General Music Radio Industry News
To Reach Millennials, Get Real. In a column posted today (9/29), media consultant Holland Cooke reports from the recent Maine Association of Broadcasters conference where a major topic of conversation was reaching the Millennial generation. Cooke writes that the news for radio operators today with regard to this generation is a good news/bad news scenario: The good is that Millennials like the idea of an audio-only medium but the bad news is they don’t want it to sound like it did for generations past – they have very different media sensibilities. “Keeping it real” is the mantra for this generation as comments from the “How Millennials Use Media” panel indicate. Cooke reports college-age panelists said things like, “People our age find radio gimmicky,” and, “Authenticity is a huge factor.” Read Cooke’s entire column here.
Kansas City Woman’s Court Victory at Entercom’s Expense Serves Up Lessons for Broadcasters. Friday’s court victory for a Kansas City law student who was incorrectly identified as a “local porn star” by the “Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz” show on Entercom’s alternative KRBZ “96.5 The Buzz” provides more lessons for broadcasters in how to avoid falling victim to a (in this case) $1 million dollar penalty for something that could have been avoided. As you are probably aware by now, Ashley Patton was misidentified by the morning show as a “local porn star” after confusing her name with that of a text-message suggestion by a listener who wrote to the show that Ashley Payton put pornographic images of herself online. On Friday, the jury awarded $250,000 in actual damages and the two sides agreed to punitive damages of $750,000, which Entercom will not appeal. Entercom had believed that its hosts had not actually engaged in negligent behavior since the identification of Patton was accidental and the station fixed the mistake as soon as it found out about it, as reported in the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the case. But that’s not exactly what happened. It stands to reason the station may have been able to avoid further angering Patton – and avoid the subsequent lawsuit – if it had acted quickly when Patton spoke with program director Scott Geiger hours after the bit aired. According to court records, during that conversation, Geiger questioned Patton’s statement that she was not a porn star, even asking her, “How do you know that you’re not a porn star?” He also promised to call her back after investigating the incident but never did.
WKQK, Memphis Transitions to Country. In the Memphis market, Entercom jettisons classic hits on WKQK in favor of country-formatted “94.1 The Wolf.” Vice president and market manager Dan Barron comments, “We are thrilled to introduce the highly successful ‘Wolf’ brand to Memphis. There is a huge appetite for today’s country music and we are proud to share this with Memphians. ‘The Wolf’ is the perfect complement to our local Entercom stations including sports WMFS-AM ‘ESPN 790,’ sports WMFS-FM ‘ESPN Radio,’ hot AC WMC-FM ‘FM 100,’ and adult contemporary WRVR ‘The River.’” According to program director Chris Michaels, “‘The Wolf’ will be locally focused on music that country fans want. We are excited to bring this great brand and the most new country to Memphis.” After reaching a 4.1 (#10) in June (6+, Nielsen Audio PPM), WKQK notched a 3.5 (#11) in July and August (steady at #11). It was the market’s lone classic hits station and had been in the format the past six years, before making the switch last Friday (9/26) at 6:00 pm. “The Wolf” now joins a country field that includes Cumulus’ WGKX “Kix 106″ (8.0 in August, #4, 6+) and Mighty Media Group‘s WEBL “The Rebel” (1.3, #18).
Mighty Media Adds Classic Hits to Translator in Memphis. Responding to the departure of the classic hits format on WKQK, Mighty Media Group LP begins airing the classic hits format already heard on WGUE-AM, Memphis on translator W257CY at 99.3 FM. Positioned as “GUESS FM 99.3,” Mighty Media points out that the station limits the amount of commercials that air on the station. Program director Tom Freeman says, “We couldn’t be more excited to have the new ‘GUESS FM 99.3’ super-serve the legion of established loyal classic hits listeners here in Memphis. According to the latest Nielsen ratings, the last classic hits station has been averaging about 175,000 loyal listeners every week and we hope to transition and grow that audience with extra features and the added local appeal of ‘GUESSFM 99.3.’” Sales manager Curt Peterson adds, “I am pleased that commercial breaks will be short and infrequent so that advertiser messages will stand out and listeners can enjoy the most hits per hour.”
Curtis Media Flips WFNL-AM, Raleigh to Bluegrass. Last year the International Bluegrass Music Association moved its annual convention to the Raleigh area. Figuring the region’s connection to the genre is important, Curtis Media Group announces it is flipping former comedy-formatted WFNL-AM to all bluegrass. This year’s convention begins tomorrow (9/30) and runs through the week. Curtis Media EVP Trip Savery comments, “Our commitment to bluegrass started when WPTF hired Flatt & Scruggs in 1952. We are very proud to bring a part of our heritage back to the airwaves.”
Handa Joins ‘NASH FM 92.3’ in San Francisco. KBBY, Ventura, California program director and air personality Angie Handa heads north to become the APD and midday jock at Cumulus Media’s country KSJO, San Jose “NASH FM 92.3.” Handa will hold down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm slot at the station and will work with program director Mac Daniels on production, imaging and music scheduling. Daniels says of Handa, “Angie brings a high degree of talent and broadcast experience on and off air with a fresh perspective that will continue to grow the ‘NASH’ brand in the San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose Bay Area. I am very proud and excited to have her joining the team.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Air personality No Name exits the afternoon drive slot at CBS RADIO’s alternative KITS, San Francisco “Live 105.” No Name announces his departure via his blog and says there are too many people with whom he’s worked at CBS for whom he has love and respect so he’s choosing not be negative about the change. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org…..Moving from middays at American General Media’s CHR KKXX “Hits 93.1” to the company’s sister hip hop KISV “Hot 94.1” where she’ll be the new evening jock is Monisha “Mo” Mann…..Mike Scott is named program director at Adams Radio’s country WBTU, Fort Wayne “US 93.3” and W277AK “Great Country 103.3.”…..Cody Welling is promoted from GSM to director of sales for the Cumulus Media Toledo/Monroe cluster.
Katz-Commissioned Study: Radio Effective Way to Reach Swing Voters. A study commissioned by Katz Media Group shows swing voters are regular radio users – 81% of those identified as swing voters report listening to AM/FM radio regularly. Moreover, voters across the political spectrum report that radio ads are more credible than the ads they see on the internet by a 56-35 margin, which increases to a 62-38 margin among low-turnout voters. The survey was handled by Vox Populi Polling to examine how much influence radio has in the electoral marketplace. The sample size for the survey was 1,059 active voters. Other results from the study include: Swing voters spend 10% more time with radio daily than the average American voter; 67% of swing voters listen to FM regularly, while 14% are exclusively AM radio listeners; 65% of low-turnout Republicans and Democrats say they listen to FM music on a regular basis; and 61% of swing voters agree that radio is a good way for political candidates to reach them. KMG EVP of strategy, analytics & research Stacey Lynn Schulman says, “This research illustrates that radio is both a habitual and influential medium for reaching voters who can make the difference on Election Day. In the race for credibility, radio outshines online advertising by a wide margin in the minds of still impressionable voters.”
CBS RADIO Opens DC Performance Space Sponsored by DC Lottery. Gearing up for the first performance, CBS RADIO Washington, DC and the DC Lottery are announcing the grand opening of “DC Lottery Live,” a state-of-the-art, street-level studio and performance space that the company says will “serve as an entertainment showcase in the heart of the trendy Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.” Pop rock artist Gavin DeGraw will headline the facility’s first-ever event with a private show on Thursday, October 9. The DC Lottery Live venue is part of CBS RADIO’s new broadcast home for WPGC-FM, WIAD “94.7 FRESH-FM,” WJFK-FM “106.7 The FAN,”WLZL “El Zol 107.9,” WNEW-FM, “All News 99.1 WNEW,” WJFK-AM, “1580 CBS Sports Radio.” CBS RADIO SVP and market manager Steve Swenson comments, “We are proud to unveil this unique venue that will showcase a variety of live events and appeal to the entire community, whether they enjoy music, sports, entertainment or interacting with today’s newsmakers. With DC Lottery as our partner we can bring our brands closer to the audience and enhance their experience.”
Moscow, Idaho’s ’99.5 Bull Country’ to Hold Radio-A-Thon. For the third year in a row Inland Northwest Broadcasting-owned country outlet KZZL, Moscow, Idaho “99.5 Bull Country” is holding the “Bull Country Community Cares Radio-A-Thon” sponsored by the local Sam Dial Jewelers. The fundraiser takes place on Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10. During the past two years the station has raised more than $17,000 for the United Way of Pullman, Washington and United Way of Moscow/Latah.
Fourth Annual College Radio Day Is Friday. Now in its fourth year, the college radio event founded by William Paterson University associate professor of communications Dr. Rob Quicke is set for Friday, October 3. This year’s CRD president, Peter Kreten, GM of WXAV, Chicago (St. Xavier University), expects hundreds of college radio stations to take part. Among the highlights for this year will be: The Lumineers’ Jeremiah Fraites, Andrew W.K., Sean Astin, Ty Segall, the Dropkick Murphys’ Matt Kelly, Marko from Sugarcult, all available for exclusive interviews; plus, the first-ever College Radio Day Simulcast takes place at 1:00 pm ET with more than 50 college stations broadcasting the specially produced one-hour show.
LaRoche Tapped for Mornings at ‘Live 95.5’ in Portland. At Alpha Media’s CHR KBFF, Portland “Live 95.5,” Bryan LaRoche is named co-host of the morning drive show alongside Hannah Byrom. LaRoche most recently was PM drive personality at iHeartMedia’s WKSL, Jacksonville “97.9 Kiss FM.” He also worked in Detroit at WKQI “Channel 95.5” as APD and music director. Alpha Portland VP of programming Phil Becker says, “I’m excited to once again be working with Bryan. I’ve watched him develop over the years and he’s turned into a talent that I would not like to compete against. Teaming him up with Hannah and forming Portland’s only local CHR morning show is going to be a great thing for our listeners, advertisers and brand for a long time to come.”
Norm Feuer Exits Role as GM of BCA’s San Diego Stations. Longtime radio executive Norm Feuer is retiring from his position as general manager of Broadcast Company of the Americas’ San Diego operations – sports XEPRS “The Mighty 1090” and classic hits XHPRS “Max 105.7.” During his long career, Feuer has worked for iHeartMedia and founded Triathlon Broadcasting and Force II Communications. Radio management pro Mike Glickenhaus is being tapped to serve as interim GM for the stations.
Nathan Butler Joins Clear Channel Satellite. Named the new director of operations for Clear Channel Satellite is Nathan Butler. The company says Butler has served in the radio broadcasting, engineering and technology field for years. His background includes director of operations at Kentucky News Network and Total Traffic Network. His expertise includes working with the X-Digital System, radio broadcasting, radio programming, social networking, broadcast journalism, radio producing and digital media.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Four weekenders at CBS RADIO’s classic hits KRTH, Los Angeles “K-Earth” have been let go as the station tweaks its weekend programming. Gone are Sylvia Aimerito, Bruce Chandler, Dave Randall, and Christian Wheel…..At the New York City iHeartMedia station group, Colleen Shea is named producer for the “Cubby & Carolina in the Morning” show on hot AC WKTU. Shea’s produced the Romeo-hosted “Saturday Night Online” show, the “iHeartRadio Countdown,” and worked on the Premiere Networks end of the iHeartRadio Music Festival…..Triple A programming pro Amy Miller is the new APD at North Texas Public Broadcasting’s KKXT, Dallas. Miller most recently served at Davis Media’s WTYD, Deltaville, Virginia (Newport News-Norfolk market) triple A as program director. Her other experience includes stints at KFOG, San Francisco and KZSC, Santa Cruz, California…..A budget-related move forces the exit of Tommy Carrera, a.k.a. Tommy C, from the morning show at CBS RADIO-owned country outlet KFRG-FM, Riverside “K-Frog.” Carrera had been co-hosting mornings with Scott Ward for the last nine years. Now, midday personality Heather Froglear will co-host the morning show with Ward and Christy McLeap takes over the entire midday shift…..The San Antonio-based, syndicated Billy Madison morning show is added to the lineup at Sun Broadcasting’s rock WXNX, Fort Myers…..After a year away from radio in the TV business, Jessica Martinez returns to Great Scott-owned hip hop WOCQ, Ocean City-Salisbury, Maryland “OC104” where she’s again paired up with Bill Baker on the morning drive show.
Tom Joyner Announces Dates for Next Year’s ‘Party with a Purpose’ Cruise. The 16th annual Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage – a charter cruise dubbed the “Party with a Purpose” that benefits students and Historically Black Colleges and Universities – is set for departure April 11, 2015. Artists performing during the eight-day cruise will include: R. Kelly, Jennifer Hudson, Earth Wind & Fire, TLC, LL Cool J featuring DJ Z-Tri, Fantasia, TV One’s R&B Divas: Chrisette Michele, Michel’le, Syleena Johnson, Lil’ Mo, and Monifah, plus Mary Mary, War, Ruben Studdard, Millie Jackson, and The Family Stone. The cruise has sold out for the past 15 years and Joyner states, “This is one of those special experiences that will stay with you forever.”
Bill McMahon: Perhaps We Should Focus on What We are Good at and That Which the Public Still Wants and Needs. In a new opinion piece posted in RadioInfo today (9/25) by veteran radio consultant and talent coach Bill McMahon, the following questions are presented to radio broadcasters: What business are you in? Does your business have a future? He says, “These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.” In it McMahon adds his voice to the chorus of industry opinions supporting the preservation of audio-only media as one of — if not the — major products of “radio” in the emerging unified multi-media platform marketplace. McMahon sarcastically says, “This vision for the future seems perfect for radio broadcasters who create precious little content of any kind. It makes total sense to go compete with everyone in the entertainment business. Sure, why not? Go take on Disney and Live Nation. You have all kinds of talent and experience creating video entertainment. You’ll be great at creating and promoting massive concert events. This is the kind of stuff your current customers have come to expect from you. You have lots of resources ready to commit to these enterprises. They’ll no doubt drive lots of additional listening to your AM and FM radio stations. Like Nike says, you should ‘just do it!’” He concludes on a serious note, “Yikes! Let’s get real! What’s wrong with the business you’re in right now? What’s wrong with the audio entertainment business? Doesn’t it have a future? Audio entertainment is unique and powerful. It involves the consumer in creating the experience it provides. Sound generates pictures and emotions in minds and hearts. The effect is deeper and more memorable than anything on a screen. When you hear someone laughing or crying you don’t need to see them to fully experience their joy or sorrow. Music can change your mood instantly. The sound and the lyrics create a vibe. Music is mind altering, heart penetrating, and memory making. Audio entertainment can be consumed while you’re doing other things like walking, running, driving, or making love. Audio entertainment will never go out of style. Americans spend more than four hours per day with audio entertainment according to the “Share of the Ear” study from Edison Research. Audio entertainment has an enduring future as long as great audio entertainment is created. Radio broadcasters are in the audio entertainment business. Why not stay there? Why not focus your limited resources on creating extraordinary audio entertainment? Why not be really good – even exceptional – at something, rather than average or mediocre at everything. Your current consumers are predisposed to using and appreciating audio entertainment. Why not concentrate on creating new audio entertainment content that surprises, amazes, and delights them. Hire gifted artists who love creating content for the theater of the mind. Create content in all shapes and sizes and distribute it on the platform that fits it best. That’s a future that makes sense for radio broadcasters. To read Bill McMahon’s entire piece, please click here.
Radio to Be on Hand at Advertising Week Conference in NYC Next Week. When Advertising Week kicks off in New York City next week, radio will be a segment of the media industry presenting during the four-day conference. One of the panel highlights will be titled, “Voices of the Original Social Media,” hosted by the RAB and moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber, on Tuesday, September 30 at 11:30 am ET. This session will feature both nationally syndicated air talent and local stars relating their experiences with listeners and brand partners and how that’s being leveraged over the airwaves and on digital platforms. The panel will include: NBC Sports Radio Network’s Amani Toomer, Premiere Networks’ Bobby Bones, WQHT, New York “Hot 97” morning personality Ebro Darden, and WMIB, Miami “103.5 The Beat” midday personality Angie Martinez. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman will take part in a panel titled, “Loss of Serendipity” on Wednesday, October 1 alongside MediaLink chairman and CEO, Michael Kassan and Google SVP global marketing Lorraine Twohill during which they will “explore the flip side of data-tailored content creation and distribution by considering the importance of serendipity.” Entercom president and CEO David Field will moderate a panel titled “Evolution or Revolution Part II” on Thursday, October 2. His panelists will include: Enterprise Group president Jim Doyle, The New York Times EVP of advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, TBWA president and CEO Troy Ruhanen, Centaur Media CEO Andria Vidler, and Shelly Palmer of Shelly Palmer Digital Living. They will talk about “disruption, real-time reinvention, retaining and growing share, and balancing today with tomorrow.”
Hearst Baltimore’s Cecil to Exit. Director of sales Bob Cecil has shared his decision to leave Hearst Baltimore’s two-station combo. President and general manager Cary Pahigian comments that Cecil has “contributed immeasurably” to the Baltimore tandem “for several decades,” but “after careful consideration” he will “step away and enjoy time with his family. We thank Bob for his extraordinary efforts and wish him only the best.” In a staff memo, Cecil writes, “It has been a great privilege teaming with the Ravens, Orioles, Naval Academy, and so many other terrific business partners throughout my career. I am appreciative of the support of Cary Pahigian and look forward to his – and your – great success in the years ahead.” Hearst Baltimore consists of WIYY “98 Rock” and talker WBAL. Cecil joined the stations 14 years ago; his last day there will be one week from Friday (10/3).
Salierno Named Interim GM of Star Radio Group. Longtime radio sales executive Ralph Salierno is promoted to interim general manager of the Star Radio Group based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. For the past two years, Salierno has served as director of sales for the station group. He’s also worked in the industry in Orlando, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City and Memphis. Star Radio Group is part of The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company which was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in May of this year by Sandton Capital Partners for $30.2 million. The radio stations are: country WFLS, hip hop WVBX, classic rock WWUZ, and news/talk WNTX-AM and translator W243BS at 96.5 FM. Free Lance-Star and Star Radio Group publisher and CEO Gene Carr states, “Ralph has been a key member of the Star Radio group and has earned this internal promotion. In his new duties as interim GM, he will continue to serve as the director of sales as well. Ralph has done a great job in driving revenue growth.” At the same time, the station announces Jeff Beck is promoted to program director for WFLS and WWUZ. He’ll also have a supervisory role over WVBX and WNTX. Carr adds, “Jeff brings years of service and industry knowledge to the team. This new management team will help to position the company for further growth.”
WCKX, Columbus ‘Power 105.7’ Adds ‘Clairissa Jenkins’ Phone Checks.’ The Radio One-owned hip hop outlet is the newest affiliate for Envision Networks-distributed Clairissa Jenkins’ Phone Checks, the daily prank phone call for radio stations’ use on-air, online and on demand. WCKX program director Big Bink comments, “These Phone Checks will definitely keep my audience engaged and laughing on the way to work! We are excited to be the only station in Columbus with Clairissa!” Envision says the morning show bit produced by Clairissa Jenkins takes phone scams to the next level with her loud, politically incorrect, in-your-face style. “No one is safe from Clairissa’s wrath and some of her recent targets have experienced unexpected telephonic calamity including rabid dog attacks, fireplace cremations, and giving birth over the phone.” Envision also says listeners can set up their friends, family, and co-workers to be phone checked by Clairissa via the web, cultivating listener engagement and driving web traffic to affiliated station websites.
Diana Krall Postpones Tour, Album Release Due to Illness. Jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall is suffering from a severe case of pneumonia and the affliction is keeping her off the road this fall and postponing the release of her new record Wallflower (Verve Records). Wallflower was due for North American release on October 21 and the U.S. leg of her “Wallflower World Tour” was to kick off in Phoenix on November 7. Her condition has worsened after first being diagnosed and she’s under orders not to travel or undertake promotional activities for at least two months. She says in a statement, “I’m deeply saddened that I will have to postpone the release of my new album. Performing is both a privilege and joy for me. When I go out on stage I want to be able to give it everything. Taking this time to rest and recuperate will allow me to do that.”
Duane Doobie’s Picks of the Week. RadioInfo’s hard-working music editor/director, Duane Doobie, backed by a growing team of information-contributing researchers and golden-eared trench broadcasters, provides programmers with musical suggestions worthy of the attention of pro-active radio formats. You’ll be turned on to some of the exciting artists and music buzzing out there just over the horizon from the worlds of pop, rock, country and EDM. This week’s selection posted today (9/24) includes such names as: You + Me, Pink, Dallas Green, City and Colour, Nick Celino, John Legend, Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus, Sterling Fox, Cydel Gabutero, Lil Dicky, Lack of Afro, Herbal T, Wax, Jack Tyson-Charles, Annie Lennox, Live, Chad Taylor, Jenny Lewis, Beck, Johnny Winter, Ben Harper, Billy Idol, Steve Stevens, Jamestown Revival, Alt-J, Pat Green, Lyle Lovett, Ben Rush, Railers, Young Rising Sons, Bleachers, Whilk & Misky, Anastacia, Tove Lo,and Alesso among others. To check out this valuable information, please click here.
SCBA White Paper Contrasts AM/FM Radio Satisfaction with That of Pandora. In an effort to combat the perception that pureplays like Pandora are running away with consumer satisfaction – and more important, being an effective advertising medium – the Southern California Broadcasters Association is issuing its latest white paper titled, “Consumer Response and Listening Satisfaction of Broadcast Radio vs. Pandora Internet Music Service.” Using data from Bridge Ratings LLC and Scarborough, the study included a survey of 4,339 Pandora Prime users and 4,400 heavy users of broadcast radio. The SCBA states while marketers are always looking for something new and different, “questions of how the audience is measured and/or its effectiveness over time may not have been looked at in the rush of the ‘new media blitz’ on advertisers. Moreover, how is the consumer using broadcast radio vs. the Pandora internet music service over time and what are the trend lines advertisers should concern themselves with to protect their media investment and ensure the media plans are performing as they should?” Some of the conclusions reached by the SCBA include: customer dissatisfaction with Pandora over time as evidenced by a 40% drop in reported satisfaction over the course of three years; the collapse of session use on Pandora; and diminished awareness – or recall – of ads heard on Pandora versus broadcast radio. See the white paper here.
JVC Closes on West Palm Beach Signals; Flips WBGF and WSWN to Rock as ‘The Bar.’ As had been rumored in Florida media circles, the closing by JVC Media on a trio of signals in the West Palm Beach region brings about changes as the company drops the regional Mexican format and goes rock on WBGF-FM and WSWN-AM in Belle Glade, Florida (about 30 miles due west of West Palm Beach) as ’93.5 The Bar.’ The stations flipped at 12:00 noon on Tuesday (9/23) and began a 24-hour marathon of the Bubba the Love Sponge show before beginning a 10,000 song, commercial-free period. Bubba will hold down mornings on the simulcast. JVC market manager Shane Reeve comments, “This is the only place on the dial to hang out where there’s great music, good conversation, and tons of fun. We’re doing radio the old-fashioned way: personality driven. And the happy hours are going to be unbelievable!” The station says it will play “the best shots of 90s, 2K and current rock.”
Red Rock Radio Makes WWWI, Brainerd Part of KQ Network. The classic rock format based at Red Rock Radio-owned KQDS, Duluth expands to Red Rock’s WWWI, Brainerd, Minnesota. The company calls it the KQ Network and with the change the station will become “KQ96” as of October 6. The KQ Morning Show (pictured here) hosted by Jason Manning, Scott Savage and sportscaster Bruce Ciskie will air on the station from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. Red Rock Radio president Shawn Skramstad comments, “We are very much looking forward to providing listeners in the Brainerd/Baxter Lakes area with our newest KQ station. The KQ brand is well known throughout Minnesota, and ‘KQ96’ will nicely complement our other stations in the area.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. At Kemp Broadcasting-owned rhythmic CHR KVEG, Las Vegas “Hot 97.5,” Natalia Hernandez joins the morning show alongside host Miggy Santos. She most recently served with Beasley Broadcasting’s WPOW, Miami “Power 96.”
California Judge Grants Flo & Eddie Summary Judgment in SiriusXM Pre-1972 Music Case. Legal experts and music industry watchers are busy speculating about the potentially far-reaching effects of U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez’s Monday ruling that grants summary judgment to Howard Kalyan and Mark Volman’s Flo & Eddie Inc. in its case charging SiriusXM with violating the public performance rules regarding their copyrighted music. Judge Gutierrez did not grant summary judgment on the matter of whether SiriusXM violated the reproduction rights of the copyright holders. Not only does the decision have potential dramatic financial implications for digital pure plays like Pandora, it shines a light on the complex and fragmented financial structure of the music industry, especially as it relates to broadcasting, in a time when the music industry is seeing dramatic dips in recording sales and broadcasters are complaining about already-too-high royalty rates. The case, in summary, goes like this: Flo & Eddie Inc, owner of the electronic performance copyright to music recorded by The Turtles in the late 1960s, argue that the pre-1972 exemption to U.S. copyright law for music recordings does not override state laws on such matters and therefore, in California, SiriusXM is in violation of public performance laws that govern copyrighted material. That Judge Gutierrez granted summary judgment is a shocker to the industry because, if the matter clears the appeal hurdle (we’re expecting SiriusXM to appeal the decision), this ruling will affect other non-AM/FM broadcasters – like the aforementioned digital pure plays – who do not have permission from copyright holders of pre-1972 recordings. And California is just one state. Cases are pending against SiriusXM in other states and Pandora is being challenged in New York by several record labels. Read the ruling here.
Twin Cities Combo Appoints MacLeash Operations Manager. Moving from iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis classic hits-oldies KQQL “Kool 108″ to cross-town CBS RADIO-owned KMNB “New Buz’n Country” and adult hits KZJK “Jack-FM” is program director Lauren MacLeash who becomes OM for the stations effective Friday (9/26). According to CBS RADIO Minneapolis senior vice president and market manager Mick Anselmo, “Lauren comes with a highly regarded industry reputation as a team leader, brand builder, and community advocate all threaded with a fierce competitive spirit. I am excited for her to assume the role of operations manager for these two stations. Her many years as on-air personality and program director sets the stage well for her new role on ‘Jack-FM’ and ‘Buz’n.’ KZJK will be ‘Jacked’ and Nashville will be buzzin’ with her addition to our talented staff.” MacLeash comments that CBS RADIO’s “Twin Cities team is amazing. I look forward to helping them build a legacy on this rock-solid foundation.” In addition to “Kool 108,” MacLeash previously programmed iHeartMedia Minneapolis’ KTCZ “Cities 97.”
Fish Lures Slot as Emmis’ Director of National Sales. At Emmis Los Angeles rhythmic CHR KPWR “Power 106,” national sales manager Alan Fish is elevated to director of national sales for the company’s New York City and Los Angeles properties. KPWR vice president and director of sales Janet Brainin notes, “Alan joined our staff two years ago and he has done an amazing job. Alan is the very best at exceeding expectations and delivering results for our clients. He is the perfect candidate for this position.” Emmis New York director of sales Doug James declares, “We look forward to having Alan take over national sales for Emmis New York. He knows the New York market, the strength of our brands, our amazing experiential branded events and he has a great working relationship with our clients.” Fish – who will officially start his new dual role in four weeks (10/20) – adds that he is “honored” that Emmis “has entrusted me with the responsibility of delivering for these massive bi-coastal brands. I look forward to taking on my new elevated role.” In addition to Los Angeles’ “Power 106,” Fish’s director of national sales duties will encompass Emmis New York rhythmic CHR WQHT “Hot 97″; gospel WLIB “Your Praise & Inspiration Station”; and urban AC WBLS.
Fitz Renews with ‘100.7 The Wolf’ in Seattle. Nine-year KKWF, Seattle morning show personality Fitz extends his contract with the Entercom country station. Entercom Seattle VP of programming Dave Richards says, “We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with Fitz on ‘100.7 The Wolf.’ Each day the ‘Fitz in the Morning’ team creates one of the most entertaining and engaging shows in American country radio and it’s a pleasure to go forward into the future.” Fitz comments, “I can’t believe I have been with the Seattle Wolf for nine years. I’m excited to do it for another 30. I’m so proud of what we have built in Seattle and am thankful that Entercom is giving me the business opportunity to introduce our unique show to the marketplace. I want to thank Jack Hutchison, Mike Preston, and especially Dave Richards, who have put in many hours coaching us and have taken us to the next level of executing a morning show in this PPM world.”
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Back with iHeartMedia is Mike Conway who is named digital program director for the company’s CHR KDWB, Minneapolis. Conway previously worked for the company in Madison where he was also director of digital programming and afternoon personality on country WMAD-FM. In Madison, his positions were eliminated.
iHeartMedia Takes on More Debt. The company formerly known as Clear Channel Communications – iHeartCommunications (and its radio-centric subsidiary iHeartMedia) – announces it is selling $250 million of 9.0% Priority Guarantee Notes (PGNs) that will come due in 2022. Rating agency Fitch Ratings reports that the “notes are being issued as part of the same series as the $750 million of PGNs due 2022 that were issued on September 10, 2014, and rated ‘CCC/RR4′. Proceeds from the offering are expected to be used to prepay $245.9 million in Term Loan B due 2016 and $4.1 million in Term Loan C due 2016 and to pay fees and expenses related to the offering.” The iHeartCommunications debt stands at approximately $21.1 billion according to Fitch but the rating company reports it believes that the company has “adequate liquidity (including cash on hand, monetization of repurchased and outstanding notes, and asset sales) to meet its debt service obligations,” although it does foresee free cash flow to be negative over the next few years.
CRS 2015 Reveals Wagner as Keynote Speaker. Widely known for his business interests with Mark Cuban, and for helping to launch Broadcast.com, Todd Wagner will keynote Country Radio Seminar 2015. CRS executive director Bill Mayne comments, “We are thrilled that Todd has agreed to join us for a unique discussion. We have been looking for the right person to speak on ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in the marketplace for several years. When you consider his body of work with success in innovation, entrepreneurship and philanthropy, Todd Wagner is the perfect person to share his perspective with our industry.” Gary, Indiana native/Indiana University alum Wagner states that, “Country music has grown to become the dominant genre in American radio due, in large part, to the passion and innovation of CRS and its attendees. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing a few of the lessons I have learned as a successful entrepreneur.” In 1995, Wagner and Mark Cuban launched Broadcast.com and as its chief executive officer, Wagner helped take the company public three years later. Thereafter, he helped build the Wagner/Cuban Companies,which includes 2929 Entertainment, 2929 Productions, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres, and AXS TV. Wagner – who has a law degree from the University of Virginia -serves on the boards of directors for The American Film Institute, and The Tribeca Film Institute. His CRS keynote will take place (Wednesday) February 25 at the Nashville Convention Center.