Everything in life has its price. Mine was $50,000.'" Does that remind you of your own memorable radio “lesson”? Email it to Tom@RTK-Media.com.

“My day doesn’t start without reading ‘Tom Taylor NOW’ – welcome back.” That’s Alex Langer of Langer Broadcasting Group, and thanks for the sentiments, Alex. If you like what you’re seeing first thing every morning, tell a friend or co-worker – that’s how we keep growing. If you’re reading this as a pass-along, feel free to sign up for your own subscription, See you tomorrow with more news and stories about radio. Tom

 
Director of Sales – Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Oasis Radio Group in Ft. Wayne, IN is seeking a Director of Sales to lead its three station radio cluster. This highly lucrative position is for those with the talent to take the helm and lead this growing sales operation in a competitive marketplace. If you are ready for a bigger market, new challenges, and are ready to work hard, this could be the career for you. Applicants must have recent, relevant media sales experience and have a proven performance record in sales or sales management. Send your resume and salary requirements immediately to myfuture@oasisradiogroup.com or fax to 260.482.8655. Attention Susan Mullen.

Oasis Radio Group

 

RTK Media

 
 
 
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