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Spoken Word Audio Share Up 20% Since 2014, Cuts Music TSL

NPR and Edison Research
NPR and Edison Research

The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period fell 5%. This shift is led by an increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and growth in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

This new Report examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio -- podcasts, news, sports, talk radio and audiobooks -- and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research's Share of Ear study. Key findings from the Spoken Word Audio Report include:

  • 121 million Americans listen to spoken word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years.

  • Growth in spoken word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken word audio (up 58% from 2014).

  • Mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago.

  • Spoken word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.

  • 59% of spoken word audio listeners are digital-first, meaning they listen most through computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers. Forty-one percent are analog-first, meaning they listen most through AM/FM radio receivers.

"Public media accounts for a large share of spoken word audio listening. New technologies like smart speakers, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and increased connectivity, mean that NPR's journalism and storytelling is reaching more listeners in new spaces and platforms," says NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

According to Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, "Spoken word audio is different. Spoken word can be vastly more intensive listening experience than other types of audio. People lean in - they truly listen. Twenty-four percent of all time spent listening to audio is going to spoken word, and that's especially impressive considering where it was just five years ago."

The report is available now at https://NPR.org/spokenwordaudio.com

Cumulus Media Q3 Net Revenue Declined 0.5% to $280.8M

Cumulus Media
Cumulus Media

Cumulus Media reported third quarter net revenue decreased 0.5% to $280.8 million from $282.2 million in 2018. Adjusted EBITDA declined 5.5% to $58.7 million from $62.1 million. On a same station basis, excluding the impact of political revenue, net revenue grew 3.9% and adjusted EBITDA increased 2.2%. The company posted a net income of $58.7 million (81 cents per diluted share) as compared to earnings of $62.1 million (63 cents) in the year-ago period.

President/CEO Mary G. Berner said, "In the third quarter, the company turned in another strong performance with same station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 3.9% and 2.2%, respectively, on an ex-political basis. Our operating plan has continued to deliver industry-leading digital revenue growth and continuing growth in our national and network channels."

She continued, "We also made great progress in the quarter on our balance sheet as our free cash flow generation allowed us to fund a voluntary debt prepayment of approximately $29 million, which reduced net leverage to 4.5x. Additionally, we completed a $525 million term loan refinancing that extended our debt maturity and reduced future interest expense."

Within the quarter, the company reassessed its reportable segments and concluded it has one reportable segment. Prior to this change, the company had two reportable segments: Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.

Stevie Demann Joins JVC/Florida as Director of Programming

Stevie Demann
Stevie Demann

JVC Broadcasting adds radio programming veteran Stevie DeMann as the new Director of Programming for its Florida radio stations. DeMann, with previous stops in Baltimore, Orlando, Boston, and most recently serving as Operations Manager for Cox Media Orlando, will oversee WOTW-FM (103.1 The Wolf), WDYZ-AM (Florida Man Radio) and WOTW-FM-HD2 (Bud FM)/Orlando, WYGC/Gainesville, Orlando), WMFQ-FM (Q92.9), WXUS-FM (US102.3) and WXUS-FM-HD2/Ocala, beginning November 25.

"I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business," said DeMann about returning to Central Florida radio. "The team at JVC Florida is the best. From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful LOCAL content, events, and promotions. I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best."

"John and I know that a pro like Stevie will be a game-changer for our six radio stations," commented JVC EVP Shane Reeve. "Stevie will complement our already great personalities in both markets grow and will be able to lend great leadership, ideas, and experience to our sales teams. Stevie will add to our goal of winning in each market, proving that radio works, and JVC is the best at delivering results."

"Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well," added JVC owner and CEO John Caracciolo. "Stevie's history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market. His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala. I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country."


Bob Walker to Join Hall Communications Florida as OM

Bob Walker
Bob Walker

Hall Communications VP/Programming Bob Walker will segue from Providence-New Bedford to Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL, replacing the retiring Mike James as Operations Manager for WPCV, WWRZ, WLKF and WONN. Walker will also serve as as Program Director for WPCV in addition to Hall VP/Programming. He'll join the Lakeland group at a yet to be determined date in 2020.

"This is a fantastic operation with some very talented people," said Walker, "Our Central Florida group is the epitome of live and local radio and I look forward to working closely with our strong Florida brands in 2020 and beyond."

"Bob has been working with our stations since he became group programmer," commented Hall Communications Lakeland VP/GM Nancy Cattarius. "We're delighted Bob will be running the operation in 2020 and look forward to even more growth here in Florida."

"I want to thank Nancy, Hall Executive Vice President Dan Dubonnet and Hall President Art Rowbotham for their confidence and for this opportunity," added Walker. "The Hall Communications mission statement of local service is alive and well in Florida."

Entravision Names Mateo and Marrero VPs of Audio Network Sales

Entravision has announced the promotion of Jose Mateo III and the appointment of Erika M. Marrero to Vice Presidents of Entravision's Audio Network Sales, effective immediately. Marrero and Mateo will report directly to Liliana Aristizabal, Entravision's Senior Vice President National Sales for the Eastern region.

"Today's media landscape is continuously transforming and our Audio Network platform is a vital component of our strategy to engage the Hispanic market on all things audio. Erika and Jose are strong and proven leaders who will be instrumental in leveraging the power and reach of our audio platform to the benefit of advertisers," said Karl Meyer, Chief Revenue Officer at Entravision Communications.

Mateo has more than twenty years in the media space and more specifically, over a decade of experience in the Hispanic media industry. He has extensive knowledge and experience as a media sales professional and a proven track record of developing new business. Prior to his current role as Vice President of Audio Network Sales at Entravision, Mr. Mateo was an Account Executive at Emmis Communications and before that, National Sales Manager for almost five years at Spanish Broadcasting System.

Marrero is a proven bilingual sales leader with more than 10 years of experience in all phases of market research, business development, and sales strategy execution. She returns to Entravision having previously served as Network Manager in 2012. After, she was a Senior Account Executive at Univision before becoming Vice President, Network Sales at Spanish Broadcasting System for the past three years. Ms. Marrero's strong understanding and proven knowledge of the Hispanic market creates a strong fit with this new vice president position.

iHM Announces Nominees for 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards

iHeartMedia has announced the nominees for the 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards which will be held on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. PT held at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles. Fans across the country will also be able to tune in to the second annual live awards event via a LiveXLive stream and on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. The event will honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.

Podcasts nominated for Best Podcast of the Year include "The Daily," "The Joe Rogan Experience," "Stuff You Should Know," "My Favorite Murder," "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend," "Revisionist History," "The Ron Burgundy Podcast," "The Dropout," "The Shrink Next Door" and "The Read." Additional nominees include podcasts from all creators, distributors and platforms with a panel of blue-ribbon podcast industry leaders, creatives and visionaries determining the winners across categories including Music, Comedy, Crime, News, Sports & Recreation, Food, Business & Finance and more. Podcast fans themselves will once again decide the winner of the "Best Podcast of the Year" award through social voting on Twitter now through January 10. The full list of nominees and more information can be found at HERE.

In addition, the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will present three Icon Awards to pay tribute to the creators, organizations and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting's expanding role in today's popular culture. The winners for the 2020 Pioneer Award, Social Impact Award and Innovator Award will be announced at a later date.

AWMF Announces 45th Gracie Awards Call for Entries Open

The Gracies
The Gracies

The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), has opened the call for entries for the 45th Annual Gracie Awards Gala on May 19, 2020, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills and Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 24, 2020, in New York. Serving again as chairs for are McVay Media Consulting President Mike McVay and AWMF board members The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen and The Punch Point Group co-founder and managing partner Annie Howell.

"Each year, the Gracie Awards celebrate and honor truly exceptional content by, for and about women. It is our belief that recognizing expertise, courage and contributions across television, radio and interactive/digital media is essential to ensuring continued growth for our industry," said AWMF executive director Becky Brooks. "As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media."

This year includes a category for showrunners in television and creating more avenues for radio hosts/co-hosts by adding categories for Outstanding News Anchor and Weekend Host Personality.

The 2019 Gracie Awards entry eligibility air dates are from January 1, 2019, through December 31. Early Bird rates for entries end on December 12, 2019, at 11:59 PM Eastern. The deadline for all entries is January 16, 2020, at 11:59 PM Eastern. Find more info at https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/call-for-entries/

Salem Media Group Q3 Total Revenue Down 2.2% to $64.1M

Salem Media Group
Salem Media Group

Salem Media Group reported third quarter total revenue declined 2.2% to $64.1 million from $65.5 million. Net broadcast revenue fell 2.3% to $47.7 million from $48.8 million, while station operating income (SOI) decreased 11% to $10.4 million from $11.7 million. Adjusted EBITDA fell 13% to $9 million from $10.3 million. The company posted a net loss of $20 million (75 per share), as compared to earnings of $1.2 million (5 cents) in the year-ago period.

Digital media revenue decreased 12% to $9.1 million from $10.4 million and Digital Media Operating Income was down 21.4% to $1.9 million from $2.4 million.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company is projecting total revenue to decrease between 4% and 6% from 2018 total revenue of $67.2 million. Excluding the impact of political revenue and recent acquisitions and dispositions, SMG is projecting total revenue to be between flat and a decrease of 2%.


Applications Open for NPR's Reflect America Fellowship


NPR has opened applications for its Reflect America Fellowship, a program aimed at bringing a greater diversity of voices to NPR's news coverage. Applications open Tuesday and close at 11:59pm on December 15. During the 12-month fellowship, the Reflect America fellow will work with journalists across the newsroom to find, cultivate and vet sources who are often missing from media coverage, ensuring that those voices make it into NPR's news programs on the air, in podcasts and across all digital platforms.

The Reflect America Fellowship builds on six years of work to help NPR look and sound like America. In 2013, the network began tracking the race, ethnicity, gender and geographic location of its news sources on its two largest shows, "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." NPR found that its sources were overwhelmingly white, male and located on the East and West coasts. A 2016 study of digital sources and a more recent analysis of sourcing on shows have found similar challenges.

"We've tried to place the fellowship at the intersection of learning and doing," said NPR Vice President/Newsroom Training & Diversity Keith Woods. "When we're successful, the fellow will build new skills and strengthen others. Newsroom colleagues will gain insights into sourcing, and the public will hear better, more inclusive storytelling."

Designed for an early- or mid-career journalist who wants to work and grow in one of the nation's most dynamic newsrooms, the Reflect America Fellowship is one of three fellowships offered by NPR. The others are the Kroc Fellowship, a yearlong program to train the next generation of public media journalists, and the Above the Fray Fellowship, dedicated to covering under-reported international stories.

The Reflect America Fellowship is a full-time position that runs from March 2020 to March 2021. The position is based at NPR headquarters in Washington, DC.

KRBE/Houston's Roula and Ryan Sign Multi-Year Deal

Cumulus has entered into a multi-year agreement with award-winning Houston on-air personalities Roula Christie, Ryan Chase, Eric Rowe, and Kevin England. Roula and Ryan are Co-Hosts of 104.1 KRBE-FM's long-running morning radio show, "The Roula and Ryan Show", which airs weekdays from 6:00am-10:00am.

"Each day our listeners wake up to laughter, will learn something, and could shed a tear or two, but one thing you can count on is that Roula, Ryan, Eric and Special K are never boring," said Leslie Whittle, Vice President, Hot AC, Cumulus Media, and Program Director, 104.1 KRBE-FM. "They have experienced many personal milestones the past 13 years, which I've been proud to witness. The Roula and Ryan Show has also celebrated our beloved city's accomplishments and milestones, and has gotten Houston through some tragedies as well. I'm honored to be able to work with this great team for another 5 years!"

Roula and Ryan said, "We are beyond excited to continue this journey with KRBE and Cumulus Radio! It's rare to have a team with such camaraderie and chemistry from the top of corporate down to the players on the show! Thank you so much to Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Dan Bennett, Alex Cadelago, Leslie Whittle, and Doug Hamand for creating a workplace that really feels like family and home. A special thank you to our representative Paul Anderson from Workhouse Media for his continuous hard work and support! The Roula and Ryan Show is the Heartbeat of Houston and we look forward to keeping that heartbeat going for a long time."

Envision Networks is Geeked About Latest Milestone

Peter Welpton
Peter Welpton

Envision Networks hit a major milestone with its show "The GeekOut" which aired its 500th episode this past weekend. The daily audio and video vignettes are hosted by Peter Welpton, former managing director and resident technology guru for longtime hosts Lex and Terry. Peter provides compelling tidbits, news and updates on the latest technology for consumer use.

"500? That really is a lot of smartphone, space, gadget and superhero talk," said Peter Welpton. "It's a miracle someone married me."

GeekOut is a daily vignette highlighting everything techies love. Each episode covers a variety of topics including technology, movies, video games and all things geeky. Peter is also available as a weekly call-in benchmark for morning and afternoon shows.

iHeartCountry, Premiere Offer CMA Multi-platform Coverage

iHeartCountry and Premiere Networks are once again offering multi-platform coverage of "The 53rd Annual CMA Awards" on November 13. All 129 iHeartCountry stations and Premiere' lineup of Country radio programs (The Bobby Bones Show, CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan, CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan and The Crook and Chase Countdown) are featuring interviews with Country stars, including behind-the-scenes stories, photos and videos from the red carpet and backstage.

Additionally, "The Bobby Bones Show"'s Amy Brown will provide iHeartCountry mainstream stations with live updates from the red carpet leading up to show time. The Nashville-based personality will kick off the broadcast at 4pm CT on November 13. Premiere will also provide a live radio simulcast of the show.


iHeartRadio Launches ''The Women'' Hosted by Rose Reid


"The Women" hosted by Rose Reid, a new iHeartRadio original podcast, launched Tuesday. It features personal and candid interviews with some of today's female changemakers -- including artists, politicians, amateur kickboxers, mothers and lovers -- who didn't back down in the face of resistance. Each episode spotlights courageous women who tell their inspirational and incredible stories.

In episode one, Reid speaks with former CIA agent Valerie Plame who is now running for congress in New Mexico. Plame takes us back to 2003, when the Bush administration blew her cover in retaliation for a critical op-ed written by her husband. Listeners can tune in to hear how her safety was threatened, her career was upended, and she had to decide when and how to use her voice.

ABC News Radio Offers Impeachment Inquiry Hearings Coverage

ABC News Radio
ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio will provide coverage of the impeachment inquiry hearings beginning Wednesday, November 13. Live anchored coverage will feature correspondent Aaron Katersky in Washington with reporting by multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara at the Capitol. It will also provide four one-minute status reports each hour.

ABC News Radio will also debut a new feature called "Impeachment in a Minute," hosted by correspondent Kyra Phillips. The 60-second segments will summarize proceedings and be available each weekday morning, until the impeachment process is over, for affiliate download. On Wednesday evening Katersky will anchor an hour-long special at 7:06p ET looking back at the first day of public hearings. The "Start Here" podcast will cover the hearings as they unfold.

Premiere, Steve Harvey Celebrate 10th Annual Turkey Give

Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey

For the 10th year in a row, Premiere-syndicated Steve Harvey will give away thousands of turkeys as part of Harvey's Annual Turkey Give. Affiliates of the morning radio show will provide 8,000 turkeys to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 80,000 turkeys have been given to those in need.

"We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those who are less fortunate during the holiday season," said Harvey during a recent broadcast. "On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all."

Co-hosted by Shirley Strawberry, J. Anthony Brown, Nephew Tommy, Carla Ferrell and Junior, Harvey's morning program was honored with the NAB Marconi Award for "Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year" in 2013 and 2015, and he was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Broadcasting live on weekdays from 6-10am ET, "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" is also available on iHeartRadio.

KERN/Bakersfield's Bailey Sets New Record for Honor Flight

Honor Flight Kern County
Honor Flight Kern County

American General Media's KERN-AM & FM/Bakersfield host Ralph Bailey raised money during a broadcast in September of this year for the Honor Flight Kern County (HFKC). This year's outreach marked a new record donation: $29,200. A check was presented to Lili Marsh, Executive Director from HFKC on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11 at 2pm. The funds will help with the cost of sending Kern County veterans to Washington, DC, where they will be feted and escorted throughout the veteran memorials in our nation's capital.

"This money is going to change the lives of 14 local heroes," said Executive Director of HFKC Lili Marsh. "These men are going to wake up and come home from this trip changed men. That's the power of Honor Flight and we're so proud and happy to work so closely with Ralph Bailey and the folks at KERN Radio."

KERN Radio and The Ralph Bailey Show have raised more than $40,000 for HFKC since 2017. "I had the honor of flying back with part of our greatest generation and it changed my world and attitude." said Bailey. "It's an amazing trip that transforms these men in the latter parts of their lives."

"Serving our community by engaging our listeners to support such a worthwhile cause is an essential part of all of our radio brands, but especially KERN Radio as it has been an outlet for news and local concerns of Kern County since 1932," added American General Media Regional Director of Operations & Programming Robert Lewis.

L-R: KERN Radio Host Ralph Bailey, Executive Director of Honor Flight Kern County Lily Marsh and local veteran of the Vietnam War and honor flight participant from April of 2019 Armando Soliz.

WRKO/Boston Raises Over $230,000 During DAV Radiothon

iHeartMedia Talk WRKO-AM/Boston raised over $230,000 during DAV Radiothon to benefit the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Department of Massachusetts. The radiothon took place on Friday, November 8 from 6am-8pm. WRKO air personalities Jeff Kuhner, Barry Armstrong, Doug "V.B" Goudie and Howie Carr held a 13-hour live broadcast encouraging listeners to donate and raise funds for the DAV of Massachusetts' homeless shelter and transportation programs.

"Since our nation's inception, our military men and women have sacrificed their own lives for our freedom," said iHeartMedia Boston VP News/Talk Rob Sanchez. "It's an honor for AM 680 WRKO to have this opportunity to show respect for our veterans with the help of our generous listeners. And to raise $233,593 this year is incredibly gratifying." Since 2016, DAV Radiothon has raised over $600,000 to benefit veterans in the community.

"We have been blessed to have had an amazing relationship with AM 680 WRKO and iHeartMedia Boston for the past four years," added DAV of Massachusetts Dept. Adjutant and CEO Dan Stack. "We will truly be forever grateful to them and their dedicated listeners for the support and financial contributions. These generous donations have enabled us to provide rides for over 15,000 veterans to get to their much-needed VA medical appointments and fund other critical programs."

Pictured L-R: Robert Lynch-DAV of MA Director of Public Relations, Jarred Diglio-Assistant Program Director of WRKO, Dan Stack-DAV of MA Adjutant/CEO and Jeff Kuhner-Host of The Kuhner Report Mornings on WRKO.


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Beasley Media Group: Employees from Beasley Media Group's Las Vegas cluster recently rolled up their sleeves to volunteer at Opportunity Village, a non-profit organization which serves adults in Southern Nevada. Team members lent a helping hand by changing out decorations for the Halloween/Christmas transition at Opportunity Village's ''Magical Forrest.''