Saturday, November 17, 2018

November 18 Radio History

➦In 1951…The newsmagazine and documentary series "See It Now," hosted by Edward R. Murrow and created by Murrow and Fred W. Friendly, began its 6½-year run on CBS-TV. The show was an adaptation of radio's "Hear It Now," also produced by Murrow and Friendly.

➦In 1954…At radio station WGST in Atlanta, Georgia, Ray Charles recorded "I've Got A Woman."

➦In 1954...ABC radio and T-V banned “Mambo Italiano,” a hit by Rosemary Clooney for so-called “offensive lyrics,” most likely due to the exaggerated Italian vernacular, including the words “goombah” and “gidrool.”

➦In 1957…At Master Recorders in Hollywood, Ricky Nelson recorded "Stood Up" and "Waitin' In School" with James Burton playing lead guitar on a Nelson session for the first time.

➦In 1963…The Beatles first appeared on U.S. television in a feature story on NBC-TV's "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" that included a film clip of the band performing in England.

➦In 1985...Howard Stern debuted on WXRK, New York.

➦In 1987...CBS Inc. announced that it had agreed to sell its record division to Sony Corp. for approximately $2 billion.

➦In 1994...the inimitable Cab Calloway died in a Delaware nursing home following a stroke. He was 86.

The big band leader, who became nationally known through radio broadcasts in 1931, had never recovered from a stroke he suffered June 12 at his home. He was best known for his trademark “hi-de-ho” song “Minnie the Moocher.” He was also featured in the movie “The Blues Brothers.” In October of ’94, the month previous, he’d been honored at a White House ceremony by President Clinton for his contribution to the arts.

➦In 2000...President Bill Clinton conducted his Saturday morning radio address from Hanoi, Vietnam.

➦In 2004...Howard Stern handed out 500 SIRIUS radios in downtown Manhattan plus 20,000 vouchers for free radios with SIRIUS subscriptions.

BIA Forecasts : Double Digit Growth For Online Radio

As the online radio audience continues to grow and broadcasters and web pureplays amp up investments in original digital audio content, advertisers are following the audience, reports InsideRadio.

The forthcoming Local Advertising Forecast from BIA Advisory Services calls for a 9.6% increase in ad spend for online radio in 2019, compared to 2018. BIA includes both AM/FM simulcasts and pureplays like Pandora and Spotify in its new forecast. Ad spend for over-the-air radio is forecast to dip 1.9% for a modest overall decline of 0.8%.

Radio’s share of the local ad pie in 2019 will total 10.0%, according to a preview of the latest BIA forecast. It predicts over-the-air radio will capture 8.9% of the local ad market with another 1.1% share attributed to online radio. “Traditional media will maintain noticeable share,” BIA senior economist Mark Fratrik said during the firm’s “Share Of Ad Wallet” webinar Thursday.

Mark Fratrik
Over-the-air television will capture 11.8% of the local ad market next year, with another 0.9% coming from online television and cable getting 4.0%. Online/interactive will account for 14% of the local market.

Online/digital’s share of local advertising continues to increase substantially. Yet radio plays in that still-expanding arena. “Legacy traditional companies are becoming less traditional with each passing year," Fratrik said.

As stations finalize budgets for 2019, the new BIA forecast provides a roadmap for where the biggest opportunities await. Six key categories will account for 70% to 80% of total local advertising in 2019. Retail advertising tops the list with 19.2% of total local ad dollars and a 4.5% growth rate in 2019. Financial/insurance, a category with a lot of momentum at radio, is second with 12.0% market share and 6.5% growth rate, followed by general services advertising (11.7% share, 5.5% growth), automotive (11.6% share, 5.5% growth) and restaurants (11.3% share, 7.5% growth).

Indy Radio: Entercom Promotes Ben Hoffman To SVP/Market Manager

Ben Hoffman
Entercom has announced Ben Hoffman as Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Entercom Indianapolis.

In this role, Hoffman will oversee 107.9 The Mix (WNTR-FM), 99.5 ZPL (WZPL-FM) and CBS Sports 1430 AM (WXNT-AM). Hoffman most recently served as Vice President of Sales for Entercom Indianapolis.

“For the past seven years at Entercom Indianapolis, Ben has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, high energy and the ability to be a collaborative team leader with a strong ability to win,” said Dave Alpert, Regional President, Entercom. “This is a well-deserved promotion for Ben to Senior Vice President and Market Manager, and we are looking forward to the great work that Ben will continue to produce.”

“I am so privileged to be a part of the Indy team and grateful to Dave and Entercom for this opportunity,” said Hoffman. “This company has remarkable vision of the possibilities ahead, from broadcast to live events to digital to RADIO.COM and beyond. For our communities, our audience and our advertising partners, we are poised and ready to continue building on our accomplishments together.”

Hoffman is an industry veteran with over 25 years of experience. Prior to joining Entercom, Hoffman served as Station Manager and Director of Sales for Townsquare Media in Fort Collins, CO. Previously, Hoffman was Corporate Director of Sales for Regent Communications after holding several management roles with iHeart Media in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

D-C Radio: CBS Reporter Disagrees With Acosta's Conduct

CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett says he disagrees with how CNN’s Jim Acosta conducted himself in last week’s explosive tete-a-tete with President Trump.

Garrett commented on the Larry O'Connor show on WMAL 630 AM / 105.9 FM.

Garrett spoke to Mediaite alum Larry O’Connor for his radio show on Friday, where he lamented the situation over CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration for their revocation of Acosta’s press credentials. Garrett said he isn’t sure the White House will succeed in court with their legal argument their making against Acosta, though the lawsuit is “uncharted territory” in many ways and presents the judiciary with many new questions about press freedom.

The court has since ruled in favor of CNN and said Acosta’s press pass must be restored.

As Garrett talked about how he doesn’t make a habit of critiquing the journalistic styles of other reporters, O’Connor eventually asked him if there’s a “standard of conduct” that’s expected from the White House press pool. Garrett answered in the affirmative, and he recalled how he gave up the microphone at Trump’s latest presser after mistakenly thinking the president called upon him.

“Some of my colleagues might say ‘what did you do that for,'” Garrett said. “Some might say you laid down and were too deferential, I don’t feel that way…I deferred hoping he might call on me again, he didn’t, that’s how I orient myself to the institution…and I respect the institution and the country’s choice.”

In terms of whether Acosta’s actions were a breach of the code of conduct O’Connor asked about, Garrett said there was a point there, adding “I do my level best to not make myself part of story, and I think the best journalists operate that way.”

Rules For Decorum Coming to TWH Pressers

Team Trump is writing up “rules and regulations” for how reporters should behave during White House press briefings, President Trump said Friday.

“People have to behave and we are writing up rules and regulations. I think you were treated very unfairly. Both of you were treated very unfairly because you have people interrupting you,” the president said at the White House.

He was apparently referring to reporters who he said were interrupted by CNN’s Jim Acosta as he persisted in questioning the president during a contentious news conference last week, according to The NYPost.

Trump’s comments came hours after a federal judge on Friday ruled the White House had to return press credentials to Acosta — at least temporarily — rebuking the president’s decision to yank them after that briefing.

But the president — who frequently rejects and insults reporters in person and on Twitter — insisted the new rules would ensure “decorum” during the increasingly rare briefings.

“You can’t take three or four questions and stand up and not sit down. We want total freedom of the press. That’s very important. More important to me than anybody would believe,” he said.

“If they don’t listen to the rules and regulations, we will end up back in court and we will win. More importantly, we will just leave. Then you won’t be very happy. We do get good ratings,” he said.

Trump said he told his communications team to simply walk out if they don’t like the way they are being spoken to by reporters.

Advertisers Spent $5.25B on the Mid-Term Election

  • Local cable doubled its revenue from the 2014 midterms and digital ads almost quadrupled
The dust hasn’t completely settled on the 2018 midterm elections yet, with a few races still in limbo. However, broadcast, cable and digital outlets are tallying their ad revenue haul from this year and, not surprisingly, it’s a record-breaker.

In the 2018 midterm elections, $5.25 billion was spent on advertising in local broadcast, local cable and digital, according to Kantar Media, which makes it the most lucrative midterms in history. The 2018 election spending was 78 percent higher than the 2014 midterms, which had a $2.95 billion haul, and even beat the 2016 presidential election spend—$4.47 billion, including $122 million in national buys—by 17 percent.

Digital ads, which ran most often on Facebook and Google, almost quadrupled from 2014, jumping from $250 million to $950 million. The 2016 election digital ad spend was $650 million.

The local broadcast and local cable spends were both greater than the 2016 election year totals.

Local broadcast political ad revenue, at $2.1 billion in 2014, increased to $2.85 billion in 2016 and $3.1 billion in 2018. Local cable, which brought in $600 million in 2014, doubled to $1.2 billion in 2018 and was at $850 million in 2016.

Democrats outspent Republicans in this year’s state and federal races by a 53 percent/46 percent margin. In the 2010 midterms, Republicans held a 54 percent/45 percent lead, as they campaigned heavily against the Affordable Care Act. Four years later, Republicans still led by a 51 percent/47 percent margin.

In other Kantar findings, ads supporting Democratic candidates referenced healthcare 1 million times, accounting for 49 percent of all Democrat ads overall and 59 percent of all Democratic ads for House races. Many of those Democratic ads claimed that Republican candidates were in favor of eliminating health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and frequently tallied the number of residents in the district that would be impacted by such a change. In comparison, just 367,000 of Republican election ads mentioned healthcare. Instead, that party’s spots focused on tax reform, immigration and record levels of employment.

One out of every 10 Democratic spots carried an anti-President Trump message, while one of every 10 Republican ads mentioned House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (for House races, that number jumped to one of every four).

One of the largest outside Democratic groups says ramped-up spending on digital advertising played a key role in midterm battleground races, offering a lesson for potential presidential contenders in 2020, reports the Associated Press.

“You’re going to have to have an organization that speaks directly to voters on their phones and their computers,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, which spearheaded the much of the party’s digital effort during the recent midterm elections. “If the presidential candidates do not have that as a central part of their operation, they will not win.”

Democrats are trying to draw in new voters who are young, diverse and college educated. But at a time when cord-cutting millennials and their parents alike are spending more time online, the party remains disproportionately committed to TV advertising, strategists say, a dynamic that could complicate those efforts.

“Who is watching broadcast television, who is watching Wheel of Fortune, who is watching Jeopardy? They are older, white and they tend to not be Democratic voters,” said Tim Lim, who worked on the campaigns of former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and is now a fellow at Georgetown’s Institute of Politics. “By focusing so much on broadcast TV ads, we are missing crucial audiences to talk to.”

CIA: Saudi Prince MbS Ordered Hit

Jamal Khashoggi
The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to The Washington Post citing people familiar with the matter.

The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally.

A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.

Dungy Done At ABC

Channing Dungey
Karey Burke will replace Channing Dungey as president of Walt Disney’s ABC Entertainment, the company said on Friday.

Burke is currently head of original programming for Disney’s cable channel Freeform.

Karey Burke
Dungey, the first African-American to lead a U.S. broadcast network, will stay through a transition period as Burke assumes her new role.

Reuters reports Disney is trying to transform itself into a broad-based digital entertainment company as audiences move to Netflix Inc., Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and other digital options.

Disney is also on the verge of gaining new film and television properties from its purchase of assets from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $71.3 billion.

After the completion of the Fox deal, Burke will report to Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, the company said.

Variety notes Dungey’s departure means that each of the Big 4 broadcast networks have now seen major departures at the top levels of their executive ranks within the last year. As Variety exclusively reported in September, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt is stepping down from that role, while CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves was forced out after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and assault. At Fox, Gary Newman stepped down in October ahead of the Fox-Disney merger, with AMC exec Charlie Collier being named CEO of entertainment for the network.

UMG Reports 13% Quarterly Earnings Increase

The Universal Music Group reported 1.495 billion euros ($1.732 billion) in revenue for the company's third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2018, which represents a strong 13.3 percent increase from the prior year-earlier period when revenues totaled 1.319 billion euros ($1.542 billion).

For the nine-month period, UMG's revenues are reported at 4.123 billion euros ($4.939 billion), which is a 3.5 percent increase but on a constant currency basis represents a 9.1 percent change, according to parent Vivendi.

Billboard reports streaming is driving the company's good fortune, as that channel delivered 662 million euros ($767 million) for the quarter, a 37.6 percent increase from the 481 million euros ($562 million) generated in the prior year's corresponding period.

The company said best sellers for the first nine months of 2018 included new releases from Drake, Post Malone, XXXTentacion and Migos, as well as the soundtrack release from Black Panther (Kendrick Lamar).

For the fourth quarter, the big sellers/revenue generators are expected to be the soundtracks of A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns and albums from Gregory Porter, Imagine Dragons, Jonas Blue, Kris Wu, Mumford & Sons, The 1975, the remastered Beatles White Album and more.

Another Record Setting Month for ESPN Podcasts

For the second straight month and third time in 2018, ESPN Podcasts set a record for any month in its history with 43.6 million IAB compliant downloads in October, as measured by RawVoice.  September had seen 39.3 million downloads, the previous high.  The October 2018 figure reflects an increase of 31% over October 2017 and includes a record 11 titles each driving over a million downloads.

For the year to date, ESPN has 344.9 million downloads, more than 2017’s total and an increase through October of 55%.

“ESPN Podcasts continues to set new highs,” said Tom Ricks, vice president, digital strategy and marketing.  “This kind of growth in a year comes from new story telling with the 30 for 30 series, the addition of compelling new personalities and from signature voices and shows.  We’re excited for where ESPN’s podcast business is going.”

In addition, ESPN Podcasts tallied a total of 6.3 million US Unique Audience, as measured by Podtrac, a new monthly record and an increase of 31% vs. October 2017.

Leading the way among original productions, Fantasy Focus Football posted 4.2 million total IAB compliant downloads, up 18% over October 2017.

Overall, the list of top performers includes many ESPN Radio and television shows.  The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz led the way with 8.3 million downloads, followed by Fantasy Focus Football, 538: Politics at 3.4 million, First Take at 3 million, and Pardon the Interruption at 2.9 million, a new monthly record for the show. Additionally, Golic and Wingo, Jalen & Jacoby, 30 for 30, The Lowe Post, The Stephen A. Smith Show and Baseball Tonight also each drove over a million October downloads.

Amazon's 'Thursday Night Football' Stream Up 22%

Amazon’s streaming simulcast of NFL “Thursday Night Football” games may not be drawing TV-like numbers, but the tech giant appears encouraged by results to date, according to MediaPost.

For the seven games Amazon has streamed so far this season, total combined viewership is up 22% to 14.7 million viewers, compared to the same number of games last season, while the average minute audience is up 36% to 455,000.

For comparison, the same games that aired on Fox averaged between 11 million and 15 million viewers each, though that number is down slightly from last season. (Each game had about as many viewers as Amazon had all season.)

Still, the double-digit growth is sure to be seen as a positive by the tech company, particularly as it seeks to bolster its Twitch video platform. Twitch, which launched to stream live video game content, has since added entertainment content, and this season, “Thursday Night Football.”

With its emphasis on live, the NFL games are seen as a natural fit for the platform. Amazon did not break out viewership between Twitch and Prime.

This season, Amazon has sought to create a more differentiated product from the Fox broadcast, which it simulcasts. Prime users can choose alternate audio commentary, including from the NFL’s first all-female duo: Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm. On Twitch,  select video game streamers are providing live commentary to the NFL games, with other interactive features layered on top.

Before this season began, Amazon signed a new extension with the NFL, keeping the “Thursday Night Football” streaming rights on Amazon properties through the 2019 season.

Amazon also says that after the U.S., the two most popular countries for its NFL games were Mexico and Canada, with California, Washington and Texas marking the states with the most viewers.

November 17 Radio History

➦In 1936...ventriloquist Edgar Bergen & his little wooden friend Charlie McCarthy became an overnight success after appearing on the Rudy Vallee Show.  NBC Radio gave them their own long-running radio show the following year.  Now think about this...a ventriloquist ON THE RADIO!😆

➦In 1970…Elton John, backed by Dee Murray and Nigel Olsson, performed at A&R Recording Studios in New York City for a live radio broadcast on WABC-FM (now WPLJ) which was later released as his "11-17-70" album.

➦In 1979...DJ George Michael did his last show on WABC, New York.

➦In 1982...announcer/actor Bill Baldwin died nine days short of his 69th birthday.  He was a highly regarded commercial announcer in network radio who transitioned easily to early TV.  He also played numerous bit parts in episodic TV, frequently portraying radio and track announcers & the like.

➦In 1990...Stan Z. Burns 1010 WINS NYC died.

Burns, whose clear voice was instantly recognizable to thousands of New Yorkers as a radio anchorman at the all-news station WINS-AM, died Friday in New York. He was 63. The cause of death was not disclosed. Burns began working at the station in 1944. During his 40-year career, Burns covered major news events, including the New York blackouts and transit strikes.

He went to work for WINS as a staff announcer in May 1944, when the station was known for its music and was one of the first disc jockeys in the United States to play a Beatles record when WINS was a Top40 station.

➦In 2003... Rush Limbaugh returned to his syndicated talk show after spending a month in rehab for addiction to prescription painkillers.

➦In 2007…Veteran Philadelphia disc jockey (WIBG, WDAS, WSNI/WPGR, WOGL-FM) Hy Lit, who hosted the nationally syndicated "Hy Lit Show" seen on television in 30 markets, died of kidney failure at the age of 73.

Hy Lit
Lit dominated AM radio from the late 1950s through the 1960s as one of WIBG's "Good Guys," as his Hall of Fame show drew a 71 market share (unheard of before or since.) He released several successful LP "Hall of Fame" collections of music he played on the show, the last of these when he joined WPGR in 1981. Around 1978, Lit moved to California after a brief but successful stint with the Harlem Globetrotters before once more returning to the Philadelphia area. In 1977, when WIBG went off the air forever, he was the last DJ on the air.

Lit moved to WOGL-FM in 1989, hosting the highly rated "Top 20 Countdown" on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in addition to his weekday afternoon shift.

In the mid-1990s, it was revealed that Lit was suffering from the beginnings of Parkinson's disease. Just after the death of Hy's wife Maggie (Russo) Lit in 2000, WOGL and Infinity/CBS Broadcasting management significantly reduced Lit's radio hours, along with a significant decrease in salary. In 2002, a lawsuit was filed against the media conglomerate, CBS Broadcasting, which for a second and concurrent time decided to reduce Lit's radio time and salary and this time cancel his health insurance.

In December 2005, Lit, station WOGL, and CBS Broadcasting settled the three-year health and age-discrimination lawsuit, under the condition that Hy Lit would (reluctantly) retire from the station. Lit did his last Hy Lit Hall of Fame Show radio show on December 11, 2005. However, WOGL management would not permit Lit to reveal he would be leaving the airwaves and abandoning thousands of listeners left to wonder what happened to the legendary Hy Lit.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Federal Judge To TWH: Give It Back!

A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Donald Trump a week earlier.

The ruling from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, was a first victory for CNN in the ongoing case, according to CNBC.

CNN’s lawsuit, announced Tuesday, argues that Acosta’s constitutional rights had been violated by Trump and five other members of his administration, as well as by the U.S. Secret Service. The other defendants include chief of staff John Kelly, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy chief of staff Bill Shine and Secret Service Director Randolph Alles.

Jim Acosta
The legal challenge came in response to the Trump administration’s decision last week to yank Acosta’s “hard pass,” which gave him access to the White House grounds, after Acosta clashed with the president at a news conference earlier that day. The suit underscored Trump’s increasingly hostile relationship with many mainstream media outlets, which he regularly decries as “fake news” and “the enemy of the people.”

CNN argued that the White House infringed on Acosta’s free press and due process rights under the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The network was asking for an order that would temporarily reverse the White House’s suspension of Acosta’s hard pass, until a final decision on the lawsuit was reached. CNN also wants “a declaration that the revocation of Acosta’s press credentials was unconstitutional.”

Justice Department lawyers replied in a court filing that suspending the pass was “lawful” and that the White House held “broad discretion to regulate” journalists’ access to the grounds.

Acosta has often used stark language to challenge the White House on its policies. At the most recent White House press briefing on Oct. 29, Acosta grilled Sanders on Trump’s use of the phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the media.

Trump has specifically targeted both CNN and Acosta for their coverage of him and his presidency. In January 2017, then-president elect Trump tore into Acosta at a news conference, saying “your organization is terrible” and “you are fake news.”

The rift between Acosta and the White House widened substantially at a Nov. 7 news conference the day after the midterm elections, where Trump claimed victory even after Democrats regained majority control of the House.

Liberty Media Interested In Universal Music Group

Liberty Media Corp. Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said the company would “absolutely” consider buying a Universal Music Group stake, which is being sold by parent Vivendi SA.

Responding to a question at Liberty’s investor conference in New York, Maffei said UMG would be a logical fit in a portfolio of assets that includes satellite-radio provider Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and online-radio company Pandora Media Inc.

“Would we look at UMG if presented? Absolutely,” Maffei said on Wednesday. “Does it make potentially some sense to own part of the content infrastructure as a way to hedge? Absolutely.”

Bloomberg reports Vivendi announced plans in July to sell up to half of UMG to one or more partners, particularly companies that are “compatible” with the division’s current strategy. It has ruled out an initial public offering for the business.

The French media giant said at the time that it was likely to get a transaction underway “this fall” with the goal of completing the deal within the next 18 months.

UMG, whose stable of artists includes Drake, Taylor Swift and U2, accounted for about 45 percent of Vivendi’s revenue and 70 percent of its operating income last year. Analysts at Liberum valued Universal Music at 20.6 billion euros ($24 billion) earlier this year.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei on media mergers from CNBC.

Maffei Thursday also discussed growing media consolidation and whether the company plans to buy back more stock

SiriusXM CEO: 'We’re in the radio business, not music distribution'

SiriusXM CEO James E. Meyer this week spoke with CNBC’s David Faber about the company’s decision to acquire Pandora for $3.5 billion in September 2018

“I’m more excited about the opportunity of Pandora today, as I dig deeper into it because I see the opportunity,” Meyer told CNBC’s David Faber. First, he sees advantages to take $5 and $10 Pandora subscriptions—“which in themselves are not very profitable—and bundle them in a way with our existing 33.7 million [SiriusXM] subscribers, and give them a better value that will make them more sticky.” He added, “We haven’t figured it all out yet but I think you should assume it’s going to be a better value if you bought [subscriptions] together rather than separate.”

SiriusXM CEO: We’re in the radio business, not music distribution from CNBC.

Meyer said that SiriusXM founded its business on subscriptions, where 96% of its revenue is derived. Meanwhile, 70% of Pandora’s revenue comes from advertising. “The ability to have both across that spectrum is a really important tool.”

Viacom Earnings Top Wall Street Expectations

Viacom Inc. said net income in its fiscal fourth quarter fell as revenue slumped overseas and stayed flat with year-earlier results at its U.S. operations, even as the company showed improvement at its movie unit and notched gains in the money it gets from cable distributors.

Variety reports the New York owner of MTV, Nickelodeon and the Paramount movie studio said profit in the period came to $386 million, or 96 cents a share, compared with $674 million, or $1.67 a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Excluding one-time items, Viacom said adjusted earnings came to $400 million, or 99 cents a share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations, which had called for earnings of 95 cents a share.

Bob Bakish
The company said revenue in the period increased 5%, to nearly $3.49 billion from nearly $3.32 billion.

But revenue in its biggest unit, its cable operations, fell 1% to $2.52 billion, largely on a 13% dip in advertising in overseas markets and a 4% shortfall in ad sales in the United States. Revenue from distribution, however, increased 4%, thanks to a 3% improvement in the U.S. and an increase of 10% in overseas markets. Viacom has worked to boost the money it gets from cable and satellite systems. In its first fiscal quarter, U.S. distribution revenue was down 8%.

Viacom’s film operations were more robust, producing a 25% increase in revenue, to $984 million.

In a statement, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish cited improvements in distribution revenue and at Paramount as signs of a turnaround in the company’s performance. Many media companies have suffered as younger consumers migrate from linear TV to new forms of video entertainment delivered via digital means, but Viacom has been hit particularly hard, as many of its cable networks skew toward kids, teenagers and young adults. ” We successfully turned around our core business, with dramatic improvements across our networks, at Paramount and in distribution,” Bakish said.

“As we head into 2019, we are excited about the company’s evolution and expect to return to topline growth.”

NRHOF Inducts Class Of 2018

The 30th Annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony tested everyone’s resolve as they battled traffic, downed trees, street closures and more, courtesy of New York City’s first snow of the season.
Host Scott Shannon and Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig Kitchin
Radio Hall of Fame Chairman Kraig T. Kitchin welcomed everyone and announced the rebranding of the organization with a new name, logo, website and more.  The adrenaline-charged evening wasn’t short on laughs, tears and standing ovations.

Inductees Fred Jacobs, Mark Levin, Jim Kerr, Johnny B
Mark Levin was first to receive his honor, commenting that “Rush Limbaugh took me under his wing, a great decent, very nice man,” and that “Sean Hannity is like a brother to me.”

Fred Jacobs acknowledged that he was “the outlier of the night” as the first radio consultant to be inducted.
Inductees Mike and Mike
  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic shared their story about how they looked like the number 10 when they stood next to each other.  Greenberg commented they now look like the number 11, as Golic is much thinner.  Golic also noted, “We didn’t want to be blue, we wanted to be a family show and that’s the route we went.”

Jim Harper introduced Jim Kerr as “The People’s Prince of New York Radio.”

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, inductee
Dr. Laura Schlessinger garnered applause when she said before she was in radio, she listened to Cousin Brucie.”  She also commented, “For me this is not a job, it’s a mission.”

Vice President of Entercom Jimmy DeCastro joked while introducing Jonathon Brandmeier, aka Johnny B, “If this was Chicago, the snow would’ve been plowed, we’d all be in the bar and this would’ve been over two hours ago!”  Johnny B added, “Our hotel is six blocks from here, we’re in the car for two hours and my wife of 37 years says, ‘let’s make a run for it’ and we did!  That’s a queen!”
Alan Alda and Joan Hamberg
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Actor Alan Alda introduced Joan Hamburg saying, “She has the ability to interview anybody with grace and good humor.”   She commented, “We are so lucky because no matter what, [radio] is still about community…We make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Mike Francesa, inductee
Mike Francesa commented, “How great is it to stand up here at the same microphone as Alan Alda?!  One of my all-time favorite TV stars.  That was a big thrill.”

Cousin Brucie and Kid Kelly
Final inductee Kid Kelly, who was introduced by Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow) and congratulated via video by Taylor Swift and Dr. Phil, commented, “My aunt gave me the greatest gift, belief in myself.”  Addressing the room, “Thank you for supporting a challenged child and making his dreams come true.”

Twin Cities Radio: OM Andy Bloom OUT At WCCO

Andy Bloom
Andy Bloom, chief of operations for Newsradio WCCO 830 AM, is out.

Jay Dailey, general sales manager for the station’s parent company, said Bloom’s employment ended Tuesday, but he declined to provide details.

According to, Bloom issused  short statement: “WCCO is a legendary station. I wish them luck.”  Bloom, who also had been running the music stations KZJK 104.1 JackFM and Country KMNB 102.9 FM Buz’n FM, did not comment further.

The move comes as uncertainty continues over the station’s high-profile 9 a.m.-to-noon time slot.

In June, Twin Cities radio mainstay and Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame member John Hines announced he was retiring, and WCCO has been essentially running a stream of substitutes since. Currently, the station’s schedule lists only “WCCO Radio’s Midday show.”

Bloom, a Minnesota native, was hired in April by Entercom, a Pennsylvania-based communications company that assumed control of WCCO Radio in 2017 as part of its national portfolio of stations stretching from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Bloom came under a level of scrutiny by City Pages for some of the auditions he offered for the midday slot. City Pages accused Bloom and WCCO of handing those auditions to "toxic characters," noting in August that hosting opportunities were given to hard-right news voices, Bob Davis and Rob Carson, acccording to

Ajit Pai Says He's Staying With FCC

FCC chair Ajit Pai says he has every intention of staying atop the FCC at least through the end of the President's first term.

Ajit Pai
That came in a press conference following the FCC's monthly meeting Thursday (Nov. 15).

He was asked whether he planned to stay chairman in the wake of the boosted oversight coming from the new Democratic-led House. "I fully plan and expect to serve as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission for the next two years," he said.

He had already signaled to Broadcasting & Cable that he planned to remain chairman for the foreseeable future, but that was before the midterm election returns were in and the Democrats' hold on the House committee and subcommittee chairmanships became a fait accompli.

They are expected to launch investigations into various FCC deregulatory actions and the process by which they were achieved.

Tampa Radio: Ron & Ian Returning To Sports WDAE

Tampa Bay’s Sports Radio WDAE 620 AM has announced the return of The Ron & Ian Show, effective Monday, November 26. Ron & Ian will broadcast weekday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ron Diaz and Ian Beckles will return to 620 WDAE air-waves after three years. The Ron & Ian Show will feature entertaining, light-hearted and fun conversations about all things Tampa Bay sports related. In addition, Diaz and Beckles will co-host with Producer, Jay Recher, who will remain a key part of the program.

A Tampa Bay broadcasting fixture for over 25 years, Diaz has been nominated multiple times for Billboard Magazine’s National On-Air Personality of the Year. Beckles made his name as an NFL offensive guard with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles.

It appears that longtime host Steve Duemig, who has been out for nearly two years with a brain tumor, will not return to the station, at least for now.   Meantime, J.P. Peterson, who used to be paired with Diaz and had been filling in for Duemig, has been let go. Peterson announced on Twitter on Thursday that he was told by WDAE that he is not a part of the new lineup.

WDAE 620 AM (5.6 Kw)  Daytime 2 mV/m contour
“The band is back together and it’s about time to rock,” said Diaz. “During the year that the show first began, The Lightning won the Stanley Cup. No pressure guys let’s do it again.”

“I am super excited to reunite with Ron and Jay to create The Ron & Ian Show 2.0,” said Beckles. “Tampa Bay has been begging for its return, so I hope everyone is ready.”

“The three of us had instant chemistry from the moment we met,” said Recher. “I am excited to see what the future holds. The sky is the limit!”

Jax Radio: John Scott New PD At Country WQIK

John Scott
iHeartMedia has announced that John Scott has been named Program Director for Country WQIK 99.1 FM in Jacksonville.

As Program Director, Scott will be responsible for overseeing programming, operations and promotions for 99.1 WQIK. He will report to Gary “Geewiz” Christopher, Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Jacksonville.

“We are thrilled to have John transition to Program Director for the number one Country station in Jacksonville, 99.1WQIK,” said Geewiz. “He understands our listeners and brings his passion and extensive knowledge of the market to this role and we know he will continue to contribute to our station’s ongoing success.”

“John is a great asset not only to WQIK but the entire iHeart Jacksonville market,” said Nicky Sparrow, Market President for iHeartMedia Jacksonville. “We are looking forward to John expanding his role as Program Director with his expertise in the Country format.”

Scott is an experienced radio veteran and has been with 99.1WQIK for over 28 years. He most recently served as Music Director for 99.1WQIK and has held several positions within the station, including morning show host, mid-day & afternoon drive jock. He began his career at WJAX-AM/FM as an afternoon drive host.

WQIK 99.1 FM (100 Kw) Red=60dBu Coverage Area
“In my 29 years at this station, I have learned that WQIK is Jacksonville’s radio station and it truly belongs to our listeners,” said Scott. “I hope to be as good a steward of our station as the legends and Hall-of-Famers before me. To say it’s an honor is an understatement.”

In-Car Interfacing Expectations Skyrocketing

Demand and expectation for touchscreen-and-voice-centric HMI is higher than ever; now is the perfect time for voice recognition to step forward as the safest and most useful HMI modality for the car. But as Strategy Analytics found in its new IVX survey regarding consumer usage and satisfaction with integrated in-car voice recognition and satisfaction with in-vehicle touchscreens, the proliferation of intelligent voice assistants outside the car in addition to the increased familiarity and trust with these systems, has only heightened consumer awareness of the void between in-car and out-of-car UX.

Surveying consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China, key report findings include:
  • The downturn in satisfaction with many aspects of in-car touchscreens has begun in earnest, most notably for fingerprint smudging and text entry. Globally, satisfaction with touchscreens has now dipped to the lowest levels since 2014.
  • Increased expectations for voice-based UI and frustration with existing offerings in the car have already led to some consumers abandoning integrated HMI altogether, in favor of mobile-device-based systems.
  • Strategy Analytics found almost no consumer interest in automaker-branded voice assistants. But voice assistants developed for mobile or home are yet to provide the best experience in car. Hardware for voice assistants in the car remains a roadblock.
Derek Viita, Senior Analyst IVX and report author commented, “A “perfect storm” of factors contributes to these increased expectations. Consumers are now surrounded by superior voice and touchscreen experiences outside the car. HMI is becoming a more important factor in the purchase decision and automakers are not seen as innovators particularly when it comes to voice control systems.”

Continued Viita, “The net result with has been an increase in usage of voice recognition systems, but flattening or decreasing satisfaction with all touch- and voice-based HMI in the cockpit.”

Added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP: “Well-designed purpose-built voice systems for the car do exist, but in our experience, in evaluations that compare embedded voice experiences to a mobile based assistant such as Siri or the Google Assistant, the mobile-based assistant wins out every time. Most on-market in-car systems are basic and unintuitive command-and-control systems; there is a need for car OEMs to up their game.”

TV Ratings: CMA Awards Tops All Other Award Shows

ABC’s CMA Awards took a tumble Wednesday, plummeting 34 percent in TV ratings from 2017. The special was down 30 percent year over year in total viewers.

Still, ABC easily won each half-hour of the evening, according to The Wrap citing Nielsen data.

With “Empire,” Fox finished second in primetime among adults 18-49. NBC was No. 2 in overall audience members.

ABC was first in ratings with a 2.1 rating/9 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 10.1 million, according to preliminary numbers. That was all the CMAs.

However, Nashville Music Watcher Kurth Bardella, publisher of Morning Hangover, provides some context:
  • The 2018 American Music Awards (AMA) drew 6.5 million viewers
  • The 2018 Billboard Music Awards garnered a little less than 7 million viewers
  • The People's Choice Awards attracted 1.67 million viewers 
  • The MTV VMAs got 2.25 million viewers
  • The Teen Choice Awards got 1.7 million viewers
  • The BET Awards drew more than 4.3 million viewers. 
Adds Bardella, "I was seeing some stories populate about ratings compared to last year, but I think it's important for whoever might be talking about this to point out that the CMAs still did significantly better than just about any other all-genre music award show this year."

MLB Renews With FOX Sports

Major League Baseball and 21st Century Fox signed a new rights agreement that will keep the national pastime’s biggest games on Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting for the next several years, reports Variety.

Under the terms of the pact, Fox Sports and Fox Deportes maintain exclusive television broadcast rights to the World Series, one League Championship Series, two Division Series and the All-Star Game. As in previous agreements, the league’s MLB Network will continue to have the rights to two games from the League’s Division Series that Fox is airing. Fox Sports will also expand its digital rights.

Fox said the new agreement would make it “the home to baseball’s marquee events for the next decade,” a nod to the fact that the deal lasts through 2028, seven years after a current eight-year pact between Fox and the league expires in 2021. Fox and Major League Baseball have been broadcast partners for more than two decades. The current pact between Fox and the league was valued at approximately $525 million per year.

The fees are believed to increase by 30% early on and by as much as 50% later in the term of the contract, according to people familiar with the matter.

D-C Radio: WRQX Searching For Best Scholastic Holiday Choirs

Cumulus Media  radio station WRQX Mix107.3 FM announces the call for entries for its 2nd Annual mix107.3 Holiday Choir Competition.

The competition has expanded this year to encompass elementary, middle school and high school choirs.

Now through Wednesday, November 28, 2018, at 5:00pm EST, school choir directors or parents of students in school choirs ranging from kindergarten through high school may submit an mp3 of their school’s choir singing a holiday song at:

Listeners may vote for their favorite K-8th grade choirsfrom November 28, 2018, at 5:01pm through December 2, 2018, while listeners may vote for the high school choirs December 3-6, 2018. Jack Diamond, Host of mix107.3’s the Jack Diamond Morning Show will announce the winners in all categories on-air on December 7th.

The choirs that receive the most votes will have their winning songs played on the radio and will perform live at the Mix107.3 Holiday Choir Competition Event on December 15th from 2pm–4pm at The Shops at Wisconsin Place in Chevy Chase, MD. The Grand Prize-winning choirs will also receive money for their schools’ music programs: $5,000 for the winning high school choir and $2,500 for the winning K-8 choir!

Rob Roberts, Program Director, Mix107.3, said: “We’re excited to really energize school music programs with these cash awards. Rewarding great kids working hard… This is what the holiday season is all about.”

Jack Diamond, Host of the Jack Diamond Morning Show, said: “There are so many talented kids in Washington area high schools and we wanted to do something to support their music programs. We are so excited to award the winning schools money toward the support of their school’s music programs.”