Friday, February 12, 2016

CBS Profit Meets Targets But Shares Slip

(Reuters) -- CBS Corp profit rose in line with Wall Street expectations on Thursday as the media company reported a bump in network advertising and said international sales of its television shows were strong.

Still, shares fell 1.4 percent to $42.95 in after-hours trade following a hectic session for the overall market.

CBS and other media companies are under pressure to show they can survive and thrive as younger viewers turn away from traditional television.


ADVERTISING

The owner of Showtime and CBS Sports Networks, radio stations and the Simon & Schuster publishing house has rolled out a streaming service called CBS All Access. The subscription product will begin to make a "positive impact" on financial results this year, executives told analysts on a conference call.

"I don’t think there is anything in the numbers that doesn’t suggest that the strength of the business remains good," Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant said of CBS. "There are a lot of other forces that are right now impacting the movement in stocks."

Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, who was just named chairman in place of controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone, said he did not plan to change strategy. He said that Redstone had given him "free reign" for many years. CBS will continue "business as usual," he told analysts.

Advertising revenue, which is typically the strongest in the fourth quarter, rose marginally to $2.16 billion. Advertising at the CBS network was up 8 percent, but local television stations faced difficult comparisons with a year earlier, when they had strong political ads.



Content licensing and distribution revenue rose more than 16 percent to cross $1 billion in the fourth quarter, accounting for about 28 percent of total revenue in 2015 and reflecting increased licensing of television shows abroad.

CBS has made efforts to rely less on advertising revenue, which can be volatile. The company diversified its business by licensing content to streaming services and pressing for higher fees from pay TV operators.

Total revenue rose 6.2 percent to $3.91 billion in the fourth quarter, the company said.

Net income from continuing operations fell to $251 million, or 53 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $402 million, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 92 cents per share.

Analysts' on average had expected revenue of $3.80 billion on a profit of 92 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Additional writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Benard Orr)

Pandora Reports Active Users Slips

Pandora Media Inc. reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 results after markets closed Thursday.

For the quarter, Pandora reported 81.1 million active users at the end of December 2015 compared with 81.5 million at the end of 2014. Listener hours totaled 5.37 billion in the quarter up 3% from 5.2 billion in the same period a year ago. That active listener number alone could drag down the share price, but the profit outlook is not pretty either.

Meanwhile, The NY Times is reporting Pandora Media has held discussions about selling the company, according to people briefed on the talks.

Pandora is working with Morgan Stanley to meet with potential buyers, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The talks are preliminary and may not lead to a deal, the people said.

For Pandora, it would be a curious time to sell. Its shares are yielding a market value of $1.8 billion, down from more than $7 billion two years ago. The stock has fallen more than 60 percent since October.

Pandora has the largest number of users for music streaming, but the competition is encroaching. Spotify is said to be arming itself with another $500 million in capital, and Apple Music recently surpassed 10 million paying users. Pandora’s users peaked at 81.5 million at the end of 2014, and, after falling to about 78 million in the third quarter of 2015, ended the year with 81.1 million.

The company is spending heavily to attract users, and its ability to make money from those users may be waning.


In its financial results, which Pandora announced Thursday afternoon, the company had $336 million in revenue in the fourth quarter, but spent $143 million in “content acquisition costs,” which includes music licenses, and $112.6 million on sales and marketing. For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of $19.4 million, in contrast to $12.3 million in net earnings for the same period the year before.

For all of 2015, Pandora had $1.16 billion in revenue, up from $921 million the year before. But the company also reported a net loss for the year of $169.7 million, which included $111.6 million in stock-based compensation and nearly $58 million to settle a royalty dispute with the music industry over recordings made before 1972.

Entercom Q4 Reports 16 Percent Revenue Increase

Entercom Communications Corp. Thursday reported financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2015.

Fourth Quarter Highlights
  • Net revenues for the quarter increased 16% to $117.7 million
  • Station expenses increased 21% to $76.7 million
  • Station operating income increased 7% to $41.0 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 7% to $35.2 million
  • Adjusted net income per share increased 3% to $0.35
  • Free cash flow increased 9% to $25.5 million
Full Year Highlights
  • Net revenues for the year increased 8% to $411.4 million
  • Station expenses increased 11% to $286.5 million
  • Station operating income increased 3% to $124.9 million
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 3% to $102.7 million
  • Adjusted net income per share increased 6% to $0.87
  • Free cash flow increased 9% to $61.4 million
Fourth quarter and full year operating results include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July.

David J. Field, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into fourth quarter capping a very successful 2015 for the Company. Fourth quarter same-station revenues increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”

Nielsen Reports Increased Profit

Media-ratings firm Nielsen NV increased its fourth-quarter profit as customers began to adapt its new tools for measuring digital viewership. Results were above analysts' expectations.

 Nielsen has been under fire from some networks for a methodology they say isn't adapting quickly enough to changing media-consumption habits such as smartphone viewing and streaming media.

Nielsen recently launched its "total audience measurement" framework that tracks viewership across live TV, DVRs, streaming devices and video on demand. These new products haven't yet become the near-universally used industry standard like its TV ratings. Still in Nielsen's Watch segment for media producers and advertisers, revenue rose 2.8%, or 5.2% adjusted for currency fluctuations, driven by adoption of the new tools.

In December, Nielsen authorized a new share buyback program of up to $500 million. In January, Steve Hasker added chief operating officer to his title, becoming Nielsen's global president and COO.

Clinton, Sanders Vie For Minority Votes

by John Whitesides

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clashed sharply in a debate on Thursday over their support for President Barack Obama, with Sanders accusing Clinton of "a low blow" after she compared him to Republicans.

As the Democratic race moves to states with large minority populations, both candidates openly courted black and Hispanic votes during a debate that was far more restrained and cordial than last week's contentious debate in New Hampshire.

In the sharpest exchange of the night, Clinton attacked Sanders for being too critical of Obama, who is extremely popular with the black voters who will play a big role in the outcome in South Carolina and other upcoming nominating contests.

"The kind of criticism that we've heard from Senator Sanders about our president, I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama," said Clinton, who served as secretary of state during Obama's first term.

"Madam Secretary, that is a low blow," said Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont. Sanders said he had been an Obama ally in the Senate even if he did not always agree with him.

"Do senators have the right to disagree with the president?" Sanders said.

Clinton, who has eagerly embraced Obama's legacy, said Sanders had called Obama weak and a disappointment, and "that goes further than saying we have our disagreements."

With Clinton looking to rebound after her crushing 22-point loss to Sanders in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, the two also differed over healthcare and Wall Street.

Even so, the restrained exchange on Thursday was unlikely to change the trajectory of a race that has intensified dramatically over two weeks.

Clinton accused Sanders of misleading Americans on his healthcare. She said his proposal for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare plan would mean dismantling the program known as Obamacare and triggering another intense political struggle.

"Based on every analysis I can find by people who are sympathetic to the goal, the numbers don’t add up," Clinton told Sanders. "That's a promise that cannot be kept."

Sanders said he was simply moving to provide what most industrialized countries have - healthcare coverage for all.

"We're not going to dismantle anything," Sanders said. "In my view healthcare is a right of all people, not a privilege, and I will fight for that."

Sanders also repeated his accusation that Clinton is too beholden to the Wall Street interests she once represented as a U.S. senator from New York, noting her Super PAC received $15 million in donations from Wall Street.

"Let's not insult the intelligence of the American people," he said. "Why in God's name does Wall Street make huge campaign contributions? I guess just for the fun of it, they want to throw money around."

Clinton said the donations did not mean she was in Wall Street's pocket, and noted that President Barack Obama had taken donations from Wall Street during his campaigns.

"When it mattered, he stood up and took on Wall Street," she said.



THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND RACE

With an eye to on the minority vote, both candidates decried the high incarceration rate of African-Americans and called for broad reforms of the criminal justice system. Sanders said the disproportionately high rate of incarceration for black men was "one of the great tragedies" in the United States.

He called for "fundamental police reform" that would "make it clear that any police officer who breaks the law will in fact be dealt with."

Clinton criticized what she called "systemic racism" in education, housing and employment. "When we talk about criminal justice reform … we also have to talk about jobs, education, housing and other ways of helping communities of color," she said.

They both agreed on the need for immigration reform, an important issue to Hispanic voters, though they clashed over the Obama administration's actions on handling a wave of undocumented children who entered the country alone. Clinton criticized Sanders for voting against a reform measure in 2007, which Sanders defended because of a provision in the bill for guest workers.

Clinton entered Thursday's debate under acute pressure to calm growing nervousness among her supporters after her drubbing in New Hampshire and a razor-thin win the prior week in the Iowa caucus. Both states have nearly all-white populations.

For his part, Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, hoped to harness the momentum and enthusiasm he gained from the first two contests and prove he can be a viable contender to lead the Democratic Party to victory in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

"What our campaign is indicating is that the American people are tired of establishment politics," Sanders said. "They want a political revolution."

Clinton dodged an opportunity to distance herself from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's recent controversial comments that there was "a special place in hell" for women who don't support other women.

"Look, I think that she's been saying that for as long as I've known her, which is about 25 years. But it doesn't change my view that we need to empower everyone, women and men, to make the best decisions in their minds that they can make," she said.

On the foreign policy front, Sanders criticized Clinton for her warm relationship for Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under Republican President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War. Sanders called Kissinger "one of the most destructive secretaries of state."

Asked by Clinton about who his foreign policy advisers were, Sanders shot back: "Well it ain't Henry Kissinger."

The race now moves to what should be more favorable ground for Clinton in Nevada and South Carolina, states with more black and Hispanic voters, who, polls show, have been more supportive of Clinton so far.

(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker, Alana Wise and Megan Cassella in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Cruz Pulls Political Ad Featuring Soft Porn Actress

Amy Lindsay
Ted Cruz wound up red-faced after he inadvertently cast a former porn star in one of his political ads, it was reported Thursday.

The Republican Texas senator — who has heavily courted the religious right during his run for the White House — produced an 30-second spot featuring actress Amy Lindsay.

Lindsay, unbeknownst to him, is a skin-flick veteran who has appeared in such soft-core films as “Deviant Whores,” “Carnal Wishes” and “MILF.”

The NY Post reports when it found out, the Cruz camp nixed the ad, titled “Conservatives Anonymous.”

It featured actors playing a group of dismayed former Marco Rubio supporters in a therapy session, according to BuzzFeed. Lindsay played the role of a member of that support group.


Lindsay — who said she is deciding between Cruz and Trump — told BuzzFeed that she was under the impression that the campaign knew about her previous work.

Detroit Radio: Sports 105.1 FM Adding Live Morning Show

Greater Media/Detroit has announced Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey & Marc Fellhauer have been named as the new local morning show from 6-10a on Detroit Sports WMGC 105.1 FM.

The trio, who can currently be heard on the station from noon-3pm, will begin their new on-air duties on Tuesday, February 16th.

They will replace ESPN’s nationally syndicated Mike and Mike, who have been on Detroit Sports 105.1 since the station officially launched in August of 2013.

“We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience,” said Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director Dave Shore. “We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station. “

WMGC 105.1 FM (50 Kw) Red=Local Coverage
New Detroit Sports 105.1 Lineup:
6am:   Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey & Marc Fellhauer
10am: Ryan & Rico
2pm:   Matt Dery & Drew Sharp

Boston Radio: JW Willis & Lori OUT At WKLB

Longtime Greater Media Country Country WKLB 102.5 FM has part4d company with the morning duo JW Willis & Lori Grande, known as JW & Lori left the station Thursday/

Greater Media/Boston VP/Market Manager Mary Menna released this statement: “We are grateful to JW and Lori for their contributions to ‘Country 102.5’ over the years and wish them the very best. A new show will be unveiled in the near future.

Lori will continue to be a Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) employee providing traffic reports.”

GM expects to announce a new morning show soon.

Chicago Radio: Piolin Returns on 97.5 Poder FM

W248BB 97.5 PODER FM listeners will wake up to a familiar and much-loved voice with the return of Radio Hall of Famer “PiolĂ­n” to Chicago radio beginning Monday, February 15, 2016, from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Noon.

El Show de Piolin morning show features family-friendly humor with cross-cultural appeal, Regional Mexican music, and interviews with actors, musicians, athletes and other celebrities.

Alfredo Lopez, General Manager, 97.5 PODER FM, said: “We at PODER 97.5 FM are honored to be working with a pristine representative of the radio industry, Mr. Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo. He has always been a top-notch radio talent who dignifies and embodies our Hispanic culture. Piolin is one of the most recognized and valued broadcast leaders for over two decades. We welcome Piolin to our Chicago home, PODER 97.5FM.”

W248BB 97.5 FM (250 watts) Red=Local Coverage
Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, host of El Show de Piolin said: “I am beyond excited to be back with my friends in Chicago and on the all-new 97.5 PODER FM. It feels like I’m coming home and I can’t wait to reconnect with my listener family in one of the greatest cities in the world. We are going to make mornings on 97.5 PODER FM a daily party that can’t be missed—and everyone is invited!“

97.5 FM PODER represents a powerful Mexican Regional format with a blend of music, entertainment and information, targeting Hispanic Adults. As the third highest-ranked Hispanic DMA in the USA, PODER delivers high-impact opportunities for Chicago area listeners and advertisers.

For more information on El Show de Piolin, visit: www.elshowdepiolin.net or contact:   Ed Krampf, Alliance Radio Networks, at: piolin.edrico@gmail.com and 310.909.3226.

Indy Radio: Morning Show Wars Flare-Up

Kristi and Bob
Big changes for "The Bob & Tom Show" recently arrived in two jolts. A surprise came in November when 65-year-old co-founder Bob Kevoian announced he would retire at the end of the year. A shock followed two months later when news director Kristi Lee left the show, saying she planned to pursue “new opportunities.”

Just like that, reports the Indy Star, the National Radio Hall of Fame morning show fueled by funny banter, song parodies and guest comedians lost half of its cast. Co-founder Tom Griswold and sports director Chick McGee are left to beam "Bob & Tom" to more than 100 syndication affiliates from Indianapolis flagship station WFBQ 94.7 FM.

Morning radio shows are not merely competing against one another for listeners. Consumer options include streaming music from Pandora and Spotify, in-depth talk from podcasts, and nearly anything a listener could want from satellite radio and personalized smartphones.

WFBQ isn't the only Indianapolis station sorting out a new morning reality.

In the past year, two classic hip-hop stations and a country station launched in the market. New morning shows emerged at established stations WHHH 96.3 FM and WNTR 107.9 FM. The hosts at WNOW 100.9 FM are the same, but "Mornings with Kyle and Rachel" has been rebranded as "Wakin' Up."

Dave Smiley on WZPL 99.5 FM


The program on a hot streak of listener relatability, and possibly "Bob & Tom's" heir apparent for ratings dominance, is the "Smiley Morning Show" at Top 40 station WZPL 99.5 FM. Both shows follow a formula of strong on-air personalities who interact with listeners through phone calls and social media.

According to Nielsen Audio statistics for 6 to 10 a.m., "Smiley" ranked No. 1 among 18- to 34-year-old listeners during the second and third quarters of 2015. "Bob & Tom" placed first among 25- to 54-year-old listeners during the first and second quarters of 2015, with the third quarter being virtually a dead heat between "Bob & Tom" and "Smiley."

According to Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Research, morning shows rely on fewer preprogrammed bits and fewer fake character voices than shows did 10 years ago.

Ross said hosts also are encouraged to reveal more about their off-air lives and to make "stars" of listeners.

"If there is some connection between the station and the listener, it's harder to write radio off as a utility," said Ross, editor of the Ross on Radio industry newsletter.

Read More Now

Morning radio ratings

Below are Nielsen Audio audience rankings for 6 to 10 a.m. among Indianapolis radio listeners in the third quarter of 2015 (July through September).

25-54 year-old listeners:
1. "The Bob & Tom Show," WFBQ-FM (94.7).
2. "Smiley Morning Show," WZPL-FM (99.5).
3. "Sean Copeland," WYXB-FM (105.7).
4. "Mornings with Dave O'Brien," WLHK-FM (97.1).
5. "Greg Browning," WJJK-FM (104.5).

18-34 year-old listeners
1. "Smiley Morning Show," WZPL-FM (99.5).
2. "Mornings with Dave O'Brien," WLHK-FM (97.1).
3. "Sean Copeland," WYXB-FM (105.7).
4. "Jim, Deb and Kevin in the Morning," WFMS-FM (95.5).
5. "The Bob & Tom Show," WFBQ-FM (94.7).

Listeners ages 6 and older
1. "Tony Katz and the Morning News," WIBC-FM (93.1).
2. "Smiley Morning Show," WZPL-FM (99.5).
3. "The Bob & Tom Show," WFBQ-FM (94.7), and "Sean Copeland," WYXB-FM (105.7).
5. "Greg Browning," WJJK-FM (104.5), and "Mornings with Dave O'Brien," WLHK-FM (97.1).
7. "Jim, Deb and Kevin in the Morning," WFMS-FM (95.5), and "The Morning Mix," WNTR-FM (107.9).

Toronto Radio: Ghomeshi Trial Ends, Defense Cites 'Lies"

Jian Ghomeshi and his attorney Marie Henein
The inconsistencies and lies of the three complainants in the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi must lead to an acquittal of the former CBC Radio host, his defense team argued in court Thursday. But the Crown (prosecution) suggested that the "unshaken" allegations of the women show guilt.

​"You've heard the evidence in this case," Ghomeshi's lawyer Marie Henein said in her closing argument. "And for reasons that we have submitted to you, it is our submission that the evidence in the courtroom falls so far short of proving anything beyond a reasonable doubt, it is so riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities and proven lies under oath that it cannot be said to prove anything.

"It's our respectful submission that Mr. Ghomeshi is not guilty and that he's entitled to an acquittal on all counts."

Ghomeshi, 48, who lives in Toronto, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, all related to alleged assaults from 2002 to 2003. The identities of two of the complainants in the case are protected under a publication ban, but actress Lucy DeCoutere, also an air force captain, went to court to lift the ban on her name.

Canadian Press sketch
The CBC reports...In determining  the credibility and reliability of the witnesses, Henein argued that all three women had withheld information from the police, Crown and the court about their ongoing communications with Ghomeshi. She said it was "deeply troubling" that these details were disclosed at "the 11th hour" before trial and only when there was concern the women would be contradicted by objective evidence.

The first witness had told police and the court she had no subsequent contact with Ghomeshi after two alleged attacks but later acknowledged she sent him two emails and a picture of her in a bikini more than a year later. The woman said she sent the emails to bait him into calling her to explain his actions.

DeCoutere had told the court that she had no romantic interest in Ghomeshi after her alleged assault, and would only see him at industry functions.

But it was later revealed in court that hours after the alleged sexual assault, she had sent him an email saying she wanted to have sex with him, and sent him a handwritten letter days later saying she was sad they didn't spend the night together.

Peoria Radio: WXCL Raises $60K+ For St. Jude

John and Jaymie
Alpha Media, Peoria’s WXCL 104.9 FM The Wolf  announced that John and Jaymie’s St. Jude Radiothon raised $64,881 and brought in 127 new Partners In Hope.

This was the 26th year of John and Jaymie’s Radiothon for St. Jude. By using various social media platforms, including Facebook’s live stream, they were able to reach people out of state who also made contributions. In addition to Wolf’s morning show co-hosts, John Young and Jaymie Gordon other Wolf personalities, “Dr.” Chris Michaels and Joe Greenwood chipped in as well to make an impact.

Alpha Media Executive VP of Programming, Scott Mahalick commented on the announcement, “I’m deeply touched to see the outpouring in Peoria in such a generous way. The 104.9 The Wolf listeners are always willing to come together and support those in need.”

Alpha Media Program Director, “Dr.” Chris Michaels commented on the announcement, “I can’t say enough about the family we are, and the families we strive to help…which when you think about it, they are all our family and we have their backs. We heard success stories that made us smile and laugh, and we heard stories where we couldn’t stop crying…but most of all, we heard stories of HOPE.”

Augusta ME Radio: WMME Morning Host Jon James Retires

Jon James gets up at 3:30 a.m. each workday and is on the air at WMME 92.3 FM Moose 90 minutes later. After more than 25 years, he’ll do that for the final time on Friday.

“I wanted it to be meaningful when I left, and I wanted to go out on my own terms,” James, 54, said from the conference room at the station’s offices on Western Avenue in Augusta. “I put so much time into this morning show for so long, and I sometimes wonder why (the station) kept me for so long.”

He said the thing he’ll miss the most about the morning show is the interaction with listeners at the Top 40 station and his two on-air partners, Mac Dickson and Renee Nelson.

“I’m going to miss it severely,” James told the Press-Herald. “It’s one of those things that gets in your blood, and I’m very grateful and thankful.”

Sometimes, James said, he listens to himself and wonders what has kept him on the air so long. He said he has had free rein on the morning show and has never had anybody tell him what he could or couldn’t do.

“I like relating to people, and that’s always been the thing about this radio station,” he said. “I’ve had no preconceived notion or false ego about how good I am.”

Dickson and Nelson, both of whom have more than 20 years at the station, will continue hosting the morning show beginning Monday. Dickson, the station’s operations manager, said James’ voice is a big one that will be missed.


Growing up, James played ‘radio’ in his bedroom. He said he started in the business when he was still in high school with the hopes of becoming a radio star.

He started working in Augusta in 1979 and had several offers to move to bigger markets in Oklahoma and Vermont, but once he got to 92 Moose 25 years ago, he knew he had found a home.

R.I.P.: Indy Sports Voice Chuck Marlowe

Chuck Marlowe
Chuck Marlowe, a longtime Indianapolis sportscaster best known as the host of "The Bob Knight Show," which ran weekly for 29 years, died early Thursday at age 86, his son John Marlowe confirmed.

The Indy Star reports Marlowe had been suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, which severely damaged his lungs.

Marlowe's popularity blossomed, in part, because of his versatility. On the local sports scene, if there was an event, it seemed Marlowe was part of it. He spent 41 years as a pit reporter for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500.

"You didn't grow up following Indiana sports without him," said Jake Query, who grew up in Indianapolis and now is an IMS turn reporter and co-host of the "Query & Schultz" afternoon sports radio show on WNDE-AM (1260) and -FM (97.5). "A true icon."


R.I.P.: KBCE, KMXH Personality Roosevelt Polk

Roosevelt Polk
Roosevelt Polk, best known as 'RJ the Bad Boy', died Wednesday. He was an on-air staff at HipHop KBCE 102.3 FM  and Urban KMXH MIX 93.9 FM in Alexandria, LA.

He started at 102.3 in 1988, and later became a host on MIX 93's 'Southern Soul Party' show, both of JWBP Broadcasting. Operations Manager Terence Brown released this statement to News Channel 5:
"We here at JWBP Broadcasting sincerely regret the loss of Roosevelt Polk “RJ the Bad Boy”. The dedication and joy that was given to the staff and listeners will be missed. He was a true radio professional and unique air-personality of many years. We ask for prayers for his friends and family."
Further information about his cause of death has not been confirmed.

February 12 Radio History



In 1904...Radio, TV host Ted Mack was born William Edward Maguiness in Greeley Colorado.

Mack succeeded Major Bowes as host of The Original Amateur Hour for the period 1948-52 on radio, and until 1970 on TV.  His discoveries include Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, & Teresa Brewer.  He also hosted TV’s Ted Mack Family Hour, a show similar to Ed Sullivan.  Mack died July 12, 1976 at age 72


In 1909,...singer/producer Barry Wood was born in New Haven Conn. He was the singing star of radio’s Lucky Strike Hit Parade in the early 40’s just ahead of Frank Sinatra, and went on to perform in lesser-known radio shows.  In the TV era he was host of several shows including Places Please & Backstage with Barry Wood, and producer for The Bell Telephone Hour & Wide Wide World.   He died July 19 1970 at age 61.

Del Shabutt

In 1912..one of the great announce voices of bigtime radio Del Sharbutt was born in Cleburne Texas.


He became a staff announcer for CBS Radio in 1933, and is best remembered as spokesman for Campbell’s Soup (“Mmm mmm Good!”) beginning in the ’30’s.  He was also TV announcer for Your Hit Parade, and worked until retirement in 1976 as newscaster for the Mutual Radio network.

He died April 26, 2002 at the ripe old age of 90.


In 1924…"The Eveready Hour," paid for by the National Carbon Company which at the time owned Eveready Battery, became radio's first commercially sponsored network program. It originated from WEAF (later to be WNBC and now WFAN) in New York City and was hosted for many years by the banjo-playing vocalist Wendell Hall.

Calvin Coolidge
In 1924...Calvin Coolidge, known by many as the “Silent President”, made the first US presidential political speech on radio. The speech originated from New York City and was broadcast on five radio stations. Some five million people tuned in to hear the President speak.


In 1940…"The Adventures of Superman," with Bud Collyer in the title role, began its 11-year run on radio as a syndicated show on New York City's WOR. It became a network show on Mutual in August 1942 as a 15-minute serial airing three to five times a week.


St. John, Age 18

In 1951...New York City Radio Personality, Pat St. John, was born. Most notably known for his airwork on WPLJ-FM.

St. John is one of the U.S.'s preeminent and longest serving radio personalities and voice-over artists.

Known as The Dee-Jay’s DJ, he began his radio career on Windsor, Ontario's CKLW 800 AM in 1969 and '70, followed by WKNR 1300 AM in late 1970 to early '72, followed by WRIF 101.1 FM to April 1973.



Pat is best known for his work in the New York City market on WPLJ, WNEW-FM, WAXQ and WCBS FM where he is currently on the air every Sunday from 11AM to 3PM.



He can also be heard on several Sirius XM Radio channels, including 60s on 6 afternoons (Eastern).



Pat has done extensive television voiceover work, including announcing for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve from 2000 to 2010.

St. John is known for his conversational on-air style with interspersed bits of music trivia, along with "Collectible Cuts" from his extensive record library. Pat has been called a "walking encyclopedia" when it comes to his knowledge of music.

Over the years Pat has had the opportunity to interview all his heroes, from Little Richard to The Beatles, from Eric Clapton to The Rolling Stones, from B.B. King, Freddie King and Buddy Guy to those who he has become friends with like Bob Seger, Leon Russell, and Johnnie Johnson ("Father of Rock'n'Roll" who played piano on almost all of Chuck Berry's recordings and in fact hired Chuck Berry to join his band).





In 1964...The Beatles concert at Carnegie Hall with WMCA 570 AM Good Guys. The late promoter Sid Bernstein speaks about Brian Epstein , The Beatles , their first trip to America in 1964 and Carnegie Hall


In 1999...Baseball broadcaster Jimmy Dudley, play-by-play voice of the Cleveland Indians for nearly two decades and the lead announcer for the short-lived Seattle Pilots in 1969, died at age 89.




In 2015...Longtime L-A Radio personality (KMPC, KFI, KIIS FM, KFWB and KKGO in Los Angeles and KEWB in San Francisco)/TV announcer (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Gong Show, Sesame Street)/actor (Midnight Cowboy, The Love Bug, Diggin' Up Business, Border to Border)/cartoon voicist (Garfield and Friends, Roger Ramjet, Eek! The Cat) Gary Owens died of complications from diabetes at age 80.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Westwood One Rewards Mark Levin With 'Lifetime' Extension

Westwood One announces that Mark Levin will continue his eponymous talk show for many years to come, as The Mark Levin Show has now been extended through 2025. Levin, one of the most important, popular, and trusted voices in radio, is always at the top of the political conversation.  Indeed, his name has been invoked by candidates throughout the presidential primary process during the debates and at campaign rallies.

The Mark Levin Show -- which not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution -- continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show, including WABC-AM/New York; KRLA-AM/Los Angeles; WLS-AM/Chicago; KSFO-AM/San Francisco; WBAP-AM/Dallas; KTRH-AM/Houston; WMAL-AM/Washington, DC; WJR-AM/Detroit; and WNTP-AM/Philadelphia.

Levin said, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years -- an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry -- I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.”

“We couldn't be more pleased to announce this lifetime agreement with Mark,” added Bart Tessler, Westwood One EVP, News & Talk. “To know that we'll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin Show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark's tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis."

UMG Exec: Country Radio Still Strong

Mike Dungan
Universal Music Group Nashville CEO and Chairman Mike Dungan first joined the Country Radio Seminar board of directors 15 years ago, thinking he’d serve for a year or two and then step off.

Dungan, who was running newcomer Capitol Nashville at the time, said his appointment to the board was noteworthy because he was the first label president ever on the CRS board. CRS, which wrapped up on Wednesday, is an annual seminar in which radio executives meet with Music Row leaders to discuss issues facing country radio.

Fast forward 15 years and Dungan is still on the board, which he called the “singularly most important thing” in keeping country music and country radio as special as they are.

Dungan talked with Tennessean music business reporter Nate Rau about the state of country radio, concerns about how young millennials consume music and whether the ascension of Chris Stapleton is a game-changer for the industry.

What are your views on the health of country radio right now?

People have been predicting the decline of regular broadcast radio in the face of all these new technologies for several years now and it’s stronger than it’s ever been. I think every bit of research we’ve seen shows that the primary way people intersect with music and learn about music is still radio.

There’s some somewhat puzzling information that the very, very young end of the millennials that shows they’re not intersecting with radio. They’re using online services and digital services almost exclusively rather than radio. But what we’ve yet to see is will they carry those patterns of behavior forward with them as they get older, or will they go back and become consumers of broadcast radio when they get a certain age. We don’t know that yet. It’s the first generation we’ve had a chance to look at.

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Twitter Disappoints Investors

(Reuters) -- Twitter Inc reported its first quarter with no growth in users since it went public, stoking fresh concerns on how long it will take for the company to reverse the trend.

The stalled growth in the average number of active monthly users came despite a series of changes to make Twitter easier and more engaging.

While the company said it is taking additional steps - including launching changes to the timeline of tweets earlier Wednesday - it told investors not to expect immediate results.

"Our work will take time" before the company can create long-term shareholder value, said Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani on a call with analysts.

Twitter shares fell in after-hours trading as its revenue forecast for the current quarter missed analysts' expectations. They were down 2.5 percent after a call with analysts ended.

The company's share price has declined more than 50 percent since Jack Dorsey, one of the founders, returned to Twitter in July. They closed up 4 percent at $14.98 in regular trade.

"The platform's overall growth is underwhelming," said Randy Guisto, vice president and lead analyst with Outsell, a research and advisory firm. "They have plateaued and can't look to India or China as those markets are dominated by messaging apps like WhatsApp, as well as Apple and Google's proprietary, pre-installed platforms."

The microblogging service forecast first-quarter revenue of between $595 million and $610 million, well below the average analyst estimate of $627.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Twitter said in a filing it had 320 million average monthly active users in the quarter, unchanged from the third quarter and lagging a forecast for 323 million users from RBC Capital Markets.

But Dorsey said that monthly active usage in January "has bounced back to Q3 levels."

Facing slowing user growth, Twitter has been experimenting under Dorsey, who became interim CEO in July and then CEO in October, to make its website more engaging.

The change to the timeline made Wednesday is the most dramatic since his return. Twitter is altering the way it displays tweets on its home page - customizing them to individual users.

The change is designed to appeal to advertisers by giving more prominence to tweets that advertisers pay for.

It is not clear whether the new timeline will work. Guisto said that "so far beta testing comments are not favorable. So far, we don't see these changes attracting new users."

Van Wiemer (@shidolido) tweeted on Wednesday: "Twitter strongest trait was getting news up-to-date. Popular tweets on timeline are of no use. Users are leaving, soon me. #RIPTwitter."

On Wednesday, the hashtag #RIPTwitter was used roughly 20 times per minute, according to social media analytic firm Zoomph. The hashtag had previously been the top trending item in the U.S. on Twitter over the weekend, when rumors of the changes first emerged.

"Can only assume @Jack has had a bet with Marissa Mayer who can bankrupt their company first. #RIPTwitter #Yahoo," tweeted Matthew O. Edwards (@Matt_Edwards95).



And some analysts have said the earlier efforts, including Moments, which showcases Twitter's best tweets and content, have not taken off.

"It's still unclear how Twitter will monetize Moments. Most likely it will be some form of sponsored or native ads wrapped around individual moments," said Guisto.

An exodus of some top executives last month added to concerns about its ability to reignite growth. The departures came as investors have already raised concerns about Dorsey's dual role as CEO of mobile payments company Square Inc.

"We have a structure that allows me to see what's happening in the week (at Twitter and Square)," Dorsey told analysts. "We set off the week together at both companies and we have checkpoints and then the balance of my time is really spent on recruiting."

Revenue rose 48.3 percent to $710.5 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

Twitter's net loss shrank to $90.2 million, or 13 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $125.4 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, it earned 16 cents per share.

Analysts had expected a profit of 12 cents per share on revenue of $709.9 million.

(Reporting By Lehar Maan in Bengaluru and Amy Tennery, Gina Cherelus and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Rodney Joyce, Stephen R. Trousdale and Bernard Orr)

Media Stocks Caught In Downdraft

Four big media companies -- Walt Disney, Comcast, Time Warner and Viacom -- continued to feel the effect of sharply lower stock prices on Wednesday.

After a day when Viacom lost 21%, it took another 4.7% decline on Wednesday to close at $31.37. Walt Disney sank 3.8% to $88.85. On Tuesday, before it released its quarterly earnings, Disney was slightly up 0.2% -- before sinking over 4% in aftermarket trading.

Comcast Corp. -- owner of NBCUniversal -- lost 4.1% to $55.81, after declines earlier in the week. On Monday it had been trading at the high of $60. Time Warner closed down 5% to $60.07. On Monday it opened at $67.81.

But two other big media companies did not suffer to the same degree -- 21st Century Fox was up 0.8% to $24.33; CBS, adding 0.5% to $42.88.

Media Post reports analysts point to some concerns over future weaker affiliate revenue for media companies with established cable networks.

The Dow Jones U.S. Broadcasting & Entertainment Index declined 2% on the day to 960.61. That index has been down 6% since the close of the markets on February 4.

Since early August, when Disney first disclosed subscriber declines for its ESPN network, the index has declined 20%.

What unites all of the companies is the specter of cord cutting.

While only a small number of American homes have stopped paying for cable entirely, CNN reports some have opted for smaller packages -- so-called "skinny bundles" -- that don't automatically include channels like ESPN.

Wall Street analysts sometimes call this "cord shaving." It has pinched the bottom lines of media companies that depend on per-subscriber revenue for their channels.

Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors Tuesday that "in the past couple of months we have actually seen an uptick in the ESPN subs, which is encouraging."

Year-over-year, however, there has been a decline in the number of homes receiving ESPN. Disney has not provided exact figures.

Iger and other media executives have decried over-the-top predictions about an impending unspooling of the cable bundle. The business is fundamentally healthy, they say, as most households see the value of a monthly cable plus broadband subscription.

Iger said Tuesday that the predictions are "more dire than they should be."