With suspended or smaller quarterly dividends and double-digit ad revenue declines still being seen across the radio broadcasting industry’s big publicly traded players, one may mistakenly believe that all is not well with the oldest form of social media in the world.
The Radio Advertising Bureau has released new data that thwarts such chat.
“Years of refining digital strategies” paid off for the radio industry in 2020, it says.
According to RAB data compiled in association with Borrell Associates, digital ad revenue in 2020 hit $1.1 billion.
This accounts for greater than 14% of total ad sales.
Local radio stations saw digital sales increase nearly 12%, with growth forecast to accelerate 18% this year.
“The due diligence the radio industry has put into expanding its digital platforms and advertising offerings over the last few years contributed mightily to the 2020 bright spot of digital growth,” said RAB President/CEO Erica Farber.
And, says Gordon Borrell, “The pandemic actually delivered a gift to the radio industry last year. Stations saw very clearly how digital products can be a linchpin, especially when core-product sales are challenging. Digital kept the conversation going.”
The report also shined a light on how additive digital revenue can be for a radio station. The average station made $290,150 in digital revenue in 2020; the average market cluster made $1.3 million. The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $2 million for top-performing clusters in the smallest of markets, to $17.8 million in the largest.
The findings are included in RAB and Borrell’s report, “Defying the Gravity of 2020, Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 11.8%.”
It is being released today to RAB members and analyzes online ad revenue from 3,621 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 944 local radio buyers and a survey of 238 radio managers.
Among the topline findings:
- 80% of stations offer digital sales training at least once a month
- 81% of stations are offering some form of digital services in addition to digital advertising
- Nearly 2/3 of radio sellers try to include digital offerings in every sales pitch
- More than half of stations flipped their sponsored events in 2020 to virtual events
The report and upcoming live-video presentation are both sponsored by Marketron.
On June 21, 2007, a group of AM and FM radio stations were placed into the Aloha Station Trust.
It involved properties owned by iHeartMedia predecessor Clear Channel Communications, which was forced to divest of the properties after it became a reconstituted operation through a now-infamous investment by private investment groups right before the great economic downturn of the late 2000s.
Nearly 14 years later, the last station to be placed in that trust, originally overseen by the late Jeanette Tully, is heading to a new owner.
With esteemed WFAA-8/Dallas VP/Station Manager Carolyn Mungo pinch-hitting following the retirement at the end of 2020 of John Remes, TEGNA’s NBC affiliate Minneapolis has been seeking his formal successor.
TEGNA has now found that individual. As such, its KARE-11 is preparing to welcome the News Director since 2018 of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC affiliate in Seattle.
LOS ANGELES — The largest independent sell-side advertising platform has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SpotX from RTL Group for $1.17 billion in cash and stock.
SpotX is one of the leading platforms shaping Connected TV and video advertising globally.
And, it is poised to become a part of Magnite.
When combined, Magnite and SpotX will create the largest independent CTV and video advertising platform in the programmatic marketplace.
“Sellers have been looking for a scaled independent alternative to the giant companies who dominate the CTV marketplace,” said Michael Barrett, President/CEO of Magnite. “The combination of Magnite and SpotX will make this a reality by bringing together the best CTV technologies and teams at a critical time. Ad-supported CTV is just beginning to draw budgets from linear TV and we will be well-positioned to participate in the strongest segment of industry growth for the foreseeable future.”
Mike Shehan, Co-Founder and CEO at SpotX, added, “As CTV flourishes and the media industry continues to turn to programmatic, there is a huge opportunity for an independent scaled company to offer the single most comprehensive technology in the market. We built SpotX with the mission of becoming the leading global video advertising platform, and our goal is now coming to fruition with Magnite. I am thrilled about what we will achieve together.”
Together, Magnite and SpotX will serve some of the world’s leading programmers, broadcasters, platforms and device manufacturers, including A+E Networks, Crackle Plus, The CW Network, Discovery, Disney/Hulu, Electronic Arts, Fox Corporation, fuboTV, Microsoft, Newsy, Philo TV, Pluto TV, Roku, Samsung, Sling TV, Tubi, ViacomCBS, Vizio, Vudu, WarnerMedia and Xumo.
Magnite is targeting in excess of $35 million in run-rate operating cost synergies, with more than half of the synergies realized within the first year of combined operations.
Magnite plans to finance the transaction with cash on hand, 14 million shares issued to RTL Group and committed financing from Goldman Sachs. The company expects the transaction to close in the second quarter, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
Until the transaction closes, both companies will continue to operate independently.
Goldman Sachs and LUMA Partners acted as financial advisors to Magnite and Goldman Sachs is providing committed financing for the transaction.
Gibson Dunn provided legal counsel to Magnite.
In early 2019, Community Broadcasters, the company led by Bruce Mittman and Jim Leven, agreed to sell their radio stations serving the Twin Tiers of New York and Pennsylvania to a growing radio station owner led by CEO Kristin Cantrell and COO Jim Loftus.
Nearly one year later, in December 2019, Cantrell’s Kentucky-based company struck again, snagging three more stations serving a portion of the region that includes Corning, Elmira and Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Guess what? Seven Mountains Media is at it again, and this time two other players are involved.
The FCC has popped another Kentucky AM broadcaster for not filing paperwork to renew an FM translator license on time.
We told you yesterday about a case involving Heritage Media of Kentucky station WMTL(AM).
Now, in a very similar notice, the FCC has issued a notice of apparent liability to WKVG(AM), licensed to Letcher County Broadcasting Inc., in Jenkins, Ky.
The application for renewal of its FM translator was due April 1 but not received until mid-July; and the FCC said the licensee didn’t explain.
As in the other case, the broadcaster has 30 days to pay or to reply with more information if it thinks the fine should be reduced or dropped.
The rules require that applications for renewal of license for broadcast stations must be filed “not later than the first day of the fourth full calendar month prior to the expiration date of the license sought to be renewed.”
In the Spanish language, “humo” means smoke.
But, there’s definitely no smoke and mirrors behind a new effort from NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises that gives a breath of fresh air — and life — to parent Comcast’s free ad-supported streaming TV service.
Locast, the donation-based broadcast TV-via-IP service that the Big Four television networks and the NAB despise for its unique weave-round regarding retransmission consent, has now entered its 29th market.
The service is now available in a city some refer to as “The Big Tomato.”
Wireless microphone equipment company Shure Inc. has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to reverse its decision and guarantee that at least one 6 MHz UHF channel in each market is reserved for wireless mic use.
The FCC recently terminated its Vacant Channels rulemaking initiated during the TV spectrum incentive auction. The rulemaking considered dedicating a UHF TV channel for wireless mic use.
The company told the FCC that now more than ever wireless mic users need clear spectrum. On one hand, reallocation of 600 MHz spectrum for mobile phones and the repack of stations into 500 MHz spectrum has reduced available spectrum. On the other, continued growth of broadcast, performance and sports production is requiring more wireless mic channels than ever, Shure said.
While the FCC identified 900 MHz, 1.4 GHz and 7 GHz as alternatives in 2017, Shure says these bands fall short of addressing the needs of wireless mic users because they don’t offer the same characteristics and flexibility as UHF frequencies.
Use by other industries licensed to operate in these bands means their use for wireless mics is conditioned on requests to share, which may or may not be granted, it said.
The 600 MHz duplex gap and VHF frequencies are helpful but are not alternatives to a dedicated UHF channel and the certainty that offers, Shure said, adding that a designated channel is also important for other applications, such as intercom, IFB and other wireless uses.
Without clear spectrum for wireless mic use, the integrity of a variety of productions, ranging from professional sports and concerts to live TV and theater, will suffer, Shure said.
“The amount of available UHF spectrum for wireless microphone use continues to shrink,” said Ahren Hartman, Shure vice president, Corporate Quality. “With the loss of 700 MHz, 600 MHz, and the DTV repack into 500 MHz, we are at an all-time low for access to UHF spectrum. However, the need for open and clear wireless microphone spectrum is higher than ever before.”
More information is available on the Shure website.
The post Shure Asks FCC to Dedicate UHF Channel for Wireless Mics appeared first on Radio World.
It’s share price is now higher than where it was before the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in stay-at-home edicts and, with it, a sharp financial downturn on Wall Street, Broad Street and on stock markets across the globe.
With that positive momentum, Nielsen Holdings plc‘s Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend.
The FCC in January reminded U.S. broadcasters and other EAS participants of their obligations to comply with the Emergency Alert System rules.
“In reporting on the most recent national level test of the EAS, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau noted improvements in key areas, but identified several issues that impair dissemination of EAS messages,” the Enforcement Bureau stated in a five-page advisory.
“The 2019 Nationwide EAS Test Report noted, for instance, that EAS participants must ensure that messages comply with the FCC’s requirements designed to make the message accessible to individuals with hearing and vision disabilities.”
After briefly summarizing how the system works, the FCC provided the following information:
What steps can EAS participants take to improve their participation in EAS and ensure compliance with the FCC’s rules?
The EAS rules are in sections 11.1 through 11.61 of the commission’s rules. Key requirements include:
EAS participants must ensure that their EAS equipment’s monitoring and transmitting functions are available whenever the stations and systems are operating. An EAS participant’s failure to receive or transmit an EAS message during a national test or actual emergency because of an equipment failure may subject the EAS Participant to enforcement.
- To ensure the availability of these functions, EAS participants should take steps to secure their EAS equipment. For example, EAS participants should upgrade EAS equipment software and firmware to the most recent version recommended by the equipment manufacturer and update with current security patches. Participants should also change default passwords, secure EAS equipment behind properly configured firewalls, and take other protective measures.
- EAS participants should synchronize EAS equipment clocks to the official time provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology if the equipment does not automatically synchronize to an Internet time source.
EAS participants must transmit national level EAS messages, required monthly tests, and required weekly tests. An EAS participant’s failure to transmit an EAS message during a national test or actual emergency, e.g., based on the configuration of its equipment, lack of redundant monitoring sources, or an accurate understanding of its role as an EAS participant, may subject the EAS participant to enforcement
- EAS participants must understand and identify their role (or “designation”) in the broadcast-based distribution architecture of the EAS. Most EAS participants have only the “participating national” designation. Section 11.18(a)-(g) contains a list of designations and state EAS plans that participants can use to confirm whether any other designations are applicable. Participants must know a facility’s EAS designation to accurately complete the Reporting System’s Form One.
- EAS participants must monitor multiple sources to ensure redundancy and reduce the possibility of message receipt failures. EAS participants should ensure that monitoring sources are independent and do not rely on each other to receive or transmit an EAS message.
- EAS participants should follow up with monitored sources when an EAS message is not received to determine the cause. For example, such issues could be caused by a transmission or reception issue that can be readily corrected. An EAS participant is required to determine the cause of its failure to receive an EAS message during a national test or emergency
EAS participants must ensure that an EAS message is accessible.
For the visual portion of the message, the text must be displayed:
- At the top of the television screen or where it will not interfere with other visual messages (e.g., closed captioning);
- In a manner (i.e., font size, color, contrast, location, and speed) that is readily readable and understandable;
- Without overlapping lines or extending beyond the viewable display (except for video crawls that intentionally scroll on and off the screen); and
- In full at least once during any EAS message.
-For the audio portion of the message, broadcast stations, cable systems, and direct broadcast satellite services must play the audio portion of an EAS message in full at least once to ensure it is accessible to viewers who are blind or have low vision
EAS participants must submit their national test results to the FCC in the Reporting System. An EAS participant may be subject to enforcement if it fails to participate in a national test or submits incomplete or inaccurate information to the Commission in its Reporting System filings.
- EAS participants must update their Reporting System Form One submissions yearly. Because the Form One will auto-populate with information from the EAS Participant’s previous Form One filing, EAS Participants should review the Form before submission to be sure it is current and accurate.
- EAS participants are required to participate in national tests and required to file information related to national tests in the Reporting System.
- The accuracy of Reporting System filings is critical. If an EAS Participant receives or retransmits a partial EAS message, e.g., if the audio is missing in the data received and/or retransmitted, the EAS Participant is responsible for ensuring that its Report ting System filing reflects this issue and the reason it failed to receive the full message.
The FCC document also discusses national tests and station reporting requirements. Read the full notice.
The commission said questions about EAS Participant obligations should be directed to Maureen Bizhko of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at (202) 418-0011 or email Maureen.Bizhko@fcc.gov.
“The two vehicles are part of an overall package that includes a third video OB van,” the supplier stated in a press release, adding that they are now in use in Cologne.
“During larger productions, it could be possible that the audio control in the video OB van is no longer sufficient. In these cases, the audio control can be fully outsourced to one of the radio OB vans, with the audio control in the video OB truck being controlled in the radio OB. Both vehicles are connected via one fiber-optic cable, to exchange data and audio and video signals.”
Broadcast Solutions said WDR wanted two smaller radio vans that offer the same functionalities and acoustic values as larger vehicles. The company said its main challenges were the acoustic insulation and providing sufficient storage space that had to accommodate equipment as well as a UPS.
“The audio control uses a Lawo console (mc²56 MKIII with 48 faders) with Lawo Nova 73 Core. A Riedel MicroN system is used to connect to the video truck and as a video router,” it stated.
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By Thomas Urban
Fletcher Heald & Hildreth
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For nearly a year, the world has battled a pandemic defined as Coronavirus-19 or COVID-19. This virus has caused enormous damage worldwide in terms of human life, health, and economic devastation. This destruction has been acutely felt here in the United States, with the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the long-term illness of millions, as well as severe economic loss due to factors beyond the control of those who have been affected.
The COVID-19 pandemic also has had a significant effect on the U.S. legal system.
On February 12, 2020, a Seattle FM will officially kickoff a yearlong celebration of its 50 years serving the Pacific Northwest’s biggest metropolis with rock ‘n’ roll music — and a little talk, too.
Today an Entercom Communications station, KISW-FM 99.9 is celebrating its longevity in Seattle with “The 50th Anniversary Weekend.”
Special programming will pay tribute to the station’s legacy with stories and memories from KISW alumni; local civic, sports and business leaders; and bands and artists from both Seattle and around the world.
KISW debuted as an Album-Oriented Rock station on February 14, 1971.
Guests are set to include bands Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Greta Van Fleet, Heart, Alice In Chains, Disturbed, Judas Priest, athletes from Seattle Mariners, Seahawks, Kraken and Sounders, Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkin, singer-songwriter Sammy Hagar, and actors Joel McHale and Rainn Wilson.
“There are only a handful of radio stations that can brag about thriving for 50 years in a particular format, and KISW is one of them,” said Jack Hutchison, SVP and Market Manager for Entercom/Seattle. “KISW is synonymous with Seattle. We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the many talented people who have been and still are part of this journey. They know the secret to our success has been to – first and foremost – recognize and immerse ourselves within the community. We’re not done, so stay tuned for the next 50 years. They are going to be fun.”
Dave Richards, Entercom’s Rock Format Captain, added, “To be able to celebrate a milestone like this is a rarity, and we don’t take that lightly. We celebrate this golden anniversary with everyone who has been along for the ride.”
Back in 1971, KISW was owned by Kaye-Smith, with Frank Sinatra a minority owner. Like many rockers, it started out with a progressive rock feel before evolving.
Over the years, personalities and shows like “Robin and Maynard,” “Langan and West,” “Crowe and West,” “Bob Rivers Twisted Radio,” Howard Stern, “BJ and Migs” and “The Mens Room” have helped KISW attract listeners.
Now, it is looking back as it sets to enter its sixth decade of service.
Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Home is Where the Connectivity Is
It’s a trend Nielsen believes is important for brands and advertisers looking to stay in touch with consumers as their habits—and their habitats—shift.
Comcast Advertising’s Agency Leadership Council (ALC) recently commissioned Advertiser Perceptions to find out how more than 300 cross-screen TV advertisers and marketers are approaching measurement in 2021.
The results are now here, and they examine advertisers’ and marketers’ openness to new providers, and what may be holding them back from moving more quickly on new measurement currencies.
EUREKA, CALIF. — For local television viewers that wish to watch the local NBC and CBS affiliates, it’s been a difficult start to 2020. First, Altice USA-owned Suddenlink, the dominant cable TV services provider across Humboldt County, blocked its customers from viewing them in the absence of a retransmission consent agreement.
Then, as soon as that “blackout” ended, another one transpired, with AT&T-owned DirecTV preventing its subscribers from seeing the stations — owned by Cox Media Group.
The local Member of Congress is irate. And, he’s going so far as to seek the elimination of the so-called “UHF discount” in legislation he’s set to introduce — a new wrinkle to Rep. Jared Huffman‘s efforts in Washington to end retrans impasses such as these.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — One of the world’s best-known audio equipment manufacturers has asked the FCC to reverse a decision made by the Pai Commission by reconsidering the merits it believes a dedicated UHF television channel for wireless microphone use would bring to its users.
Under former Chairman Ajit Pai the FCC declined to provide at least one “vacant” 6MHz UHF channel in each market for its exclusive use by wireless microphones.
It was tied to the FCC’s termination of a “vacant channels” rulemaking opened during its 600 MHz incentive auction.
Shure Incorporated disagrees with the FCC’s conclusions and rationale for terminating the proceeding. Now, with acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel at the helm, it believes a change from Republican to Democratic leadership may be ripe for a relook.
In a petition filed the Commission, Shure argues that the wireless microphone community needs clear spectrum now more than ever. That’s because, it says, the 600MHz band has been reallocated to mobile phone use. Add to that the post-spectrum auction “repack” of broadcast TV stations, which moved many TV stations to the 500MHz spectrum.
“At the same time, broadcast, performance, and sporting productions continue to demand more channels of wireless microphones than ever before,” Shure said.
It added that the “alternative” frequencies identified by the FCC in 2017 for wireless microphone use at 900MHz, 1.4GHz, and 7GHz “fall far short of addressing the needs of wireless microphone users. These bands do not have the same characteristics and operational flexibility as UHF frequencies. Because these bands are occupied by licensed users in other industries, access to these bands for wireless microphone use is conditioned on sharing requests, which can be lengthy and ultimately denied.”
Further, Shure argued that the 600MHz duplex gap and VHF frequencies offer interference and other considerations that constrain use. “Together, these other spectrum resources are helpful but are not practical alternatives to UHF, and the certainty of having access to at least one vacant UHF channel is important to meet demand for wireless microphone use. The designated UHF channel would also be important for applications that include intercom, IFB and others.”
Ahren Hartman, Vice President of Corporate Quality, commented, “With the loss of 700MHz, 600MHz, and the DTV repack into 500MHz, we are at an all-time low for access to UHF spectrum. However, the need for open and clear wireless microphone spectrum is higher than ever before.”
RBR+TVBR Washington Bureau
Marketing company Veritonic wants to raise awareness of effective audio advertising. So it has introduced a monthly feature identifying advertisers that are producing the most effective spots for radio, podcasting and other audio platforms.
Its first “Audio Ad Index” gives high honors to AutoZone, “driven by their spot that focuses on helping people get ready for the cold weather ahead by ensuring they don’t add battery problems to their list of troubles. The brand punctuates the ad with practical offers — a free battery test, a free charge — to support the message.”
Veritonic’s Scott Klass wrote, “AutoZone’s sonic decisions for this ad match the content well. The spot is very upbeat, leveraging music that the brand uses consistently across its ads.”
Ads were rated for their ability to drive listeners to buy the product being advertised, a “purchase intent score.”
Other advertisers on the list include Indeed and Home Depot. Veritonic said spots with cultural relevance, “uplifting tone” and “practical help” resonate with listeners.
The blog post features samples of the best ads and a description of the company’s technology used in making the determinations. Below is its top 10 list for January:
Tru Optik, which offers “identity resolution” in the streaming media world for marketers and advertisers, has struck a new partnership with WideOrbit, the sell-side processor of premium digital and linear advertising.
To learn how this can benefit Radio as it grows its podcasting and streaming audio delivery business, RBR+TVBR spoke exclusively with John Morris, VP of Streaming & On-Demand at WideOrbit. He’s Adam R Jacobson’s guest in this fresh InFOCUS Podcast, presented by DOT.FM.