Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Buffett: Most Newspapers Are...

Warren Buffett, the man behind a print-media empire that includes the Buffalo News and Omaha World-Herald, doesn’t think most newspapers can be saved, reports Bloomberg.

The decline of advertising gradually turned the newspaper industry “from monopoly to franchise to competitive,” the billionaire chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. And now most newspapers are “toast.”

Warren Buffett
“The world has changed hugely,” Buffett said in the interview with Yahoo Finance, which will serve as the livestream host for Berkshire’s shareholder meeting.

The bleak outlook echoes Buffett’s remarks at last year’s annual meeting, when he lamented the state of the newspaper industry. Berkshire’s BH Media, which owns papers across the country, has been cutting jobs to cope with declining advertising revenue.

Berkshire struck a deal last year for Lee Enterprises Inc., which owns papers including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to manage its newspapers and digital operations in 30 markets.

Buffett, 88, said last year that it wasn’t of much economic consequence to Berkshire because the company bought its papers at “reasonable” prices.

Readers sought out newspapers when they were packed with ads about bargains, jobs and apartments, Buffett said. But Craigslist and other sites have taken over that role.

By 2016, the newspaper industry’s ad revenue was nearly a third of what it was a decade before, falling to $18 billion from $49 billion, according to Pew Research Center.

Not all papers are doomed, though. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal will survive, he said.

Twitter’s Tweaks Boost Earnings

Twitter Inc. reported record daily users and rising profit on Tuesday, signs that the company’s product tweaks are stabilizing the business, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The number of daily users rose 6% in the first quarter to 134 million from 126 million in the previous three months, driven primarily by strength in international markets.

Revenue rose 18% to $787 million in the first quarter, up from $665 million a year earlier. The result was a sequential decline from the fourth quarter, which is typically the heaviest spending period for advertisers, but topped analyst projections of $774 million, according to FactSet.

Net income in the first quarter increased to $191 million, from $61 million a year earlier, and marked the company’s sixth consecutive quarter of profitability after years of sustained losses.

Central to Twitter’s changes is an effort to promote healthy discourse, after the company has struggled to rein in toxic behavior.

The company is also trying to make the platform more conversational.

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said his company is now taking a more proactive approach to addressing abuse and its effects on the platform.

Earlier this month, Twitter announced that it was using technology to proactively surface abusive tweets to its teams for review. Previously, Twitter users had to flag offending tweets before the company would remove them. Now, about 38% of abusive content that Twitter takes down is surfaced by the machine learning algorithms.

Nielsen Joins Census Discussion

Nielsen is getting into the 2020 census fight because of the Trump Administration’s effort to add a controversial citizenship question, according to MediaPost.

“If the government is successful in adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, the census will contain flawed data that will have far-reaching consequences for U.S. commerce and media, retail and consumer packaged-goods businesses,” writes David Kenny, CEO, Nielsen.

Almost 20 states, many of the nation's largest cities, and immigrant rights groups say the question would make immigrants reluctant to respond to census takers, resulting in an under-count of the population.

Kenny adding this new question will mean “participation in the census will be suppressed, causing a significant under-count... Billions of dollars follow these counts.”

Nielsen filed a “friend of the court” brief with the Supreme Court supporting the exclusion of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Kenny says Nielsen relies on the U.S. census data, using it at a town-by-town, block-by-block level to determine the makeup of its measurement panels that include race, age, gender, socioeconomic class, and other characteristics.

He says it “allows us to project the ratings of a particular piece of video content, the market share of a beverage manufacturer, or what products to stock and where to site physical stores.”

Entercom Issues $300M Senior Secured Second-Lien Notes Offering

Entercom Communications Corp. announced today that Entercom Media Corp. (formerly CBS Radio Inc.), its wholly owned subsidiary, plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2027.

The Issuer expects to use the net proceeds of the offering, cash on hand and availability under its revolving credit facility to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

The Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors.

The Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Notes will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act and to certain persons outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act.

The Notes have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act, any state securities laws or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration.

Listening to Podcasts Becoming A Habit

In this week’s Westwood One blog, Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2019 study serves as the guideline for predicting the future of podcasting habituation. By following the 20-year history of audio streaming trends, the posting outlines the bright future for podcasting habituation as it continues to grow as a major part of the American audio experience.

Key Highlights:
  • Habituation ratio = weekly listeners divided by monthly audience: The “habituation ratio,” or the ratio between monthly and weekly audiences, is a simple way to determine if media habits are forming.
  • For audio streaming, it took decades to build into a weekly habit: It has taken nearly 20 years for audio streaming weekly audiences to represent 90% of monthly listening.
  • Podcast audiences are getting in the listening habit: The habituation ratio of monthly to weekly listening has been growing steadily, even as the monthly podcast audience has nearly tripled. Podcast habituation has grown from the mid-50% range in 2013/2014 to 69% in 2019.

Podcast reach and habituation are both up: Since monthly and weekly podcast audiences are growing, it is likely that habituation will also grow significantly.

SiriusXM Radio: Compensation Figures For Key Execs Disclosed

Jim Meyer
Compensation figures for key executives of SiriusXM have bee listed in a regulatory filing made Monday.

Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer earned $17.6 million in 2018, up from $9.7 million the year prior, the company said.

Scott Greenstein, the firm's chief content officer, was compensated with $19 million in 2018, up from $4.2 million. Most of the executive's compensation came by way of stock awards.

Jennifer Witz, president of sales, marketing and operations, scored $5.5 million, up from $4.6 million, while CFO David Frear made $16 million, up from $3.7 million, courtesy of $9 million in stock awards and $3 million in options.

Dara Altman, the chief administration officer, earned $7.5 million, up from $2 million, also mostly by way of stock and options.

KS Radio: Martha Triana To Manage AMP Cluster

Martha Triana
Wichita based Allied Media Partners (AMP) has hired Martha Triana as General Manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of their six station radio network, which included Adult Hits KIBB 97.1 FM, Triple A KVWF 100.5 FM, Classic Country KKGQ 92.3 FM and Rhythmic AC KWME 92.7 FM in Wichita, as well as AC KLEY- 1130 AM / 1003 FM in Wellington and Adult Hits KKLE 1559 AM in Winfield, KS.

Triana, a 19 year radio veteran has recently served as the business manager for Rocking M Media Wichita and served in a similar capacity with Connoisseur Media. Triana has human resources and accounting experience with Clear Channel Radio.

“To find a Wichita native with the experience, leadership and passion for local radio was paramount to lead this organization,” said CEO, Matt Baty. “Martha is deeply rooted in this community and vested in the success and growth of Wichita and most importantly understands the role a Wichita based radio company has in our city.”

Matt Baty
Allied Media Partners is locally owned and operated by long time Wichita residents Matt Baty and Tommy Castor. With this acquisition, AMP becomes the only locally owned media company with multiple FM Stations in the Wichita market. AMP believes the opportunity to acquire a cluster of radio stations in their own backyard, brings radio back to the grassroots level where it belongs. Identifying local talent is the first key.

“Being a lifelong Wichitan, I am honored and excited to be part of a company so focused on the local community,” said Triana. “Over the course of my almost 20 year radio career I have watched radio as a whole go from live and local to very buttoned up and corporate. Somewhere along the way the intimate connection to the local audience was lost. With all of my immediate and extend family here, I am proud to call Wichita home and I am looking forward to strengthening that very important local relationship with both our listeners and advertisers.”

Danver Radio: KKFN Adds Neil Ferguson, Promotes Cecil Lammey

Bonneville Denver announced Monday that Nick Ferguson will be joining Sports Radio KKFN 104.3 The Fan as a full-time on-air talent.

Neil Ferguson
“The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. until noon, starting April 29. In addition, Cecil Lammey was named digital talent for 1043TheFan.com.

Ferguson was a safety in the National Football League for 10 seasons, including five with the Denver Broncos from 2003-2007. He also played for the New York Jets and Houston Texans. He comes to Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan after spending the 2018 NFL season as an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to that, Ferguson participated in coaching internships with the 49ers, Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, and Houston Texans.

“The city of Denver and its fans have always held a special place in my heart,” Ferguson said. “Being a part of an organization with similar values enticed me to join the Bonneville family. As the community gets to know me, they’ll see my mission has always been about helping others.”

“Nick is an absolute ball of energy that Broncos Country is going to fall in love with,” said Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “In his playing days with the Broncos, he would interact with fans and teammates while stretching at training camp. He called it ‘The Nick Ferguson Show,’ and it was often the most entertaining time of practice. Nick’s time as a recent NFL coach and former Broncos player combined with his incredible charisma makes him an extremely unique and valuable addition to our team.”

Cecil Lammey
He brings radio experience from NFL on TuneIn, NBC Sports Radio, 790 The Zone in Atlanta, and 980 The Beast in Los Angeles. Ferguson has also written for The Players’ Tribune and worked as a youth and high school ambassador for the NFL. Previously, he participated in the NFL’s Broadcast Bootcamp, a program to assist NFL players in developing skills for post-playing careers in media.

“The Safety Blitz with Nick Ferguson” will be co-hosted by John Davis. Davis has been with Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan since the summer of 2018, hosting and filling in for a variety of different programs.

Lammey’s new role as digital talent will allow him to focus on creating content for 1043TheFan.com and Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan’s social media platforms.

“I am beyond excited to be at the cutting edge of exciting changes coming to 1043TheFan.com,” Lammey said. “With all of our various digital platforms, I’ll be able to bring fans inside the game of football in fascinating new ways.”

“Cecil has an aptitude for compelling digital content,” said 1043TheFan.com digital editor James Merilatt. “Fans will see, hear, and read Cecil’s thoughts on the Broncos, fantasy football, the NFL Draft, and eSports across our many digital channels.”

Mike Pritchard, who previously co-hosted with Lammey, will remain with Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan in a fill-in role, allowing him to focus on his small business.

Lincoln Radio: KFRX Morning Host Facing Felony Charges

Matt Rydberg
Lincoln radio personality Matt McKay has been charged with felony strangulation.

Matthew Rydberg, 41, better known as Matt McKay, the host of Matt McKay Mornings on  CHR KFRX 106.3, was arrested on the charge Sunday.

According to court documents, Rydberg cut off breathing to his 46-year-old wife by grabbing her throat. She told police that Rydberg pushed down on her neck and she was unable to breathe. He also pushed her face, hit her nose and shoved her. Police say she had areas of redness and scratches.

He was arrested around 2:30 a.m. at his home. Rydberg was reportedly drunk, according to KLKN-TV8.

A judge set his bond at $25,000 after Rydberg's attorney argued his client had a "very limited" criminal history and was not a flight risk.

The charge carries penalties of up to three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Alpha Media, owner of KFRX, released a statement:
"Matt Rydberg (McKay) is currently on leave. In light of recent news, Alpha’s main concern is for Matt and his family. We ask the public and media to respect their privacy. Alpha Media does not comment on internal personnel issues and has no further comment at this time."

Premiere Networks Promotes George D Prayias

Premiere Networks has promoted George D. Prayias to Vice President of Digital for "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

George D Prayias
He joined Premiere and Limbaugh in 2000 when he launched the original website for the program. Previously, Prayias spent close to a decade in television and was one of the original producers at FOX News Channel, present at the network's launch in 1996. He first met Limbaugh as a member of the production staff on the syndicated "Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show."

In his new position, Prayias will continue to oversee all digital content for "The Rush Limbaugh Show," including social media, RushLimbaugh.com and The Rush Limbaugh Show app. Based in New York, Prayias will continue to report to Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott.

"This is a well-deserved promotion," said Talbott. "George has been a valuable member of The Rush Limbaugh Show team for nearly 20 years. His vision and leadership have been instrumental to the continued growth and success of Rush's digital business, and helping maintain the award-wining program's industry-leading status."

Townsquare Media Names Kristin Roderick VP/Sales Partnerships

Townsquare Media has promoted Kristin Roderick to Vice President Partnership Sales for New Jersey, reporting to Townsquare Senior Vice President Rob Williams.

Kristin Roderick
As head of New Jersey Partnership Sales, Roderick will identify and lead the Company's top revenue opportunities in the region and work in partnership with local management and account executives to strategize effective and cutting-edge marketing solutions for Townsquare's regional clients.

"No media company has a stronger platform in New Jersey than Townsquare to help our clients achieve their marketing objectives. I'm looking forward to leveraging Townsquare's dynamic and diversified marketing platform, to help some of the biggest and best agencies and businesses in the area accomplish their goals and increase their business," said Roderick.

"Townsquare believes we win when our clients win; and, Kristin has a long track record of understanding how to develop solutions in partnership with advertisers to deliver needed results. With her extensive marketing knowledge and market experience, Kristin is the ideal person to lead this important effort in New Jersey," said Williamas.

Roderick joined Townsquare in November of 2017 as their Director of Regional Partnerships. She has held General Sales Manager and Director of Agency Sales positions at iHeart NYC and a Senior Account Executive position at Emmis Communications NYC.

L-A Radio: KIIS-FM Unveild Line-up For Wango Tango

iHeartMedia will kick off the summer with the 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango Presented by The JUVÉDERM Collection of Dermal Fillers hosted by Ryan Seacrest featuring performances from today’s hottest artists including Jonas Brothers, Halsey, 5 Seconds of Summer, Zedd, Ally Brooke with Special Guest Tyga, Ava Max, Fletcher andTOMORROW X TOGETHER, with more to be announced.

 iHeartRadio Wango Tango will be held at the Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center and home of the LA Chargers and the LA Galaxy, in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 1.

Freeform will exclusively broadcast a 90-minute television special on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In addition, LiveXLive will livestream the concert exclusively for fans nationwide on livexlive.com, and the event will also broadcast live via iHeartMedia radio stations throughout the country in 100 markets. The KIIS CLUB VIP Pre-Sale will begin Thursday, May 2 at 10 a.m. PT. All remaining tickets will be available to the general public on Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. PT via axs.com.

“Year after year, Wango Tango has been one of Los Angeles’s must-see events, bringing today’s biggest artists together on one stage for an unforgettable evening,” said John Ivey, President of CHR Programming Strategies for iHeartMedia and KIIS FM. “We look forward to bringing this iconic event to music fans nationwide through our continued relationship with Freeform as our television partner, and through our live broadcast on iHeartRadio stations and stream on LiveXLive.”

Lawsuit Cites Lack of Diversity in Radio, TV Ownership

Free Press, the Massachusetts-based nonpartisan organization that fights for the right to connect and communicate along with several allies, filed a reply brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on April 12, challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal and relaxation of several of its broadcast-ownership rules that limit media consolidation.

According to The Washington Informer, Free Press and its allies argue that under the administration of President Donald Trump, the FCC has, among other things, acted to exclude minorities from equal access to broadcast and media licenses and has used absurdly stringent qualifications requirements to keep minorities out of the licensing process.

In filing the lawsuit, Free Press officials said they’re seeking to increase the quantity, quality and responsiveness of local news on TV, radio and in newspapers, particularly for racial minorities and women.

In the reply brief, Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America, Free Press, the Media Mobilizing Project, the Prometheus Radio Project and the United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc., reject claims by FCC lawyers and broadcasters that the groups lack legal standing to bring this case against the agency.

According to a news release, the groups state that the FCC has failed to meet its statutory obligation to promote race and gender diversity in broadcast-media ownership.

This failure is reflected in data showing that women and people of color are woefully underrepresented among broadcast-license holders — exacerbated by agency policies that carelessly promote further broadcast-ownership consolidation, and by the agency’s failure to consider how consolidation affects ownership opportunities for women and people of color, the organizations stated in the release.

April 23 Radio History

➦In 1936...
singer Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas. His biggest hit was “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which stayed at No. 1 for three weeks in 1964. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and died of a heart attack on Dec. 6, 1988, in Madison, Tenn., at age 52.

➦In 1995...Radio, TV sportscaster and personality Howard Cosell died of a heart embolism at age 77 (Born Howard William Cohen  March 25, 1918). He was most prominent and influential on radio, television and print media from the early 1960s into the mid 1980s.

Cosell was an union attorney in NYC and some of his clients were actors, and some were athletes, including Willie Mays. Cosell's own hero in athletics was Jackie Robinson, who served as a personal and professional inspiration to him in his career. Cosell also represented the Little League of New York, when in 1953 an ABC Radio manager asked him to host a show on New York flagship WABC featuring Little League participants. The show marked the beginning of a relationship with WABC and ABC Radio that would last his entire broadcasting career.

Cosell hosted the Little League show for three years without pay, and then decided to leave the law field to become a full-time broadcaster. He approached Robert Pauley, President of ABC Radio, with a proposal for a weekly show. Pauley told him the network could not afford to develop untried talent, but he would be put on the air if he would get a sponsor. To Pauley's surprise, Cosell came back with a relative's shirt company as a sponsor, and "Speaking of Sports" was born.

Cosell took his "tell it like it is" approach when he teamed with the ex-Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher "Big Numba Thirteen" Ralph Branca on WABC's pre- and post-game radio shows of the New York Mets in their nascent years beginning in 1962. He pulled no punches in taking members of the hapless expansion team to task.

Otherwise on radio, Cosell did his show, Speaking of Sports, as well as sports reports and updates for affiliated radio stations around the country; he continued his radio duties even after he became prominent on television. Cosell then became a sports anchor at WABC-TV in New York, where he served in that role from 1961 to 1974. He expanded his commentary beyond sports to a radio show entitled "Speaking of Everything".

Cosell's style of reporting very much transformed sports broadcasting. Whereas previous sportscasters had mostly been known for color commentary and lively play-by-play, Cosell had an intellectual approach. His use of analysis and context arguably brought television sports reporting very close to the kind of in-depth reporting one expected from "hard" news reporters. At the same time, however, his distinctive staccato voice, accent, syntax, and cadence were a form of color commentary all their own.

➦In 2004…Bill Brundige, a member of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and a fixture on Southland radio and television stations for three decades, has died. He was 89.

Bill Brundige
Brundige served as play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, of the Pacific Coast League. He also worked with Bob Kelly on Los Angeles Ram broadcasts and Chick Hearn on Laker broadcasts. Twice he was awarded the Golden Mike as the top sports broadcaster in Southern California.

Born in Chattanooga, Tenn., Brundige served as West Coast sports director for the Armed Forces Radio Network during World War II and received the Helms Athletic Foundation award for his entertainment contributions to the men and women serving in the Pacific.

Later, Brundige was an announcer for baseball's Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators, and football's Detroit Lions. It was Phil Wrigley, owner of the Cubs, who brought Brundige to Southern California to broadcast games for the Angels, a minor league team that had the name long before Gene Autry purchased an American League expansion team that began play in 1961.

He retired after ending a broadcasting career of more than 40 years with a talk show on Anaheim's KEZY.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Cord Cutters May Get Access To NFL's Sunday Ticket

Last week AT&T announced that they are dropping the NFL Network from DIRECTV NOW and U-verse TV. According to reports, this comes as AT&T and the NFL are in talks about the future of the NFL Sunday Ticket service.

NFL Sunday Ticket allows subscribers to watch out of market NFL games. It has for some time only be available if you are also a DIRECTV subscriber. Now the NFL is looking at taking an out in the contract that would allow them to take back rights from AT&T to sell NFL Sunday Ticket through other providers.

Now, reports Cord Cutters News,  the NFL is in talks with both Amazon and Disney to offer NFL Sunday Ticket. Amazon has recently been offering NFL Thursday Night NFL games through Amazon Prime. Disney has ESPN+ a $5 a month subscription streaming service that they would like to expand.

Back in March 2019, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opened up about the future of NFL Sunday Ticket. “We’re having great discussions with DirecTV and AT&T,” Goodell said. “We’ve had a 25-year partnership and we want to continue that partnership, but we also are looking to see how we can change the delivery.”

“We’re looking to make sure that we continue to deliver this package, which is a premium package of great content,” Goodell said. “We want it delivered on several different platforms.”

Report: Average Radio Station Billed $256K In Digital Ad Revenue

The average radio station in the U.S. billed $256,321 in digital ad revenue in 2018 while the average market cluster of stations booked $1.15 million, according to new data from Borrell Associates. But averages are just that and there is a broad range of revenues per station based on market size and the importance the group attaches to its digital efforts.

In the smallest markets, the average digital revenue per station was just $48,258, but rose 14 times higher in the largest markets, ringing in at $688,313 in 2018. Growth rates last year also varied by market size, with a general trend of large-market stations seeing slower growth than smaller-market stations. For example, markets ranked 201 to 300 experienced a 32% growth rate from 2017 to 2018 but started from a much smaller base. Stations in the largest markets, where digital revenues are more robust, rose by a more modest 6%. The Borrell data shows growth rates generally increased as market size decreased: Markets 21 to 50 improved 8%, markets 51 to 100 ticked up 9% and markets 101 to 200 jumped 17%.

The reason why large-market stations are seeing slower growth than smaller-market stations can be summed up in one word: competition. “There's a helluva lot of competition in larger markets, and the product set is diverse and sophisticated,” Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell told InsideRadio. “In cities on the fringe of a TV market area, you won't find TV and cable competitors plying the market with digital products, and you'll sometimes also find the local newspaper asleep at the wheel.”

The new numbers are from Borrell’s “2019 Benchmarking Local Media’s Digital Revenues,” which tracks digital revenue for newspapers, radio, TV, cable, yellow pages and internet pure-play companies.

Pulling back to look at digital revenue for market clusters, Borrell found the average ranged from $204,485 for small-market clusters to $3.25 million for large markets. Keep in mind that the median is typically about half as much as the average. “In most market groupings, about 60% of the market clusters get less than the average amount, indicating that averages are driven higher by a minority of high-performing stations,” the report says.

NYC Radio: Mike Francesa Makes 'Last' Comment About Ratings

WFAN's Mike Francesa
WFAN 660 AM / 101.9 FM host Mike Francesa tweeted over the weekend for 'the last time' about how the most recent ratings in his battle with WEPN's Michael Kay.

The NY Post reports he didn’t specifically state what the way is, but when the winter ratings books came out earlier this week Francesa said on his show that the number needs to include streaming.

By including the streaming numbers, Francesa beats the ESPN 98.7 FM’s “The Michael Kay Show” in the ratings, 6.2-5.9 in the Men 25-54 demographic. Without it, Francesa loses, 5.9-5.5.

Francesa had never lost a ratings book to Kay until this disputed outcome. Those numbers would also not included the Kay show’s YES audience, which is around 20,000 viewers, and the paid subscribers to Francesa’s app, of which he might have around 1,000.

Francesa did not concede defeat on his show Monday saying ESPN Radio is “lying” by using the Nielsen Audio ratings without streaming.” ESPN countered by questioning why now streaming needs to factored in.

Activist Named Disney Protests Iger's 'Insane' Compensation

In 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger got a raise–a big raise. His total compensation increased 80% to hit $65.6 million. According to a recent study by Equilar, his compensation was 1,424 times that of the median Disney employee. For Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Disney cofounder Roy Disney, that level of pay is “insane.” Moreover, she says, executive pay at that level has “had a corrosive effect on society.”

Disney, a filmmaker who has become an activist on issues of corporate social responsibility, made the remarks at the first annual Fast Company Impact Council last week, where she joined Columbia University associate professor Howard W. Buffett and Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism founder and CEO Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild for a discussion about practicing “humane capitalism.”

Disney told attendees that her perspective has been informed by her interactions with Disneyland employees in Anaheim, California.  Over time, she said, they have experienced a reduction in benefits, and in many cases are struggling to pay for essential needs like medicine.

“I like Bob Iger. Let me be very clear: I think he’s a good man. But I think he’s allowing himself to go down a road that is the road everyone is going down,” she said, citing Wall Street-driven norms.

“When he got his bonus last year, I did the math, and I figured out that he could have given personally, out of pocket, a 15% raise to everyone who worked at Disneyland, and still walked away with $10 million. So there’s a point at which there’s just too much going around the top of the system into this class of people who–I’m sorry this is radical–have too much money. There is such a thing.”

Disney is a member of the activist organization Patriotic Millionaires, which advocates for higher taxes on the wealthy.

Social Media Users Unmoved by Recent Controversies

The share of U.S. adults who say they use certain online platforms or apps is statistically unchanged from where it stood in early 2018 despite a long stretch of controversies over privacy, fake news and censorship on social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019.

More broadly, the steady growth in adoption that social platforms have experienced in the United States over the past decade also appears to be slowing. The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are each largely the same as in 2016, with only Instagram showing an uptick in use during this time period. (There are no comparable 2016 phone survey data for YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp or Reddit.)

Facebook – which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary – remains one of the most widely used social media sites among adults in the U.S. Roughly seven-in-ten adults (69%) say they ever use the platform. (A separate 2018 Center survey showed Facebook use among U.S. teens had dropped in recent years.) YouTube is the only other online platform measured that matches Facebook’s reach: 73% of adults report using the video sharing site. But certain online platforms, most notably Instagram and Snapchat, have an especially strong following among young adults.

As was true in previous surveys of social media use by the Center, there are substantial age-related differences in platform use. This is especially true of Instagram and Snapchat, which are used by 67% and 62% of 18- to 29-year-olds, respectively.

Particularly for these two platforms, there are also pronounced differences in use within the young adult population. Those ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely than those ages 25 to 29 to say they use Snapchat (73% vs. 47%) and Instagram (75% vs. 57%).

By comparison, age differences are less pronounced for Facebook. Facebook use is relatively common across a range of age groups, with 68% of those ages 50 to 64 and nearly half of those 65 and older saying they use the site.

Other demographic patterns related to social media and messaging app use are relatively unchanged from last year.

Privacy Concerns, Lack Of Visuals Limits Smart Speaker Purchases

Monthly purchases made via smart speakers in the US rose by 5.4% between January 2018 and January 2019, per data from voice tech companies Voicebot and Voicify. However, those who shopped using voice accounted for less than one-fifth of smart speaker users.

eMarketer forecasts that 74.2 million people in the US—22.4% of the population—will use a smart speaker in 2019. While 26.1% of smart speaker owners told Voicebot and Voicify that they had made a purchase using a smart speaker at least once, 15.0% claimed to do so monthly, and only 3.9% reported shopping this way daily.

The bottom line: Regardless of frequency, purchasing is the activity smart speaker users are least likely to engage in.

And, conversely, smart speakers and voice assistants are among the devices least likely to be used by shoppers.

Just 10% of US digital device users purchase products on smart speakers or with voice assistants, even less than those who buy products over the phone, according to a December 2018 survey by Adobe and Advanis. Respondents ages 18 to 34 were more likely to shop with voice, at 17%.

Newspaper's Food Stamp Info Request Lands In Supreme Court

In the summer of 2010, reporters at South Dakota's Argus Leader newspaper decided to request data about the government's food assistance program, previously known as food stamps. They thought the information could lead to a series of stories and potentially help them identify fraud in the now $65 billion-a-year program, according to The Associated Press.

They sent a stream of what they thought were routine requests for information to Washington.

Government officials eventually sent back some information about the hundreds of thousands of stores nationwide where the food program's participants could use their benefits. But the government withheld information reporters saw as crucial: how much each store received annually from the program.

Trying to get that data has taken the paper more than eight years and landed it at the Supreme Court, which will hear the case Monday.

Argus Leader news director Cory Myers, who directs a staff of 18 at the Sioux Falls paper, says getting the information is about "knowing how our government is operating" and "knowing what government is doing with our tax money."

A supermarket trade association opposing the information's release argues that the information being sought is confidential. The Supreme Court's decision in the case could be narrow or could significantly affect the interpretation of a law that grants the public access to government records.

The Argus Leader is owned by USA Today publisher Gannett and is the largest newspaper in South Dakota. It wrote about the government's initial release of information. But Jonathan Ellis, one of the reporters behind the requests, said there's more to learn if the paper gets what it's seeking.

Ellis said he would like to write about the companies who profit the most from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called SNAP. He would like to analyze how successful efforts to involve farmers' markets in the program have been. And he is still hoping to use the data to identify stores that seem like outliers, an indication of potential fraud.

Megan Luther, the other reporter behind the requests, said the paper has been fighting for the information for reasons beyond "there's a good story there." Luther, who now works for InvestigateTV, said it's "transparency 101" that "taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going."

Report: Kate Smith Family 'Heartbroken'

First covered....
The family of “God Bless America” singer Kate Smith is reportedly “heartbroken” by the news that two professional sports teams recently decided to stop playing the singer’s iconic recording of the patriotic Irving Berlin song at their games.

Fox News report baseball’s New York Yankees and hockey’s Philadelphia Flyers announced the moves last week, reportedly after learning that Smith – who died in 1986 at age 79 – had recorded songs containing racist lyrics and appeared in an ad that included racist imagery.

 A statue of Smith at Philadelphia’s sports complex was covered in a black cloth after the Flyers made their decision.

Now Gone!
But a niece of the famous singer claimed Saturday that the two sports teams had gotten the story wrong about Smith.

“Aunt Kathryn really did not see color,” Suzy Andron told USAToday on Saturday. “She didn't see a person's color. She was very in tune with a person's character. I've always thought that was a model, to not see a person's color but to see their character. And this is why I'm incredibly sad.”

Andron told the paper she was upset “that a woman who has been dead for almost 35 years would be attacked in this way."

She and her husband, Bob, also noted that Smith had helped raise millions of dollars for the U.S. military effort during World War II. They said they hoped that fans of Smith would continue to sing “God Bless America,” even if not accompanied by Smith’s iconic 1930s recording of the song.

TWH Releases Photos Of Trump Golfing With Rush Limbaugh

The White House released photographs of President Trump’s Friday golf outing with conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

The snapped showed a smiling Trump posing with Limbaugh on the golf course at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., near his Mar-a-Lago club. Another photo captured Trump and Limbaugh posing with professional golfer Lexi Thompson on the green.

On Friday, the White House announced Trump, who is in Florida for the Easter weekend, would be playing golf at his club after some early morning rain had cleared. The White House said Limbaugh “and a couple of friends” would be joining him.

Trump’s golf outing came one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report was released to the public. The report did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, but it did reveal an array of controversial actions by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction inquiry. The 448-page report described numerous cases where Trump discouraged witnesses from cooperating with prosecutors and prodded aides to mislead the public on his behalf to hamper the Russia probe he feared would cripple his presidency.

On Thursday, Limbaugh said on his radio program that the investigation was “bogus from the beginning." Limbaugh has criticized the investigation before. During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” the radio host called the Russia investigation “a manufactured coup” against Trump.