|Silver lining for threatened stations
News/talk pubcasters keep breaking records – just as federal funding is threatened.
New cumes are coming to many not-for-profit stations in Nielsen PPM markets, and those new listeners could come in very handy as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting faces being “zeroed out” of the federal budget. That money goes to member radio and TV stations, and they make decisions about where to invest their programming dollars. If the CPB is eliminated, that won’t crash the large-market stations with substantial donor bases and sophisticated fundraising. It’s the rural operators who may be on the bubble. Looking at the large markets, Day 2 of Nielsen’s February-book PPMs brought a yet another crop of strong ratings, probably due to curiosity about Trump and Washington DC. Some notes from ratings historian Chris Huff – “DC’s WAMU just set a record for the largest share ever recorded for a not-for-profit outlet in any PPM market.” (That full-week age 6+ AQH share? An 11.5, #1 in the market.) Seattle’s KUOW-AM/FM just shot up to second place. San Diego’s KPBS is #1 (by a hair) with its largest share in two years. Boston’s rival WGBH and WBUR now rank seventh and eighth, and if you combined their numbers, the 9.1-share would top the market. Baltimore’s WYPR produces its largest share in three years. Not every PPM market has those stories – but the trend’s pretty clear in the first months of the new Administration. And whether pubcasters are programming news/talk or music, they’re going to need supporters and donors.
More about Entercom-plus-CBS Radio – divestitures will come from both sides of the family tree.
Yesterday’s NOW headline said the minimum 14 stations that must be divested will come from the Entercom side, but here’s a more accurate picture – stations from both owners are going into at least the divestiture trust. And that divestiture trust will house a surprisingly large number of stations, as you’ll read in the next two stories. But do understand that not all the stations ticketed for the trust to be overseen by San Francisco-based Elliot Evers will ultimately be sold or swapped. Entercom tells NOW “This is a process,” and it will proceed in stages. It’s true that as you read yesterday, “no stations owned by CBS’s radio business will be divested prior to the closing of the merger.” But after that point – it’s mix-and-match. Asked about the regulatory part of the process, Entercom tells NOW “the companies are engaging with key regulators.”
Market-by-market, here’s an early look at Entercom spins in seven markets.
As it merges with CBS Radio, Entercom needs to spin one FM in Los Angeles, and Entercom tells NOW that it will either be Entercom’s classic rock “100.3 the Sound” KSWD or longtime CBS property KCBS-FM, variety hits “93.1 Jack FM.” Signal-wise, they’re both grandfathered Class B’s, though 93.1 is by far the more powerful of the pair. Down in San Diego, we know that Entercom’s country KSOQ, a North County Class A at 92.1 is headed into the trust. It was originally acquired by predecessor Jefferson-Pilot to help out San Diego’s country KSON/97.3. In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the lesser of the two country “Froggy” signals goes into the trust for sale/swap. That’s WGGI Benton, PA at 95.1. But in some of the most-watched overlap markets, Entercom’s keeping its options wide-open – and the rest of us guessing. In both Boston and Seattle, Entercom only needs to divest two FMs from the combined assets. But the Entercom Divestiture Trust will be stocked with more than that – up to eight, as you’ll see in the following story. In San Francisco, a total of four FMs can’t stay with Entercom, and the trust will house up to eight stations. In Sacramento, three FMs must go, and Evers’ trust could hold up to eight stations. Read the FCC filing NOW used for its analysis here.
Ready for a deeper dive into the Entercom Divestiture Trust?
Take a deep breath (or suit up your SCUBA gear) – and remember that by no means all these stations will eventually be sold/traded away by Entercom. Going by market size –
• Los Angeles - You know that Entercom’s classic rock KSWD/100.3 and CBS Radio’s variety hits “93.1 Jack FM” KCBS-FM will be put in the trust. Entercom needs to spin only one signal here.
• San Francisco - CBS Radio’s news KCBS/740 and its FM simulcast, KFRC/106.9. Also, adult alternative “Live 105” KITS, CHR KMVQ/99.7, hot AC “Alice @ 97.3” KLLC, and LMA’d South Asian “Radio Zindagi” KZDG/1550. From Entercom, urban AC KBLX/102.9, sports “95.7 the Game” KGMZ, AC KOIT/96.5, rhythmic AC “Q102” KRBQ and classic hits “Fox” KUFX/98.5. The minimum divestiture is four FMs.
• Boston – from CBS Radio, news/talk WBZ/1030, “98.5 the Sports Hub” WBZ-FM, classic rock WZLX/100.7, CHR WODS/103.3 and hot AC “Mix 104.1” WBMX. From Entercom, the list is rock WAAF/107.3, sports WEEI/850, sports WEEI-FM/93.7, urban AC WKAF/97.7 and talk WRKO/680. The minimum quantity to divest is two FMs.
• Seattle – from CBS, there’s variety hits “96.5 Jack FM” KJAQ, country KMPS/94.1, classic hits KZOK/102.5 and sports “1090 the Fan” KFNQ. From the Entercom side of the ledger, there’s rock KISW/99.9, country “Wolf” KKWF/100.7, rhythmic “Hot 103.7” KHTP and alternative “107.7 the End” KNDD. Out of that bunch, at least two FMs must be sold/swapped away.
• San Diego you already know about – North Country KSOQ Escondido at 92.1, currently simulcasting with country KSON/97.3.
• Sacramento – from the CBS family, country KNCI/105.1, AC “Mix 96” KYMX, hot AC “Now 100.5” KZZO, CHR KSFM/102.5 and “Sports 1140” KHTK. From Entercom, “98 Rock” KRXQ, classic rock “Eagle 96.9” KSEG, alternative “Radio 94.7” KKDO, sports “ESPN 1320” KIFM, a CHR KUDL/106.5 (new home to the “End” format previously heard on turned-in frequency KDND/107.9). Three Sacramento FMs must be spun or swapped.
• Wilkes-Barre/Scranton you know about – Class A country “Froggy 95.1” WGGI, breaking up the simulcast with big sister “Froggy 101” WGGY Scranton, a Class B.
Maximum flexibility for Entercom to conduct horse-trading – and less scrutiny from the feds.
What’s the logic behind this surprising list? Two threads emerge. One is throwing a lot of format competitors together in the trust, like the sports stations in Boston and Sacramento, or the country stations in Seattle. Or stations that compete for the same demo, even if they’re not in the same format (variety hits and classic hits). If the Department of Justice starts to raise issues of local-market format dominance, Entercom can say “they’re both in the trust.” Ultimately, the feds need to bless what Entercom keeps and divests, but this might make the conversation easier. The other thread is that some weaker and slightly-weaker signals were chosen, like L.A.’s 100.3, “Sound” KSWD. As for how the dealmaking goes - Entercom CEO David Field said back on February 2 that “We will consider cash sales, but we do think that swaps are a very likely outcome here.” That means packages can be tailored to fit particular parties interested in swapping something that Entercom covets. (Think Hubbard and Bonneville, to name two.) David Field said “obviously, swaps are very tax-friendly” for both sides. Broker Elliot Evers of Media Venture Partners, who’s handling the divestitures for Entercom (and the trusteeship of stations in the holding tank) must already be a busy guy.
Beasley’s Q4 – revenue at “legacy” stations rose 7.6%, while former Greater Media stations fell 6.1%.
CEO Caroline Beasley has no regrets about the Greater Media deal that closed November 1 – it doubles the company in revenue and audience reach, and plants it in new markets like Detroit. In fact the Detroit market, with stations like rocker WRIF and classic hip-hop “Bounce” WMGC-FM, reports a 6.9% year-over-year increase, compared to the Detroit market being down about 3.2%. But any ownership change causes uncertainty, and that was particularly true at the former Philadelphia cluster of Greater Media. (As Caroline says “the Greater Media stations did not perform up to their potential, as a result of the change in ownership.”) All told, revenue at the former GMI stations fell about $2.3 million (that 6.1% figure in the headline). Caroline says $1.4 million of that decline stemmed from Philly. Average it all out, and the 7.6% topline increase from “legacy” Beasley stations and the 6.1% drop at the former Greater Media stations turns into a consolidated 0.5% (half-a-percent) revenue increase to $65.8 million, on a pro forma basis. As CFO Marie Tedesco explains, pro forma station operating income slipped 10.6%, down $16.7 million.
Political business was strong across several Beasley markets.
As they say in the real estate business, it’s “location, location, location.” Beasley was well-positioned for the 2016 election cycle in Florida, Charlotte and out at its Las Vegas cluster. What CFO Marie Tedesco calls “actual political revenue” was “a strong $3.5 million gross,” with the Florida stations, Charlotte and Vegas responsible for about 77% of that haul. Overall, Beasley (including the new Greater Media stations) out-performed their markets in revenue, with its clusters up an average of 2% versus the relevant markets up about 0.5%. The star markets include (alphabetically) Augusta (GA), Boston, Charlotte, Fayetteville (NC), Greenville (NC), Las Vegas and Tampa. National business was off for Beasley in fourth quarter, and that trend continues here in first-quarter 2017. That matters, because national contributes about 17% of revenue at the “legacy” Beasley stations, but 26% at the onetime Greater Media stations, which are concentrated in larger markets. Almost all of this current Q1 is in, and management predicts revenue to be down mid-single digits in the pro forma and same-station columns, due to comparisons to last year’s political dollars, plus lower national business, and the recent format change at Tampa’s 98.7. It shifted from rock WBRN-FM (once the home of Bubba the Love Sponge) to AC “B98.7” WPBB.
Beasley’s report comes late in the quarterly cycle.
Though it’s not the only public company to check in toward the close of the SEC window – there’s also Spanish Broadcasting System to come. One street-watcher says “I think if SBS had good news to report about the FCC’s TV spectrum auction, something might have leaked.” So perhaps when Raul Alarcon’s company does report its fourth quarter, we won’t be hearing about a windfall from the potential contribution of SBS TV licenses in Miami, Houston or Puerto Rico – but who knows? Wrapping up Beasley – CEO Caroline Beasley says the late reporting date was “due to the added requirements for the Greater Media transaction.” Plenty of one-time costs from that, including severance totaling about $1.6 million. Those hurt the SOI (station operating income) margin, dropping it from 31.7% a year ago to 30.2%. At the moment, Beasley’s focused on integrating the Greater Media stations, and paying down debt. Caroline says they’ll put all $24 million in proceeds from the recent sale of Charlotte stations to Entercom toward debt reduction. Much of the $11 million from the sale of most of the Greenville-New Bern, NC cluster to Don Curtis will go to the same cause. We do get a figure for “cap-ex” (capital expenditures). They were $868,000 in last year’s Q4, up from $321,000 the previous year. Full-year cap-ex for 2016 was $2.9 million, up from $2.1 million. Given the re-financing for the GMI deal, Beasley’s total debt at year-end was $268 million. Net income per share improved from 14 cents from fourth-quarter 2015 to $1.57. Caroline repeats the current radio CEO mantra – “We continue to be bullish about radio,” despite the increased competition in the audio space.
Some FMs could be “crippled” by the TV re-pack that follows the FCC spectrum auction, warns the NAB. It’s telling the Commission that FM stations “that have nothing to do with the auction” but are on towers where TV stations will be doing tower work could face “significant disruption and loss of service.” We’ve been writing about this topic for a while, about how FM stations could be forced into using backup or auxiliary facilities for weeks at a time. The NAB says if a radio station’s backup antenna is on the same tower as its main stick – there could be real trouble. The FCC’s giving telecasters 39 months for the re-pack and $1.75 billion in compensation for the costs. NAB’s asking the agency to “rationalize its transition plan to minimize service disruptions.”
Scott Burnell, Ford’s “Global Lead for Business Development and Partner Management,” will surely have some salient things to say about radio – and he’ll address group heads and others at the NAB Show’s Tuesday, April 25 Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas. NAB says his topics will range from “Ford’s impact on the future of autonomous vehicles” to “radio’s future in the car.” Four years ago, Burnell started the “Ford Developer Program,” which now counts about 20,000 developers in the “Ford Development community.” NAB EVP of Radio John David says “Scott’s hands-on experience in the evolution of the auto dash offers valuable insight on the future of radio in the car.” At that same Radio Luncheon, Premiere-syndicated Delilah will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and ten stations will be surprised by winning Crystal Awards for year-round community service. More about the April 22-27 NAB Show here.
A reprieve from de-funding, for West Virginia Public Broadcasting – time enough to “transition into ownership by West Virginia University,” says the Weirton Daily Times. The threat of zeroing out funding for the state-wide not-for-profit radio/TV system was real – and the decision by Governor Jim Justice represents a turnaround from his previous position. West Virginia Public Broadcasting produces the widely-syndicated “Mountain Stage” music show.
Day 2 Nielsen PPMs for the February book for the period from February 2-March 1. The recent five-book “month” got Nielsen’s survey schedule back on track with the calendar, and here are the topline age 6+ AQH total-week shares from the Day 2 markets. The comparisons below are from the last three books – “Holiday” book, January and now February.
Washington DC just can’t enough of Trump and politics on the radio. You know that American U.’s not-for-profit news/talk WAMU just set an all-time PPM record for a non-commercial station. It’s up 9.2-11.0-11.5 and claims every single daypart. #2 again is Hubbard’s WTOP-based regional news service (8.7-10.4-9.5) – and it’s just as consistent as WAMU, placing second across the board in the dayparts. D.C.’s third, fourth and fifth stations repeat from the January book – urban AC WHUR (5.7-6.0-5.7), Radio One’s urban AC “Majic” WMMJ (4.4-4.9-5.4) and iHeart’s AC/ex-Christmas WASH (10.4-4.8-5.0). Majic’s #3 in morning, afternoons and nights. How about commercial talk? That’s Cumulus WMAL-AM/FM, ranking #8 (3.3-4.1-4.5). It’s third in middays, with Rush Limbaugh. iHeart’s country WMZQ finally peeks above a 3-share again (2.5-2.9-3.4). An off-book for Radio One’s urban WKYS (3.7-3.7-3.1). We give you each market’s leader for average weekly cume, and the news cycle is helping news WTOP (about 1.2 million) keep the lead.
Boston makes it two 6+ wins in a row for Beasley’s classic hits WROR (6.3-7.9-7.7). It’s tied for #1 in mornings (remember that Wally of the “Loren & Wally show” retired at year-end) and is third in PM drive – and wins the other dayparts outright. Second is CBS Radio’s news/talk WBZ (6.2-6.6-5.7, and tied with WROR for the morning lead). Just an inch behind and tied for third place are Beasley’s AC/former Christmas “Magic 106.7” WMJX (13.4-6.0-5.6) and iHeart’s top 40 “Kiss 108” WXKS-FM (5.0-5.9-5.6). Mix is running second middays, while Kiss is second nights and weekends. Fifth is CBS Radio’s “Sports Hub” WBZ-FM (5.6-5.8-5.4). It’s third middays and second in afternoon drive with “Felger & Mazz” and an hour of Adam Jones. Entercom’s rival WEEI-FM is sixth (4.8-5.4-4.8, and third in mornings with “Kirk & Callahan”). You’re familiar with the pubradio scene – WGBH Foundation’s not-for-profit news/talk is seventh (3.4-4.3-4.7), now ahead of Boston U.’s not-for-profit news/talk WBUR (3.7-4.7-4.4). Entercom’s commercial talk WRKO moves (2.4-3.0-2.6). Its Howie Carr ranks sixth in afternoons. Entercom recently split up its rock simulcast, and WAAF rocks on just fine by itself (1.9-1.6-1.8). WKAF, now urban AC rises 0.9-1.6 in its first two full months and already out-cumes WRKO. Cume leader is AC Magic (1,155,300).
Miami isn’t a market where news or news/talk typically play much of a ratings role. There is Dade-Miami Schools-owned not-for-profit news/talk/variety WLRN (2.0-2.5-2.5). But music dominates, starting with urban AC “Hot 105” (Cox, 6.8-6.1-6.9). It’s #1 nights and weekends and second in afternoons. Second overall is Univision’s Spanish contemporary WAMR (6.8-7.0-6.8). “Amor 107.5” wins both drive-times. Third is Entercom’s AC WLYF (6.2-6.3-6.6) and next is Cox easy oldies “Easy 93.1” WFEZ (7.0-6.6-6.3). WLYF wins the midday period and “Easy” is second middays and also Saturday-Sunday. Cox has #5-ranked urban “Jamz” WEDR (5.8-4.3-5.1, and second at night). Sixth is SBS-owned Spanish Tropical “Zeta” WCMQ (5.1-5.2-5.0 – and second in mornings with Oscar & Vela fronting the “Z Manana show). AC WLYF keeps the cume lead at 1.22 million South Floridians.
Detroit clearly hands the lead to CBS Radio’s news WWJ (5.8-6.6-6.5). “J” wins afternoon drive and ties for second in mornings. Things get extremely compressed from there, with six stations landing between a 5.7-share and a 5.2. Tied for second are CBS Radio’s classic hits WOMC (6.2-6.4-5.7) and iHeart’s AC/former Christmas WNIC (13.7-5.2-5.7, helped by better cume). WOMC might’ve broken higher, but its nighttime rank drops from sixth to thirteenth. Fourth place is also a two-way tie, between Beasley’s classic rock WCSX (4.9-5.3-5.5) and Cumulus talker WJR (5.5-5.9-5.5). WCSX is third nights and tied for third on weekends, while WJR ties for second in mornings – and its Rush Limbaugh-equipped midday lineup wins that daypart. Amazingly, WJR manages all that on the #18-ranked weekly cume, only about 390,000 Michiganders. Sixth total-week is Beasley’s rock WRIF (4.5-5.9-5.4, and a perennial #1 in mornings). Then comes an interesting case - Beasley’s “Bounce/Throwback hip-hop and R&B” WMGC-FM. That’s the station it inherited from Greater Media which had a sensational debut at #1, then trailed off. Now boasting local personalities, it’s up 3.3-3.6-5.2 – and it wins nights and weekends. AC WNIC (1.3 million cume) is the only Motor City station above a million cume.
Seattle has Brooke & Jubal in mornings on Hubbard’s KQMV, and they’re a double-digit #1 even while expanding their national syndication. KQMV overall holds at the #1 spot (6.8-7.1-7.2). But blasting away behind KQMV is University of Washington-owned not-for-profit news/talk KUOW-AM/FM (4.4-5.8-6.7). Thanks to an expanding cume now and improving time-spent-listening, KUOW’s in second place overall, and first in afternoons, nights and even weekends. You wonder – could a public station take first place in Seattle? Third this time is classic hits “Jet” KJR-FM (4.6-5.1-5.6, and second on weekends). Fourth is Hubbard’s AC/former all-Christmas “Warm” KRWM (10.9-5.6-5.3), followed by CBS Radio’s classic rock KZOK (4.5-5.0-5.2). KZOK’s tied for #1 middays. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM is next (4.9-5.7-5.1) and tied for first in middays. Entercom’s newish rhythmic “Hot 103.7” KHTP breaks new ground (2.8-3.2-4.1). “Hot” is now Seattle’s #2 station at night, 6+. The Friends-owned not-for-profit KNKX (former KPLU) is building on its base of “Jazz, blues and news” (2.6-3.0-3.8, and fourth in morning drive). In the cume column, AC “Warm” (982,100) barely holds off CHR KQMV (976,900).
Phoenix also shows growth for the local not-for-profit news/talker – though Maricopa County Community College’s not-for-profit news/talk/jazz KJZZ starts from a lower base (2.1-2.9-3.3). Reigning at the top is iHeart’s AC/ex-Christmas “KEZ” KESZ (16.5-6.6-6.7). It’s tops from 10am to 7pm and all weekend, and even finishes second at night. Second again overall is Hubbard classic rocker KSLX (5.1-5.4-5.8, but tenth at night). Third is CBS country KMLE (4.2-4.9-5.0 – and #1 at night once again). Chris Huff says the 5.0-share matches its best PPM to date. Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM (3.4-4.4-4.8) and Hubbard rocker KUPD (4.0-4.4-4.8) were tied in fourth place for the January book – and they still are. Chris says KTAR-FM’s 4.8 share is a station-best PPM. It’s second in the drive-times and KUPD improves to #1 in mornings. KMLE’s country rivals is iHeart’s KNIX (3.5-3.6-3.2). Not much obvious “Trump Effect” evident at iHeart’s talk KFYI (2.2-2.6-2.4). AC “KEZ” owns the cume lead (1.27 million).
St. Louis rewards urban AC "R&B and Old School for the Lou” WFUN-FM with “its largest share in the PPM era,” says Chris Huff. The Radio One station is now third, and very close to the leader (6.6-6.1-7.0). #1 is iHeart’s classic hits/former Christmas KLOU (9.9-7.1-7.4) and #2 is Emmis classic rock KSHE (still on a roll – 6.7-7.1-7.1). KSHE is #1 middays. Then comes “Lou” WFUN-FM. It’s #1 from 3pm to midnight, and also Saturday-Sunday, but just eleventh in mornings. Fourth overall is Hubbard’s variety hits “Arch” WARH (5.9-6.4-6.1) and fifth is CBS hot AC KYKY (5.1-6.2-5.9, and third in mornings). The country competitors are sixth-ranked WIL (Hubbard, 4.7-5.8-5.7) and iHeart’s fifteenth-ranked “Bull” KSD (3.3-3.5-3.5). Emmis’s alternative “Point” has the #1 morning show, while the station itself is eleventh (4.5-5.0-4.7). Classic hits KLOU has a big cume lead (827,300).
Minneapolis keeps personality hot AC KSTP-FM its favorite (Hubbard, 6.4-7.7-7.6). How much of a favorite is “KS95?” It’s #1 afternoons, nights and weekend, and second middays. Last month there was a second-place tie involving iHeart CHR KDWB (6.1-6.5-6.4), and that repeats – but this time with Cumulus classic rock KQRS (6.6-6.4-6.4). “KQ92” could help itself by improving its tenth-ranked night-time ranking. Fourth is sports “Fan” KFXN (iHeart, 6.0-6.5-5.9), fifth is Minnesota Public Radio’s not-for-profit news/talk KNOW (4.6-6.0-5.8), and there’s a tie in sixth place. It’s between U. of Northwestern-St. Paul’s contemporary Christian KTIS-FM (4.8-5.1-5.6) and iHeart’s country “K102” KEEY (4.6-4.7-5.6). Recognizing daypart honors, sports “Fan” is tied for second in afternoons. KNOW is tied for third in mornings and contemporary Christian KTIS-FM is second nights and weekends. No recovery yet for iHeart’s classic hits/former Christmas “Kool” KQQL (15.9-5.6-5.4). Its best daypart is fourth place in middays. CBS Radio’s news/talk WCCO (4.4-5.2-4.8) is tied for eleventh place – but wins from 6am-10am. Its total-week tie is with iHeart’s hot AC “Cities 97” KTCZ (4.0-5.3-4.8). Hot AC “KS95” (1,020,900) and top 40 KDWB (1,019,200) essentially share the cume lead.
Denver digs the country presentation on Bonneville’s KYGO. Chris Huff says this is KYGO’s “first #1 since October 2014, and its largest share ever in PPM.” The three-month trend goes 5.5-5.6-6.6. Two elements help – improving nights from a tie for eleventh to third, and stronger time-spent. Second for the week is Entercom’s classic rock “Mountain” KQMT (5.7-5.4-6.2). It’s tied for the lead in afternoons and finishes second in morning drive. In a market that likes its rock, third overall is iHeart’s alternative KTCL (6.2-7.1-6.1, and second on the weekends). Fourth and fifth are Bonneville’s AC/former Christmas KOSI (11.6-5.8-5.8, tied for the afternoon lead) and Stan Kroenke’s classic hits “Kool” KXKL (4.8-5.5-4.7). “Party” is iHeart’s top 40 KPTT (4.1-4.1-4.3 – and notable for winning nights). iHeart’s news/talk KOA (4.2-3.8-3.8) is notable for a different daypart win – mornings. But total-week it’s twelfth. AC KOSI leads in cume at 753,800.
Tampa-St. Pete brings us to a question we can’t answer – how did the now-famous stream of Beasley’s Spanish tropical “Maxima” WYUU do? The over-the-air WYUU subscribes and moves 3.4-4.0-3.8. But Beasley doesn’t subscribe for the stream, with the household that reportedly made it #1 in the 18-34 demo back in the January book. Nielsen says it has pulled the household effective with the March book. As for the listed stations – Cox is 1-2 with easy oldies/former Christmas “Dove” WDUV (12.7-9.6-7.9) and classic hits “Eagle” WXGL (6.4-6.9-7.1). The Dove wins all dayparts, and the Eagle’s second except for sixth-place morning drive. Third for the week is Beasley’s classic hits “Q105” WRBQ (3.9-4.5-5.4), and then comes Cox AC “Magic” WWRM (5.1-5.1-5.2). Fifth place gets interesting. There’s iHeart’s urban “Beat” WBTP (5.4-4.9-4.5, and second morning). And Radio Training Network’s not-for-profit contemporary Christian WCIE (5.1-4.4-4.5) – third in PM drive. Beasley’s building former rock WBRN-FM into AC “B98.7” WPBB (1.2-1.1-1.4). Genesis-owned WWBA, the new home of Bubba the Love Sponge, previously heard on WBRN-FM, doesn’t subscribe to Nielsen. “The Dove” flies over the cume crowd (870,500 in an average week).
San Diego makes San Diego State’s not-for-profit news/talk KPBS #1 for the first time since October 2014 (4.6-5.2-5.4). But check what’s right behind it – three stations tied at identical 5.3 shares. Entercom has two of them, country KSON/KSOQ (4.0-4.7-5.3) and easy oldies “Sunny” KXSN (5.2-5.4-5.3). iHeart’s in there with top 40 KHTS-FM (4.7-5.7-5.3). So essentially there’s a four-way tie at the top. (The dayparts have KPBS #1 in afternoons and “Channel 93.3” KHTS-FM #1 at night and on weekends.) There’s also a tie in fifth place, involving iHeart’s hot AC KMYI (4.4-4.3-5.0) and talk sister KOGO (4.7-4.7-5.0). KOGO’s #1 in middays, where Rush Limbaugh holds forth. Univision’s regional Mexican KLNV ranks seventh for the week (4.2-4.1-4.7) – but first in mornings. CHR Channel 93.3 cruises with the cume (888,800).
Baltimore keeps Radio One’s combo #1 and #2. First again is urban AC WWIN-FM (8.2-8.9-8.8) followed by urban WERQ (8.3-8.3-7.3 and first at night). Third and rebounding is iHeart’s country WPOC (4.7-5.9-7.1). It’s second on the weekends. Fourth overall is CBS AC – and obviously post-Christmas - WLIF (15.3-7.1-6.8). WLIF repeats as the midday winner. Hearst is fifth with “98 Rock” WIYY (4.9-5.0-5.6) – and a first-place “Morning Show”). CBS Radio’s sports “Fan” WJZ-FM is seventh (4.1-4.4-4.2, but third at night). Chris Huff singles out Your Public Radio’s not-for-profit news/talk WYPR for its three-year best (2.0-2.9-3.1). “Today’s 101.9” WLIF is the cume champ at 712,600.
We’re halfway through the February Nielsen PPMs. Day 3 PPMs in your mailbox at 5pm Eastern time, as the Futuri Media-sponsored Same-Day Ratings Emails delivers all the listed stations for markets like Nashville, Raleigh, Indy, West Palm and eight more. Not seeing that email on a regular basis? Fix that under “Email options” and “Update Subscriptions” at the bottom of today’s NOW.
Bob Struble, who led HD Radio developer iBiquity for 19 years until it was sold in 2015, takes his next CEO position. He’s the new chief at Southern California-based “Directed.” It says it’s “the largest designer and marketer in North America of consumer-branded vehicle security and remote start systems, sold under brand names such as Viper, Clifford, Python and Autostart.” Directed is part of DEI Holdings, and its Chairman Jim Minarik says he’s known Struble for two decades, and that “His success at building iBiquity and HD Radio technology from its infancy to mainstream adoption and an ultimate sale of the business speaks volumes” about his talent and abilities. Before Mel Karmazin asked him to take over Maryland-based iBiquity (the result of mergers from earlier companies), Struble ran two different divisions of Westinghouse. More about “Directed” and Struble here.
Ben Calhoun winds up his second tour of duty at Chicago Public Media’s not-for-profit news/talk WBEZ/91.5 – this time as VP of Content and Programming. Ben started at the Navy Pier-based WBEZ in 2000 as a newsroom intern. He left almost a decade later to join Ira Glass and the staff at “This American Life.” Now Robert Feder reports that Calhoun’s returning to “TAL,” where was previously a producer and reporter. He’d returned to WBEZ in December 2014 as director of content and programming – a post that had been open for two years.
Interview surprises – Barry Scott, now host and “curator” of the syndicated “Lost 45s” radio show, says he’s interviewed over 900 recording artists, sometimes on the fly – “I got a phone call while showering, and hearing that it had something to do with the Queen of Soul, I hastily got out to towel off. I kept talking to the person on the other end without knowing who it was. I finally got to my desk and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The reply – ‘Why, this is Ms. Aretha Franklin.’ She had placed the call herself and said ‘If you want to get something done right, you do it yourself.’ Aretha once gave me the phone number for Wilson Pickett, and when I reached him on his home phone, shortly before his death, he said he needed to be paid for the interview. Two more – one morning when I was recording with Sheena Easton, upon hearing that I was at home, she asked if I was in my boxers. I was, and she laughed a good long time. And I told Cher, after she swore a few times, that I would have to edit that all out. She said ‘#*%& that,’ and carried on. Great interview!” Feel like sharing your own favorite radio story with the industry? Give in the impulse – email “You Can’t Make This Up” – Tom@RTK-Media.com.
Welcome to our new subscribers from CBS Radio and Entercom. We’ve noticed an influx from those two companies since the merger was announced on February 2. News tips are always welcome to Tom@RTK-Media.com – and they stay confidential.
Planning on attending the April NAB Show in Las Vegas? So is NOW’s sales and marketing specialist and RTK Media partner Kristy Scott. To set up a meeting in Vegas, email her at Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. See you back first thing tomorrow - Tom