If commercial radio is the major leagues, non-commercial high school stations represent the youngest of our farm teams.
Each year the John Drury Awards recognize the best of these. WLTL(FM) in Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Ill., was recently chosen as best high school station in the nation.
Additional awards during the December ceremony went to other high school broadcasters for best news feature story, best specialty music program and best website, among other honors.Zach DeWitz
Zach DeWitz, general manager of WONC(FM) at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., is in charge of the awards.
“When I was a junior attending this school and working here at WONC John Madormo, our then-GM started these awards, and he named them after John Drury, a famed broadcaster who was on the air for decades in Chicagoland,” said DeWitz.
“My wife teaches high school and tells me that so many radio courses have been cut in these hard times, but it’s great to still see so many students dedicated to learning this craft, learning how to be good broadcasters.”“Doing every job”
The Drury competition receives 200 to 300 entries across its various categories each year, mostly from high schools in the Midwest, though some come from as far away as California. DeWitz wants to reach more schools across the country in the future.
Awards are given in wide-ranging categories like talk programs, sports play-by-play, documentaries and social media. Thanks to the work of Nathan Ronchetti, awards coordinator and assistant to DeWitz, who designed its website, entries are now submitted each fall via www.johndruryawards.com, where airchecks and other content can be uploaded.
“In the pre-COVID days we would invite entrants to visit us here at the college for the ceremony, to tour our station and receive their trophies in person, and we hope to get back to that after the current health crisis,” said DeWitz. “For now it’s done virtually and we mail the awards out.”
DeWitz believes that young people are still very much interested in radio, if perhaps not in the same way as in years past.
“There are more media for them to investigate,” he said. “Students want to learn podcasting, making videos and everything else, and many are interested in radio as a hobby rather than a career. I definitely see that as a trend.
“Some of the students have what it takes to make it in professional radio, but for now they just want to experience a little of everything. Doing every job, as I did when I worked on the air at WONC, is the best way to prepare yourself and provide what employers want. They want one person who can do the job of more than one person.”Interest in news
Chris Thomas is general manager and faculty advisor at the latest recipient of the top prize, WLTL. Like DeWitz, Thomas worked for his station on the air before reaching his current position.
“High school stations are not that common, especially FCC-licensed stations,” he said. “More and more schools are adding streaming operations, which is great, and some were even able to grab an LPFM license, but overall it’s a small percentage of stations out there. I don’t have a precise number, but we were able to find about 180 high school stations including FM, AM, LPFM and online, that are student-run.”
How does one go about funding this type of station? Thomas gets some money from his administration but also holds an annual on-air pledge drive.Production work at WLTL(FM) in La Grange, Ill.
“The school is generous enough to ensure we have what we need in personnel, studio space and basic equipment,” he said. “But our fundraiser allows us to give the students what they will see elsewhere when they leave WLTL. For example, we purchased Axia iQ control boards, Comrex Access units and other equipment such as laptops, Electro-Voice RE20 microphones, Zoom H4n handheld recorders and Shure SM57 microphones. On average we’ll pull in about $25,000 from community members and businesses.”
Thomas, like DeWitz, sees radio interests shifting in young people.
“Podcasting and creating online content are huge areas right now,” said Thomas. “The students are also interested in audio production and we’re happy to help them.
“The other thing I see is more interest in news, especially in light of what has been happening over the last few years. I see more students interested in how news works, which is encouraging.”
Thomas does not agree with the oft-expressed opinion that radio is dying.
“Anyone who feels that way is invited to tune in to not only WLTL, but any high school or college station and hear what today’s students are doing with the medium. It may not be the radio we grew up on, because how we create content will continue to evolve and adapt. It’s a blessing to be part of it and watch the next generation of broadcasters.”A little of this, a little of that
Dave Juday is a radio/audio production instructor at East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, Ariz. The student station at this Career and Technical Education high school is KPNG(FM), “The Pulse.”
“Our students are juniors and seniors who spend half their day with us and the other half tackling regular high school core classes,” he said.
“Our station is 15,000 watts and covers most of the Phoenix metro area, and we have a state-of-the-art digital recording studio here. While the students are with us, they are trained in commercial, promo, PSA and show production as well as music creation. The course also covers broadcast journalism, sports play-by-play and even engineering for live events.”Evan Dean, Josh Simon, Spencer Cihak and Zach Larson of KPNG(FM) at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Juday said that many of his students are not necessarily interested in being on the air.
“Because our program covers so many aspects of radio and broadcast production the students have a lot of opportunities within ‘The Pulse.’ We have had several students go on to work in promotions, production and on-air positions in the Phoenix market, and we had one student who is the broadcasting and media content coordinator for the Oakland Athletics baseball team,” he said.
“The more versatile our students are, the more employable they are when they leave us. It’s possible that their first job in radio won’t be exactly what they were looking for, but chances are it could eventually lead to a position they are passionate about.”
A longtime RW contributor, author Ken Deutsch says he was a college radio disc jockey in the late 1960s when words like “far out” and “groovy” were uttered in earnest.
Nominations for the 2021 John Drury Awards are open until May 31. Each radio station must be affiliated with an academic high school and be licensed as an AM or FM facility, registered as a carrier current station by the FCC or be heard online. Visit johndruryawards.com.
The complicated process of repacking C-band earth stations is underway in the United States, and radio broadcasters with receive dishes are managing the logistics and timing of their moves to mitigate possible interference.
As the country shifts C-band spectrum as part of a move toward national expansion of 5G, some satellite industry experts said a sense of urgency is developing and they urged broadcasters to order bandpass filters quickly to minimize disruptions.
C-band refers to frequencies in the 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz range. The spectrum has been used extensively for satellite downlinks, but those services are being repacked to the upper portion (4.0–4.2 GHz) of the band.
Observers say that if earth station licensees do not add the necessary filters — and replace small dishes where necessary — by the end of this year, 5G interference to satellite reception could start to be an issue in larger cities
That’s because Phase 1 of the satellite repack involves clearing satellite programming out of the lower 100 MHz of the band, 3.7–3.8 GHz, throughout 2021. After Dec. 5 of this year, 5G cellular transmitters will start to come online in that slice of spectrum in the most populous parts of the country. Satellite downlinks that aren’t equipped with appropriate filters could see their reception wiped out.
Phase 2 involves clearing satellite programming out of the lower 300 MHz of the band (3.7–4.0 GHz) throughout 2022 and 2023; and again 5G cellular transmitters will then turn on in that spectrum.Planned structure of the band after the migration, from the website of the Relocation Payment Clearinghouse at https://cbandrpc.com/.
“Most radio stations can go straight to installing Phase 2 filters now, and at that point they will be done with the repack,” said John Joslin, director of sales and marketing at satellite hardware supplier Dawnco.
“The reason they can act now is that popular programs from Westwood One, Premiere, Learfield, NPR and Skyview are already above 4000 MHz and are within the bandpass of the Phase 2 filters. Stations should install the Phase 2 filter after the repack moves their programing above 4000 MHz, and thereby protect their downlinks from the coming 5G cellular interference.”
He said stations must also replace any mesh dishes as well as dishes with a diameter of less than 3.7 meters.
“The new Phase2 filters have significant attenuation, which will reduce EbNo numbers on satellite receivers,” he said. “Make an assessment to see if all of your sat antennas have 2 to 3 dB of signal quality margin, and replace those that do not with a larger dish.”Taking their lumps
The FCC proceeding for C-band reallocation includes monies to reimburse earth station licensees for expenses to reconfigure earth stations to receive programming from the upper portion of the band. That could include modification and reconfiguration of dishes or possible relocation to prevent interference from new 5G cellular operating below 3980 MHz after December 2021 and below 4000 MHz after December 2023.
Approximately 1,500 earth station operators, some with multiple licenses, took the “lump sum” election, according the latest data from the FCC. Those licensees that did not accept that option can work with their satellite provider or recoup justifiable filter, dish and labor expenses direct from the Relocation Payment Clearinghouse, for expenses associated with the transition or relocation.
As of the end of April, the clearinghouse was expected soon to begin accepting applications for reimbursement on its website for registered downlink sites that did not file for the lump sum payment. One source indicated that would happen in mid-May, but FCC officials declined to comment on that.
The commission spokesperson said the clearinghouse has been working to set the procedures for processing reimbursement claims and for sending payments to entities that made lump sum elections.
“More details on this front will be announced as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said in April.
The clearinghouse is administered by accounting firm CohnReznick and law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP. The FCC worked with RKF Engineering Solutions to develop its spectrum transition cost catalog, which sets reimbursement values for the work and hardware involved.
Across all users, including the radio industry, there are approximately 20,000 registered earth stations in the contiguous U.S. that are classified as incumbents for purposes of the C-band transition, according to the commission.
Satellite operators including SES and Intelsat have separate transition plans for their earth station customers. Those operators and others are eligible for billions of dollars in accelerated relocation incentive payments from the FCC to quickly move services to different frequencies.
An SES spokesperson said about 40% of all of its earth station customers will be affected by the Phase 1 deadline in December.Hardware concerns
One infrastructure insider told Radio World he anticipates there will be a bandpass filter shortage for earth station operators this year as the lump sum payments begin to arrive and orders for filters begin to flow.
“The two filter factories in the United States combined produce only 200 to 300 filters per week, and a last-minute burst of demand from hundreds of stations will cause high prices and long lead times,” the observer said.
“Large-market sites will stress when they are stuck in line waiting for their filter to arrive knowing that the interference begins in December. These new 5G services will cause interference for earth station operators who are not prepared.”
Radio broadcasters with downlink sites in major markets should begin planning for the transition if they haven’t already started, several experts said.
Public radio leases one C-band transponder on Intelsat’s Galaxy 16 satellite. National Public Radio was already working with satellite bandwidth provider Intelsat to designate a new transponder above 4 GHz for downlinks even before the repack process began, according to Michael Beach, vice president of distribution for NPR.
“Most of that work has been completed, which means some network infrastructure has already been updated in the past two years,” he said. “All the new PRSS receivers are now in place at every interconnected public radio station and the PRSS migration to new C-band frequencies is complete.”
Meanwhile, earth station filter installation is underway at many public radio stations across the country, Beach said. Each public station within the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) owns its own downlink equipment, according to NPR.
“This means that if they had a registered antenna on the FCC approved list, they were eligible to have Intelsat complete their filter installation, or opt out and receive the onetime payment from the FCC. Many of these stations told us that they have purchased a filter and installed it, had Intelsat install it for them, or have set up an appointment to have the work done,” Beach said.
Based on information from Intelsat, roughly 55% of eligible PRSS earth stations opted for Intelsat to install filters for them, and 45% selected the one-time lump sum payment option and will install the filters themselves, Beach said.
So far no repointing of antennas has been required of any public radio station since the PRSS remains on the same satellite using a transponder on the same polarity as its old signal, he said.Networks prepare
Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of iHeartMedia, does not expect to have its operations disrupted by the C-band repack, according to Jeff Littlejohn, EVP of engineering for iHeartMedia. Premiere Networks operates in the portion of C-band spectrum that is not affected.
iHeartMedia radio stations, Littlejohn said, have a project underway to install filtering on all C-band dishes used by the broadcaster. “We expect the project to be completed in Q3 of this year,” he said.
iHeartMedia, the largest radio group in the United States, accepted the FCC’s lump sum option as reimbursement for expenses connected to reconfiguring its network of receive earth stations. It holds approximately 175 such licenses, according to the company.
Westwood One, which is owned by Cumulus Media, has worked for two years with the satellite providers to ensure a seamless change, according to Eric Wiler, senior VP of network technology and operations.
“Westwood One was already located above the 4000 MHz cutoff, so our transponders were always compatible with the new frequency allocation for satellite,” Wiler said.
“Overall, if an earth station is using a 3.8 meter (2 degree compliant) dish, with a current LNB, the Phase 2 (Blue) filters should mitigate the impact of 5G in most situations.”
Wiler said his biggest concern is with downlinks in the top 46 Partial Economic Areas that do not install new filters to shield from 5G interference by this December.
“While not every area will be saturated with 5G immediately in the first few days, ensuring filters are in place is the best proactive response stations may take,” he said.
“The C-Band Alliance did a lot of testing, including live-range testing, of these filer designs, demonstrating the effectiveness and preventing 5G signals from saturating the LNBs on earth stations.
“Westwood One is working with our Cumulus radio stations to install filters in advance of the December deadlines. Rather than focusing on only the top 46 PEAs, we’re filtering all our downlinks with the Phase 2 (blue) filters, as the major networks on SES-11 have already transitioned to our permanent frequencies.”Unregistered users
There is still concern among some observers that a substantial number of small rural radio and television stations and private networks that rely on C-band programming may not have submitted registration filings for their downlink sites with the FCC and therefore are ineligible for compensation.
“We estimate that 20% of our broadcast and cable downlink customers did not register their dishes back in 2017 and 2018,” said Joslin of Dawnco.
“They didn’t hear about the registration drive, or they didn’t think it was important enough to pay the filing fee. Some stations may have to spend $5,000 to $15,000 to replace their dish if their old dish is susceptible to interference after the repack.”
The FCC has said there will not be another opportunity for earth station registration.
“As detailed in the C-band Report and Order, to qualify for cost reimbursement, an earth station must have met all relevant criteria to be considered incumbent for purposes of the C-band transition, including registration,” according to a commission spokesperson.
The redistribution of coveted C-band spectrum for next-gen 5G services has proven valuable for the United States. The FCC earlier this year announced final bid totals in Auction 107 of the C-band yielding nearly $81 billion. Cellco Partnership (Verizon) alone bid over $45 billion for approximately 3,500 licenses, according to FCC data. An AT&T led consortium paid over $23 billion for around 1,600 spectrum licenses.
It was the FCC’s most lucrative spectrum auction ever.
A missed deadline led the Federal Communications Commission to issue a monetary forfeiture for $1,500 to the licensee of an FM translator station — despite the licensee’s protestations that the Media Bureau had overstepped its bounds.
The FCC rules require that station license renewal applications be filed no later than the first day of the fourth month prior to the expiration of the license. For FM translator W275CC in Macon, Ga., the application for renewal should have been filed by Dec. 2, 2019, prior to the expiration date of April 1, 2020. The licensee, LLF Holdings, filed the application on March 17 and provided no explanation for its untimely filing, the Media Bureau said in its forfeiture order.
Violations like these have a base forfeiture of $3,000. But the Media Bureau reduced the proposed forfeiture in this case to $1,500 because the station is one that provides a secondary service. The bureau gave the licensee 30 days to either pay the full amount of the forfeiture or submit a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation.
Soon after, LLF Holdings responded to the bureau to admit that while it did not file its renewal application on time, it had had several points of contention with the Media Bureau’s decision. The first, LLF said, was that the bureau erred in not granting its renewal application at the same time it issued the Notice of Apparent Liability.
Secondly, LLF said that the proposed forfeiture should simply be cancelled outright. Specifically, the licensee argued that section 504(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 actually bars the commission from “making the payment of a civil forfeiture a condition precedent to the grant of an application.” LLF went on to say that civil forfeitures are only recoverable in new proceedings brought in federal district court.
LLF had a few other concerns: one, that FCC rules and its forfeiture policy statement do not include a forfeiture provision for late-filed renewal applications. Secondly, LLF said the bureau did not put it on notice about the potential forfeiture, which the licensee claims is in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. And finally, LLF argued that the commission has treated other licensees differently, like when it granted late-filed renewal applications for translator stations in Georgia and Alabama without imposing a fine.
But the Media Bureau rejected all of LLF’s arguments. It said that sending out the Notice of Apparently Liability was part of the renewal process and that withholding the grant of the renewal until a forfeiture is paid is consistent with statute and case law. The Communications Act gives the commission the authority to impose a forfeiture against any licensee that fails to comply with its rules, the bureau said. “The commission expects, and it is each licensee’s obligation, to know and comply with all of the commission’s rules.” Moreover, the bureau said it has a long made it clear that failure to file a timely renewal application is grounds for the issuance for a monetary forfeiture.
As to LLF’s other arguments, the bureau said no case law was provided to show that the bureau is precluded from withholding a renewal application pending payment of a forfeiture issued in the same proceeding involving that application.
When it comes to the FCC not imposing a fee on other late filed application, the bureau reminded LLF that the bureau gives licensees a 30-day grace period in which to file renewal applications following the filing deadline without imposing a monetary forfeiture. The Georgia and Alabama stations cited by LLF filed their applications within 30 days of the filing deadline. LLF did not file its renewal application until March 17, 2020, the bureau said, well over three months past the filing deadline and outside the 30-day grace period.
As a result the Media Bureau found that LLF is still liable for a monetary forfeiture of $1,500.
The post Licensee Claims FCC Overstepped Its Bounds By Issuing $1,500 Forfeiture appeared first on Radio World.
The value of iHeartMedia shares continues to reach new heights. On Friday, IHRT gained another 3% to finish at a fresh post-bankruptcy high.
The bigger news: IHRT is up 236% from exactly one year ago.
A review of the last 12 months for iHeartMedia shares shows that, aside from a momentary blip in June, the value of IHRT has steady grown since the Independence Day holiday of 2020, when a $6.65 closing price was seen.
Come Election Day 2020, a $10 closing price was seen by iHeart.
Then, the engines went into overdrive, with March 1 seeing IHRT’s first $15-level finish. By March 15, a $16.87 closing price came.
The following two months have been nothing short of exceptional for the nation’s largest audio media company on Wall Street. On Monday, intrasession trading pushed IHRT as high as $23.49, before settling at $22.90.
With a $22.64 opening price set to start next week as Upfront presentations begin for the television industry, iHeart’s spot at the marketer’s planning table is perhaps more of a possibility than ever.
It’s Friday night, and the De’Lacy track “Hideaway” is booming out of the speakers. It’s a song featured as part of the Club Classics show heard on national Hot Adult Contemporary network Heart, found at 106.2 MHz across London.
If the mid-1990s “banger” isn’t your style, there’s always contemporary dance tracks over on CHR network Capital FM; love songs on Smooth Radio; Friday Night ’50s on Gold; or L’Heure Exquise with Emma Johnson & John Lenehan on commercial Classical network Classic FM.
Still not satisfied? How about a little Elastica, Doves and classic David Bowie over on Radio X? What about Krept & Konan & WizKid offering up some U.K.-flavored hip-hop on Capital Xtra?
Music not your thing? “Leading Britain’s Conversation” is popular Talk network LBC discussing holidays to Portugal, now open from a COVID-19 travel ban.
No matter your choice, consumption to each of these eight radio brands means you’re supporting a British audio media giant that wants a greater stake in iHeartMedia.
Michelle Bradley is the founder of REC Networks and a regulatory advocate representing LPFM and other citizen’s access to spectrum initiatives.
Those who know me know that I am a supporter of the new MA3 all-digital AM service and like Larry Langford, I am very much opposed to the MA1 hybrid system. Unfortunately, the bad experiences from MA1 has left a bad taste in people’s mouths regarding IBOC digital radio in the AM broadcast spectrum. The main dilemma with MA3 of course, is the flash cut. If you flash cut to digital, you completely cut off analog listeners. This is why some of us worked on assuring that there were protections to consumers as well as protections to other impacted broadcasters by calling for a 30-day notification period before a AM station can flash cut to digital.
Right now, there are many smaller AM stations in rural and suburban areas that have been successful at getting FM translators with fairly decent coverage within their service areas. At the same time, there are many community groups in suburban, urban and deep urban areas who desire to have a nonprofit independent voice; a voice that does not compete with, but instead complements the selection of other stations on the local dial. With more listeners abandoning radio for streaming services, we shouldn’t be focusing on having the same voice in more than one place, but instead, more choices and more voices.
The idea of allowing another 250-mile move opportunity for AM stations that flash cut will do absolutely nothing to help improve LPFM. If anything, it will further foreclose on opportunities for new community voices, in favor of a duplicate version of an existing voice available elsewhere. Many of these “satellators,” which Larry speaks of are in more rural areas, areas that still have some LPFM availability. Therefore, moving these translators out of those areas and towards more urban and suburban areas will not do anything for LPFM growth, but will create increased interference to existing LPFM stations, especially considering that there is no proof of performance enforcement on FM translators with directional antennas and there have been many cases where the translator was built with a nondirectional or other noncompliant antenna, despite the construction permit calling for a specific directional pattern. Because of how valuable urban translators are (because of the toxic HD over analog culture that has been established), a small AM broadcaster would never be able to afford to move a translator out of an urban area, up to 250 miles for use as an AM HD crutch. Again, this does nothing to help increase opportunities for LPFM broadcasters.
If we are getting to this point of where HD receiver penetration is starting to increase, then we need to address the other major waste of duplicating spectrum that could be better used for local voices, and that is the use of an FM translator to provide “fill-in” service for a primary FM station’s HD multicast stream. If the commission, the National Association of Broadcasters and the rest of the industry is really serious about diversity and more efficient spectrum use, then we need to remove the incentive for FM stations to use their HD capacity as nothing more than an overglorified STL for translators. If we are increasing the HD receiver penetration, not only will it increase for AM, as Larry would like to see, but it will also increase for FM. And, if that is the case, then there would be no need for more or moved translators. Instead, listeners looking for other services (including co-owned AM station streams) could simply tune to the HD2/3/4 of a full-service FM station, which can provide a better digital coverage than a 250 watt translator in most cases.
We, as an industry, both radio and television, need to better look at how the spectrum is used and make appropriate changes. We have been seeing a lot of rulemaking activity where existing VHF television stations are asking to move to UHF. Currently, TV Channel 6 has only 10 full-service stations. Of those 10, two have already asked the FCC to move to UHF due to reception issues and receiver antenna compatibility with other stations in their market. With the opportunities that ATSC3 can provide, including mobile and portable viewing, there is no room for a service that requires a larger antenna to receive (also thinking of the whole cellphone FM receiver debacle with the headphone as the antenna). The industry needs a long term plan to revitalize AM and that plan should be is to migrate stations to FM spectrum. While other countries, like Mexico have been very successful in migrating AM stations to FM, there is simply not enough room at the inn to migrate even the Class C and D AM stations into the existing 100 channels. We need to follow the lead of Japan and Brazil and start phasing in facilities on spectrum outside of the existing FM band. This would mean at the minimum, reallocating the Channel 6 spectrum to provide 30 new FM channels or better yet, Channels 5 and 6 for 60 channels. The radios are readily available as they are marketed in Brazil and Japan. Some existing receivers could be modified with a firmware change. A lot of low-band spectrum is going to waste and could be better used for other purposes. I am pretty sure some hams out there would be very appreciative to have access to Channel 2 (54–60 MHz), especially for amateur television use during sunspot cycle peaks. I know I am one of them.
The automotive and radio receiver industry needs to make HD Radio, standard equipment, not a “luxury option” like with some manufacturers. Our culture needs to embrace the HD subchannels and not use them like a crutch for analog translators, but instead, use them the best we can to provide the most choices and the most voices on the original app made for listening to audio.. radio. This way, everyone has a place on the dial, one place on the dial.
Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), BMI and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group will stage the 13th annual “Rising Through the Ranks” program virtually for 2021.
The program will be split into five days and will be held each Tuesday of the month of August, from Noon-3pm Eastern starting August 3.
BMI will offer 20 scholarships for this year’s program, which will cover the cost of the professional development course designed to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers within broadcast radio.
“Rising Through the Ranks is a priceless opportunity for our scholarship recipients and we are excited to be bringing the event back this year,” said RAB President/CEO Erica Farber. “With the tools and experience we’ve all had with virtual events, we know that this year’s program will be as engaging and inspiring as our in-person event.”
This year’s agenda and speaker lineup will be announced at a later date.
Scholarship applications and registration are available on www.rab.com and will be accepted April 26, through 6:00 p.m. CT on May 28, 2021. Scholarship recipients will be notified of their selection by the week of July 1, 2021.
Some 60 miles from Omaha is the town of Firth, Neb.
Here, a Class A Sports Talker is trading hands, with paperwork filed following the May 11 signing of an asset sale agreement.
MIAMI — “Our quarterly results demonstrate that Univision’s transformation is continuing to gain momentum.”
That’s a statement made Friday by Univision Communications CEO Wade Davis, as the privately held company focused on superserving Spanish-speaking Hispanic consumers released its first quarter results.
How did the company do in Q1? Adjusted EBITDA was up slightly, while its recently launched PrendeTV over-the-top offering is off to a roaring start.
No, Tony Stark has nothing to do with it.
But, it could prevent a super new way for audio media purveyors to profit from what AI experts at Veritone are calling “hyper-realistic synthetic voices.”
With pre-market trading not as brutal as after-hours action had been for The Walt Disney Co.‘s stock, investors are now perhaps looking beyond shaky Disney+ OTT subscriber rolls and less-than-hoped for theme park attendance and revenue by looking at other segments of the company.
Among them, of course, is Broadcast. And, the fiscal Q2 tale shows network growth on a balance beam with owned-station revenue slowdowns.
By Jeffrey Hedquist
Every day you can see and hear commercials that were created by committee: politically correct, watered-down, automatically written ads that offend no one…and motivate no one. Commercials that sound like…well, like commercials. They make you want to change the station, or at best, ignore the message.
As anticipated, the radio industry took “a very big hit “in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity.
Over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a 23.6 percent decline from $12.8 billion in 2019.
That’s according to the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio Market Report.
To little surprise, BIA also determined that Digital ad revenues at stations demonstrated their continued strength, posting only a slight decline to $939 million in revenue in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.
“Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover,” said Dr. Mark Fratrik, BIA Advisory Services’ SVP and Chief Economist. “The shining star continues to be radio’s online digital advertising revenues, which will outpace over-the-air growth this year and moving forward. Those broadcasting groups that have invested-in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.”
Fratrik forecasts 2021 total local radio revenues to reach $11.7 billion, with $1 billion coming directly from online revenues; a 9.7% increase over 2020.
“Mirroring the economic climate in 2020, radio station sales fell to levels that hadn’t
been seen in years,” BIA notes.
Only 534 stations were sold in 2020 for an estimated value of $139 million — a
stark contrast from the 1,080 sold in 2011 for $1.1 billion.
You can’t put lipstick on a pig. And you can’t make business year 2020 look any better for the commercial radio industry in the United States. It simply sucked.
And here’s a new chart that shows the big hurt that COVID-10 put on the industry.
“As anticipated, the radio industry took a very big hit in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity,” said BIA Advisory Services in its announcement.
“According to the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio Market Report, over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a 23.6% decline from $12.8 billion in 2019.”
Even hardened radio sales veterans may swallow hard when they hear that the industry’s revenue fell below the $10 billion mark.
BIA said digital ad revenues at stations “demonstrated their continued strength,” declining only slightly to $939 million in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.
Still, that’s the first time in memory when the digital portion of our radio industry’s revenue went south in a given year.
SVP and Chief Economist Mark Fratrik said in the announcement, “Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover.”
Even though those blue digital columns are still pretty small compared to the green OTA ones, he called online digital advertising radio’s “shining star.”
“Those broadcasting groups that have invested-in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.”
The green lines in that chart start to grow again because Fratrik thinks 2021 total local radio revenue will be $11.7 billion, with about $1 billion from online revenues, a 9.7% increase.
Another measure of the economic lockup: BIA said station sales transactions fell “to levels that hadn’t been seen in years.”
It counted 534 stations sold in 2020 for an estimated value of $139 million, “a stark contrast from the 1,080 sold in 2011 for $1.1 billion.”
NextGen TV provider Evoca is partnering with a skills-to-jobs marketplace to develop “a critically missing piece of national educational infrastructure for adult learners.”
It will see Evoca work with Unmudl to create “the first locally relevant television channel for adult learners seeking short-term courses and credentials to advance their job prospects and navigate the future of work.”
Unmudl and Evoca will curate and produce multi-platform programming and services to inform learners about training and job opportunities and to connect them with community and technical colleges, employers, and social supports.
This new channel, called Path, enables research and development opportunities for interactive experiences and “seamless handoffs” to educational providers and employers, extending Unmudl’s online marketplace to the new medium.
In partnership with others, the pair will design and test the effort in Phoenix and in the Idaho cities of Boise and Twin Falls.
Initial efforts as part of this collaboration include highlighting stories and voices of learners and their educational and career experiences, changing the narrative around skills and technical education based paths.
“Television has been a missing piece of the picture in reaching adult learners. We can actually do something about that with the reach, efficiency, capacity and interactivity of our platform,” said Evoca President/CEO Todd Achilles. “The current approach leaves many unaware of their options and their potential. We are excited to work with Unmudl and their collaborative network of community colleges and employers.”
In episode 437 of the show, Joe berated his hosts on-air for disrespecting him in some way and fired them.
On Twitter Joe seemed to indicate that he may be ending the show when he responded to a fan by saying, “There are millions of podcasts, ppl will survive.”
So far, the episode has only been officially released to his Patreon subscribers and the episode is titled “You Want It To Be One Way…”
— Podcast Business Journal
The last time ViacomCBS had anything to do with audio, CBS Radio was a part of CBS Corporation, and a reunification of CBS and Viacom hadn’t yet been consummated.
Guess what? ViacomCBS is talking audio. Only, the discussion is fully focused on podcasts.
And, iHeartMedia is involved.
Of all of the audio media companies to report its quarterly earnings results, one sticks out for its bold decision to dare to compare its Q1 2021 results to that of Q1 2019.
That would be Townsquare Media, where digital ad prowess is now propelling its stock in noteworthy ways.
The Walt Disney Company has ended its fiscal second quarter of 2021 with 103.6 million Disney+ subscribers.
Uh-oh. Disney+ in early March said it surpassed 100 million subscribers for the first time, and it appears the excitement over the over-the-top platform is slowing down.
Its shares now bear an aggressive 1-year target price of $4.13. Its publishing arm is performing well, and its non-secular spoken word AM Talk stations could win over listeners to the late Rush Limbaugh.
All seems great for Salem Media Group, yet its stock price is now two months into a decline that has put a firm break on a big Wall Street recovery.