|The fine print
Hubbard and Sandusky shoot for an October 1 closing – but there are issues with AMs and land.
Those engineering and facility questions about Phoenix-market KDUS/1060 and KAGZ/1440 won’t derail the deal or delay the closing of the biggest radio deal of 2013. But the contract here contains a couple of pages of what-ifs. Like, if there’s a problem with the real estate in Phoenix, the $85.5 million price could be reduced by $2.5 million plus the fair market value of the land and building. If there’s a problem with using the land for the AM towers (like a zoning problem), seller Sandusky agrees to spend up to $500,000 to fix it. If the cost would be over $500,000, the AM stations could be struck from the deal. The agreement spends much less time on the Seattle AMs (KIXI/880 and KKNW/1150), but there’s language allowing them to be cut out of the deal, too. It appears that the parties are planning on a closing by October 1, but that’s complicated by the license renewal cycle in Arizona. It’s possible that Seattle might close before Phoenix. It’s also possible that there will be an LMA. Some Take 2’s from yesterday’s coverage here – if the next-step scenario of Hubbard buying the Bonneville stations in these two markets were to happen, there would need to be an AM spin in Phoenix. And a NOW reader says that the Bonneville properties are now overseen from Salt Lake City by Darrell Brown, not Jeff Simpson.
Small-markets can be hit with photo-infringement suits, too.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin country “B93” WBFM allegedly used a bikini picture titled “Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriend looks pregnant,” along with some others claimed by BWP Media. The lawsuit filed in federal district court for the Western District of Wisconsin alleges that Midwest Communication “knowingly engaged in this misconduct” and that L.A.-based BWP Media was “substantially harmed” by the usage of various photos on B93Radio.com. The same attorney and plaintiff allege that in Rockford, Illinois, Crawford Broadcasting’s rhythmic “Power 106” WYRB allegedly used copyrighted pictures online. That suit was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, since Crawford’s based in the Philadelphia market. BWP Media has lodged more than 20 suits since March, claiming copyright infringement for material used on websites of radio stations, newspapers and others. Attorney Craig Sanders of Garden City, New York asks for statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement, or actual damages and “wrongful profits in an amount to be proven at trial.” Where’s it all headed? Probably to settlements, whose terms and amounts will remain confidential. It becomes a cost of doing business, and a reminder to check copyrights.
No Marconi this year for “Oldies Station.”
Why? Because not enough stations entered to make the category work, for the voting. The NAB has always adjusted the categories, based on what’s happening in the marketplace and the interest. This year there are 20 Marconi categories, up from 19 last year. Two have been added (Urban Station and Spanish Format Personality). One has been dropped (Oldies). The Marconi process begins with nominations by general managers, and it’s possible that more stations no longer want to be tagged as “Oldies,” for various sales or marketing reasons. One NOW reader suggests that the name of the category should be contemporized – as so many station playlists have been – to “Classic hits/Oldies.” Nominations were due May 31 and the NAB announced the five finalists in each category on Monday. From the looks of things, CBS Radio’s WOGL Philadelphia, last year’s winner in the Oldies category, may have a real keepsake in its trophy case. Theirs could be the last shiny Marconi award in that format, unless it’s re-named, or there’s renewed interest in 2014. Check all 100 of this year’s Marconi finalists here. The Marconi winners will be announced at the September 19 Marconi Awards bash at the Radio Show in Orlando.
Media shield law has a “high” chance of becoming law, after introduction in the Senate.
That’s the opinion of New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who introduced the bill along with South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham. Mr. Graham tells Politico that “when you cover political people, it’s okay if we get upset. But it’s not okay if we use the power of the government unfairly against those who cover us.” The bill lays out exceptions for when a reporter is the subject of a criminal investigation, or for there’s information that could prevent terrorism attacks, deaths or kidnappings. The DOJ indicates it supports the bill – and we’ll see how the House leadership feels about it.
Tom Joyner writes “an open letter to Rachel Jeantel,” offering help…
To the young woman who was talking on the phone with Trayvon Martin on the night he died in Sanford, Florida. The Reach Media personality is talking about giving material assistance – “helping you to get your GED and prepping you for the historically black college or university of your choice…The only thing I ask in return is that you reach out and try to make a difference in someone’s life as well.” Joyner says his Foundation “for years has invested in students who may have everything but the financial resources to complete their college education” – and he’s extending an offer that could be worth not just thousands of dollars in tuition aid and tutoring, but mentoring. Joyner almost impulsively made his offer on Tuesday’s show, then made it more concrete in this letter. Says Joyner, “Time and time again, we watch our young people get written off, tossed aside or put at the end of the line because no one wants to give them a chance.”
News/talk listenership keeps growing, says Arbitron – for public radio stations.
About a third of all public radio stations are news/talk/information, but Arbitron’s new edition of “Public Radio Today” says that “for the first time, that format accounts for more than half [51.7%] of all public radio listening.” That’s up 2.7% from the previous year. It says news/talk is “most popular in the PPM markets” (basically, the top 50). But it’s also “the #1 format in diary markets, as well.” Not only that, there’s strong qualitative for public radio stations marketers to work with – “Listeners to this format are better educated and live in a greater number of higher-income households than the listeners to any other public or” – get this part – “commercial radio format.” That’s a high-value audience. The second-most popular public radio format is classical. Arbitron says “as public classical stations assume the mantle from commercial stations, the format’s popularity continues to grow in PPM markets.” While adult alternative (AAA) and hybrid news/AAA stations “capture nearly 10% of all public radio listening.”
Public radio is doing a better job reaching younger listeners.
Arbitron finds that public radio “reached record numbers of 18-24 men and 25-34 men, in Spring 2012.” Public radio program directors spend a lot of time thinking about how to expand into younger demos, while keeping their core of baby boomers and Gen-Xers. The Public Radio Today study finds that “time spent listening has held steady in recent years,” and you’re welcome to compare that to commercial radio. In that realm, commercial radio’s reach/cume have held steady or grown, but TSL has eroded somewhat. Arbitron says compared to 2011, time spent listening to public radio in 2012 “either remained the same or improved, in 11 of 14 key age/gender categories.” As for reach, public radio’s total weekly audience stayed around 32 million. But as Current.org observes, “the number of weekly listeners grew by 7.5%, or 1.2 million, to a total of 18 million.” Cume for AAA stations jumped 8.7%, to 3.4 million. Arbitron offers a free download of the executive summary of the new Public Radio Today 2013 (under the editorship of Ron Rodrigues) here.
“Understanding the Holiday book” webinar – for agencies – is coming up next week.
It’s based on material created by WBEB, Philadelphia Director of National Sales Dave Giordano, who used it with station clients and his rep – and then asked Arbitron if they were interested in seeing it. GM Blaise Howard at Jerry Lee-owned WBEB says “Arbitron loved it and it, and asked if they could use the presentation, and of course we said yes.” Arbitron says “if you have clients who rely on sales between Black Friday and Christmas, you'll want to learn how the PPM Holiday Book can help guide ad placement on radio during this critical time.” It’s a 30-minute webinar for those who “plan or buy radio in a PPM market, run ad campaigns between Thanksgiving and Christmas” and “want to deliver the best ROI possible for your clients.” The webinar is Thursday, July 25 (a week from today) starting at 2:30pm Eastern. More info here.
Dial Global renews its ten-year-old deal with Wise Brother Media.
The Wise Brother name may not be familiar, but Dial Global says The Complete Sheet prep service and the “Delicious Audio” service are used “in every top 50 market, and on 85 stations in the top 10 markets.” That’s good business for Dial Global, which distributes those services and sells the barter ads that pay for them. (That inventory shows up in Dial Global’s “Complete FM” RADAR sales network.) Johnny Vega-run Wise Brother Media also operates the new “Studio Think Tank,” a social media community that more than 2,500 people have joined in its first nine months. Dial Global COO Charles Steinhauer mentions Studio Think Tank as one of Wise Brother’s new innovations, and says the independent firm’s “creativity and tone are unique.”
Nashville’s first Ranchera station has launched.
Davidson Media Group’s WMDB (880) adjusts to the changing demographics in Middle Tennessee. WMDB had been pumping out Spanish contemporary hits as “El Sol 880,” and now advertises itself – on local billboards, no less – as “La Ranchera.” The slogan needs little translation – “Tu Musica, Tu Tradicion.” Check the website here. TBLC Media's sister WNVL continues as regional Mexican “Activa 1240,” using the syndicated Piolin in mornings. Mahan Janbakhsh of TBLC first bought the 1240 after LMAing it, then LMA'd and bought 880.
Spring-book Arbitrons from diary markets – Day 2.
Richmond – Urban “106.5 the Beat” WBTJ turns in an 8.6 share – the highest ever in the commercial frequency’s 25-year history. Tracking back to last Summer, the Clear Channel station moves 6.3-7.7-6.0-8.6. The Beat is ranked #2, behind Radio One’s urban AC “Kiss” combo of WKJS/WKJM (10.1-9.7-10.4-9.4). This is the sixth straight quarterly win for Kiss, with age 12+ AQH shares. Clear Channel’s talk WRVA also rises, 4.8-6.1-5.8-6.7, and now ranks fifth. Main Line’s “We play anything…and lots of it” variety hits “Liberty” WLBB scores a recent high age 12+ AQH share (1.9-2.1-2.5-3.0). All shares in this section are age 12+, and the Arbitron survey month of “June” was May 23-June 19. Remember that the ratings service’s “subscriber only” policy is in effect, so we see only the shares of stations that subscribe to the book.
Buffalo – News/talk WBEN does a 10.2 share, for its first time in double digits (and best book overall) since Fall 2009. Entercom’s WBEN easily remains in second place, 7.6-9.0-9.1-10.2. It’s still a couple of shares behind Townsquare Media’s country WYRK, 13.4-11.8-11.5-12.2. That makes 14 consecutive #1 finishes for WYRK. In third place, Townsquare’s very consistent urban WBLK stays in its range, 8.2-8.7-8.9-8.6. Only three companies subscribe here – Townsquare, Entercom and Cumulus.
Rochester – Urban WDKX stages a recovery, with the Moore County Broadcasting station back into second place (9.6-9.4-6.5-8.1). Ahead of it is Entercom’s country WBEE, 10.9-10.1-9.9-10.8. This is WBEE’s 12th #1 finish in the last 13 books. Pretty normal-looking for this market after that, although Stephens-owned AC “Warm 101.3” WRMM cools off a bit, 6.0-6.2-6.2-5.3. Among the all-sports stations, it’s Clear Channel’s “Sports 1280” WHTK, 0.9-1.1-1.2-0.8 and Entercom’s “950 ESPN” WROC, 0.5-0.8-0.6-0.5.
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC – Urban “107.3 Jamz” WJMZ, now owned by SummitMedia, holds onto first place, 8.6-11.2-9.6-9.0. It’s trailed by two Clear Channel country stations – WESC (8.7-7.4-7.1-7.7) and WSSL (8.5-7.8-7.8-7.2). Summit’s rhythmic “Hot 98.1” WHZT pulls its best topline share since Fall 2010, 5.6-3.6-5.2-5.8. Clear Channel, Summit and Entercom are the only three subscribers here.
Birmingham – Urban AC “98.7 Kiss FM” WBHK keeps breaking its own records, now with its 47th consecutive #1 book. Kiss is one of the stations SummitMedia recently acquired from Cox. The market's #2 and #3 stations are both country – Summit’s WZZK (8.7-6.9-8.3-8.9) and Clear Channel’s “102.5 the Bull” WDXB (6.4-6.5-5.7-7.0). But if country’s strong, all-sports isn’t. WJOX-FM realizes its lowest share since changing frequency five years ago. The Cumulus station is down 5.6-6.2-3.4-2.7. (Former WJOX-FM afternoon star Paul Finebaum is taking warmup swings for his new Charlotte-based job with ESPN, to debut next month.) All-sports sister WJOX/690 didn't make the book at all. Birmingham is rife with HD Radio-fed FM translators, thanks to operators like Clear Channel. CC’s urban “104.1 the Beat” WMJJ-FM HD2 is up 1.8-2.1-1.9-2.5. Sister black gospel “Hallelujah” WERC-FM HD2 holds 2.1-1.7-2.6-2.4. Yet another sister, rock “Vulcan” WQEN-FM HD2, improves 1.5-1.3-2.2-2.3. If you add ’em up, that’s 7.2 shares of listening from HD Radio signals feeding transmitters with no more than 250 watts of power.
Lafayette, Louisiana - Urban AC “Majic” KNEK-FM, owned by Cumulus, delivers a 10.9, which is the highest share since the station signed on in Fall 1991. The recent trendline is 7.7-9.8-9.6-10.9. Townsquare-owned stations are #2 and #3, led by country “Dawg” KMDL (7.9-8.3-8.2-9.0) and AC KTDY (5.4-8.2-5.6-8.1).
Biloxi – “Kicker 108,” Dowdy-owned country WZKX, shed over three shares this time, but still wins (9.2-7.5-12.1-8.9). Larry Wilson-led L&L Broadcasting shows up in second place with variety hits “Bob” WQBB (6.1-7.5-6.5-7.8). It’s just ahead of Clear Channel’s tied-for-third AC “Magic 93” WMJY (5.4-4.5-4.8-7.0) and L&L’s CHR “107.1 the Monkey” WXYK (7.9-6.4-4.8-7.0). But L&L’s all-sports “96.7 the Champ” WUJM is off, 1.3-0.8-1.0-0.8.
For $675,000, “K-Love” parent Educational Media Foundation annexes new territory in Georgia, at the edge of the Northeast Georgia mountains. In typical fashion, EMF will pay half the price for currently-silent WNGA (105.1) in cash and the rest in a five-year note. Seller Tugart Properties (Art Sutton, Terry Carter) had upgraded the Clermont station from a Class A to a C3. At one time Clear Channel owned this facility, mainly to control an Atlanta signal, and it’s variously been known as WHEL (twice), WVWA, WZGA and now WNGA. Unable to get a long-term lease at its present site, Tugart took the station silent on April 6. Presumably California-based not-for-profit EMF will employ its contemporary Christian “K-Love” network programming. 105.1 had most recently been doing soft AC as “EZ 105.1.” Broker on the deal – Mark Jorgenson.
Art Sutton and Terry Carter file another deal, this time in South Carolina. The “WLTE” call letters previously belonged on a CBS station in Minneapolis, until it went country in December 2011 as “Buz’n.” Now the WLTE calls are attached to a construction permit in Pendleton, South Carolina, between Clemson and Anderson, in the “Upstate.” In this deal, Sutton and Carter acquire two-thirds of Megan Lightfoot’s 100% interest in Georgia-Carolina Wireless and assume the existing debt. (The three principals will become equal partners, with Sutton taking over as managing member.) The future Class A at 95.9 was originally granted in 2008. Its path to sign-on will be greatly helped when WGOG, Walhalla (owned by Sutton and Carter) moves from second-adjacent channel 96.3 up to 101.7.
After five years on the air in Fort McMurray, Alberta, “it made sense for one of us to acquire the other.” That’s Newcap President/CEO Rob Steele, who says “two standalone stations were up against a competitor with two FMs,” in a small market. Though attention should be paid to Fort McMurray, in northern Alberta, because it’s experiencing an energy boom due to oil-drilling. The population has doubled over the past 15 years. Newcap exits the market by selling “100.5 K-Rock” CHFT to competitor Harvard Broadcasting. Harvard can pair K-Rock with its own AC “Mix 103.7” CFVR. Newcap’s been focusing more on its base in eastern Canada, but it still owns more than 80 stations.
Scott Wager has been the guy in charge of “Chicago’s choice for Jazz, Blues, News and more” for three decades, but he’s giving up those duties at non-commercial WDCB (90.9) on July 31. Robert Feder reports the retirement (here) and says it comes two months after Mary Pat LaRue left as program director, a job she’d held since 1984. WDCB is owned by the College of DuPage, and the station’s GM reports to its VP of information technology. Scott Wager says “we always thought of WDCB as an ‘island of difference’ within the Chicago market dominated by pop music stations and talk, maintaining our focus on an American art form – jazz.” There are some non-jazz specialty shows, such as the old time radio “Those Were the Days” and “Mambo Express.”
George Noory says his contract renewal with Premiere Networks means “I’ll be around when astronauts land on Mars.” That’s a clever and coy way of saying it’s a very long-term renewal, which keeps him talking to nearly three million overnight listeners to “Coast to Coast AM.” Premiere says it clears on “nearly 570 stations in the U.S., Canada, Guam and Mexico.” Not only that, it says listenership has risen 13% in the past two years. Noory took over permanent hosting duties back in 2013 at the anything-goes late-night show begun by Art Bell - so he’s been on the job just over a decade. The renewal announcement comes from Julie Talbott, President of Content and Affiliate Services for National Media Groups at Clear Channel.
Stacy Horton brings her industry contacts and enthusiasm to New York-based Media Management Network, as EVP of Sales and Affiliations. She’s worked at Business TalkRadio Network (as VP of Affiliate Sales), Yahoo, United Stations, Launch Radio and Sony Music. MMG VP of Business Development Alan Eisenson says “when we launched MMG Radio Network in April with Warren Eckstein’s The Pet Show, we had no idea it would grow so quickly” – demonstrating, he says, the “demand for quality, niche weekend programming.”
I smell a... - David Gleason, proprietor of the fascinating AmericanRadioHistory website and a man with a career-full of experience in American radio (North and South), says "When I built HCTM1 as the first FM in Quito (and Ecuador), it ran 6am to midnight. But one morning, I got a call at sign-on time saying the transmitter would not go on. I talked the staff member through the troubleshooting list, and when they said 'it smells bad,' I tried to find out if the smell was more like a burnt fan motor or a burnt transformer. 'Neither,' I was told. 'It smells more like an overcooked sausage.' I drove to the station, and the smell was quite disgusting. I opened the transmitter and found that after midnight, a large rat had curled up on top of a filter capacitor. When the 'plate on' button was pushed, the rat not only died, it exploded all over the inside of the transmitter. A run to an all-night drug store equipped me with rubber gloves, a bunch of toothbrushes, alcohol, cotton, and, importantly, a surgical mask. After an hour or so, the cleansing of the rat was done and we went on the air. I decided that day that the way to avoid further incidents at sign-on was to become the first 24-hour FM. And, of course, we sealed the wiring holes in the transmitter with screen. I’ve since had to remove skunks, possums (the plural should be 'possi,' shouldn’t it?), snakes, frogs and toads. But the exploding rat was by far the worst."
There’s a lot of radio in this daily Tom Taylor NOW Newsletter - News about eight-figure radio deals in big market (Hubbard/Sandusky), smaller deals that signal where the industry’s going, and news about the FCC and Washington DC. And beyond that, news that’s close to where the industry’s going, with digital and new revenue sources and shifts in listening patterns. If that’s the kind of thing that’s important to you, tell a friend or colleague about NOW. That’s how we keep growing (and we do). To reach our audience with your advertising message or classified ad, contact Kristy Scott. Reach her at Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. See you back tomorrow – Tom.