Cumulus Just Screwed Itself

Jeff Warshaw and his purported yet unidentified consortium of lenders recently offered $15-17 a share to takeover Cumulus.

Mary Berner and the board rejected the offer and got away with it as no shareholders even challenged their refusal to be bought.

Since then, Cumulus stock dropped to $8 and had Warshaw’s group actually been able to finance a takeover between $15-17, Cumulus shareholders would have been the winner while Warshaw presumably would try to wiggle out of it Elon Musk style.

But it gets worse.

Not only did Cumulus shareholders get screwed out of what is likely to be their best and only offer to cash out, Mary Berner then made what is turning out to be a costly mistake that is likely to hurt Cumulus where it matters most – at the station level. 

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iHeart’s Moving to ‘Touchless Radio’

Average Song Length Nose Dives

Recession Plans at the Big 3 Radio Groups

Recession Plans at the Big 3 Radio Groups

INSIDE >>> 

  • The recession will be like a radio promotion for Bob Pittman who in the past never missed an opportunity to reduce iHeart’s workforce during a very public crisis – his summer wish list to shrink the company footprint.
  • What employees at Cumulus/Westwood fear the most – and why they’re right about the corporate focus on hurting the employees they retain.
  • With revenue lagging Audacy will use the recession to do the unthinkable where no other radio group has gone before.
  • For the smaller groups, indies and mom-and-pops, first look at what you’ll be competing against.

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Podcast Listening Slowing & Cratering

Podcasting is a direct result of radio refusing to do talk programming other than right-wing politics – now after a boost from the pandemic, research shows podcasting is beginning to hit the wall even as it remains largely unprofitable. 

If Bob Pittman likes it, count me out.  Nothing personal.  If David Field likes it, I ask which one of his “one” advisor got to him and if Mary Berner likes it, I ask how does this translate into making money off podcasting personally.

Here’s the secret study.

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Wall Street Bails on iHeart

I guess it took a financial downturn for banks and private equity to see the danger of propping up iHeartMedia because now all bets are off.  And stations relying on digital revenue have a brewing scandal to deal with.

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The Future of Remote Working in Radio

  • Clue: the big groups love remote working as much as their employees – but changes are coming. 
  • How it will specifically affect pay and pay raises (for companies that are long overdue).
  • They will even expand virtual even as other industries are trying to force their workers to come back to the office – but here’s the part radio employees may not like.

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Online & Podcasting Are Slipping

Inside this article …

Online and podcasting’s ‘moment’ may be over – new evidence suggests that the hope or fear of their success may have peaked.

  • Online advertising will peak, not grow and advertising will return once media companies make the advertiser’s success their focus again – for a clue, look to independent and small market local radio stations who are doing just fine as their big competitors suffer. 
  • Podcasting was never to be a vibrant business, but it is a competitor in time spent listening to radio – stop promoting it unless it directly boosts your stations audience. 
  • If the private equity firms propping up Cumulus, Audacy and iHeart didn’t exist and the NAB didn’t sneak radio consolidation into the 1996 Telecom Act, radio would have invested in the future and adapted to changes such as digital as it always has (remember how radio adapted to the coming of television?). 
  • The recession is coming and radio will do as it always does – help advertisers efficiently and cost-effectively sell their way out of it and to those groups that invest in better programming and fewer irritating commercial units, they will get the highest rates while the content destroyers will get the leftovers.

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Newstips

Sports Betting Set to Disrupt Local Revenue

  • The one really positive thing in radio revenue for major markets is the nascent category of sports betting.
  • Some groups like Audacy are hitting it out of the park and others like Cumulus find themselves in the unenviable position of breaking up with their big sports betting sponsor shortly after the wedding.
  • The category’s strength is standing up to time although there are certain areas of concern that are being watched closely.
  • Among them: which sports betting markets are the most desirable and the ones likely to keep pumping money into local radio.
  • And there is a cryptocurrency angle (don’t worry if crypto puzzles you, my NYU students are grappling to understand the new currency) but one radio group is betting their future on becoming a cryptocurrency player in sports betting.
  • The leaders in sports betting revenue are Audacy, iHeart and Beasley – what they’re doing is worth watching closely.

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Why Public Radio Is Kicking Ratings Ass

Have you been noticing how public and NPR stations are beating commercial competitors and even winning top rank in Nielsen’s lately?

It’s no accident – a convergence of stupid radio tricks, public radio’s good fortune and some very shrewd programming in the digital age.

I’ve isolated 8 contributing factors that – like it or not – commercial competitors are going to have to deal with from now on.

I know, public stations have no commercials but they also tend to have no debt and believe it or not that’s NOT the main reason for public radio’s ratings success.

And they are generally too poor to beat commercial competitors with more local programming, so why is this trend building?

One clue is that there is a “new local” and public stations are getting good at playing it.

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Bill O’Shaughnessy: An Appreciation

Over the weekend, the quintessential local broadcaster William O’Shaughnessy passed away at 84.

I have known Bill O’Shaughnessy since I first founded Inside Radio.

He was a great and active supporter who has always subscribed and he has always been a great fan.

He’d call and shout “Hey Del Colliano” or “Professor” and engage me in one of three intellectual pursuits – local radio, the First Amendment and Bill O’Shaughnessy.  I wish you could have heard those calls over the decades.

When Cheryl and I got married 24 years ago, Bill attended our wedding in Philadelphia but he was also responsible for recommending the 12-piece society orchestra with three vocalists from New York who knocked them dead at the celebration.

But I paid the exorbitant fee – twice!  Once for my wedding and again when my daughter married, she begged daddy for the same orchestra Bill recommended which I then hired to fly in to Phoenix and bingo, the same magic.

We argued about politics but it never got nasty – oh, maybe I accused a smart guy of being beholden to dumb politicians, but how could I mean that – he knew.

And as hard as he tried, he could never make me like the NAB – I like and liked a lot of the dedicated people who work there, just not their misguided mission to suck up to the greedy bastards who ruined the radio business.

I can see Bill in heaven right now, saying “but wait, professor” – he never gave up trying to talk “sense” into me.

The first time I received a package from his two small local Westchester stations I was impressed with his money until I opened it to read a self-published “ratings” booklet with the names of local, national and prominent politicians waxing eloquent about his stations – pure genius.  No numbers.

I read on and saw my name in there with a quote from me – I made his self-published ratings book.

Actually, Bill was ahead of his time here as well because he was an ‘influencer’ before social media made it popular.

On the First Amendment, he was rock solid – if he was wrong, he erred on the side of everyone who disagreed which made him right in my book.

On local radio, he never put syndicated political talk on his station the way most owners do, he never admitted that AM was declining, he was a “towny” and proud of it in the elite surroundings of Westchester, NY. 

And he didn’t sell the stations.

Bill, you (I know you’re listening) were right about local radio – you made it work, lived it, breathed it, celebrated it while your competitors were selling out to the highest bidder.

I could go on, but there’s one thing I saved for last.

Bill – the master publicist – would snail mail the appreciations he wrote or delivered at the funerals of prominent people.

It doesn’t take a writer or a professor to appreciate his masterful use of words including descriptive adjectives, colorful words and action verbs.

He made the dead come alive again in all their glory if only for a few short minutes.

I know no equal to Bill’s ability to celebrate a life in words so it would be heresy to even try absent his many skills. 

So, I suggest everyone cancel all plans to leave the earth, brother Bill has left us for another local market higher up and there will be no one to stage a fitting farewell.

Instead stay here and fight for First Amendment rights and the viability of local radio both causes in which he devoted his life, passion and God-given gifts to keep his ‘tribe’ focused on what’s really important.

Jerry Del Colliano is a professor at NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions Music Business Program.  His background includes Clinical Professor of Music Industry at the University of Southern California, TV, radio, program management, publishing and digital media.

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Radio Groups Prepping for Recession Firings

iHeart used the nascent pandemic in early 2020 to fire an estimated 1,000 employees and that was following a pre-pandemic cutback of about the same number.

Audacy was the most aggressive firer of all radio groups in 2021 due to its inability to hit its revenue numbers or equal pre-covid statistics.

Cumulus shrunk Westwood One, pared down its local stations through the use of voice tracking and syndication.

We’re one quarter away from an official recession which is defined as two consecutive down quarters in the real gross domestic product (GDP), an inflation-adjusted value of the goods and services produced in the United States.

The first quarter of this year was down 1.4%.

The second quarter which should become evident in July could be two in a row.

Some groups will jump almost immediately and others will take a short wait-and-see but there is a sense of what order the radio industry will see a return to layoffs.

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Newstips

The Knives Are Out for TSQ’s Bill Wilson

Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson is an outlier who is mercilessly sticking it to big group radio executives who can’t match his production and they don’t include him in their club nor do they feel inclined to imitate his success.

Truth to be told, he really pisses off his competitors.

His Townsquare is positioned as “digital first” and then he does the only major radio station acquisition of the year – which is it, then, “digital first” or “radio first”?

Some of his competitors have given him the cold shoulder because he is winning along with iHeart and Salem.

And they haven’t even seen what he’s about to do next.

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Radio’s Answer to SiriusXM’s $150 Million Conan Deal

It looks like the penny-pinching SiriusXM is throwing John Malone’s money around in the unproven area of podcasting.

SiriusXM dropped $150 million on Conan O’Brien’s podcasting ventures – and threw in a dedicated Team Conan channel in a five-year agreement that looks a lot like the successful arrangement they had with Howard Stern who arguably put them on the map.

Crazy money considering what they could have done with the $150 million if they spent it on their many programming channels instead of cheap talent and computer driven formats.

Is SiriusXM starting to hedge its radio bet? 

They’ve already outspent their radio competitors except for iHeart which begs the real question why is everyone willing to spend on podcasts while investing in better radio programming seems like so 1990’s.

Debt-ridden radio companies can’t spend Sirius kind of money on podcasting without tanking their stock and meeting resistance from investors.

But radio they have an answer – the question is, is it the right answer?

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iHeart To Sell More of the Company

If you’re tempted to see iHeartMedia as a recovering, mega-platform of audio options for future advertisers, you may want to reconsider.

iHeart is a fabulous radio platform in spite of their CEOs pivot to audio – in fact, they grew their radio revenue from Q1 2019 to Q1 2022 ($765 million to $843 million).  It’s a solid performance and clearly superior to peers. 

But iHeart is in play in a different way than some of their competitors.

They would be flying high if it were not for their unacceptable $6 billion in debt so like it or not, iHeart is a takeover candidate.

John Malone’s Liberty tried to steal the company and now UK-based Global Media is publicly courting iHeart with the iHeart lenders still clearly in control.

Global’s investment plans are as important as iHeart’s plan to handle any takeover on their terms – whether they succeed or not, time will tell but now we at least know what those terms are.

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Where’s Warshaw Now?

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  • Where is Jeff Warshaw weeks after his failed takeover attempt of Cumulus – player or tire kicker?
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            ‘Zonecasting’ – The Next Radio Debacle

            Susan Larkin’s Eventual Audacy Replacement

            Competitors Call BS on iHeart’s Financials

            Wells Fargo Repudiates Audacy Management

            Audio First Bombs

            The Fallout of Streaming

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‘Zonecasting’— The Next Radio Debacle

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  • The digital streaming model that turns “broadcasting dollars into digital dimes.”
  • Technology over local programming – the consequences.
  • Seamless repeaters putting limited amounts of programming and/or commercials targeting different geographies inside the larger Metro.
  • How public stations are climbing above their commercial competitors’ rating rankers thanks to Nielsen – will the same be true for ‘zonecasting’?
  • Geography is only one factor – and maybe the least important – for advertisers who enjoy cheap, highly-targetable advertising in digital stream.

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Susan Larkin’s Eventual Audacy Replacement

  • What’s up with COO Susan Larkin?
  • The person Audacy employees are talking about as her eventual replacement.
  • The one radio exec who could turn Audacy around in 12 months.
  • Will it come soon enough with bankruptcy, cost cutting and debt issues looming?

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Competitors Call BS on iHeart’s Financials

Wells Fargo Repudiates Audacy Management

Audio First Bombs

The Fallout of Streaming

iHeart Rushing into NFTs

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Competitors Call BS on iHeart’s Financials

  • Our panel of former and current radio CEOs who know how to break out financials and nail Bob Pittman’s 1st quarter misinformation.
  • How iHeart incorrectly keeps claiming revenue growth.
  • The CEOs correct Pittman on profit, digital and podcasting.
  • Their shocking discovery about iHeart cash flow.

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Wells Fargo Repudiates Audacy Management

Audio First Bombs

The Fallout of Streaming

iHeart Rushing into NFTs

Music Discovery Shocker

Audio First Bombs

New evidence shows the big three missed the one name that could reboot radio

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iHeart Rushing into NFTs

  • You may know NFTs as digital artwork that makes headlines when it sells for crazy sums of money – why iHeart’s Bob Pittman is going balls on in for NFTs even as The Wall Street Journal says sales are flattening.
  • Wait, wait – don’t tell Pittman that Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser are getting in big time and he wants to create audio platform products to further drain money from competitor’s radio buys – his plan.
  • Here’s an easy way to understand the definition of NFTs and that dirty word blockchain.
  • There’s money in it for radio but it’s local not national – here’s a link to a list of opportunities.

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Music Discovery Shocker

  • You may want to sit down for this but in a recent NYU student research project, Tinder beat radio for new music discovery – yes, Tinder, the dating app and here’s why.
  • Older folks who were radio’s sweet spot appear to be moving away from radio to streaming – apps like Spotify – why these radio holdouts are increasingly preferring streaming services of all things.
  • Younger demos are preferring YouTube – there’s a major reason for this now.
  • All is not lost for radio but some innovation is overdue – here’s one way to quickly get back into the music discovery arena even with big commercial loads.

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The Cumulus Takeover

  • We contacted top radio execs who have experience acquiring stations, they say the Cumulus board should have taken Warshaw’s money and run – here’s why they didn’t.
  • Those same execs broke down the real Cumulus numbers for you to read and have concluded the company Warshaw was willing to pay $15-17 a share for is actually worth $7 a share or even less – read their notes and numbers.
  • Just in case Warshaw comes back and offers more money for a company that was worth far less than his financial group was willing to pay, here’s why the deal still doesn’t work.
  • Why shareholders may be contacting their lawyers even as we write this.

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The Cumulus Bill of Goods

Cumulus stock went through the roof yesterday even as the Dow lost over 1,000 points. 

  • What’s driving so much interest in Cumulus?
  • How Mary Berner made over $200 million in debt disappear without paying it down.
  • Why the recently rejected Warshaw takeover attempt is a time bomb waiting to go off.
  • The misery Jeff Warshaw can still make for Mary Berner, the person who holds the CEO job he’s always wanted.

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Warshaw’s Next Move

INSIDE …

  • The likelihood of a second Warshaw offer.
  • The part of Cumulus’ $50 million stock buyback announcement they are keeping to themselves (until you read it).
  • My deadly honest POV: What does Warshaw want with a company that has over $1 billion in debt, that still cannot match its pre-covid revenue in an industry struggling with declining revenues?  The answer.

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“Elon” Warshaw’s Bid to Takeover Cumulus

  • On the same day Elon Musk says he’ll buy Twitter for $43 billion cash; radio’s own wannabe Jeff Warshaw offers $1.2 billion to buy Cumulus – is it his for writing a check?
  • The first thing I did when I heard the news was open iCal and see if it was April 1, two fools with the same idea – how does this deal get done?
  • The devil is in the details and the story that is out there for public consumption about Warshaw’s intentions is not the deadly honest private version.

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Audacy & iHeart Panicking Over “Audio” Pivot

INSIDE …

  • Audacy and iHeart’s attempt to strongarm radio groups to drop “radio” and join them on “audio”.
  • The private arm twisting going on at the CEO level.
  • Which radio groups are telling them to take a hike.
  • The two mistakes Audacy and iHeart are making that have killed perfectly good companies (we’ve listed some compelling examples outside media).
  • See how Facebooks devolvement to Meta is a warning to radio’s pivot to audio.

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iHeart’s New Format of Last Resort

A Radio Station Young Listeners Will Love

The Fraud of Radio Stocks

Townsquare’s Cash Drain to Take Out Oaktree

2 Radio CEOs Begin to Feel the Haters

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Newstips

iHeart’s New Format of Last Resort

INSIDE …

  • The two underserved groups that prefer radio over Spotify – and they’re getting ignored.
  • Fake formats ready to be installed – competitors may want to beware.
  • And the question everyone wants answered: what listeners think of playing musical chairs with their favorite radio format.

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A Radio Station Young Listeners Will Love

The Fraud of Radio Stocks

Townsquare’s Cash Drain to Take Out Oaktree

2 Radio CEOs Begin to Feel the Haters

Advertisers are Killing Radio

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A Radio Station Young Listeners Will Love

INSIDE …

  • I don’t impress easily but I can tell you young adults at NYU are going to take a good look at this attempt to reimagine radio.
  • The features and how they may go over with the next generation.
  • And it is “radio” NOT “audio” making this even more interesting.
  • The advantages that existing radio stations still have.

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The Fraud of Radio Stocks

Townsquare’s Cash Drain to Take Out Oaktree

2 Radio CEOs Begin to Feel the Haters

Advertisers are Killing Radio

The Nielsen Sale’s Effect on Prices

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Townsquare’s Cash Drain to Take Out Oaktree

INSIDE …

  • The big price they actually paid for taking out Oaktree, an albatross around the neck of management.
  • Future issues that could greatly impact growth.
  • Specific expectations for further digital moves, acquisitions and hiring for radio jobs – no more speculating.
  • Yet, why most radio groups are refusing to follow Townsquare’s best in show game plan.

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2 Radio CEOs Begin to Feel the Haters

Advertisers are Killing Radio

The Nielsen Sale’s Effect on Prices

Audacy’s Going Problem

Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

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Newstips

2 Radio CEOs Begin to Feel the Haters

INSIDE …

  • 2 Radio CEOs begin to feel the haters (not Berner, Pittman or Field)
  • Shocking Nielsen fine print
  • How an established radio business can thrive against digital newbies

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Advertisers are Killing Radio

The Nielsen Sale’s Effect on Prices

Audacy’s Going Problem

Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

Audacy’s Hidden Money Problems

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Newstips

Advertisers Are Killing Radio

INSIDE …

  • There’s one thing that station sales reps do that really piss off advertisers – okay, two things and they can be eliminated right now.
  • Don’t tell this to your radio competitors but there is a way forward to cut the spotload and get higher rates.
  • Advertisers don’t want anything to do with testing commercials, but there is a priceless piece of advice you can share before the ad is made that makes it more effective.

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The Nielsen Sale’s Effect on Prices

Audacy’s Going Problem

Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

Audacy’s Hidden Money Problems

Disney+ to Start and Ad-Supported Tier

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Newstips

The Nielsen Sale’s Effect on Prices

INSIDE …

  • The sale of Nielsen is a bigger deal than radio stations know with implications that could raise expenses and change the quality of service.
  • Nielsen is looking to get out (with good reason) -- how radio could get burned in the process.
  • Likely outcomes for radio clients and potential clients.
  • The timeline on pricing changes.
  • The one X factor that could cede more control to Nielsen or return power to radio stations.

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Audacy’s Going Problem

Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

Audacy’s Hidden Money Problems

Disney+ to Start and Ad-Supported Tier

The Audacy/Beasley Bad Blood

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Newstips

Audacy’s Going Problem

INSIDE …

Needless departures continue, now digital people are leaving, market manager overreach & popular destinations for unhappy Audacy employees.

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Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

Audacy’s Hidden Money Problems

Disney+ to Start and Ad-Supported Tier

The Audacy/Beasley Bad Blood

iHeart PD:  Black Ad Not Good for the Audience 

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Newstips

Audacy Reportedly Talking a Swap

INSIDE …

  • Buying stations would likely tank the purchaser’s stock but will swapping? Audacy may soon find out.
  • Debt is a big issue and you can’t find investors but Audacy reportedly has a plan to exit a market(s) to build up others.
  • Four markets are being kicked around in the rumor mill – but that may not be all.
  • While there is one suspected group that keeps being talked about as an Audacy trading partner, there is also another.

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Audacy’s Hidden Money Problems

Disney+ to Start and Ad-Supported Tier

The Audacy/Beasley Bad Blood

iHeart PD:  Black Ad Not Good for the Audience

Drip, Drip of Audacy Exodus Increases

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Newstips

Disney+ to Start an Ad-supported Tier

  • How Disney is making 40% of its revenue from digital advertising and radio is not.
  • Takeaways for radio from streaming audio and video services.
  • Would listeners be willing to pay for fewer commercials?

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The Audacy/Beasley Bad Blood

iHeart PD:  Black Ad Not Good for the Audience

Drip, Drip of Audacy Exodus Increases

The Cumulus House of Cards

iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

iHeart PD: Black Ad Not Good for the Audience

  • iHeart would like to look the other way on this one because Bob Pittman and Rich Bressler have been repurposing AM radio stations as part of their Black News Network – what just went down is embarrassing and unthinkable.

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Drip, Drip of Audacy Exodus Increases

The Cumulus House of Cards

iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

Drip, Drip of Audacy Exodus Increases

  • More recent unwanted resignations raising the total.
  • The company-wide meltdown of sales management explored.
  • How competitors are picking their pockets and ignoring their non-competes.

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iHeart Running Over 41 Units an Hour

The Cumulus House of Cards

iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

iHeart Running Over 41 Units an Hour

  • That 41 is NOT including 10s and 15s which are on top of that number.
  • The way iHeart manipulates the spotload while mitigating ratings loss.
  • How they keep it from advertisers (unless you tell them).
  • The list of national advertisers potentially getting screwed.

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The Cumulus House of Cards

iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

The Cumulus House of Cards

  • The financials they don’t talk about publicly.
  • Their “acquired affiliate advertising relationships” ploy explained.
  • Future hazards to their financial survival.

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iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

Winning Back Podcast Listeners

iHeart’s “Not Exactly” Recovery

  • iHeart beat the easy comp year of 2021 by a mile, but here’s what they’re not saying publicly but are telling the federal government about their fourth quarter. 

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Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

Winning Back Podcast Listeners

The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

Current & Ex-CEOs Break Out Audacy, iHeart & Cumulus Revenue

  • Enough of the spin doctoring, I turned the big 3 radio group financials over to a truth squad made up of former and present top radio execs who know how to break out financials.
  • Then they broke out iHeart, Audacy and Cumulus profit in naked numbers with nothing to dress them up.
  • Which groups are actually performing as they say and which CEOs are acting like Pinocchio.

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Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

Winning Back Podcast Listeners

The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

Audacy Threatens Employees Who Bolt for Beasley

  • How a demoted employee and jilted seller done wrong are now extracting payback.
  • Audacy retaliation: "if one more goes there, I am going to have to get legal involved, and possibly change the non-compete." 
  • How Beasley is successfully circumventing Audacy’s non-compete.

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How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

Winning Back Podcast Listeners

The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

How the Nielsen Delisting “Blackmail” Succeeded

PREVIEW …

  • It’s been 2 years since Nielsen threatened to delist stations that did not subscribe to their ratings service – what followed turned out to be complicated.
  • Nothing dumber than an advertiser and their ad agency – how much they knew, when they knew it and the major things they continue to turn a blind eye to.
  • The radio group that did more to help Nielsen crack down on their competitors – thank them.
  • Horror story in Norfolk.

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Winning Back Podcast Listeners

The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

Winning Back Podcast Listeners

PREVIEW …

  • Listeners who listen to podcasts are possibly missing time spent listening to radio and while radio CEOs seem to have no problem driving listeners to podcasting, there are signs that the demos radio needs most are defecting.
  • What podcast spoken word listeners want to spend more time listening to radio again.
  • Flip the script – the anti-podcast strategy that builds audience on music stations even for young audiences.
  • Evidence that this strategy of winning back podcast listeners will work.

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The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

The Downsizing of iHeart Physical Stations

PREVIEW …

  • Their blueprint for smaller radio stations.
  • Often radio CEOs like David Field and Bob Pittman move to redevelopment areas that are not always convenient for employees selling it as investing in local communities – here’s their real reason.
  • What’s next in downsizing actual station floorplans.
  • But they have a problem – sales and like it or not, here’s the solution coming to a market near you.

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Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

Chicago Sales Rebellion at Audacy

PREVIEW …

  • In the past week Audacy lost more key sellers in Chicago and Detroit – why is this still happening and what’s the plan to stop it.
  • How bad is it? The eye-popping exodus toll – don’t even try to guess, you’re too low – the complete list.
  • Yes, the much-ridiculed Audacy sales compensation package isn’t helping but it’s something entirely different that is increasing the exodus.
  • And the question everyone wants answered is how are Audacy regional VPs keeping their jobs while revenue tanks needlessly.

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Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

Crazy Changes in Listening Habits

PREVIEW …

  • The changes to talk radio listening habits.
  • Changes in the way they consume music.
  • The significant disruption presently underway.
  • Why radio should be concerned about the coming fan-to-fan trend.

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iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

iHeart Stole Radio’s COVID Advertising

INSIDE …

  • Passing over stations with far higher audiences because of iHeart’s 3 promises.
  • How iHeart won the majority of COVID ad money.
  • The iHeart ad pitch that the feds fell for.

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Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

Facebook is Having Its Radio Moment

Inside:  Facebook is radio and Pittman is Zuckerberg – the first one to learn these lessons gets to survive.

  • The true disruption that is bubbling under
  • The Facebook mistakes radio does not want to make
  • How not to turn a company around
  • Warning for radio from Facebook
  • When mature businesses get attacked by new ones

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Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

Radios Rogan/Spotify Fallout

INSIDE …

  • The most vulnerable radio groups
  • The potential effect on right-wing talk radio
  • Free speech or censorship?
  • The real damage to Spotify
  • The unexpected consequences for radio and labels

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Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

Nielsen Overestimates Streaming by 4x AQH

INSIDE …

  • The contentious relationship between Nielsen and its radio clients is about to get more complicated with news that their methodology is inflating streaming ratings and exposing terrestrial owners to cheap tricks by advertisers to get a lower rate.
  • The reason for the streaming overcount that has just been discovered.
  • The adverse effect on terrestrial listening.
  • Why TV clients are getting their issues fixed but Nielsen ignores radio.
  • How advertisers can use streaming overcount to get lower rates.

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My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

Amateur Hour at Audacy

My NYU Students’ Advice for Radio

INSIDE …

  • They’re young, but I’ve learned from my time as a professor at USC and NYU to listen because they are more often right then wrong in spite of whether we want to hear it – they’re fresh off a class on media and record label consolidation.
  • Changing attitudes about commercials.     
  • The popularity of podcasting among the young. 
  • A red flag warning for TikTok that could present an opportunity.
  • What it would take to win young listeners back to radio

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What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

Amateur Hour at Audacy

Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

What Ratings Execs Advise Privately About Floating Clocks

INSIDE …

  • Which radio groups are turning to floating clocks.
  • The group that does 50-60 spots over two hours.
  • What happened when this one radio group tried to reign in commercials.
  • The best times to get the best results.

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NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

Amateur Hour at Audacy

Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

Townsquare’s Big Surprise

NAB Threatens Less Airplay for Licensed Music

INSIDE …

  • How the NAB is using music radio as bait against the American Music Fairness Act.
  • Radio’s fear factor from Irving Azoff’s brutal beating on artists rights this week – his playbook.
  • Who is doing more to hurt local radio than the prospect of performance rights fees.
  • Will radio’s ability to pay salaries, utility bills and cover local news be hurt by paying artists.

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Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

Amateur Hour at Audacy

Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

Townsquare’s Big Surprise

Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

Audacy Looking to Shakeup CBS All-News

INSIDE …

  • The new direction.
  • Changes that have already been made on some of their all-newsers.
  • Changes being tested with a sampling of early results.

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Amateur Hour at Audacy

Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

Townsquare’s Big Surprise

Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

Amateur Hour at Audacy

INSIDE …

  • The real reason behind David Field’s all-news management shakeup.
  • How stealing a public radio exec could blow up in his face.
  • Audacy’s bungling of the cash-rich all-news format – documented from inside accounts.
  • Will Field pull the trigger on looming all-news consolidation?

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Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

Townsquare’s Big Surprise

Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

Spotify Blinks

Nielsen’s Supply Chain Excuse

INSIDE …

  • The issue of rebates to radio station clients
  • Misleading radio (at their station expense)
  • The way Nielsen is changing the way it does business 
  • The NPR Nielsen answer

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Townsquare’s Big Surprise

Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

Spotify Blinks

Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

Townsquare’s Big Surprise

INSIDE …

  • TRUTH SERUM: Is Townsquare buying more stations or not?
  • A MINI-iHEART? -- Private stuff going at their stations while they build out digital first
  • ERIK HELLUM – Why hasn’t iHeart recruited this guy?
  • NO LAYOFFS – Can that be? A closer look at Townsquare’s hiring and firing.

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Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

Spotify Blinks

Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

Audacy’s Hiring Problem

Investors Fear an Audacy Meltdown

INSIDE …

  • The scary numbers investors are worrying about
  • The reasons such good stations are doing so poorly
  • Then there’s what’s happening at Kansas City and St. Louis
  • The next few weeks

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First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

Spotify Blinks

Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

Audacy’s Hiring Problem

iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

First Group to 20+ Spots Per Hour

INSIDE … 

  • The first radio group to opt for the nuclear option.
  • The competitor that outed them in their advisory board conference call.
  • How they are handling listener objections to more commercials.
  • What’s next for spot load limits?

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Spotify Blinks

Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

Audacy’s Hiring Problem

iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

Westwood Done

Spotify Blinks

INSIDE …

  • Should the radio industry be watching the war Neil Young started against Spotify’s Joe Rogan?
  • It’s not withholding Young’s music, it’s this that could pressure Spotify.
  • Is it working – is this nascent boycott hurting Spotify?
  • Fallout for radio – follow Apple and Tidal’s anti-Spotify strategy.

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Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

Audacy’s Hiring Problem

iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

Westwood Done

Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

Desperate Radio CEOs Buy Favorable Ratings

INSIDE …

  • Secrets of radio CEOs to buy favorable analyst ratings.
  • What it took to get last year’s hot mess in radio revenue to earn an “A” rating – with a straight face.
  • So why are analysts now changing their tune about radio?
  • The importance of podcasting to bank analysts even if they lose money.

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Audacy’s Hiring Problem

iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

Westwood Done

Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

Audacy’s Hiring Problem

INSIDE …

  • The surprising change in their desired job qualifications.
  • The number of job applicants for the hard to fill San Diego GSM position in almost two weeks – and you’ll never guess the revised salary offer.
  • Why iHeart sellers are afraid to jump ship to Audacy.
  • The updated Audacy sales.

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iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

Westwood Done

Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

iHeart Foreign Sale Still on the Table

INSIDE …

  • Their quiet end of year maneuver
  • The status of iHeart selling to a foreign entity
  • Why iHeart is sucker punching its most interested potential investor

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Westwood Done

Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

Big Changes Coming to CHR

Westwood Done

INSIDE …

  • The dissolution of Westwood was predicted here a week ago – here’s the rest of the story. 
  • Why Cumulus owners are panicking.
  • They actually turned rescue money down to buy assets – here’s why.
  • How the dissolution will unfold ahead.
  • What about the stations division?

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Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

Big Changes Coming to CHR

New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

Cumulus Fires 9 in One Market

INSIDE …

  • How they wasted 9 jobs in one cluster and kept it all under the radar until now
  • The markets that are likely to be next
  • Why this spring is a potential make-it-or-break-it deadline for Cumulus.

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The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

Big Changes Coming to CHR

New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

The Fan-to-Fan Music Revolution

INSIDE …

  • The age group buying the most new music.
  • Should radio be concerned about TikTok and Instagram in reaching younger demos.
  • Potential problems for the music business. 
  • The new role for music radio that works.
  • Keep an eye on “fandom”.

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San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

Big Changes Coming to CHR

New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

Podcasting is Having Radio Trouble

San Diego Audacy Exodus Resumes

INSIDE …

  • Latest departures added to the 28 who previously left.
  • Why even new hires won’t stay (the average time spent selling for Audacy).
  • Jeff Federman, Michael Valenzuela and yes – Karyn Cerulli.
  • On top of this, the potential loss of the Padres.
  • The industry ex-radio sellers go to find better jobs.

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Big Changes Coming to CHR

New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

Podcasting is Having Radio Trouble

Pay Cuts at Cumulus

Big Changes Coming to CHR

INSIDE …

  • Significant changes in audience composition
  • The major adjustment for CHR stations to slow audience erosion
  • The things that will guarantee a bump up in the ratings
  • Competing against streaming music playlists
  • Radio’s killer “app” against Spotify that radio is missing

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New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

Podcasting is Having Radio Trouble

Pay Cuts at Cumulus

Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

New Cumulus Market Manager Mandate

INSIDE …

  • The new category forced on their budgets
  • Why managers are stewing.
  • Where the funds will come from.
  • $5 billion in music rights acquisitions in the past 12 months, projections for 2022.

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Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

Podcasting is Having Radio Trouble

Pay Cuts at Cumulus

Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

INSIDE …

  • The emergency downsizing plan soon to get underway.
  • Future Cumulus job consolidations this year.
  • Next: the downsizing of Westwood One.
  • The market manager surprise just ahead.

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Podcasting is Having Radio Trouble

Pay Cuts at Cumulus

Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

Podcasting Is Having Radio Trouble

INSIDE …

  • Big-spending Spotify’s startling move.
  • The audience for new individual podcasts.
  • The Time Spent Listening issue.
  • What will happen to podcasting.
  • The truth behind Spotify’s 3 million podcasts.

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Pay Cuts at Cumulus

Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

Pay Cuts at Cumulus

INSIDE …

  • The plan to fund job insecurity.
  • GSM’s given a new responsibility.
  • One oversight that may blow the entire plan up.
  • So, what’s it going to be for Cumulus, Audacy and iHeart – first quarter pay cuts, RIFs or furloughs?

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Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

Cumulus, Westwood One Cutbacks

INSIDE …

  • Positions to be eliminated first
  • Local market managers under pressure to cut jobs
  • How Cumulus firings usually take place
  • Even with all that – Cumulus attracts a new investor
  • Prognosis for Audacy and iHeart

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Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

Audacy Has a Field Replacement in the Wings

Audacy Walking Back “Unethical” Chicago Allegations

INSIDE …

  • Making tampering with a signed contract go away.
  • Audacy damage control a week after allegations leaked.
  • BUT Audacy knew of the unethical behavior – the proof.
  • Chad Feldman, Rachel Williamson & Weezie Kramer.

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iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

Audacy Has a Field Replacement in the Wings

Whistleblower Outs “Unethical” Audacy Chicago

iHeart Reserves Right to Fire Vaxed Workers

INSIDE …

  • Circumstances under which taking the vax may not be enough to preserve an iHeart job.
  • The threat comes from a third-party app!
  • Setting up a third year of pandemic firing.
  • The different vaccination routes taken by Cumulus and Audacy.

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Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

Audacy Has a Field Replacement in the Wings

Whistleblower Outs “Unethical” Audacy Chicago

First Quarter iHeart Cutbacks Likely to Be Deep

Audacy Loses Another Sports Rights Battle

INSIDE …

  • A 3-station competitor (two radio, one TV) outbid Audacy’s MLB rights.
  • Locked out of all major sports by apparent arrogance/over-confidence.
  • How “the little engine that could” caught David Field’s mighty sports machine flat-footed.
  • Audacy’s new nightmare: small, local competitors with nothing to lose.

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Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

Audacy Has a Field Replacement in the Wings

Whistleblower Outs “Unethical” Audacy Chicago

First Quarter iHeart Cutbacks Likely to Be Deep

Wells Fargo Abandons Audacy

INSIDE …

  • Nobody dumps on Audacy – so why did Wells Fargo just do it?
  • How Wells downgrade impacts other groups
  • Audacy’s top 3 problems (in this order)
  • Sam Rogers, Bob Philips, Susan Larkin & Joel Hollander

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Audacy Has a Field Replacement in the Wings

Whistleblower Outs “Unethical” Audacy Chicago

First Quarter iHeart Cutbacks Likely to Be Deep

Whistleblower Outs “Unethical” Audacy Chicago

INSIDE …

  • A 16-year vet details what they call unethical and gross mismanagement.
  • Ways Audacy blocked this person from leaving for a competitor and then welched on the deal.
  • Two of Audacy Chicago’s alleged worse offenders identified by name.
  • The questionable practice of how they raise sales quotas.

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First Quarter iHeart Cutbacks Likely to be Deep

INSIDE …

  • Out of places to eliminate iHeart employees there’s only one that has been “hands off” for years -- that looks like it’s about to change in 2022.
  • Their next “Excellence Centers” idea to further consolidate programming. 
  • The ad economy has still not recovered but the anticipated iHeart RIFs are being driven for a very different reason.
  • iHeart/Clear Channel has been laying off for two decades, here’s their most predictable pattern.
  • iHeart has been averaging $50 million in cutbacks a year – here’s next year’s number.

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The FM Solution for AM Stations

AM is in danger of dying for no good reason

  • My students can barely name an FM station, frequency or type of programming on the air and have no idea what AM radio is – and I’m talking about my USC students years ago as well as NYU music business students today indicating a death watch for AM among young people.
  • AM operators have been failed by the FCC and most importantly their lobby group the NAB which has talked a good game but left thousands of AM stations vulnerable and on life support.
  • If they can’t attract audiences younger than 60, AM will be all but gone in a few more years but there is an answer – provide incentives for consolidators who already have too many stations to run to do long-term leases to AM operators.

Read the full article here

Yesterday:  NPR and EMF Putting on a Clinic for Consolidators

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NPR and EMF Putting on a Clinic for Consolidators

Both NPR and EMF are funded by fandoms

  • NPR affiliates rely on begathons to raise money and NPR is supported by government funding.
  • Educational Media Foundation (EMF), a non-profit religious broadcaster is also reliant on its massive fundraising that allows the non-commercial operator to buy stations in just about every meaningful market – and prices they name.
  • While commercial radio groups flounder, lose revenue and cut costs, NPR and EMF run on a tight budget but they do things consolidators will not do – here’s how they are beating consolidators in audience, expense management and even podcasting – all things commercial broadcasters could readily copy.

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Audacy Salary Changes Starting in January

Top Execs Rewarded for Missing Revenue

  • David Field and his COO Susan Larkin are in for pay raises after a dismal year in which Audacy repeatedly missed its revenue projections and presided over the further loss of audience.
  • Rewarding C-suite officials for failure is not new to companies propped up with private equity money but is curious in the case of Audacy as they teeter on the brink of bankruptcy.
  • BUT, Field and Larkin are not the only ones who will see a change in their paychecks as Audacy station personnel are also in for significant changes ahead.

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NextRadio Version 2

  • A new venture to attract mobile listeners.
  • Another subscription service.
  • The income radio stations can earn from it.
  • The question of whether iHeart and Audacy sign on

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iHeart’s All-Podcast Radio Station

  • A two-year ratings analysis of the first all-podcast station
  • An important takeaway about listeners to podcasting on radio
  • Can radio make a sustainable format out of podcasting?
  • The best way radio can integrate podcasts with a high level of success

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Moneymaking NFTs for Radio

  • The crazy money consumers are spending on NFTs
  • A path to profit for recording artists (and potentially for radio stations)
  • Types of digital products stations could sell to an expanding market
  • See what the Stones, Grimes and artist Beeple are earning from NFTs

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iHeart Faces Unionization

  • Nightmare scenario: podcasters join a union against iHeart
  • Results of the other podcast union movements so far
  • The union movement moving to radio stations
  • Long-overdue benefits iHeart may be forced to eat as a preemptive move

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Rushing to Replace AM Talk Radio

  • The groups that are ready to deemphasize conservative talk
  • Damage from Limbaugh’s death and Bongino’s mouth
  • Format replacement options on the table for AM talk radio
  • Even more radical solutions presently discussed privately

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Audio Cooling Off, Some Music Genres Slipping

  • The emerging post-lockdown listening changes that leave radio stations out of sync with their audience.
  • New study on the effect of working remotely on radio.
  • Changes in music genres (you’ll never guess the genre that skyrocketed during the lockdown, it’s out of nowhere). If you can name it, you’re really tuned in.
  • The new rules for stay-at-home listener engagement. 

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Audacy’s January Blitz

  • Year-end cost-cutting
  • The next phase of regionalized formats
  • An Audacy format that will be virtually eviscerated to save money
  • Auditors to decide Audacy’s future path

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Your Next DJ May Be a Robot

  • Bad news for voice actors and voice trackers
  • It’s being done right now on a radio station, more planned
  • The most likely major radio group to go first
  • Big implications for local ad campaigns

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Streaming Wants to Be Radio Now

Digital one-to-one media has disrupted the music business and radio by transferring their products and services to online access but now there are real signs that these disruptors want to be more like radio than simply large libraries of music – they see an opportunity to do what radio has stopped doing.

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Newstips

iHeart’s Post-Malone Strategy

INSIDE …

Where this leaves iHeart

  • How Bob Pittman smoked John Malone’s Liberty Media’s attempt to steal debt-heavy iHeart. 
  • What’s changing in the next 4 months now that the threat is gone. 
  • Their new owners are Franklin Advisors – the important way they differ from previous owners Lee & Bain. 
  • Radio is in runoff mode – where iHeart still sees money to be made.
  • And one more time, Liberty is out of the picture, right?

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Newstips

Yesterday’s Audacy Stock Crash

INSIDE …

  • It has devolved to two buck chuck even with the Field family buying shares as fast as they can.
  • The real trouble bubbling under Audacy’s surprise demise.
  • Audacy is screaming out what is about to happen next.
  • The major shakeups that were previously off the table.
  • Why investors think 2nd bankruptcy-bound Cumulus ($12) and $6 billion indebted iHeart ($22) are better than $2 Audacy.

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Newstips

Defending Against All-Holiday Music Stations

INSIDE …

  • This move will catch your competitor flat-footed.
  • If you’re up against a holiday music station or stations, consider these options.
  • When to flip, how long to stay.
  • What to rename holiday music stations.

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Newstips

The Danger of Radio Selling Facebook Ads

INSIDE …

  • Radio will sell anything right now, even sneakers from the back of an SUV.
  • Facebook’s problems are getting ready to blow up in radio’s face.
  • Missed opportunities and new ways to put digital in its place.
  • The one thing that radio has right now that makes it “case closed” against digital.

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Beware of the Advertising Transition to Impressions

INSIDE …

  • Agencies and advertisers are pushing hard for radio to change the way it sells.
  • How the advertiser-promoted move toward impressions will backfire.
  • The secret to getting ahead of this mistake.
  • Some radio groups are considering a better alternative than impression selling.

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Newstips

Audacy Picking off Top Talent & Sellers

INSIDE …

  • Their war on talent continues even as some of their stations are diving in the ratings.
  • Sales tactics that are demotivating account execs.
  • Heartbreaking exits from longtime employees.

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Newstips

Audacy’s Year End Blowout

  • David Field recently spent $40 million on a side hustle to essentially return no new revenue to Audacy’s ailing bottom line – here’s a cheaper and better alternative from execs who work for him who can’t speak up.
  • Missed opportunities and changes ahead – what we’re hearing.
  • The continuing saga of their CRO revolving door and the Bob Philips demotion.
  • Did you hear what they’re going to do with Sam Rogers? 
  • Advice to David from some ex-employees on how to stop leaving revenue on the table.

Read the full article here

Newstips

Audacy Swimming in More Debt

Audacy Misses on Revenue, Debt Soars 

  • Wall Street knows this in spite of a third quarter effort to sanitize disappointing financial results – their stock is now less than 25 cents away from being worth $2 – and that’s with the mighty former CBS assets included.
  • Their financial crisis is being covered up by misleading the public comparing 3rd quarter revenue to the weakest comp in the radio industry’s history – the same three months of pandemic last year because when you dig into where they really are you can see the turmoil that is ahead for Audacy.
  • They’ve made some bonehead moves to pump up the real numbers and it’s possible to compute the actual number Audacy has to earn to break even – that’s a number worth studying.

Read the full article here

iHeart Cherry-picking Latest Revenue Results

  • iHeart had a better quarter than Audacy and Cumulus, so why are they doctoring the numbers?
  • How iHeart is misleading the public by burying the truth in their SEC filings.
  • iHeart’s highly touted podcasting grew 184% -- now here’s what they didn’t tell you about that number.
  • Subtract digital, podcasting, live events and other businesses and here’s iHeart’s radio bottom line.

Read the full article here

In Search of Younger Demos

  • How radio had it right 5-10 years (if they only stuck with it).
  • The new younger demo model you won’t see Nielsen pitching.
  • Weaning your station off Nielsen’s (TV news did it).
  • Beware of impressions – here’s why.

Read the full article here

Astroworld Concert Tragedy Impacts Radio

INSIDE …

  • iHeart and Audacy have reason to be concerned after this weekend’s 8 deaths and hundreds of injuries at Travis Scott’s Houston Astroworld fest.
  • Radio had its own wrongful death lawsuits prior.
  • The Astroworld lawsuits have already begun.
  • The future of live events in general and for radio operators.

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Cumulus Revenue Miss Triggers Cutback Concerns

INSIDE … 

  • The chance of further cost reductions (we have their decision in writing).
  • The big changes coming to the way Cumulus does local radio.
  • The road ahead for market managers, programmers, sellers and commissions.

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CHR Red Flags

INSIDE …

  • A major CHR group is now getting their clocks cleaned.
  • Why CHR formats are sinking (only one #1 left in the top ten markets).
  • Their new competition along with some self-inflicted wounds.
  • What’s next to slow the rapid decline.

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Bongino’s Insurrection Against Cumulus

INSIDE …

  • Something’s gotta give – Dan Bongino is pushing Cumulus to fire him.
  • Suddenly he’s the (76ers) Ben Simmons of radio – their shared playbook.
  • Why Bongino is risking losing 300+ radio affiliates for a mini-insurrection against Mary Berner.
  • The real reason for his recent work stoppage on radio while continuing his podcast.
  • How it will end – who will blink first Berner or Bongino and what it means.

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Radio’s New Role in Hitmaking

INSIDE …

A new, important purpose for radio in the age of streaming music services.

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Another Group Reportedly Sharing Talent Fees

  • Losing money is one thing – the bigger reason talent has had enough.
  • The way radio groups get away with it without advertisers finding out and demanding a lower endorsement rate.
  • Is this limited to a few groups or is fee sharing going mainstream anytime soon.
  • And, is it even legal?

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Audacy’s Dumbest Format Ever

  • DON’T make the mistake Audacy just made.
  • A simple formula for building a cash positive radio station
  • 5 steps to a stronger station before the new year

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iHeart’s “New Work Environment” & Pay Raises

Inside:  A recent revamp of work rules, remote working and benefits failed to address compensation. 

  • Who will be in line for a long-overdue pay raise? 
  • What “we will never return to the office as we knew it” really means for iHeart employees.
  • A warning about iHeart’s just announced “New Work Environment”. 
  • The new 9-point Culture Code and how iHeart has already violated every one of them. 

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Berner’s Bongino Hesitancy, WideOrbit Nothingburger

INSIDE …

Dan Bongino threatens Mary Berner

  • What’s keeping Berner from firing Bongino.
  • How Bongino’s it’s either end vaccine mandates or I quit ultimatum will play out.

Audacy’s WideOrbit Nothingburger

  • How Audacy’s purchase of WideOrbit effects other radio groups trusting their confidential metrics to WideOrbit.

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75% Digital at Townsquare

INSIDE …

iHeart, Audacy and Cumulus may have to make big changes

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Storage Wars Selling at Cumulus

An unorthodox fourth quarter fix to bolster sales.

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“Dave FM” Doesn’t Know “Jack”

A new format to compete against designed by and named for David Field.

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3rd Quarter Radio Revenue Leaked

  • Preview revenue numbers for the all-important third-quarter ahead of radio CEO spin.
  • A slight of hand to look for when radio groups announce their doctored and misleading third quarter revenue.
  • The 3rd Q local and national revenue trends in advance.
  • The clever decoys iHeart, Audacy and Cumulus will use to divert attention from declining businesses.

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The Pandemic Is Backfiring on Cumulus

INSIDE …

  • The creepiest return to face-to-face work perhaps ever with this ill-conceived management brain fart.
  • Cumulus anti-vaxxers are being fired yet some people are getting away with it.
  • Don’t look now but Spotify, a leading podcast distributor of misinformation, is putting on a management clinic for Mary Berner and weak radio CEOs.
  • Someone has actually figured out how to make money from podcasts – not Cumulus – it has to do with self-serve ads for hosts.

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Liberty Moves on from an iHeart Merger

  • What went down
  • iHeart’s change of heart
  • Insider trading of Bob Pittman
  • What’s next

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Programming Bungle at Audacy

INSIDE …

  • This is what Audacy has been reduced to as they get their clocks cleaned again.
  • How Audacy became Beasley’s bitch.
  • Documented – David Field’s personal decisions coming back to haunt Audacy. 
  • The one decision Field could have made (but didn’t) that would have guaranteed the success of the CBS merger that they botched and are paying for now.

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This Talk Show is Worth $60 million

INSIDE …

  • This new talk superstar attracts 100% women, an advertiser’s dream come true.
  • Why radio is getting it all wrong betting on right wing talk instead of the “right talk”.
  • The model for radio stations looking to break the old mold and attract younger listeners.
  • Mel Karmazin would hire someone like her (okay, not for $60 million, but he’d do it in a minute).

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