One of the stations is a Class B AM with an FM translator. The other is a Class D AM, also with an FM translator. They serve an area to the west of metropolitan Cleveland, and for fifty years had been associated with the Wilber family.
That’s no longer the case.
Another round of employee cuts at iHeartMedia last last week appears to include reductions in engineering departments at its broadcast operations.
Jerry Del Colliano in the online newsletter Inside Music Media put the number of iHeartMedia broadcast engineers cut at 39 as of Friday, with some of them expected to continue as contract help at stations.
Del Colliano reports that iHeartMedia will rely on a more regional approach to engineering staffing, in line with the company’s ongoing changes to its technology infrastructure and workflows. The company also is expected to outsource more of its engineering work as it continues to seek cost-cutting measures amid a weaker economic environment caused by the pandemic.
RadioInsight also reported on engineering cuts in a story Friday.
An iHeartMedia spokesperson declined to confirm the engineering staff cuts and offered no further comment to Radio World.
As we’ve reported before, the company has been building workflows around centralized content distribution centers that it calls AI-enabled Centers of Excellence. Its modernization initiative has resulted in layoffs in programming, sales and engineering, according to those familiar with the developments.
iHeartMedia was already sharing engineers between markets in many cases, sources have told Radio World. Following cuts in early 2020, the company created emergency response teams handle major technical crisis.
The company has never described the exact role of the regional hubs, but the technical overhaul of operations includes more remote voicetracking and a move of some broadcast operations into a cloud-based platform. It is consolidating some broadcast facilities and downsizing others, according to sources familiar with its plans.
The company has been downsizing headcount. According to its most recent 10K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as of Feb. 22, it had approximately 10,200 employees. A year ago, according to investor filings, it had approximately 11,400 employees.
Here’s how iHeartMedia described its modernization efforts to the SEC in a recent filing: “In January 2020, iHeartMedia announced key modernization initiatives designed to take advantage of the significant investments that the company has made in new technologies to build an improved operating infrastructure to upgrade products and deliver incremental cost efficiencies,” it stated.
“This modernization is a multi-pronged set of strategic initiatives that we believe positions the company for sustainable long-term growth, margin expansion, and value creation for shareholders. As targeted, our investments in modernization delivered approximately $50 million of in-year savings in 2020, and we remain on track to deliver annualized run-rate cost savings of approximately $100 million by mid-year 2021.”
Del Colliano, a skeptic of iHeartMedia’s recovery plan since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2019, was again critical. “This is an attempt by iHeart, always looking to assuage public opinion, that technology is the bad guy when in reality the actual savings are not coming from innovations in broadcast equipment or internet technology, but from sustained attempts to reduce their 10,000+ workforce by as much as possible as soon as possible,” he wrote.
The post Reports: iHeartMedia Makes Cuts to Engineering Staff appeared first on Radio World.
On November 5, 2020, Meredith Corp. revealed that it had propelled strongly into the first quarter of 2021. On February 4, the multimedia company with a local TV station group sat it enjoyed a strong fiscal Q2 2021 boost for those properties thanks to a political dollar windfall.
Do investors believe the fiscal Q3 for Meredith will be even bigger, given the company’s Tuesday stock performance?
There are likely a lot of things on the slate of state broadcasters’ associations as it pertains to the key concerns of their member broadcast media owners and operators. Perhaps the biggest issue are the priorities a SBA has with the new Congress.
What can one SBA leader say about the early indications from Capitol Hill on what’s in store for radio and TV in your state? Justin Sasso, President/CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association, shares his observations on what’s been happening in his state — and much more — in a wide-ranging conversation exclusively found in this 100th episode of the RBR+TVBR InFOCUS Podcast, presented by Dot.FM.
It may seem obvious that corporations in the broadcasting field need to keep their records in order and up to date.
According to communications law experts John A. Knab and Erwin G. Krasnow, it is not only surprising how many fail in this enterprise, but also how much it ends up costing them.
Two radio station licensees in Florida have received notices of violation from the Federal Communications Commission for spurious emissions.
In one case, the commission believes a low-power FM station was causing interference to aviation frequencies at Orlando International Airport. In that instance, the Enforcement Bureau issued a notice of violation to WBVL(LP) in Kissimmee, Fla., licensed to Sucremedia Inc.
The commission says the Federal Aviation Administration began receiving interference to aviation frequencies on Dec. 15, 2020. The interference was reported to the Enforcement Bureau on Dec. 26. The next day, the bureau’s Miami office investigated.
It said WBVL is licensed on 99.7 MHz at a maximum effective radiated power of 89 Watts, but the FCC said its agents measured excessive spurious emissions from the station transmitter on six frequencies — 114.145, 115.850, 118.385, 120.995, 134.585 and 135.765 MHz.
The rules in this situation require that the LPFM stop operations within three hours. The FCC says it made numerous attempts to contact the station but that WBVL didn’t go off the air until at least 41 hours later.
Once WBVL was off the air, the interference to the Orlando International Airport ceased.
In a separate case this week the Miami office issued a notice to Cornerstone Broadcasting Corp. for spurious emissions on 133.0626 MHz that the FCC attributes to Cornerstone’s FM translator at 97.3 in Deland, Fla. That translator serves WJLU(FM) in New Smyrna Beach.
In both cases the FCC has instructed the licensees to provide information about the emissions and any steps they have taken to resolve the situation, while reserving the option of taking further action.
The “only programming network dedicated to the active adventure lifestyle in the United States” is saying goodbye to a low-power analog TV station it owns in the Reno, Nevada DMA.
The buyer? The entity that now controls the brand associated with this over-the-air station that in 2003 successfully won a carriage complaint in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., against Charter Communications.
On Monday (3/2), RBR+TVBR learned that The E.W. Scripps Co. had added their digital multicast networks onto stations it has obtained through its blockbuster acquisition of ION Media.
While this immediately created a doubling up of clearance for certain networks, it is now known that it’s only temporary.
Scripps is launching two new national TV networks as the company says it continues to capitalize on its position “as a full-scale national television company.”
BOCA RATON, FLA. — She currently serves as Regional President of Entercom Communications‘ Gainesville, Fla.; Memphis; Miami; and Orlando markets, where she has served as Market Manager.
With Orlando’s “105.9 Sunny FM” a ratings monster, that success has led Entercom to give this local leader more duties by tacking on Market Manager responsibilities for South Florida.
At the same time, Entercom is welcoming a new SVP/Market Manager for its six Boston stations.
In the Sunshine State, Claudia Menegus is taking on more responsibilities, as she will now also oversee Entercom’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale cluster.
The stations are comprised of former Beasley Media Group (later, CBS Radio) and Lincoln Financial Media properties: Adult Contemporary WLYF-FM, Classic Hits WMXJ-FM “102.7 The Beach,” Alternative WSFS-FM “104.3 The Shark,” Sports twins WQAM-AM 560 “The Joe” and WAXY-AM 790 “The Ticket,” Rhythmic Top 40 WPOW-FM “Power 96,” and Country WKIS-FM.
“I look forward to leading our Miami market and its seven premier brands,” said Menegus, who has been overseeing Entercom/Miami on an interim basis since Keriann Worley resigned in late October 2020 as SVP/Market Manager. “Collectively, these stations and our talent embody the local spirit of Miami, giving listeners a home for entertainment and information each and every day. I’m proud to have the opportunity to work with these brands and our talented Miami team, reimagining new possibilities and connecting with our consumers and community.”
Worley had been overseeing Entercom/Miami since November 2017, and was Director of Sales for stations Beasley had spun to CBS Radio and were added to the Entercom family upon the completion of the two companies’ tax-free merger.
Menegus is a 22-year broadcast veteran, with 18 of those years spent at CBS Radio. During her tenure with CBS Radio, Menegus spent 14 years in various roles in the Baltimore market. Menegus also developed the CBS Radio Baltimore Marketing Group, a vehicle to expand non-traditional platforms, venue sponsorships, and sports marketing with Baltimore Ravens players, providing exclusive sponsorship programs and raising awareness for their foundations. In 2014, she was appointed as Director of Integrated Marketing for CBS Radio Corporate overseeing the Events and Experiences Division in 15 markets. Menegus began her career with Infinity Broadcasting in Tampa, which later merged with CBS Radio.
Meanwhile, Entercom/Boston Regional President Mark Hannon is welcoming Tim Clarke, an Asian American, as SVP/Market Manager.
Clarke, who as of March 15 will oversee Classic Hits WBGB-FM “Big 103,” AC WMJX-FM “Magic 106.7,” Hot AC WWBX-FM “Mix 104.1,” and Sports WEEI-AM & FM and WVEI-AM, joins Entercom after previously serving as VP of Content and Audience for Cox Media Group (CMG).
In this role, he oversaw all content, programming, marketing and digital audience strategies for the company’s radio properties.
Prior to that, Clarke was Senior Director of Digital Audience, where he was responsible for digital content, audience and product strategy for CMG’s radio stations.
At Cox Media Group, Clarke also held the roles of Director of Branding and Programming for WPOI-FM “Hot 101.5” in Tampa and served as Director of Social Media for all six of CMG’s Tampa properties. Previously, he served as Program Director at CMG’s Top 40 WAPE-FM in Jacksonville and as Music Director for CMG’s Top 40 sibling on Long Island in New York, WBLI-FM.
In the nation’s fourth-largest radio market, Camarillo, Calif.-based Salem Media Group owns and operates three AM radio stations — two of which offer secular programming.
Soon, two more AMs will be added to the mix. And, it is a safe bet the stations will retain their religious focus.
Imperative Audio has launched its first product, the PVB, a portable vocal booth. The booth is designed to provide the space and acoustics of a typical vocal booth, but in a collapsible form factor.
Intended for podcasters, recording pros, singers, voiceover artists and broadcasters, the PVB sports a light aluminum cylindrical design with a circumference of 324 centimeters/127.5 inches and an opening of 80 centimeters/31.5 inches, making it spacious enough accommodate performers for extended periods without a claustrophobic atmosphere.
When its five legs are retracted, the PVB sits at 118 centimeters/46.5 inches and can be used for amp isolation and miking in the studio. At full height with its legs extended, the PVB stands at 210 centimeters/83 inches, and it can be used with an open top or with an optional acoustically treated roof that can be added securely. The roof features a channel which allows users to lower an overhead mic stand into the booth. The vocal booth ships with an accessory bar, bookstand, storage bag and for a limited period, a free LED light.
Inside, the booth features three layers of acoustic treatment; when used with the optional roof, the PCB offers a reported 0.07 secs reflection time (RT60 in accordance with ISO 3382-2 Measurements) and an average of 28.4 dBa reduction (One-Third-Octave Spectrum LZeq in accordance with IEC 61260).
The PVB runs $1,499.
The post Imperative Audio Launches PVB Portable Vocal Booth appeared first on Radio World.
Circle City Broadcasting has gained notice across the U.S. thanks to its owner, African American owner and CEO DuJuan McCoy. Its two stations include the CW Network affiliate serving Indianapolis.
Now, that station has figured out how to close-caption its content while being budget-minded in its selection process. In the end, WISH-8 went with ENCO.
As such, the station has begun to use the automated enCaption4 system from ENCO to meet its both its scheduled and late-breaking captioning needs.
Prior to adopting enCaption4, all of WISH-8’s closed captioning was done by human transcribers through a service company that would dial in to the station’s caption encoders. The huge amount of local news content WISH-TV produces – up to 12 hours per day – required a lot of dial-ins. With the rates charged by such services, the broadcaster’s captioning costs were very high.
“Our main goal wasn’t necessarily to save money, but more importantly to allow us to caption a greater majority of our content in a more cost-effective manner,” said Mike Selby, a staff engineer at WISH-8.
Selby had looked at automated speech-to-text technologies around eight years earlier but didn’t consider their accuracy good enough at the time. WISH-8 Chief Engineer Glenn Edwards kept following automated captioning technology. After reading a favorable review of ENCO’s enCaption4 system, the station took a closer look.
“We saw that enCaption4 would allow us to caption more of our programs for less money than we were paying for dial-in captioning, so we requested a demo unit for a trial,” Selby said. “It worked right out of the box and we were impressed with its accuracy.”
The station first used enCaption4 on the locally produced TV version of nationally syndicated radio program The Bob & Tom Show. It started airing on WNDY in October. Since then, they have expanded their use of enCaption4 across both WISH and co-owned sibling WNDY-23 in Indianapolis.
ENCO’s enCaption4 REST API gave WISH-8 the flexibility to set up their captioning operations exactly the way they desired and the ability to control enCaption4 through their own custom software.
“Our IT developer created an application that runs on a Raspberry Pi platform and enables us to easily start and stop the captioning process,” Selby said. “Our homebrew software also uses GPIOs on the Raspberry Pi to trigger the switching of our AJA KUMO router to the desired SDI source for our enCaption4 system, and to connect enCaption4 to the appropriate downstream caption encoder. In this manner, we can use our single enCaption4 system on our choice of the WISH, WNDY or control room signals.”
Most significantly, enCaption4 has enabled the broadcaster to expand its closed captioning to nearly all of its content.
“Having a machine that can handle all of our captioning needs is like a dream come true,” Selby said. “I’m impressed with how far the technology has come over the years. We had long hoped that someone would offer speech-to-text capabilities that work accurately enough for our on-air needs, so we could just hit a button and have it work.”
— Brian Galante
CALGARY — A new Subaru commercial by production company OPC, shot on a secluded mountainside in Banff National Park to the northwest of this Alberta, Canada, metropolis, was brought to life thanks to a “game-changing” CellSat connectivity service, a blended cellular and Ku-band IP satellite product expressly designed for remote broadcasting, communication and collaboration.
To bypass the logistical and financial challenges presented by limited cellular connectivity in remote shooting locations and the set-up and use of traditional satellite technology, B2B integrated connectivity company First Mile Technologies set up a flexible, portable workflow based around the Dejero CellSat service that not only delivered connectivity to and from set by dynamically blending cellular and satellite connections, but also allowed the team to collaborate in real-time, without interruption, using live streaming video from a set that would previously have been too remote to connect to.
“CellSat service streamlined every single aspect of critical communication and feedback for this job, by delivering resilient connectivity from a remote mountainside where usually the delivery of only a handful of stills would have been possible,” said Brandon Cooper, president, film and new media at First Mile Technologies. “This time, with Dejero CellSat, the team on set was able to receive real-time feedback, approvals, and general collaboration which isn’t normally feasible or affordable in extreme locations like this one. This type of technology is a revolution for the film and commercial production industry, allowing us to take things to the next level in terms of where we can film, at what cost, and the reliability and speeds at which we will be able to transfer video and data over a mix of cellular and satellite.”
During the shooting of this Subaru commercial, which included dynamic shots of driving, skiing and other active footage against the backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, First Mile Technologies set up an infrastructure that transported the camera feed from a Dejero EnGo mobile transmitter over the Dejero CellSat service to a Dejero WayPoint receiver at headquarters, where the stream was then sent to various platforms, including Zoom and First Mile’s own Web RTC platform for real-time, virtual collaboration.
In addition, Dejero CellSat provided enough bandwidth to support VoIP phone connectivity for the six people on set in Banff.
CellSat uses Dejero’s patented Smart Blending Technology which blends cellular connectivity from multiple mobile network providers with Ku-band IP satellite connectivity from Intelsat — delivering the bandwidth needed to transmit broadcast-quality video in real time. The CellSat service can be accessed from virtually anywhere in the United States and Canada.
“The use of the Dejero package, including CellSat and EnGo, was an integral solution for a remote Subaru commercial in the Canadian Rockies,” said John Scarth, line producer at OPC. “From a snow covered mountain top we were able to stream live to our offsite client with a low latency and rock solid connection. This technology allowed us to have a real time conversation with our client and work as though they were on set with us. With streaming becoming a key part of production, the Dejero platform is a turnkey solution for production in any environment.”
Faith Newton reported on this story from Calgary. Editing by Adam R Jacobson in Boca Raton, Fla.
Nova Scotia-based Nautel has announced a new series of webinars to be held on alternate Wednesdays in March.
The first Wednesday Webinar, tomorrow (3/3) at Noon Eastern, will cover “All-Digital AM featuring the NX Series.”
Following the FCC approval of the MA3 mode of all-digital AM broadcasting in October 2020, many broadcasters have asked what is involved in upgrading, what the different
modes mean, and if there is any benefit for their particular situation.
Nautel and selected guests will discuss these questions as well as equipment capabilities and potential directions for this technology.
FM Digital, featuring the Nautel HD MultiCast+ (HDMC+) HD Importer/Exporter, will be the
topic on March 17 at Noon Eastern.
“There is active discussion in the industry about the pros and cons of fixed purpose embedded hardware vs. software implementations, especially where HD Radio importer and exporter components are involved,” Nautel says. “This webinar will review the evolution of HD Radio for FM, the development and features of the HDMC+, and will cover some of the capabilities of this powerful tool.”
These Webinars join the continuing “Transmission Talk Tuesday” sessions hosted by Nautel’s
Jeff Welton. These round-table discussions bring different topics to the floor for participant input and questions, and feature guest panelists.
Upcoming sessions include an HD Primer on March 9 and a discussion of Single Frequency Networking on March 23. Each TTT Roundtable takes place on Tuesdays at Noon Eastern.
Advance registration is required on all Nautel Webinars and Transmission Talk Tuesday
discussions; visit https://nautel.com/webinars for more information. All Webinars and TTT
sessions qualify for ½ SBE recertification credit.
Every two years, the Federal Communications Commission now is required to publish a Communications Marketplace Report that assesses the state of competition across the broader communications marketplace in the United States. The FCC recently released the second such report.
Broadcasting is one of the many market segments included. The report makes for interesting reading and I recommend you check it out. The discussion of the audio market, including radio, appears on pages 142–156.
Here I thought I’d share six charts from the report that capture various aspects of the FCC’s discussion about trends in U.S. radio.Station count
The FCC noted that the number of AM and FM stations licensed in the United States, below, has remained steady in recent years, while the number of LPFM stations has increased. It reminded readers that new stations are possible only through new allocations and award of licenses, either via an auction in the case of commercial stations, or a comparative system for non-commercial stations. (Also see my recent related story that compares the 2020 numbers to the year 2000.)Top 10 radio station owners
To secure the highest ad rates and to compete for advertising market share, the FCC reminds us, stations strive to gain the largest audience of listeners possible to maximize the price for ad time sold. Below it ranks the top 10 largest radio station owners, by revenue.
“These owners control stations that are not confined to particular geographic regions; they are spread out across various geographical markets.” (And here’s a link to what the list looked like in 2006, though from a different research source.)U.S. terrestrial radio revenue
The FCC observed that radio ad revenue had been virtually flat between 2010 and 2019 but that 2020 was expected to see a drop of around 15% due to the pandemic. “While these numbers are preliminary, the predicted decline in advertising revenue is substantial.”
The chart below also indicates that revenue never fully recovered from the recession following the 2008 financial crisis.
“In a recent report, S&P Global predicts that advertising revenue for terrestrial radio stations will face a tougher road to recovery from the pandemic-induced recession compared to broadcast television stations.”
The chart also captures the growth in revenue from online radio compared to OTA.Stations by market size
The next image is a scatterplot of the number of stations within a market against the market size, measured by rank.
“The number of radio stations available decreases as the market size decreases, suggesting more choice in markets with higher populations. Not shown in the table, however, are additional choices that listeners have that include satellite and online radio …”Programming formats for terrestrial radio
The commission said interference issues may have contributed to AM stations favoring talk formats relative to music; 63% of FMs identify with a music format, while only 34% of AM stations do. AMs favor Spanish and ethnic, news, sports, and talk. The percentages of stations that air religion are similar for AM and FM stations. Public and education format stations predominantly use FM. Nearly half of LPFMs are music; about 36% provide religious community programming.US terrestrial and online radio weekly audience
“While broadcast terrestrial radio remains dominant in some respects … the gap in usage between broadcast terrestrial and online audio has declined over time.”
Over the past decade, the number of listeners to terrestrial radio grew annually around 0.55% on average, while annual growth in online radio was 29%. (Though part of online growth was due to listeners accessing AM/FM broadcasts online, the FCC said the figure below “illustrates the dynamic nature of audio as listeners continue to access online radio across a diverse range of devices.”)
Film producer Jonathan Glickman’s Glickmania Media and iHeartMedia have announced a joint venture that will include a two-year podcast co-production deal, focusing on a slate of original music-driven podcasts.
The goal is two new podcasts per year.
The collaboration will kick off with this summer’s “Unsung” series, which will be created in partnership with the wildly popular Story Pirates, creators of the number one podcast for kids.
Additional co-produced titles will include the horror-musical “Diane’s Inferno” starring Maya Hawke and Yungblud, written and directed by Lisa Duva with original music overseen by executive producer Zach Dawes; “Lost You On The Dance Floor,” a murder mystery set against the rise and fall of the disco phenomenon, penned by renowned music journalist Matt Diehl; and from Jonathan Ezra and Robbie Roth comes the musical drama/journalism series, “Ballad Of An Outlaw,” which considers would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr.’s integration back into society.
NEW YORK — Nielsen and Roku have announced a new strategic alliance that the companies believe will help shape the future of media and TV measurement.
As part of a just-signed long-term agreement, Nielsen ad and content products will be integrated into the Roku platform.
For the dominant provider of audience measurement services in the U.S., Nielsen “Always-On” Digital Ad Ratings “will help standardize ad measurement of smart TVs and CTV devices while the implementation of Nielsen Digital Content Ratings will offer publishers insights into the performance of their content.”
Roku will also stand to benefit from the use of Nielsen Total Ad Ratings as it builds out its own unique content.
The collaboration also expands Nielsen’s footprint of smart TVs and other devices, nearing 100 million in total.
This, Nielsen says, allows it “to continue to double down on enabling media sellers and buyers to measure and better monetize addressable advertising.”
And, the agreement allows Nielsen to further advance cross-media measurement product Nielsen ONE.
Importantly, the pact sees Roku agree to acquire Nielsen’s Advanced Video Advertising (AVA) business. This includes Nielsen’s video automatic content recognition (ACR) and dynamic ad insertion (DAI) technologies.
“The acquisition will accelerate Roku’s launch of an end-to-end DAI solution with TV programmers,” Nielsen notes.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
TV data and measurement company Alphonso in recent months enjoyed renewed and expanded agreements with such broadcasting companies as TEGNA, for its Premion service; CBS; and Cox Media Group.
Now, the entity that made its name by offering “granular TV and OTT measurement” — along with its “rapid closed-loop attribution to local advertisers” — is getting a rebrand.
U.S. financial markets enjoyed widespread gains on Monday. But, not every media company took part in the upward activity. TEGNA, which released its Q4 and full-year 2020 results early Monday, saw its shares decline.
Radio broadcasting company Townsquare Media, which will report its Q4 and full-year 2020 results in two weeks, was also down from Friday.
For TEGNA, shares slipped 18 cents to $18.05 after recently reaching a six-year high.
TSQ, meanwhile, dipped by 20 cents to $10.70. The stock has also been on the rise in recent months.
Key gainers include radio pure-play Saga Communications, up $2.12 to $22.80 in one of its biggest single-say sessions in recent memory. Activity picked up in the afternoon hours, with trading more than four times its average volume.
Radio sector leader iHeartMedia shares now sit at $15, up 93 cents; Entercom shares grew to $4.80, rising 33 cents.
Meanwhile, Nexstar Media Group sits at an incredible $144.21, up $6.66 from Friday. And, Sinclair Broadcast Group is now at $32.65 thanks to a $1.72 gain.
Radio One Licensees, part of Urban One, is the latest radio ownership group to sign a consent decree with the Federal Communications Commission over online public files.
The commission continues to announce settlements with owners large and small in an initiative that became public last summer.
These cases are all essentially the same. An owner files for a station license renewal, and the FCC Audio Division suspends the process because online public files aren’t kept up. The licensee acknowledges that and promises to takes steps including appointing a compliance officer, creating a compliance plan and reporting back to the commission by a certain date.
The commission for its part acknowledges that the pandemic caused a dramatic reduction in ad revenues, causing the industry significant financial stress, and drops its investigation. No money changes hands.
In the case of Radio One, the process was prompted by the license renewal application for station WHHL(FM) in Hazelwood, Mo. The FCC said Radio One was unable to certify compliance with the public file requirements during the past license term and failed to certify compliance in its applications because it did not comply with the Political Record Keeping Statute and Rule.