Thursday, April 25, 2019

Comcast Reports Revenue Miss

Comcast reported earnings for its first quarter of 2019 before the markets opened on Thursday. The stock dipped slightly on the news then was flat during pre-market trading, according to CNBC.

Here are the numbers Comcast reported:
  • Earnings per share: 76 cents, adjusted vs. 68 cents expected, per Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $26.859 billion vs. $27.203 billion expected, per Refinitiv survey
  • High-speed internet customers: 375,000 vs. 353,000 net adds expected, per FactSet consensus estimate
Comcast said its revenue miss was due in part to the difficulty in comparing this quarter with the first quarter of 2018 based on the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl, which occurred in that period last year. Comcast had beaten estimates on the top and bottom lines for the last two straight quarters and seen its stock rise 25% over the past 12 months.

As analysts continue to anticipate a decline in Comcast’s video segment, the company has laid out plans to branch out further into streaming. This quarter Comcast lost 121,000 video customers compared to 96,000 during the same period last year.

Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, announced earlier this year that it will debut its free, ad-supported streaming service in the first quarter of 2020. The service will be available to any traditional pay-TV subscriber by logging in through a cable or satellite provider. Everyone else can sign up for about $12 per month.

Comcast reported revenue of $8.3 billion for NBCUniversal, a 12.5% decrease compared to the previous year, which had included $1.6 billion in incremental revenue based on the Olympics and Super Bowl.

Comcast’s report included performance for British broadcaster Sky for the second time following its acquisition last year. Comcast reported pro forma Q1 revenue for Sky of $4.8 billion, driven mainly by higher content revenue. Sky added 112,000 customer relationships for the quarter, which Comcast said reflected growth in all of its markets.

Here’s how Comcast’s other divisions did for the first quarter:
  • Cable communications accounted for $14.3 billion in total revenue.
  • Cable networks, excluding the Olympics, accounted for $2.9 billion in total revenue.
  • Broadcast television, excluding the Olympics and Super Bowl, accounted for $2.5 billion in total revenue.
  • Filmed entertainment brought in $1.8 billion in total revenue.
  • Theme Parks brought in $1.3 billion in revenue.

WTOP Again Tops Best Radio Billing List


BIA Kelsey has released its Top Ten list of the Top billing radio stations in the U-S.

And there's a familiar station topping the list: Hubbard's Radio's All-News WTOP in Washington DC.

BIA reports that in 2018 WTOP’s revenue jumped to $69 million. That’s up from $67.8 million in 2017. In the past four years, as the number one billing radio station, WTOP revenue totals $270 million.



Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services stated, “Although local radio stations are still important players in their markets and are managing to maintain their position in the top five advertising platforms, we do expect the OTA advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to decrease this year by 1-2 percent and through the next few years.”

He forecasts that combined radio revenues will remain relatively flat for at least the next five years, while digital platforms will hit $1 billion by 2020.

Phoenix Radio: Dee Garcia Joins KOOL-FM Morning Show

Dee Garcia
Entercom welcomes Dee Garcia as co-host of the morning show on Classic Hits KOOL 94.5 FM in Phoenix. Dee joins Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou on “The Niko Show,” airing weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. MT.

“Dee is a very talented market veteran and we are happy to have her join the KOOL family,” said Dave Pugh, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Phoenix. “Her and Niko will combine to form a fresh show as their listeners get ready for their day ahead.”

“I am honored to join Niko on ‘The Niko Show’ on KOOL,” said Garcia. “Niko and Abe [Producer, 94.5 KOOL FM] are positive, fun and hardworking; they are exactly the kind of people that you want to share your mornings with. I’d like to give a special thanks to Dave Pugh and Tim Richards [Program Director, 94.5 KOOL FM] for believing in me. I’m looking forward to bringing a daily dose of energy and fun to The Valley.” 

Prior to joining the station, Garcia served as an on-air personality for KMVA in Phoenix. She has held on-air roles for KKFR in Phoenix, WWKX in Providence, RI, KWYD in Boise, ID and KBFM in McAllen, TX. Garcia also serves as voice over talent for The Mix Group and has been heard on various radio stations throughout the country, including sister station Q100.5 (KXQQ-FM) in Las Vegas.

Listeners can tune in to 94.5 KOOL FM (KOOL-FM) in Phoenix on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Ft. Myers Radio: Beasley Makes Programming Changes

Matt Mangas
Beasley Media Group has announced the following programming changes at the company’s Ft/ Myers radio cluster:

WJPT 106.3 FM Program Director and Morning Personality Matt Mangas will walk down the hall to become the new Program Director and Midday Personality at WRXK 96.1 FM. Mangas originally joined WJPT in December of 2017.

Chris Randolph has been named as the new Program Director and Morning Show Personality at WJPT-FM. He most recently served as the Night host at WAKY in Louisville, KY.

Both individuals will officially begin their new positions on May 6th, 2019.

Chris Randolph
“Both Matt and Chris are proven and experienced programmers,” said Beasley Media Group Executive Vice President of Programming Justin Chase. “These two great radio brands are in the hands of winners!”

“I have worked closely with Matt Mangas for years and have witnessed his passion and programming knowledge first hand,” said Operations Manager Adam Star. “He made it an easy decision to move him cross the hallway from WJPT to lead WRXK as the new Program Director.”

Star added, “Trying to find a replacement for Mangas on WJPT was a challenge until we met Chris Randolph. Randolph’s velvet voice and extensive Major market experience was a perfect fit to win on WJPT as the new Program Director & Morning man.”

Entercom, Nielsen Ink Long-Term Measurement Deal

Entercom and Nielsen have announced a multi-year strategic agreement for a comprehensive suite of measurement tools aimed at enhancing Entercom’s data-driven capabilities for advertisers.

As part of the agreement, Entercom will enhance its portfolio of Nielsen tools with new products including Nielsen Media Impact, RHIZA, Nielsen Marketing Cloud and the Tally Engine API. The agreement also includes other Nielsen products, such as the Nielsen Radio Market Report, Tapscan, and the nationwide and national regional database, as well as Arbitrends, Weeklies, PD Advantage Web, Gracenote and The Analysis Tool, in select markets across Entercom’s robust portfolio of 235 radio stations.

Nielsen Media Impact is the industry-leading cross-platform media planning solution. In 2018, Nielsen Media Impact introduced the addition of national AM/FM radio in Portable People Meter radio markets, allowing media buyers to understand the value of radio and the incremental reach achieved by including radio in the media mix.

“We are excited about the possibilities that this portfolio of measurement tools brings to our business,” said Weezie Kramer, Chief Operating Officer, Entercom. “This agreement is part of our strategy to demonstrate the impact of including radio in an advertiser’s media mix to deliver optimal campaign reach and frequency.”

“As an industry leader, Entercom is on the vanguard of all things audio,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio. “Nielsen is pleased to continue our long standing collaborative relationship with Entercom. Despite the fragmentation that exists across the broader media ecosystem, radio remains remarkably resilient with American consumers. Effective measurement and documentation of this consumer dynamic is central to Nielsen’s core mission. Entercom is a trusted and indispensable partner as we evolve the Nielsen Audio suite of services to better understand and demonstrate audio’s unique relationship with listeners and its exceptional value proposition for advertisers large and small.”

Rush Limbaugh Faithful To Terrestrial Radio


Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh Wednesday told listeners why his show is not available on SiriusXM.

According to Limbaugh, it's all about loyalty...to traditional radio.

During his Wednesday broadcast, Rush share that he is often asked, “Rush, why aren’t you on satellite?”

Accord to El Rushbo, there’s one word that answers this, but it requires some explanation.

"The word is “loyalty,” says Limbaugh.

"When this program started, there was no satellite radio. Not commercially broadcast. There were satellite uplinks; programming was delivered this way, but not to the consumer. Without radio stations, this program would never have happened. Without the loyalty of radio stations, this program would never have happened. We’re on 600-plus of some of the greatest radio stations in the country, and I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the immense success that we’ve all enjoyed without them.

"I have never thought, I’ve never even considered ditching them. Even keeping the program on radio and going to satellite, that would not be fair to the affiliates who have been with me from the get-go.

"So that’s why. Some of you say, “Well, if it was on satellite, I could get you when I’m driving around parts of the country that there aren’t any radio signals.” I understand that. That’s why there’s the RushLimbaugh.com app now. You may not be able to get an AM radio signal some places, but you can get cellular."

Gracies Awarded To 5 Cumulus, Westwood One Personalities

L-R: Jayde Donovan, Elaina Smith,Jillian Barberie, Roula Christie, Tara Granahan (Jockline Daily composite)
  • Westwood One Nationally Syndicated Host Jayde Donovan for Host/Personality, Weekend Program-National;
  • Westwood One Nationally Syndicated Host Elaina Smith for Podcast Host, Entertainment;
  • Jillian Barberie, Co-Host for KABC Los Angeles’ “The Morning Drive” for Co-Host (Talk/Personality), Large/Major Market-Local;
  • Roula Christie, Morning Host for KRBE-FM’s “The Roula and Ryan Show”, for Host Morning Drive, Large/Major Market-Local;
  • Tara Granahan, Midday Talk Host for NewsTalk 99.7 FM & AM 630 WPRO, for Radio Host, Non-Morning Drive (Talk/Personality) Program, Small/Medium Market-Local
Cumulus Media announces that the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) will honor Cumulus programming and personalities with a total of five 2019 Gracie Awards, which celebrate women by recognizing their outstanding achievements and exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment.

Among this year’s honorees are two-time Gracie winner Jayde Donovan, Host of the Westwood One nationally syndicated weekend radio program, “The Jayde Show”, who earned a Gracie for Radio Host/Personality, Weekend Program-National; Westwood One nationally-syndicated host Elaina Smith, who earned a Gracie for Podcast Host, Entertainment, for “Women Want to Hear Women”; Jillian Barberie, Co-Host for KABC-FM Los Angeles’ “The Morning Drive”, who earned a Gracie for Co-Host (Talk/Personality), Large/Major Market-Local; Roula Christie, Morning Host, “The Roula and Ryan Show”, KRBE-FM, Houston, TX, who earned a Gracie for Host Morning Drive, Large/Major Market-Local; and Tara Granahan, Midday Talk Host on NewsTalk 99.7 FM & AM 630 WPRO, Providence, RI, who earned a Gracie for Radio Host of a Non-Morning Drive (Talk/Personality), Small/Medium Market-Local.

The 44th annual Gracie Awards support AWMF’s educational programs, charitable activities, public service and scholarship initiatives that benefit the public and women in media. Jayde Donovan and Elaina Smith will accept their Gracie Awards along with fellow national honorees including: Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Leah Remini, Connie Britton, Rachel Maddow, Elizabeth Perkins, Tisha Thompson, Rachel Bloom, Maura Tierney and Robin Roberts, on May 21, 2019, at the 44th annual Gracie Awards Gala at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Jillian Barberie, Roula Christie, and Tara Granahan will accept their Gracie Awards on June 26, 2019, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City, at the Gracies Awards Luncheon honoring local market and student award winners.

The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (formerly known as The Foundation of American Women in Radio & Television) supports and promotes educational programs, charitable activities, public service campaigns and scholarships to benefit the public, the electronic media and allied fields.

Westwood One News Earns Another Prestigious News Award

Westwood One News has won its second consecutive Sigma Delta Chi award from The Society of Professional Journalists for Radio Breaking News Coverage Reporting, this year for its coverage of the Parkland Florida School shooting and aftermath in February, 2018.

 The “Radio Breaking News Reporting Award” recognizes resourceful and complete coverage of a major breaking news event, emphasizing both deadline reporting and continuing coverage as the story develops over succeeding days. The judges called Westwood One News’ coverage “riveting, with lots of details and eyewitness accounts.” Last year Westwood One Newswon for its coverage of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
The Sigma Delta Chi award comes less than a week after Westwood One News won the National Headliner award for radio breaking news for its Parkland school shooting coverage.

The awards illustrate the scope and scale of the on-scene reporting and eyewitness accounts, live anchored special reports, newscasts and contributions from the entire Westwood One News staff.
Westwood One News, airing on more than 900 stations, launched in January 2015. It was created to offer radio stations greater flexibility and local branding opportunities and enable them to integrate comprehensive network news coverage into their local operation. What can Westwood One News do for your station? Learn more by contacting Jim Jones at jimjones@westwoodone.com or (202) 840-7933.

Facebook Expects $5B FTC Fine

Facebook stock rose as much as 9% in after-hours trading despite the company announcing that it could take a one-time charge of as much $5 billion due to an ongoing Federal Trade Commission inquiry.

According to CNBC, the company exceeded revenue expectations and matched estimates for its daily active user growth. Here’s what Facebook reported:
  • Earnings: 85 cents per share (can’t be compared to analyst expectations because of a one time charge)
  • Revenue: $15.08 billion, vs. $14.98 billion, forecast by Refinitiv
  • Daily active users: 1.56 billion, vs. 1.56 billion forecast by FactSet
  • Monthly active users: 2.38 billion, vs. 2.37 billion forecast by FactSet
  • Average revenue per user: $6.42, vs. $6.39 forecast by FactSet
The company said it counts 2.7 billion monthly users across the its family of apps, which is unchanged compared to last quarter. Facebook saw its user base in Europe grow to 286 million daily active users, up from 282 million last quarter. The company’s user base in the U.S. and Canada remained flat quarter-to-quarter at 186 million. The company said average revenue per user was $6.42, up 16% from $5.53 a year ago.

The FTC has been probing Facebook since March 2018 following reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly access the data of 87 million Facebook users. To date, the FTC’s biggest fine against a tech company was in 2012 when Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million penalty due to its privacy practices.

Mark Zuckerberg
The company is undergoing a major transition from News Feed ads as it grows ad revenue from its newer Stories products. CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp’s Stories features now have 500 million daily active users, joining Instagram, which hit that mark in January. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday said the company now has 3 million advertisers using Stories ads across Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

Stories was the largest contributor of year-to-year impression growth for the company during the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer David Wehner told analysts on Wednesday.

During the call with analysts, Zuckerberg touched on his March call for regulation, saying he doesn’t think people “want private companies making so many decisions around speech, elections and data privacy without a more robust democratic process.”

“There should be a public process for determining what is allowed and required for keeping harmful content to a minimum,” he said.

The company’s shift to privacy will “be a central focus for the company for the next five years or longer,” Zuckerberg said on Wednesday. He added that he does not expect the privacy pivot to be a real contributor to Facebook’s business for “the next couple of years.”

Click Here for Zuckerbeg's podcast.

Envision Webinar Offers Tips To Make Air Talent Great

In an Envision Networks’ first, a successful video version of the popular Coffee with Envision webinar series was conducted on April 23. The webinar, held in conjunction with SuiteRadio, featured a roundtable of top-market programmers and air personalities who shared their 5 tips for air talent to implement right away to be successful.
The “Air Talent Is Great! Building Up Personalities That Listeners Love” video is now available online for FREE.

General Managers, programmers and air talent attended the webinar to see moderator Cruz and personalities Steve Robison, Donna McKenzie, Pam Kelly and Rowdy Yates give solid advice and tell personal stories from their careers that will help others produce better shows. 

The 5 tips discussed throughout the webinar were how to talk to your listeners, respecting the music, living inside each break, knowing your listeners and it’s not always about the clock.

"The webinar was a blast for the SuiteRadio personalities who participated, and I'm thrilled by the level of talent and the great information they shared,” said Cruze, president of SuiteRadio. “There's no doubt that personality is the single most important element separating broadcast radio from playlists and algorithms, and I'm excited that we could offer the tips and share our enthusiasm."

Click Here To Watch The Webinar.

For more information on Coffee with Envision, contact Dave Hintz at 216.831.3761 or daveh@envisionnetworks.com.

Alexa Knows Where You Live


Amazon employees charged with auditing Alexa users' commands can access customer location data and home addresses, according to Bloomberg.

The Alexa review team is based on three continents and transcribes, annotates and evaluates a percentage of voice recordings Alexa picks up, to help the digital voice assistant adapt to and respond to commands, according to Bloomberg, citing five employees familiar with the program.

But the employees told Bloomberg that access to Alexa customers' geographic coordinates can easily be used to find home residences through third-party mapping software. While there is no evidence that the data has been used to locate individual users so far, members of the team told Bloomberg they were concerned Amazon was granting overly broad data access that could easily be used to identify individual users.

"Anytime someone is collecting where you are, that means it could go to someone else who could find you when you don't want to be found," Lindsey Barrett, a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown Law's Communications and Technology Clinic, told the publication.

While much of the information stored by the software can't be traced back to individual users, Amazon also collects location data to allow Alexa devices to answer requests specific to local conditions such as restaurants or weather. An Amazon team member gave Bloomberg a demonstration in which they pasted a user's coordinates into Google Maps and were able to find their address, according to The Hill.

Opry Entertainment, Gray TV To Launch Country Lifestyle Channel


Opry Entertainment Group has announced it has teamed with Gray Television to launch a new linear multicast and over-the-top channel dedicated to country music and the country lifestyle.

The new service, which will be based in Nashville and is set to launch next year, will feature content that highlights country music artists and the passions, hobbies and love of music they share with their fans.

The joint venture will link Opry Entertainment’s network of entertainment venues, programming archives, and licensed and original content to Gray’s television and streaming presence. Gray Television offers coverage in 93 U.S. markets (including 24 percent of U.S. households), while together, Gray Television and Opry Entertainment Group’s parent company Ryman Hospitalities reach a combined monthly digital audience of 46.6 million.

The companies expect to launch the channel across television stations located throughout the country, including those owned by Gray. Digital media executive Drew Reifenberger will lead the staffing, development and launch as General Manager for the joint venture.

Colin Reed
Colin Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties said, “For more than 93 years, the Grand Ole Opry has provided a platform for country music fans to discover and connect with artists. This partnership with Gray is the next step in the continued evolution of our Company’s position as a country music discovery point for fans. Its distribution network closely aligns with our fan base and will allow us to quickly scale our delivery of existing and original artist-centered content to help reach the 110 million country music fans in the United States.”

Pat LaPlatney, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Gray, said, “We have believed for some time that tremendous opportunity exists to bring differentiated entertainment offerings that celebrate country music to our audience base. Opry Entertainment’s unparalleled history in the country music industry combined with their special and enduring relationship with the artist community makes them a natural partner to help us deliver this premium content to our local communities.”

Scott Bailey, President of Opry Entertainment, said, “Country music fans have long been known to be tremendously dedicated to the genre. As a company, we have recognized that there is a gap for these consumers in where they can go to watch great artist-centered programming on any device, wherever they happen to be. We believe there is a significant opportunity to become the category leader in country lifestyle entertainment and to play an important role in delivering this content and experience.”

Jedediah Bila Lands Fox & Friends Weekend Gig

Jedediah Bila
Fox News announced Wednesday it has named Jedediah Bila, an alumna of ABC's "The View," as a co-host of "Fox & Friends Weekend," according to The Hill.

Bila first joined Fox News as a contributor in 2013 before joining the ABC roundtable opinion program for the 2017-2018 season. She rejoined Fox News in 2018 as a contributor and has guest co-hosted "Fox & Friends Weekend" for the past several months.

“The opportunity to co-host a program within the FOX & Friends franchise is truly an incredible milestone in my career. I am really excited to build an even stronger relationship with FNC’s loyal viewers and to spend weekends doing great work with an amazing team," Bila said Wednesday in a network release.

Bila's first day in her permanent role will be Saturday. She will join co-host Pete Hegseth and a rotating third co-host, according to the network.

“Jedediah’s thoughtful analysis and endearing personality have cultivated a connection with our audience that has grown exponentially over time. We are confident that she will make an excellent addition to the FOX & Friends family," Lauren Petterson, senior vice president of morning programming and talent development, said in the announcement.

Study: Twitter Really Is An Echo Chamber

A tiny fraction of the Twitter’s ­users are responsible for the lion’s share of tweets — and they tend to be younger, wealthier and more liberal than the national average, according to a Pew Research Center study published Wednesday.

“Twitter users as a group express distinct opinions relative to the public as a whole on some political values, particularly when it comes to views having to do with race, immigration and gender,” researchers wrote.

And they are responsible for an outsized share of messages posted to the platform, reports The NYPost.

About 22 percent of Americans use Twitter.


And roughly 10 percent of those users are responsible for 80 percent of tweets — meaning just 2 percent of Americans are contributing to a majority of the site’s dialogue, the researchers noted.

The prolific tweeters send out missives about 138 times a month — while most users post just twice monthly, found the study found.

The “tweeple” are also disproportionately women who post regularly about politics, according to Pew.

And of all Americans who lean toward either major political party, 52 percent lean Democrat, while 60 percent of Twitter ­users lean that way.

Fewer people, meanwhile, lean Republican on the site (35 percent) than in real life (43 percent).


Politics aside, however, the views of “Twitter users are not dramatically different from those expressed by all US adults,” the researchers wrote.

Twitter represents just a thin slice of American demographics. The country is nearly split between people ages 18 to 49 and those 50 and older. But 73 percent of US tweeters are under 50.

Researchers based their findings on a 2018 survey of 2,791 ­users who agreed to share their Twitter handles with them.

R.I.P.: Morris James, Former Ozark Radio Newsman

Morris James
One of the biggest news voices in Ozarks radio history has been silenced after the passing of former KTTS News Director Morris James.

James passed away after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. according to The Ozark Independent.

“He was an award-winning newsman who has great relationships with his listeners, his news sources and his entire community,” current KTTS News Director Don Louzader told OI. “Morris had a great sense of humor and was a genuinely nice guy.”

James served two tours as KTTS News Director, first from 1974 to 1982 and then 1998 to 2004.

R.I.P.: Mark Guy Findlay, 'The Voice' In Erie

Mark Guy Findley
Erie's radio community is mourning the passing of a pioneer in the world of local talk radio. Mark Guy Findlay has died at age 76.

Mark was born in Meadville and learned the radio trade while in the service. Over his career, Findlay has done most everything in Erie media, working for the newspaper and three local TV stations. He also partnered in a mobile DJ business and Spiral Stairs of America.

His career is probably best known for hosting talk radio shows for WLKK-AM, now WJET 1400 AM.

After a stint in the Army with AFVN in Saigon, Findlay spent a couple years working at radio stations in the South and the Northeast and arrived in Erie with WICU in 1966. It was that year that Findlay did his first “talk radio” call-in show, “Viewpoint” on WICU radio. In 1967 he went to a talk radio format station in Akron, then returned to WRIE radio in Erie later that year. He’s been here since, in the media, in business. As part of his advertising business, he’s run political campaigns. He was a partner in a used car lot. And he always kept his hand in broadcasting.

In 1989, Findlay returned to hosting a local talk show with “Nighttalk” on WLKK. When the station changed to an all-talk format 1990, Findlay moved to the daily morning slot, hosting his show from 6 to 10 a.m. He’s gained popularity with the show, as well as his share of controversy.

“He was his own man. He had opinions on a lot of things,” said another well-known Erie broadcaster, Brady Louis, 82, who was general manager at WRIE when Findlay hosted its morning talk show in 1969. “And I always loved that he used all three names. He was never ‘Mark Findlay.’ He was ‘Mark Guy Findlay.’”

Louis also recalled Findlay as “a hard worker” who was committed to talk radio.

April 25 Radio History



➦In 1874...Guglielmo Marconi born (Died – 20 July 1937).  He was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission, development of Marconi's law, and a radio telegraph system. He is credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun "in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy".

Marconi was also founder of The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in the United Kingdom in 1897 (which became the Marconi Company). He succeeded in making an engineering and commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists

His father was a wealthy landowner and his mother was a member of Ireland’s Jameson family of distillers. Marconi was educated by tutors and at the Livorno Technical Institute and the University of Bologna.

Marconi 1901
In 1894 Marconi became fascinated with the discovery by German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz of “invisible waves” generated by electromagnetic interactions. Marconi built his own wave-generating equipment at his family’s estate and was soon sending signals to locations a mile away. After failing to interest the Italian government in his work, Marconi decided to try his luck in London.

The 22-year-old Marconi and his mother arrived in England in 1896 and quickly found interested backers, including the British Post Office. Within a year Marconi was broadcasting up to 12 miles and had applied for his first patents. A year later, he set up a wireless station on the Isle of Wight that allowed Queen Victoria to send messages to her son Prince Edward aboard the royal yacht.

By 1899 Marconi’s signals had crossed the English Channel. The same year, Marconi traveled to the United States, where he gained publicity offering wireless coverage of the America’s Cup yacht race from off the coast of New Jersey.



Marconi joined the Italian Fascist party in 1923. In 1930, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini appointed him President of the Royal Academy of Italy, which made Marconi a member of the Fascist Grand Council.

Marconi died in Rome on 20 July 1937 at age 63, following a series of heart attacks, and Italy held a state funeral for him. As a tribute, all radio stations throughout the world observed two minutes of silence on the next day.  His remains are housed in the Villa Griffone at Sasso Marconi, Emilia-Romagna, which assumed that name in his honor in 1938.

In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on Marconi's radio patents restoring some of the prior patents of Oliver Lodge, John Stone Stone, and Nikola Tesla.  The decision was not about Marconi's original radio patents and the court declared that their decision had no bearing on Marconi's claim as the first to achieve radio transmission, just that since Marconi's claim to certain patents were questionable, he could not claim infringement on those same patents.




➦In 1908...Edward Roscoe Murrow born  at Polecat Creek, near Greensboro, NC (Died from lung cancer at age 57 – April 27, 1965), He was a broadcast journalist and war correspondent. He first gained prominence during World War II with a series of live radio broadcasts from Europe for the news division of CBS. His live, shortwave broadcasts relayed on CBS electrified radio audiences as news programming never had: previous war coverage had mostly been provided by newspaper reports, along with newsreels seen in movie theaters; earlier radio news programs had simply featured an announcer in a studio reading wire service reports.

During the war he recruited and worked closely with a team of war correspondents who came to be known as the Murrow Boys.
A pioneer of radio and television news broadcasting, Murrow produced a series of reports on his television program See It Now which helped lead to the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy.


➦In 1949…An article in LOOK magazine predicted that radio was doomed because if the growing popularity of television.  However, radio reinvented itself as a local service and became bigger than ever, while LOOK disappeared in 1971.

By 1948 it sold 2.9 million copies per issue. Circulation reached 3.7 million in 1954, and peaked at 7.75 million in 1969. Its advertising revenue peaked in 1966 at $80 million. Of the leading general interest large-format magazines, Look had a circulation second only to Life and ahead of The Saturday Evening Post, which closed in 1969, and Collier's, which folded in 1956.

Look ceased publication with its issue of October 19, 1971, the victim of a $5 million loss in revenues in 1970 (with television cutting deeply into its advertising revenues), a slack economy and rising postal rates. Circulation was at 6.5 million when it closed.

Don Wilson
➦In 1982...Announcer/personality Don Wilson died of a stroke at age 81. (Born September 1, 1900). He was an announcer and actor in radio and television best remembered best as the rotund announcer and comic foil to the star of The Jack Benny Program.

Wilson began his radio career as a singer over Denver radio station KFEL in 1923.  By 1929, he was working at KFI, and shortly afterwards for Don Lee at KHJ, in Los Angeles. In a 1978 appearance on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, Wilson claimed he was fired from KHJ because he had bought a Packard from Earle C. Anthony, the business arch-rival of Cadillac dealer Don Lee and owner of KFI and KECA.

Though best known for his comedy work with Benny, Wilson had a background as a sportscaster, covering the opening of the 1932 Summer Olympics.

➦In 1995…Arthur Fleming Fazzin died from pancreatic cancer at age 70 (Born - May 1, 1924). He was an actor and television host. He is most notable for being the original host of the television game show Jeopardy!, which aired on NBC from 1964 until 1975.

After leaving the Navy, Fleming became an announcer at a radio station in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Here, he first shortened his name to "Art Fleming". His radio career later took him to Akron, Ohio, and back home to New York. He was the first announcer to deliver the slogan "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should" for Winston cigarettes.

Art Fleming On 'Jeopardy' set
His first television role was as a stunt double for Ralph Bellamy in the detective series Man Against Crime.  Fleming also appeared in many television commercials. He was first spotted by Merv Griffin on a commercial for Trans World Airlines. Griffin thought Fleming was "authoritative, yet warm and interesting", and Fleming was invited to audition for the role of host for a quiz show Griffin was developing. Fleming (an actor with no prior TV quiz show experience) was initially skeptical, but his agent encouraged him to "act like a game show host" at his audition, and Fleming ultimately won the job. The show was Jeopardy!, which Fleming hosted from March 30, 1964, to January 3, 1975, and again from October 2, 1978, to March 2, 1979. Although often described as the "host" of the program, announcer Don Pardo's introduction of him announced, "and here's the star of Jeopardy!, Art Fleming." As "the world's greatest quiz show's" first host, Fleming earned two Emmy Award nominations. While he was host of Jeopardy!, Fleming never missed a taping.

Throughout his career, Fleming starred in about 5,000 episodes of television programs and 48 motion pictures. He also hosted a radio version of College Bowl for CBS Radio from 1979 to 1982. He hosted the NBC radio weekend magazine Monitor during 1972.

It was reported that Fleming was asked to reprise his role as Jeopardy! host when Merv Griffin began developing a revival of the show in 1983. He declined, later stating in 1989 that he did not like the direction the show had gone in moving the show to Hollywood (being partial to his native New York, he felt that the Hollywood setting made the show dumber and less realistic).  As a result, Alex Trebek took the position instead and has hosted the program ever since.

From 1980 to 1992, Fleming hosted a daily radio talk show on KMOX in St. Louis, which continued until his retirement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

AT&T Reports 1Q Results, Misses Revenue Estimates


AT&T missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue on Wednesday, hit by lower-than-expected sales in its WarnerMedia unit and a shortfall in income from a wireless business where it has cut prices to draw in customers.

AT&T has reduced its dependency on the phone business by buying media content through its acquisition of Time Warner, yet faces a daunting struggle to find growth as declines in one business offset growth in another.

First-Quarter Results

Communications Highlights

Mobility:
  • Service revenues up 2.9%; operating income and EBITDA growth with postpaid phone and prepaid net adds
  • 179,000 postpaid smartphone net adds in the U.S.
  • 80,000 postpaid phone net adds
  • 96,000 prepaid net adds of which 85,000 are phones
Entertainment Group:
  • 13% operating income growth with solid ARPU gains
  • 6.9% EBITDA growth as company targets stability
Focus on long-term value customer base
  • 22.4 million premium TV subscribers – 544,000 net loss
  • 1.5 million DIRECTV NOW subscribers – 83,000 net loss
  • Nearly 300,000 AT&T Fiber gains; 45,000 broadband net adds with broadband revenue growth of more than 8%
  • 12.4 million customer locations passed with fiber
WarnerMedia Highlights
  • Solid revenue growth with strong operating income growth with gains in all business units
Turner subscription revenue growth
  • HBO digital subscriber growth continued as last season of Game of Thrones begins
  • Strong Warner Bros. revenue and operating income growth
“Our first-quarter results show that we’re delivering on what we promised,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “We’re on plan to meet our de-leveraging goals with strong free cash flow and asset sales. We grew Entertainment Group EBITDA in the quarter and are confident we’ll meet or exceed our full-year target. FirstNet deployment continues ahead of schedule.  And we are recognized for having the nation’s best wireless network1, as well as the fastest network2.

“All this speaks volumes about our focus on our strategic priorities and our ability to grow our Mobility, WarnerMedia and emerging Xandr businesses. Our teams are executing well and have turned in a good performance to start the year.”

SiriusXM Radio: Total Revenue Jumps 27 Percent, Subs Top 29M



  • 1Q Revenue Increases to $1.7 Billion; Pro Forma Revenue Increases 10% to $1.9B
  • Net Income Declines 44% to $162 Million on Acquisition & Other Charges of $76M
  • Diluted EPS of $0.03 Reported
  • Adjusted EBITDA Climbs 27% to $567M
  • Company Capital Returns Approach $900M
  • Completes Acquisition of Pandora Media; Issues Combined 2019 Guidance
SiriusXM today announced first quarter 2019 operating and financial results. Total revenue of $1.7 billion increased 27% compared to the prior year period, with growth driven by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019. The Company's net income totaled $162 million in the first quarter, compared to $289 million in the prior year period. Net income per diluted common share was $0.03 in the first quarter, compared to $0.06 in the prior year period.

Pro forma revenue increased 10% to $1.9 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.7 billion in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA grew 27% to $567 million in the first quarter and resulted in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 30.5%, growing over 400 basis points from 26.3% in the first quarter 2018. The adjusted EBITDA margin in the quarter was driven primarily by revenue growth across the combined businesses and cost efficiencies in subscriber acquisition costs and revenue share and royalties. The pro forma revenue and adjusted EBITDA figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.

"SiriusXM's first quarter of 2019 was an exciting time for the company. We're thrilled to have completed the Pandora acquisition on February 1st and have been working quickly to integrate and coordinate the operations of the two businesses. The year is off to a strong start, and today we are issuing combined guidance for 2019 that shows continuing revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow growth," said Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, SiriusXM.

Jim Meyer
"With the addition of Pandora to SiriusXM, we now have more to offer subscribers and listeners than ever before. Last month we created Pandora's first-ever content team, and those talented professionals launched our first joint offering, Pandora NOW, a full-time SiriusXM channel and Pandora station and playlist, curated from Pandora data of the top-trending artists. In addition, we announced an array of SiriusXM's top sports, comedy and talk hosts' shows are now available as podcasts on Pandora. We also added more than 100 new music channels on the SiriusXM streaming platform — the largest addition ever — all of them based on our existing popular channels but perfectly crafted to fit any mood, occasion or activity," added Meyer.

David Frear
"Solid revenue growth and strong performance from adjusted EBITDA has put the year off to a great start. Our new guidance shows our confidence in driving strong results following the acquisition of Pandora. Cost synergies are now expected to ultimately exceed $75 million. SiriusXM had yet another quarter of significant capital returns to stockholders, distributing over $660 million in the first quarter and nearly $900 million so far this year through April 22. Since the announcement of the Pandora acquisition, we have repurchased more than 63% of the stock issued in the transaction. At quarter-end, our pro forma debt to adjusted EBITDA was 3.2 times and we had cash on hand of $62 million with undrawn revolver capacity of approximately $1.2 billion. In 2019, we will continue to use our strong financial position and ample liquidity to invest in our business, make strategic investments and return capital to stockholders," noted David Frear, Chief Financial Officer, SiriusXM.

FIRST QUARTER 2019 HIGHLIGHTS

SiriusXM operates two complementary audio entertainment businesses — our SiriusXM business and our Pandora business. Further information regarding these two segments will be contained in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2019. The pro forma financial and operating highlights of these two segments are presented separately below and exclude the impact of share-based payment expense.

SIRIUSXM
  • Self-Pay Subscribers Top 29 Million. SiriusXM added 131 thousand net new self-pay subscribers in the first quarter to end with nearly 29.1 million self-pay subscribers. Total net subscriber additions in the first quarter were 132 thousand, resulting in more than 34.2 million total SiriusXM subscribers at the end of the period. Self-pay monthly churn for the quarter was 1.8%, flat compared to the first quarter of 2018.
  • SiriusXM Revenue of $1.5 Billion. First quarter revenue of $1.5 billion grew 8% compared to the prior year period. This growth was driven by a 3% increase in SiriusXM subscribers and 4% growth in SiriusXM's average revenue per user (ARPU) to $13.52. 
  • Gross Profit Grows 8%. Total cost of services at SiriusXM increased 9% to $569 million in the first quarter, driven primarily by higher revenue share and royalties. Gross profit at SiriusXM in the quarter totaled $926 million, increasing 8% over the first quarter of 2018, and produced a gross margin of 62%, approximately flat compared to the prior year period. 
  • Exclusive Performances, Legendary Artists. SiriusXM continued to demonstrate its ability to "go deep" with seminal artists with a special limited-time channel KISS Army Radio — accompanied by a subscriber concert on LA's Sunset Strip — as well as exclusively broadcasting a series of live concerts by country star Eric Church on The Highway channel and a special Twenty One Pilots performance on Alt Nation for an audience of SiriusXM subscribers.
PANDORA
  • Ad Revenue Hit Q1 Record. Advertising revenue at Pandora reached a first quarter record of $231 million, growing 7% over the first quarter of 2018. Ad revenue was driven by record first quarter monetization of $62.60 per thousand hours, growing 13% over the first quarter 2018. Revenue growth was attributed to strength in audio and video programmatic and engagement-based video as well as the expansion of off-platform efforts and fees generated on the AdsWizz platform. Total revenue for Pandora grew 14% to $365 million in the quarter, driven by a 29% increase in subscriber revenue to $134 million.
  • Total Ad Supported Listener Hours of 3.42 Billion. Monthly Active Users (MAUs) at Pandora were 66.0 million in the first quarter, down from 72.3 million in the prior year period. This resulted in total ad supported listener hours of 3.4 billion in the period, down from 3.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018. 
  • Self-Pay Net Adds of 246 Thousand. Pandora added 246 thousand net new self-pay subscribers in the first quarter to end with nearly 6.2 million self-pay subscribers. Total Pandora subscribers were 6.9 million at the end of the period. 
  • Gross Profit Grows 73%. Total cost of services at Pandora in the first quarter of 2019 of $254 million were relatively flat compared with the first quarter 2018, with lower revenue share and royalties offsetting slightly higher programming and content and customer service and billing expenses. Gross profit at Pandora totaled $111 million, increasing 73% over the first quarter of 2018. This produced a gross margin for Pandora in the quarter of 30%, growing approximately 1,000 basis points from 20% in the prior year period. 
  • Sound On: Spring Campaign and New Features. Pandora launched its Sound On brand campaign in iconic locations across Nashville, San Francisco, Oakland, NYC, Miami and Atlanta, featuring some of the season's most high-profile artists including Jonas Brothers, Maren Morris, Bebe Rexha, Khalid, 2 Chainz, John Legend and Becky G. During the quarter, Pandora also launched new features like Stories, which combine the best of podcasts and music playlists and Modes, which allows the user to select a more "lean forward" or "lean back" experience.

SiriusXM Radio: Four More Years For 'Mad Dog'

Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo has signed a new four-year contract to keep his unique brand of sports talk radio exclusively on SiriusXM.

Russo will continue to host his daily all-sports show, Mad Dog Unleashed, every weekday (3:00 – 6:00 pm ET) on the channel that Russo launched on SiriusXM in 2008 - Mad Dog Sports Radio.

Mad Dog Sports Radio is available to listeners nationwide on SiriusXM radios (channel 82), on the SiriusXM app, and at home on a wide variety of connected devices, including devices with Amazon Alexa, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers and more. For more information visit SiriusXM.com/MadDogSportsRadio.

Additionally, Mad Dog Unleashed is among a selection of SiriusXM shows that are available to Pandora listeners as podcasts.  The Mad Dog Unleashed podcast on Pandora features select content from Russo's show, including monologues and interviews.

"Oh baby! Four more years, and I couldn't be happier!" said Russo.  "I've said it before and I'll say it again.  There's no place, NO PLACE, better than SiriusXM to do the kind of show I want to do, with the freedom to talk about the topics that I want to cover and the listeners want to talk about.  Now we'll be reaching more fans than ever on SiriusXM and Pandora."

"Chris is a singular talent at the top of his game and we are thrilled and very proud to tell our subscribers that SiriusXM will be Chris' radio home for years to come," said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM's President and Chief Content Officer.  "He'll continue to headline Mad Dog Sports Radio on SiriusXM, which is the best all-sports talk radio channel in the country, and now with a sampling of his show available as a podcast on Pandora, more people than ever get access to the legendary Mad Dog in action."

Seattle Radio: BJ & Migs Re-up With Entercom's KISW


Entercom has announced it has extended its relationship with Seattle morning show duo BJ Shea and Steve Migs. The duo will remain as co-hosts of “BJ & Migs” on Rock KISW 99.9 FM, weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT.

“2019 will mark the 13th year ‘BJ & Migs’ have been with us on ‘The Rock,’ and we are thrilled to continue this partnership,” said Jack Hutchison, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Seattle. “They have developed an unprecedented rapport with our listeners and we look forward to what is to come.”

“This was a very easy decision,” said Shea. “Steve Migs and the rest of our show are the best team of folks that I’ve ever worked with. Dave Richards [Senior Vice President, Programming and Operations, Entercom Seattle] and Jack Hutchison combine for a leadership duo unmatched in my career. Add to that an amazing group of colleagues in all departments of Entercom Seattle and it is clear that this is where I belong.”

BJ Shea and Steve Migs joined the station in 2006. Prior to joining 99.9 KISW, Shea hosted middays on 100.7 The Buzz (now sister station 100.7 The Wolf) in Seattle. Migs served as Executive Producer and co-host on the “The Andy Savage Show” on sister station 107.7 The End and KRQI (now KJAQ) in Seattle. 

“I’m thankful to continue to create and entertain alongside BJ and the entire ‘BJ & Migs’ crew,” said Migs. “Working at KISW has been amazing, thanks to everyone involved with the station. I look forward to many more years together.”

Listeners can tune in to 99.9 KISW (KISW-FM) in Seattle on air, as well as nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website. Fans can also connect with the station on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

TV Ratings: CBS Wins Broadcast Prime, Fox Wins CableTV


The ABC, CBS and NBC broadcast networks and the cable’s CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC collectively averaged 12.7 million viewers last Thursday when the redacted report on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election was put out, the Nielsen company said. The Associated Press reports Nielsen measured the three cable networks between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT, and the two separate special reports aired on each of the broadcast networks within that period.

To put that in some perspective, the ABC, CBS and NBC nightly newscasts collectively reached 20.2 million viewers that night — and that was less than the shows averaged for the full week.

When Attorney General William Barr gave his verbal summary of the Mueller report starting at 9:30, viewership on ABC and CBS was lower than typical daytime programming in that hour, Nielsen said.

For the coverage overall until 1 p.m., Fox News Channel led the way with an average of 2.78 million viewers. CBS, whose second special report was shorter than its rivals, averaged 2.52 million. NBC had 2.19 million, ABC had 2.06 million, MSNBC had 2.01 million and CNN had 1.17 million, Nielsen said.

Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.41 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.2 million, MSNBC had 1.72 million, HGTV had 1.17 million and USA had 1.12 million.

⏩ Basic Cable Top 10 – Prime time (Total Viewers)
  1. Fox News (2,478,000)
  2. TNT (2,228,000)
  3. MSNBC (1,771,000)
  4. HGTV (1,187,000)
  5. USA (1,080,000)
  6. History (1,072,000)
  7. ESPN (1,046,000)
  8. TBS (953,000)
  9. Hallmark (938,000)
  10. A&E (936,000)


CBS easily won the week in prime-time, averaging 6 million viewers. ABC had 4.4 million viewers, NBC had 3.6 million, Fox had 2.5 million, ION Television has 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.25 million, Univision had 1.17 million and the CW had 840,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.1 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.7 million.

The Top 20...Primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for April 15-21:

1. “NCIS,” CBS, 11.89 million.
2. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 11.45 million.
3. “Game of Thrones,” HBO, 10.29 million.
4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.77 million.
5. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.47 million.
6. “Survivor,” CBS, 7.9 million.
7. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.66 million.
8. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 7.18 million.
9. “American Idol” (Sunday), ABC, 7.114 million.
10. “America Idol” (Monday), ABC, 7.106 million.

11. “Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration,” CBS, 6.86 million.
12. “Life in Pieces,” CBS, 6.74 million.
13. “Bull,” CBS, 6.66 million.
14. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 6.54 million.
15. “Mom,” CBS
16. “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 6.25 million.
17. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.75 million.
18. “Amazing Race,” CBS, 5.74 million.
19. “911,’ Fox, 5.65 million.
20. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 5.28 million.

Jeopardy winner James Holzhauer
As for syndication, the session ending April 14 was one for the record books, according to TVNewsCheck.  Jeopardy rose 5% from the week before and took over sole possession of first place in the game show race as contestant James Holzhauer set a single-day record for the program, earning $110,914 on April 9.

However, Jeopardy’s 6.4 live-plus-same-day national Nielsen rating was no match for even a mostly-rerun week of overall leader Judge Judy, which answered with a 6.7 and ruled the syndication chart for a 40th consecutive week. That marked the longest streak of any show at the top of the syndication ratings in 15 years.

Next in line behind Judy, which aired repeats on four of the five days, and Jeopardy were Family Feud at a 6.0 and Wheel of Fortune at a 5.9.

Among talkers, Dr. Phil climbed 4% to a four-week high 2.8 while running two days of encore shows and finished first in the category for the 136th week in a row.

The week’s top-rated daytime talk shows in the women 25-54 demo were:
  1. Dr. Phil (1.2, +9% from the week before)
  2. Live with Kelly and Ryan (1.0, unchanged)
  3. Ellen DeGeneres (0.9, +13%)
  4. Maury (0.7, -13%), tied with Wendy Williams (0.7, +17%)
  5. Steve Wilkos (0.6, unchanged)
  6. Steve (0.5, unchanged)
Among magazines, Access was up the most in the top seven from last year, 8% to a 1.3 and tying TMZ. For the week, Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition tied for the genre lead at a 2.8, with both dipping 3%. The recently renewed Daily Mail TV held steady at a 1.0 and moved into a tie with Extra.

CBS Suspends CEO Search, Extends Ianniello


CBS Corp. said it suspended its search for a new chief executive, extending the employment of its acting CEO Joe Ianniello through the end of the year, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Ianniello has been leading the media company since September, when Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves was forced to resign as a result of numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Ianniello has made several high-profile appointments since he took over, naming David Nevins chief creative officer and appointing Susan Zirinsky to be the first female president of CBS News. Ms. Zirinsky succeeded David Rhodes, under whose tenure CBS News faced public scrutiny for sexual-harassment allegations against former star anchor Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager, the executive producer of its “60 Minutes” newsmagazine.

“Joe has demonstrated exceptional leadership during this time of unprecedented transition at CBS,” the company board of directors said Tuesday. “He steadied the ship with some key appointments and a commitment to cultural change, and steered it forward by focusing CBS’ operations around its growing direct-to-consumer strategy.”

The extension of Ianniello’s employment agreement comes as analysts are speculating that directors of CBS and sister company Viacom Inc. may again explore a potential merger. Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements Inc., the controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom, has previously pushed for a merger.

At some point before the end of the year, CBS’s board will likely evaluate a merger with Viacom, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans.

If the two companies do combine, that would seemingly force either Viacom CEO Bob Bakish or the new chief of CBS to relinquish their title.