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Report: Radio Remains the Centerpiece of the Audio Universe


Nielsen
Nielsen

Radio remains the centerpiece of the audio universe, reaching more U.S. adults each week, at 92%, than any other media platform, according to the Nielsen Total Audience Report for February 2020. Adults 18 and over spend average of almost 11 hours and 48 minutes per week listening to broadcast radio among the U.S. population in the third quarter of 2019, while the average adult spends 1 hour and 41 minutes daily.

At the same time, consumers complement their radio use, with nearly two-thirds of adults (64%) streaming audio through smartphones and one-fourth of adults streaming audio through their tablets. A special Nielsen survey into U.S. consumer sentiment towards streaming platforms found that more than half (53%) of consumers use free, ad-supported streaming audio services compared to 27% who subscribe.

Consumers have always had access to free audio entertainment, so it's not surprising that Americans are more reluctant to pay for it said Nielsen. Regardless of how we listen, consumers have come to expect that music streaming services and radio are free and available, and that's a striking difference from the video streaming sector, where content providers are segregating distinct programming into specific services as a way to attract subscribers.

Based on the enduring impact of radio in the audio landscape, what Nielsen is seeing in the streaming space isn't head-turning. Ad-supported, free audio has been the norm since the advent of the medium. There's no denying the ongoing love affair between music lovers and radio listening, which has been the foundation of the total listening experience since radio first hit the airwaves. This explains why radio remains one of the centerpieces of the media universe.

These insights aren't lost on the advertising world, as Nielsen reports big billion-dollar brands are re-awakening to audio-based ad solutions. Knowing that reach matters, the ratings firm says it's a fundamental component of successful ad campaigns and a necessary ingredient when building awareness and moving products off the shelf.

Ad-supported audio (and specifically, radio) offers a opportunities to reach consumers en masse in a highly fragmented and streaming-crazed world. While video streaming tends to dominate the media headlines, audio streaming is also quickly becoming a staple of U.S. consumers' media diet. Nielsen says audio offers a unique, intimate experience for listeners and the advertisers aiming to reach them. And as detailed in the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report, ease of use, variety of content and cost rank highly among audio streamers.

While different business models have varied pros and cons, Nielsen concluded that the ad-supported model has the advantage of uncapped earning potential. Yes, it's tempting to get swept up in the fanfare around the latest subscription video services, but in the audio world, the focus for broadcasters, podcasters and creators is unchanged: Develop quality content that keeps audiences coming back regardless of platform or ad model -- just as it's been since the dawn of radio.

Streaming Country Music Listeners Grew 36% Last Year


P1 Media Group
P1 Media Group

Streaming Country music grew 36% in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019 according to MRC Data/Nielsen Music. 54% of American Country Radio P1 listeners report streaming every day to a service like Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music. 85% of Country Radio P1s between the ages of 18-44 report streaming to an on-demand audio service either "every day" or "a few a day's a week."

"If you are programming a Country radio station today, the streaming audience is impossible to ignore with more than half of Country radio listeners between the ages of 18-44 reporting streaming music via an on-demand music services every day" said P1 Media Group co-founder Ken Benson. "With so many Country radio listeners using on-demand streaming services, we examined the differences between what radio is playing versus listener choices using on-demand audio streaming services."

"As a proponent of using streaming data to help make programming decisions, I'm excited to see real research showing the correlation between radio listeners and on-demand streaming users," added MRC Data/Nielsen Music's Haley Jones.

Key findings:

  • Streaming to Country Music grew by 36% from 2018 to 2019.

  • Radio is playing more contemporary music than on-demand Streaming services. 70% of radio's Top 100 most-played songs are from 2018 and 2019 versus only 55% of songs from on-demand streaming services.

  • Radio relies more on Core Artists playing more songs from fewer artists while on-demand streaming services play more unique artists.

  • Radio plays less variety than the on-demand streaming services. Of the Top 500 songs on Country radio, 62% of the total spins come from the Top 100 songs versus only 46% for on-demand streaming.

  • The responses from Country Radio P1 listeners indicates that Country stations either missed or underplayed the biggest hit of 2019 "Old Town Road."

Radio Award Winners Announced for The 55th ACM Awards


55th Academy of Country Music Awards
55th Academy of Country Music Awards

The Academy of Country Music has revealed the full list of Radio Awards winners for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards that includes National On-Air Personality of the Year winner, "The Bobby Bones Show." Two-time ACM Award nominee Carly Pearce announced the winners on Wednesday and she'll also return for a second time to host the annual ACM Radio Awards Reception taking place on Saturday, April 4 in Las Vegas, the day prior to the 55th ACM Awards live telecast on Sunday, April 5 on CBS.

This marks the fourth ACM National On-Air Personality of the Year win for "The Bobby Bones Show." Bones has been nominated in the category four times, with his most recent previous win in 2017. Additionally, this year marks the fourth Large Market On-Air Personality of the Year win for "The Big Dave Show" at WUBE-FM (B104.1)/Cincinnati, along with a first-time win for Large Market Station of the Year category for WUBE-FM.

"Congratulations to all the winners of the 55th ACM Radio Awards. Country radio continues to be one of the largest connectors between fans, artists and songwriters and this recognition is well-deserved for all of these radio innovators that keep our genre strong. We are honored to celebrate you," said the Academy of Country Music CEO Damon Whiteside.

Here's a complete list of this year's award winners:

On-Air Personality of The Year Winners:

  • National - The Bobby Bones Show - Bobby Bones, Amy, Lunchbox, Eddie, Morgan, Ray

  • Major Market - The Rob & Holly Show - Rob Stone, Holly Hutton - WYCD-FM/Detroit, MI

  • Large Market - The Big Dave Show - Big Dave, Chelsie, Statt, Ashley - WUBE-FM/Cincinnati, OH

  • Medium Market - Clay & Company - WYRK-FM/Buffalo, NY

  • Small Market - Steve & Jessica - Steve Waters, Jessica Cash - WFLS-FM/Fredericksburg, VA
Radio Station of The Year Winners:

  • Major Market - KILT-FM/Houston, TX

  • Large Market - WUBE-FM/Cincinnati, OH

  • Medium Market - WUSY-FM/Chattanooga, TN

  • Small Market - WYCT-FM/Pensacola, FL

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CRS Announces Country Radio Hall of Fame Inductees


Country Radio Seminar
Country Radio Seminar

Country music group Rascal Flatts will recognize six honorable inductees that will join the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2020 at today's Country Radio Seminar (CRS) Opening Ceremonies celebration. The 2020 Country Radio Hall of Fame inductees include three off-air radio broadcasters and three on-air radio personalities. The off-air honorees are Jim Duncan, Victor Sansone, and George Beasley. The on-air honorees are Tim Wilson, Chuck Edwards, and Mark "Hawkeye" Louis.

CRB's Country Radio Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Joel Raab commented, "We are proud to welcome these deserving new members to the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Each has had a unique and lasting impact upon Country Radio."

The Country Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the radio industry over a 20-year period, 15 of which must be in the Country format. The Induction and Dinner will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at the Westin Nashville. Exact times and ticket information will be released closer to the event.

About the 2020 Inductees:

Radio (off-air) Category:

Jim Duncan: 2019 marked Duncan's seventh decade in Country radio - all of them in major markets, where his career touched all corners of the radio business, including Weekend air talent; Morning show host; Music Director; Program director, and Syndicated radio. His influence on Country radio reached beyond his local market, as he represented the industry on the CMA, and CRB board of Directors. For nine years, Duncan served as VP and Country Editor for legendary trade newspaper, Radio & Records. In that role, he was a true ambassador for Country radio, and the music industry, and was instrumental in the career development of many industry pros who went on to be our format's most influential leaders.

Victor Sansone: During an illustrious, 34-year career with Capital Cities/ABC/Disney, first on the sales management side, and eventually, in the general manager role, Sansone oversaw two, legendary Country radio properties, in two of the largest, and most important Country markets in America: Dallas, and Atlanta. He arrived at KSCS/Dallas in 1987 and guided the station to ratings and revenue triumphs. KSCS stayed atop the overall market rankings for 21 consecutive rating periods. He repeated that success upon his move to Atlanta in 1997, with a 10-year run of similar rating and revenue dominance with WKHX. His leadership qualities were called upon at a national level, as he served on the CMA Board of directors, rising to President and Chairman, where he made a difference by protecting radio's interests and point of view.

George Beasley: George Beasley has logged 58 years in the radio industry, serving as founder, chairman, and CEO for Beasley Media Group, which currently owns 64 radio stations in 15 large and medium markets across the United States. One of those properties is Country powerhouse WXTU/Philadelphia, one of the most consistently successful Country radio stations in America.

The Country Radio Hall of Fame recognition only adds to the many industry honors bestowed upon this inductee: The Library of American Broadcasting honored him as a "Giant of Broadcasting" in 2012, and the Florida Association of Broadcasters named him "Broadcaster of the Year" in 2011. Previous recognition from Country Radio Broadcasters includes the organization's "Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award" in 2010.

Personality (on-air) Category:

Tim Wilson: 26 of Wilson's 45 years in Country radio were spent at one station: WAXX/ Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he served as PD, MD and, air personality. The radio station - and, he personally - were deeply embedded in the community through participation in local events and fundraisers for important causes. He also donated his time as an advisor for Future Business Leaders of America at Eau Claire Memorial High School and for Phi Beta Lambda at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. His efforts, and those of the station to popularize Country music in the Northlands by way of artist support, industry relations, and advocacy for the genre garnered high ratings for WAXX, but reached national proportions too, with recognition as CMA Personality of the year; CMA PD of the Year; Billboard PD, MD, and Personality of the Year honors, and the NAB's prestigious Marconi Award.

Chuck Edwards: For the past 20 years, Edwards has been a Country radio mainstay at WYCD/Detroit, where he co-hosted afternoons with fellow CRHOF member, the late Linda Lee for sixteen successful years. He is currently helming the station's morning show. His Country radio roots date back to 1983, when he started in Knoxville, but was soon lured to Memphis for a brief stint, before joining legendary KSCS in 1986 for afternoons. After 13 successful years in Dallas, he moved to the Motor City, and became a fixture there. During his time in the Motor City, Edwards has been honored on a local and national level, with the 2011 CMA personality of the year, Michigan Association of Broadcasters Broadcaster Of The Year, plus multiple ACM personality nominations, and Marconi Nominations.

Mark "Hawkeye" Louis: It was only a matter of time before Hawkeye found his way to the Country Radio Hall of Fame - he's been surrounded by fellow Hall Of Famers his entire career, starting at KAJA/San Antonio early in his career, with his time alongside 2015 inductee, Randy Carroll. For the past 29 years, he's been a fixture at KSCS/Dallas, many of those years spent partnered with 2006 CRHoF inductee, Terry Dorsey. His most recent program Director is 2019 HOF class member, Mac Daniels. Hawkeye has forged an identity and career unto himself during those years, and has become a Dallas radio icon. His current "Hawkeye In the Morning" show on KSCS is the longest-running FM morning show in the Dallas market. He's given back to the community too - establishing the Mark Rybczyk Scholarship for broadcasting students at his alma mater, The University of North Texas. In 2015, he was honored by Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth for 800 hours of volunteer service, and for starting the annual Cook Children's Radiothon in 2014.

Reatro Ventures Partners with Triton Digital for Listen Live


Reatro Ventures
Reatro Ventures

Jason Bailey's Reatro Ventures has announced that it has integrated its affiliate research tool ARC Software with Triton Digital, to provide a "Listen Live" capability directly within the ARC platform. In addition to researching station data, Nielsen ratings, coverage maps and a full-service CRM, users of the ARC platform can now live stream audio from any Triton-powered station directly within the ARC platform.

"We built ARC as a comprehensive turnkey affiliate research solution to enable users to streamline their day," said Bailey. "The ability to listen to a station that you are doing business with from within the same page that houses your data is icing on the cake. We are proud to partner with Triton Digital, and to integrate with their industry-leading technology to make this possible."

"We are pleased to partner with Reatro Ventures, and to integrate our powerful technologies to enhance the ARC platform with the addition of Listen Live functionality," added Triton Digital President of Market Development John Rosso. "Listen Live will help to deepen ARC users' knowledge of the programming and talent on the stations they transact with, without ever having to leave the platform."

In addition to the new "Listen Live" powered by Triton Digital, ARC has recently added the ability to create corporate contracts, log corporate opportunities, track opportunities and forecast annual performance of a sales team. And most recently ARC launched integrated online Intention Forms and Station-Side Affidavits for live events. The ARC roster of clients include Sun & Fun Media, Key Networks, the Bob & Tom Radio Network, Colbert Media Group, SBG, Megatrax and others.

Seton Hall University's WSOU Set to Fete Alumnus Bob Ley


Bob Costas and Bob Ley
Bob Costas and Bob Ley

Veteran ESPN anchor, reporter and "Outside the Lines" host Bob Ley will be honored by Seton Hall University's WSOU-FM, where he learned his craft. WSOU will celebrate Ley's legendary career with a reception at the Prudential Center on Sunday, February 23. In addition to reminiscing with alumni and current students, Ley will reprise his role as a WSOU sportscaster during part of the Seton Hall vs. St. John's men's basketball broadcast on 89.5 FM Sunday afternoon.

Ley, one of the original ESPN "SportsCenter" anchors who enjoyed a forty-year career at the sports network before retiring last year, started his broadcasting career at the campus radio station, where he did play-by-play of men's basketball games and was sports director.

"Bob speaks often about the critical role WSOU played in launching his career and through the decades he has taken the time to mentor and encourage generations of students who were following in his footsteps at WSOU," said General Manager Mark Maben. "With Bob entering retirement, we felt it was important for the station to honor him for both his extraordinary career and all that he has done for the station and the campus community."

Ley's involvement with WSOU began in 1972. During his time at the student-run station, Ley served as Sports Director, Program Director and Engineer, among other responsibilities. He did play-by-play and color commentary for numerous basketball and baseball games. A member of the class of 1976, his experiences at WSOU led to several broadcasting jobs in New York and New Jersey, as well as being the public address announcer for the New York Cosmos soccer team, before joining ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in 1979.

In June of last year, Ley announced his retirement from ESPN after a 40-year career with the network. Throughout his career, Ley regularly spoke with current students, presented workshops and master classes, and mentored several members of the WSOU sports staff.

WSOU and Seton Hall University alumnus Bob Ley (right) with broadcaster and sports journalist Bob Costas during

Beasley Reports Q4 Net Revenue of $72.1 Million


Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. has announced operating results for the three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019, reporting net revenue of $72.1 million for the period. The figure reflects a $3.5 million, or 4.6%, decline from the same period in 2018 which the company says reflects the cyclical impact of strong political adverting revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the Company's market clusters.

Beasley reported operating income of $11.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to operating income of $13.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, largely reflecting the year-over-year decrease in SOI, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley's AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.

Fourth quarter 2019 interest expense was flat year-over-year at approximately $4.5 million. Beasley reported net income of $4.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, in the three months ended December 31, 2019, compared to net income of $2.1 million, or $0.08 per diluted share in the three months ended December 31, 2018. The increase was primarily due to the aforementioned gain from land and tower sales, and lower income tax expense compared to the prior year period.

Station Operating Income (SOI, a non-GAAP financial measure) decreased $5.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The year-over-year decrease is primarily attributable to higher revenue in the 2018 fourth quarter related to political advertising revenue, as well as higher operating expenses in the 2019 fourth quarter related to the acquisitions of WXTU-FM and WDMK-FM.

Commenting on the financial results, Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the Company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley's fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.

"By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year. Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments. In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period. With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.

"In 2019, we also continued our disciplined approach to growing our platform, content portfolio and distribution by identifying and completing transactions where we can drive revenue and cost synergies, and further strengthen SOI margins, with a limited impact on our leverage as we applied capital from the sale of non-core assets and cash from operations to make these investments. In August, we completed the accretive and deleveraging acquisition of WDMK-FM, which is complementary to our three existing radio stations and digital operations in Detroit and moves us closer to our goal of achieving 30% revenue share in the market. The integration of WDMK-FM is proceeding according to plan, and we expect to realize the full financial and strategic benefits of this transaction in 2020.

"During the fourth quarter we further expanded Beasley's role in the fast-growing esports vertical by acquiring a majority interest in the Houston Outlaws, one of only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world. The transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services. Our growing esports infrastructure and management combined with our success in hosting and promoting large events and our national esports content hub-BeasleyXP-are key factors in our expectations for long-term returns from this investment.

"In addition to our growth and diversification initiatives, we remain committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and leverage reduction. In the fourth quarter, we used net cash provided by operating activities to pay our twenty-fifth consecutive quarterly cash dividend and made voluntary debt repayments of $7.0 million, with total outstanding long-term debt of $263.5 million as of December 31, 2019.

"In 2020, Beasley intends to continue to actively manage our business to best position the Company for the future with the goal of delivering exceptional content and services to our listeners, advertisers, online users and esports fans, while creating new value for our shareholders. We remain focused on our strategic priorities of realizing synergy targets, reducing debt and leverage, taking advantage of political revenue opportunities, improving top and bottom-line performance and returning capital to shareholders through our quarterly cash dividend. We believe our radio platform and competitive positions in our markets are as strong as ever and remain confident that our revenue diversification initiatives, including our digital media initiatives, are creating new opportunities for further growth and enhanced shareholder returns."

The Company will host a conference call and webcast today, February 18, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. ET to discuss its financial results and operations. To access the conference call, interested parties may dial 334/323-0501, conference ID 6600898 (domestic and international callers). Participants can also listen to a live webcast of the call at the Company's website at www.bbgi.com.

Niche Podcasts Have More Listeners, Untapped Ad Opportunities


Media Monitors
Media Monitors

Media Monitors has revealed the Top 25 Podcasts based on a recall survey and the findings in the firm's research of podcast listeners may surprise advertisers and content creators alike. Large publishers with established audiences like NPR and iHeartRadio have helped podcasting go "mainstream," but the survey results prove just how wide of a reach podcasts now have as well as shed light on the different type of listeners. In addition, the findings indicate there is significant untapped opportunity to advertise on niche podcasts that don't yet have sponsors.

"Podcasts are a new chance for advertisers to reach content-engaged millennials who might use less of the traditional media. But accurate metrics on which programs people are actually listening to have been difficult to get," said Media Monitors President and CEO Philippe Generali. "Opt-in redirects or server-based download measurements services don't tell the full story. They might be an indication of who subscribes to a show, but here, this survey asked respondents to name the shows they actually listen to, and we think the findings challenge some of the leading assumptions about podcast listeners."

"The Joe Rogan Experience" has been consistently listed among the top downloaded podcasts. While the survey results confirm the show is widely listened to, they also prove the extent of the show's virtually across-the-board popularity. The program ranks first in almost every category. It's number one among men and women, in every income bracket, among listeners of any education level and in every region. The program ranks first in every age bracket except 35-44, where it sits at number two.

iHeartMedia is first among podcast and streaming platforms, with 11 shows in the top 100 list, followed by NPR with nine. iHeartMedia's podcasts have a wide range of categories from Sports to Comedy, Society & Culture and Self-Improvement.

The survey results demonstrate podcasts attract a more diverse audience than advertisers and content creators might expect. Listeners tend to be young, and they live in populous areas, according to the research. The true crime genre is also very popular, with two such programs among the top five.

"Women are avid listeners of true crime podcasts," Generali said. "And they are predominately driving the genre's popularity among the top 25. Men, by contrast, tend to listen to sports, news or comedy."

The survey research also found there is significant untapped opportunity for advertising. More than half of respondents said they couldn't recall any brand advertising on the podcasts they follow. The top brand names mentioned were Geico, Squarespace, ZipRecruiter and Quip.

Media Monitors plans to offer regular podcasting metrics in 2020 alongside other currently reported data in radio and digital.

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Entercom Sells WAAF/Boston to EMF, Rock Format Moves to HD


Entercom
Entercom

Entercom has announced a definitive agreement to sell 9.6kw Rock WAAF-FM (107.3)/Boston to Educational Media Foundation (EMF) for $10.75 million in cash. Entercom will continue to air WAAF on its existing HD stations, WWBX-FM-HD2 (104.1) and WEEI-FM-HD2 (93.7) and on RADIO.COM. EMF will begin programming 107.3 FM under a Network Affiliation Agreement beginning Saturday, February 22. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.

Oakland A's Broadcast Schedule Includes No Bay Area Station


Oakland A's
Oakland A's

The Oakland A's new broadcast schedule includes no Bay Area radio station as the MLB team is moving all of its audio content to TuneIn, a free streaming app, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The makes the games available on mobile devices and PCs -- which streamed the A's games last year -- but the newspaper says the reaction from fans that there will be no broadcast station in the Oakland-San Francisco region "ranged from disappointment to outrage."

The closest station in the team's radio network will be KHTK (1140 AM) in Sacramento. The Chronicle noted that even in 1978, when Oakland was about to go into the regular season with no radio station in place, Cal's student station KALX served as the broadcast home for more than a month.

"We're excited," A's President Dave Kaval said of the move to an entirely streaming platform in the Bay Area. "We're really always trying to put together the best possible package and take in all the input we get. But the primary drive was the accessibility and the expanded digital content available on the TuneIn app, including A's Cast."

Kaval also told the Chronicle that the team believes fans are now educated about the streaming service and noted that the vast majority of the audience owns mobile devices or laptops. The feedback the A's got back about TuneIn last year, Kaval said, "is that it's a big win."

United Stations Adds New Dick Bartley '60s-Based Series


Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits
Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits

United Stations will begin distributing a new 3-hour weekly music series hosted by legendary air personality Dick Bartley. The new series, titled "Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits," emphasizes the music of the '60s when the rock era took over the pop charts and the most popular music of a generation was released. The program will be available starting the broadcast week of February 24.

During 2019, Bartley created a "Summer of 1969" special to celebrate the milestone anniversary of that special summer when pop culture and music truly went hand in hand. He handled the programming and the hosting duties on the special, and reaction among radio programmers and listeners inspired him to create an ongoing series covering the music of the 1960s. The new weekly show will also include some of the hits of the early '70s and listeners can expect to consistently hear music from The Beatles, Donovan, The Beach Boys, Three Dog Night, The Supremes, Four Tops and all the classic stars of Motown, the British Invasion and more.

Bartley is a host/producer and a three-time winner of the Billboard Radio Award. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2000, and has had his weekend program distributed nationally for over 30 years. United Stations EVP/Programming Andy Denemark said, "Dick Bartley has created a slick, streamlined and masterful rundown of some of the greatest music ever. For anyone wanting to celebrate the sound of that fantastic era in music, this is the show for them."

Benztown Mentorship Honoree O'Brien Mentored By Seelig


Jonathan O'Brien
Jonathan O'Brien

Benztown and The National Radio Talent System have announced the selection of the Benztown Mentorship Program's first quarter mentee, Jonathan O'Brien, a sophomore student at Georgia College and State University. This is the third student from the National Radio Talent System to participate in the mentorship program. O'Brien, who attended the GAB Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia last summer, currently does the news on college station WGUR-FM.

O'Brien will be mentored by broadcast journalist Jennifer Seelig, who serves as Director of News and Programming for all News KCBS-AM and KFRC-FM in San Francisco, and a 19-year veteran of the station. Seelig will personally mentor O'Brien in Entercom's San Francisco studios during his Benztown-sponsored trip on March 15-17. She'll also mentor O'Brien virtually throughout the spring academic semester.

Benztown President Dave "Chachi" Denes said, "If Jonathan O'Brien is any indication of the future of our industry, we're in great shape. We are so pleased to be able to provide this opportunity with the assistance of our friends at the National Radio Talent System™ and the incredible Jennifer Seelig and KCBS."

The National Radio Talent System President Dan Vallie remarked, "Every broadcaster can get excited when seeing a talented, young, passionate-about-radio college student like Jonathan being mentored by such a professional as Jennifer Seelig at KCBS in San Francisco - and thinking: 'I wish I had had that opportunity when I was that age.' Thanks to Chachi and Benztown for making it happen."

Seelig said, "What an honor to play a role in the development of future radio superstars. I commend Benztown and National Radio Talent System for opening the door for Jonathan and other up and coming broadcasters."

O'Brien commented, "I am sincerely grateful to Dave "Chachi" Denes and Benztown for the opportunity to get to meet Jennifer Seelig and see the world-class operation at KCBS. It will no doubt be an incredibly valuable experience. My grandmother always says that no textbook can teach you what real-world experience can, and I think that is especially true in this case. I look forward to learning from the best in the business."

For more information about the Benztown Mentorship Program or to participate in the program as a mentor, contact Susan Aksu at sa@benztown.com.

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''94.5 The Pit'' Launches on KTBL-FM in Albuquerque


Cumulus has launched a new rock station in Albuquerque, NM, today. 94.5 The Pit/KTBL, Albuquerque's New Choice for Rock, went live at 9:00am ET with its first cut, Metallica's "Master of Puppets". Concurrently, the station debuted its new website at: www.945thepit.com. KTBL was previously programmed as Talk Business Life. With the change in format, KTBL now also broadcasts on the 94.5 translator formerly used by News Radio KKOB.

Jeff Berry, Vice President/Market Manager, Cumulus Albuquerque, said, "We are thrilled to provide ABQ and the surrounding areas with an exciting new Rock station. The Pit will provide fans with current Rock artists like Shinedown and Disturbed, laced with 90's and 2000's mega bands such as Metallica and Foo Fighters. It will be a game changer for ABQ rock fanatics and our clients."

Kris Abrams, FM Operations Manager, Cumulus Albuquerque, added, "There are a lot of great radio stations in Albuquerque. But radio listeners have been vocal that there is a need for a station that not only plays iconic Rock songs but also mixes that with a lot of new music discovery. 94.5 The Pit does exactly that."

Detroit's Channel 955 Plans 20th Anniversary Special for Mojo


Mojo in the Morning
Mojo in the Morning

iHeartMedia Detroit's Channel 955 has announced plans to honor the "Mojo in the Morning" show with a special anniversary broadcast on Friday, February 21. The broadcast will take place at iHeartMedia Detroit headquarters and will broadcast live from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Channel 955, 104.5 WSNX and 92.5 KISS-FM.

Hosted by Mojo, Spike and Shannon, the anniversary broadcast will feature a variety of special guests as well as an appearance from the show's original crew members, Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell and Eric Harthen.

"Mojo in the Morning" first made its radio debut on February 21, 2000, in Detroit. The fanfavorite morning show is hosted by Mojo and Spike and co-hosted by Shannon Murphy and has consistently grown in popularity over the years since its launch. Each morning, Mojo, Spike and Murphy connect with fans by sharing stories about their lives and treating each listener as part of their morning show family. The show's entertaining segments include "Spike's Phone Scams" and "War of the Roses."

"‘Mojo in the Morning' is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio," said Tony Travatto, Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Detroit. "The talented cast and show is continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and has evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community. ‘Mojo in the Morning' is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge and successful shows in Detroit and we're honored to have it on our program lineup."

"There has been no better place to have raised my kids than Detroit," said Mojo. "I can't thank the iHeartMedia management and staff enough. More importantly, I'd like to thank the listeners for all they've done for my family and me. The fact that we have been embraced in the community that we love and treated as extended family by our listeners is an honor."

"I've been lucky to make a living with Mojo and this radio family each morning," said Spike. "I never take myself too seriously, but I do take this job seriously. I realize that a huge number of people in Michigan have made us a part of their morning routine and I'll never take it for granted."

In addition, the "Mojo in the Morning" on-air hosts also volunteer and participate in an array of philanthropy-driven programs for the Detroit community. The hosts collectively founded Mojo in the Morning's Breaking and Entering Christmas Wish, a charitable organization that helps listeners get through tough times by raising cash donations to help with bills, toys, clothes, and food during the holidays. Additionally, they created Time Team Detroit, an organization where Shannon connects with non-profits and creates events where people can volunteer their time instead of giving money. The volunteer events include sprucing up underprivileged schools to working with kids from the Miracle League who have mental and physical disabilities but can play baseball because of the organization volunteers.

Study: Podcasts Monthly Reach Hits 44%, Up From 32% in 2019


Westwood One
Westwood One

Westwood One has released a new study of advertisers and agencies in the podcast space. 95 executives from all parts of the podcast ecosystem completed an online survey in early February on measurement, attribution, ad tech, and what's needed for podcasting to become a $2 billion advertising medium.

Here are the key findings:

  • Podcast measurement and attribution rate poorly according to brands and agencies. Still, there is hope on the horizon. Two out of five say things are getting better.

  • Better measurement, attribution, bigger shows, and bigger brands are what's needed for podcasting to crack $2 billion in ad spend.

  • A monthly reach of 44%, up from 32% in 2019, is seen as a tipping point to a step up in spend.

  • The consensus on a good podcast test buy is 105 ads in 5 podcasts over 7 weeks. A test buy of one ad a month is marketing malpractice.

  • Attribution services rate well and should expect greater usage. Newly launched measurement solutions need time to be understood and tested.

Tony Bannon Joins DMR/Interactive as VP/Marketing Strategy


Tony Bannon
Tony Bannon

DMR/Interactive appoints Tony Bannon as VP/Marketing Strategy. He joins the firm after having worked in sales for Cumulus Media/Cincinnati. Bannon also spent over a decade as a Program Director and air talent for stations in Illinois and Indiana now owned by Mid-West Family Broadcasting (WGFB-FM/Rockford, IL) and Neuhoff Media (WXXB-FM/Lafayette, IN). Bannon, a graduate of Northern Illinois University, is based at the DMR/Interactive corporate offices in Covington, KY.

DMR/Interactive President/COO Andrew Curran said, "Tony is passionate and knowledgeable about radio. His experience in both Diary and PPM markets is truly an asset. Clients will benefit from his creative and analytical approach."

Bannon added, "The insights and marketing strategy as well as the depth of talent here at DMR/Interactive are equally impressive. I'm pleased to be part of the leadership team as we work to drive radio forward with a focus on heavy listeners."

Christian Ministries of the Valley Buys Three in Texas


Media Services Group
Media Services Group

Christian Ministries of the Valley Inc. has agreed to acquire 51kW Regional Mexican KICA-FM (98.3)/Farwell, TX (serving Clovis, NM) along with 1kW Spanish Hits KZIP-AM (1310) and FM translator 250w K224EF (92.7)/Amarillo, TX, from High Plains Radio Network LLC. The buyer is headed by Enrique Garza and has several radio stations in Texas. The seller is headed by Monte Spearman and has radio stations in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi and Colorado.

Bill Whitley of the Dallas office of Media Services Group served as the broker for this transaction representing the seller.

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