|Frustration over music licensing
“How do you do business with Global Music Rights, when you can’t even contact them?”
Two NOW regulars chime in after reading yesterday’s “Down to the wire” story. Here’s station owner/operator #1 - “We also never received an interim agreement. Absolutely no contact with GMR. I have sent two emails, two one-way communications through their site, two phone calls and one letter by USPS. I found a different phone number for GMR, on the Better Business Bureau site. It lists a northern New Jersey number in the 201 area code. Calling it, I got voicemail acknowledging it was GMR. Then it said: ‘Mailbox is full, Goodbye.’ They truly should not be trying to collect fees until their infrastructure is all set up.” And here’s Reader #2 – “I read the article about GMR…We have experienced the same frustration. Cannot find an address to send our payment, there’s no phone number, and we cannot get any contact information. I know that many others are in the same boat, and I am fearful that GMR will seek out those that do not comply with legal action, and use them as examples.” Tuesday, January 31 was the deadline for stations to sign up for the nine-month interim music license, while the legal maneuvers for a permanent license continue around Irving Azoff-run GMR and the Radio Music License Committee.
Next on radio’s de-reg wish-list – permission to rely on online recruiting for vacancies.
Sun Valley Radio and Canyon Media opened the issue last year with a petition to the FCC, arguing that most job-seekers now use employment websites and not the local paper’s classified section. Among the latest developments is Garvey Schubert Barer filing comments on behalf of radio and TV operators like Max Media, Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters and Minnesota Public Radio. Radio World’s Susan Ashworth says another argument is cost. The consortium members not only think online recruiting casts a broad enough net to satisfy EEO requirements, but it would save money that licensees now spend on newspaper ads. New FCC Chair Ajit Pai already made radio happy by eliminating the public file rule about retaining paper copies of listener correspondence and email. He could go further, by easing up on recruitment.
Annual bonus time at Radio One and Reach Media – except for one executive.
It’s “no bonus” for David Kantor. Last year his role was greatly expanded, giving him oversight of the radio division plus the Reach Media syndication. The company says that “Mr. Kantor did not receive a bonus for the calendar year 2016, as the combined radio and Reach Media segments did not achieve” the expected EBITDA (one measure of cash flow). Ironically, in awarding CEO Alfred Liggins his full “100% bonus,” the board cites “Reach Media’s favorable performance.” So the shortfall for Kantor must’ve been at the radio station division. We’ll learn more when Radio One reports its Q4 results. Liggins was eligible for a 2016 bonus of up to $1.25 million, and he gets 100% of that. The board cited factors like hitting the company’s overall EBITDA goal, higher cash flow, and “expense management and cost containment.” Radio One founder and Chairperson Cathy Hughes also got 100% of her possible bonus, or $500,000. In her case, the board leaned on the company’s “overall performance and the founder’s contributions to the success of the company.” CFO Peter Thompson and Chief Administrative Officer Linda Vilardo both bank $300,000 bonuses, as you can see in the SEC filing here.
CBS Radio-Chicago has a new “Culinary Kitchen.”
No, none of the CBS-owned stations features a cooking show. But Chicago’s certainly a food town. Market manager Tim Pohlman tells the Chicago Business Journal “The Culinary Kitchen is another great example of the forward thinking and creativity we offer to satisfy the tastes of discerning locals in this ever-evolving market.” He got help from Andrew Kaplan, who works with the Rachael Ray brand, in terms of designing the kitchen – which has complete audio/TV capabilities. It’s near the cluster’s performance studio (officially, “the Blue Cross Blue Shield performance space”). And events & strategy manager Dina Sayyed imagines musicians might want to fool around in the kitchen. First event is next Monday, featuring Food Network personality Jeff Mauro (a Chicagoan) doing a cooking demonstration at lunchtime. Can CBS make some additional revenue off the Culinary Kitchen? If they keep promoting it, it could at least add some sizzle to the local brands.
Second man sentenced in the home invasion of station owner Stu Epperson, Jr.
Epperson’s wife Julie could’ve been seriously hurt, says the Winston-Salem Journal - She’d come home from dropping the kids off at school when she saw her home’s back door was open, and glass on the ground. She fled to her car for safety and called 911. That’s when Jefferey Stuart Sneed, disguised by a black ski mask and holding a .45-caliber pistol, walked up to the car and ordered her to get out. She didn’t, and Sneed fired two shots, one of which went through the windshield and out the rear window. Julie slammed the car into reverse, hit a tree, then ran to a neighbor’s house. Sneed pleaded guilty in December to attempted first-degree murder and other charges, and was sentenced to at least 13 years in prison. His accomplice Larry Lenard Stevenson just pled guilty on Monday, on charges of breaking and entering, larceny and being a habitual felon. He got a sentence of six years and five months to eight years and nine months. About $10,000 worth of jewelry, cash and other valuables was taken – just two days after Sneed supposedly tried to serve a subpoena on Stu Epperson, Jr. The next day they met, and Sneed even texted Stu after the robbery. Stu, an author of Christian-themed books, owns radio stations with his mother Nancy. His dad Stu Sr. is a founder and principal of Salem Communications.
Radio fades for Meghan McCain, who becomes a permanent co-host of Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered,” and doesn’t have time to keep hosting the three-hour daily “America Now” for Premiere Networks. Her promotion from contributor to co-host at FNC came in November, and she’s already left the 6pm-9pm Eastern time radio show. Filling out the rest of this week is Brian Suits from iHeart’s L.A. talker, KFI/640. Julie Talbott’s pick as Meghan McCain’s successor in the America Now chair is Buck Sexton. He’s been a commentator on CNN, a host for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and is a former CIA officer, specializing in counter-terrorism. Original host for “America Now” was Andy Dean (2011-2014), who was followed by “Joe Pags” (Pagliarulo) and then in July 2015 by McCain.
Nielsen’s Scarborough “local consumer insights service” adds 59 more markets, so it covers all 210 DMAs in the Nielsen universe. (DMA is a Nielsen TV term for “Designated Market Area” – usually but not always larger than its radio market definitions.) Nielsen Scarborough research is used by not only radio/TV, but also clients in newspaper, out-of-home and (a surprisingly big area) sports. The 59 new markets expand the sample size for Scarborough to 300,000 adults per year. What does Scarborough offer? “Deeper local consumer insights [that] enable buyers and seller to make smarter decisions about consumers, based on where they shop, what they buy, and what they watch, read and listen to,” says Nielsen’s President-Product Leadership Megan Clarken.
“Don’t chop Rocky Top” is the rallying cry for a Knoxville Low Power FM operator named “United Mountain Defense” – an environmental group dedicated to protecting the mountains and communities of Appalachia. United Mountain Defense held a shared-time license on 103.9 to operate WOGU-LP, but now it tells the FCC it’s returning the construction permit “due to changes in leadership and shifting organizational priorities.” (After all, running a radio station, even part of the week, is work.) The LPFM’s time will be re-distributed between the other two users of the frequency. Appalachian Community Fund gets most of the hours for its WOZW-LP and The Neighborhood Center gets the rest for WOZO-LP.
Low Power FMs aren’t supposed to be “extremely” low power. The FCC dismisses three “license to cover” requests, on the grounds that the proposed power changes would result in “below the minimum authorized ERP,” meaning effective radiated power. The floor is 47 watts. These three licensees must go back to the drawing board – Fayette County Emergency Management, for its WEJK-LP/100.7 in Connersville, Indiana. Amazing Grace Church, for its KILB-LP/99.1 in Paron, Arkansas. And Clay County Services Unlimited, for WTUB-LP/106.7 in Lizemores, West Virginia.
More Fall-book results from Eastlan Ratings –
We get to see the shares of all the stations that “make the book,” unlike with Nielsen. Eastlan produced ratings in 36 U.S. markets for the Fall-2016 survey that ran September 8 through November 16. Nielsen’s Fall book also started September 8, but ran two weeks longer, through November 30. Privately-held Eastlan uses a combination of “random stratified telephone-recall sample and daily e-surveys.” Nielsen uses the electronic PPM system in 48 large markets, and seven-day diaries elsewhere. Eastlan posts its methodology here.
Anchorage immediately shows us some differences between the publicly-released Nielsen Fall book and Eastlan – Eastlan’s #1 station is CHR KFAT, owned by Ohana Media Group. But we don’t see that in Nielsen, because Ohana doesn’t subscribe. In fact, Nielsen’s only two Anchorage subscribers are iHeart and Alpha. Comparing Eastlan’s last three books (Fall-2015 to Spring-2016 to the new Fall-2016), here’s the top ten – CHR KFAT (9.4-9.5-13.1). Ratings-tracker Chris Huff says “That’s the first time for KFAT to top the market in an Eastlan survey.” #2 is iHeart’s CHR KGOT (8.9-9.3-10.1). From there, we’ve got Alaska Public Telecommunications’ not-for-profit news/talk KSAK (12.0-10.6-9.8). iHeart’s rock KWHL (5.7-6.8-7.1). iHeart’s talk KENI (4.4-6.5-5.3). Alpha’s classic hits “Kool 97.3” KEAG (5.1-5.2-4.4). iHeart’s “Magic” KYMG (3.6-3.2-4.3). Then tied in eighth place, just behind Magic, are Alpha’s country KBRJ (6.1-4.5-4.2) and Chinook Concert Broadcasters’ commercial-classical KLEF (3.0-3.2-4.2). Tenth is Alpha’s hot AC KMXS (4.4-4.1-3.7). We often don’t see “K-Love” stations in Nielsen, but Eastlan shows us EMF-owned not-for-profit contemporary Christian KAKL in thirteenth place (3.4-2.5-3.5).
Lawton, Oklahoma hasn’t been rated by Nielsen/Arbitron since Fall 2012, and here’s the new Eastlan top ten, from Fall ’15 to last Spring to Fall ’16 – Townsquare’s country “K-Law 101” KLAW (18.9-15.0-15.7). Chris Huff counts this as “K-Law’s 29th consecutive #1, dating back to the Arbitron surveys.” Broadco’s hot AC KMGZ (10.2-8.8-11.0). Perry Broadcasting’s urban “97.9 Jamz” KJMZ (10.9-10.6-9.5). Townsquare’s rock “Z94” KZCD (6.4-6.9-6.7). And Fritsch-owned AC KBZQ (6.8-6.9-6.7). The second five is a “K-Love” O&O, EMF’s not-for-profit contemporary Christian KWKL (3.67-3.5-5.2). Perry’s urban KVSP (4.4-5.6-4.4), Cumulus classic rocker KYYI (3.1-5.6-3.8). Then a couple of Townsquare stations, CHR “107.3 Pop Crush” KVRW (4.9-2.3-3.7) and CHR KNIN, coming over from Wichita Falls (3.7-4.7-3.5). #11 is the market’s first talk-based station, Cameron University’s not-for-profit news/talk KCCU (3.8-2.1-2.3).
Casper hasn’t seen Nielsen since the Fall 2013 book. Here’s the top ten, per Eastlan – Townsquare has the first three, including the station Chris Huff says just achieved “the largest share seen for any station in the market since Spring 1996, a record held by KQLT in Arbitron.” That #1 station in Eastlan is CHR KTRS (14.4-15.5 and a whopping 20.1 share). Second is news/talk KTWO (17.6-14.7-16.9), and then there’s country KWYY (11.8-14.0-13.9). Fourth is Breck Media Group’s rock KTED (5.4-6.9-7.3) and fifth is University of Wyoming-owned not-for-profit news/classical/alternative KUWC (8.0-7.1-6.2). Here’s the second five – Breck’s classic hits “Kool 105” KZQL (5.7-5.9-5.6). Townsquare’s classic rock “River” KRVK (6.4-5.2-4.9). Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting’s talk KVOC (1.9-2.6-3.9). And EMF’s “K-Love” CCM station, not-for-profit KLWC (3.9-2.9-3.6). Using Eastlan’s “True Rank,” Casper ranks as the #303 market, by population.
Atlanta’s “NewsRadio 106.7” WYAY replaces the afternoon news block with talk, leaving mornings as the only all-news slot. Just hired for 3pm-6pm is Brian Joyce. He’s already in the Cumulus world as the 1pm-3pm personality on Chattanooga-market “Talk Radio 102.3” WGOW-FM. Call him the next Iron Man – Brian keeps the Chattanooga early-afternoon show, to be hosted remotely from Atlanta, then does PM drive in Atlanta. That’s five straight hours. He succeeds the current news team that includes Cheryl Castro and PD Greg Tantum. Cumulus dropped classic hits on WYAY in May 2012 and recruited many former CNN Radio hands for a news format. By late 2013, there was an early-afternoon talk block, then a 9am-noon talk show – and now PM drive. The talk lineup will be Shannon Burke, Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and Brian Joyce, who hails from Boston. Evenings are Mark Levin, 6pm-9pm, then repeats of Shannon Burke and The Kimmer.
Saga’s next “Legends & Young Guns” Outlaw country format is in New Hampshire, on an HD Radio-fed translator in Concord. Interesting, this isn’t a new translator for Ed Christian’s company, because it’s held the construction permit since 2004. W276BJ Concord at 103.1 has recently been part of a CHR “Hot Hits New Hampshire” simulcast with Manchester’s W231BR at 94.1. The top 40 music continues on that signal, while “103.1 the Outlaw” debuts, says Radio Insight, fed by the HD3 signal of AC WZID Manchester/95.7. Saga also runs Outlaw formats in Des Moines, Asheville, Jonesboro (Arkansas), Springfield (Illinois) and Clarksville, Tennessee.
Full-time classic hip-hop comes to Huntsville, replacing R&B oldies on an AM/translator combo previously marketed as “Sunny 98.1.” The owner is Paul Stone, and his Southern Stone Communications acquired WLOR Huntsville/1550 along with the rest of Black Crow, earlier in the decade. The flip from R&B oldies to classic hip-hop “98.1 the Beat” reported by Radio Insight comes a couple of months after Stone filed plans to change the AM’s facility from directional both day and night to non-directional. It’s currently 50,000 watts daytime and 44 watts at night, using a three-tower array. The plan is to run 28,000 watts daytime/15 watts at night, non-D. WLOR’s teamed up with Southern Stone translator W251AC at 98.1, licensed to north-of-Huntsville Capshaw, Alabama.
A three-station sale in Corpus Christi, taking seller Convergent Broadcasting II out of the market. Buyer is Barry Marks’ ICA Radio Ltd., which has stations up in Odessa-Midland – so this purchase makes ICA a group (stations in at least two markets). The three FMs are CHR “Planet 102.3” KKPN Rockport, a Class C2. “Classic Rock 104.5” KPUS Gregory, a C3. And classic country “107.3 Jake FM” KAJE Ingleside, also a C3. Broker – Kalil & Co.
If you’re a “Yooper” – from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – you know where Escanaba is. It’s the home of talk/adult standards WDCB/680 and “Kix Country 104.7” WYKX, which KMB Broadcasting has owned since 1978. KMB’s James Cooke is proud of the awards they’ve won, like an NAB Crystal Award for year-round community service for his AM, and says “it’s with mixed emotions that we decided to sell.” Buyer Bill Curtis of Sovereign Communications says “We’ve wanted to own these heritage stations for a long time, and I’m delighted Mr. Cooke decided to sell them to us.” The properties are Class C1 WYKX, and WDBC at 680. It’s licensed for 10,000 watts daytime/1,000 watts at night, with a construction permit to run 6,000 watts daytime and the same thousand watts at night. Adding them brings Sovereign’s station count up to 17 in the Upper Peninsula. No price announced, but we’ll get that in the FCC filing.
$760,000 is the price for just-sold Milwaukee-market daytimer WRRD/1510, based on what this NOW Newsletter hears. As of last night, the sale to progressive talk personality/entrepreneur Michael Crute hadn’t been filed at the Commission. Monday’s NOW noted the likely format change, from Spanish sports “ESPN Deportes Radio” to progressive talk – and that happened yesterday, via LMA. Crute’s one of the members of the syndicated “Devil’s Advocate” talk show.
“K-Love” parent EMF buys its affiliate WPTC/88.1 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania for $160,000 – minus the $10,000 it paid for the purchase option and minus the $70,000 it’s paid in LMA fees since April 2015. Also minus the $11,204 it’s paid seller Williamsport Lycoming Broadcast Foundation to reimburse it for moving WPTC to the tower of Colonial’s WLYC/1050. (The Foundation’s Todd Bartley is a principal of Colonial Radio Group.) Class A WPTC continues airing the contemporary Christian network feed of California-based not-for-profit Educational Media Foundation.
Derek Rohloff knows both the automotive industry (former sales manager at automotive supplier Visteon and lab supervisor at Ford) and radio (former iHeart VP at Total Traffic and later “Automotive Strategic Partnerships”). Now after two years as VP/Worldwide Content and U.S. Automotive at “software-as-a-service” company UIEvolution, Rohloff’s back in radio. He’s the new head of automotive business development at Emmis-owned TagStation. Paul Brenner’s the president of NextRadio and TagStation and he says Derek can help the company “showcase what we can offer to the automotive industry.” TagStation helps participating radio station show listeners on the go things like artist-and-title info.
Bobby Rich “said something I should not have said” – and after more than 24 years, he’s abruptly gone from Scripps hot AC “Mix 94.9” KMXZ in Tucson. Whatever went down, it happened very fast, says Tucson.com. The site says “just after 2pm Wednesday, an hour before his ‘Bobby Rich Celebrates Tucson’ show was set to begin, Rich posted on Facebook that he and the station were parting ways.” Bobby says “I made a big mistake and said something I should not have said,” though it’s not clear what he said or where. He says “Even though I regret it and apologized, I own it, and now it becomes necessary for my association with MIXfm and Scripps Tucson to conclude.” He’d only recently shifted to afternoons, from morning drive. On the side, he’ll keep doing his Internet radio project, Bobby's B-100. His lengthy radio bio includes programming in New York, L.A. and Philadelphia, consulting for Drake-Chenault, innovating a hot AC approach at San Diego's “B-100” KFMB-FM, and managing in Seattle. He made Tucson his home in 1992.
Bob Benson devoted much of his life to radio news, first at the local level (Chicago’s WLS and San Francisco’s KGO), then the national level, at ABC and the AP. In the mid-1970s, he founded and was the first managing editor of AP Radio. Bob was able to retire to Punta Gorda, Florida in 1994, and sorry to report his death there, of lung cancer. He was 74. His obituary says Bob Bengtson was born in Streator, Illinois and started at his hometown WIZZ. He moved along to the original WIRE Indianapolis and then KOIL Omaha, his springboard to news management. He was national news director for the Star Stations, then in 1966 news director at ABC’s WLS and news director/PD at KGO. Then came the AP gig, followed by a return to ABC as vice president of ABC News. Corinne Baldassano, now Senior VP at Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s platform, Take On The Day, tells NOW that when she was at ABC Radio, “Bob was always happy to have programming people who loved news sit in on his daily news meetings – and I did, many times.” She says Bob had “an illustrious news career.”
That “radio voice” – Altoona personality Doug Herendeen, host of WRTA’s “The 11th Hour,” says “There was this Central Pennsylvania station that was the first in the market to do organized school closings. However, they somehow neglected to use a code word for the districts. One not-that-bad Winter day, a woman called in representing one of said districts, saying they were closed. Station announced it. No kids or teachers showed up, and only a few administrators did. One checked with the station later in the day to ask just who had called, since none of them had. Fast-forward to some years later, and the station's newest jock is talking with a few of the station veterans, when someone mentions the incident. The new jock says ‘Oh, you mean Such-and-Such district?’ Vet asks her how she knows which district. She looks a bit embarrassed and says, ‘Well, I should start by telling you that even when I was 12, people calling my home would mistake me for an adult…’” Ever have a similar experience? Email your choicest radio story, the one your non-radio friends don’t quite get, to “You Can’t Make This Up” – to Tom@RTK-Media.com.
SiriusXM reports to Wall Street and its shareholders today, about the last quarter of 2016 and how 2017 is beginning. CEO Jim Meyer is typically conservative about his guidance and often winds up raising and then beating it. Coverage of the quarterly call in tomorrow’s NOW Newsletter. Want to put your company’s marketing message or classified ad in front of this committed audience of readers? Contact Kristy Scott - Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. Have fun with Groundhog Day, and see you back first thing tomorrow - Tom