The Texas Association of Broadcasters announced in an email that its exhibits for the TAB Show in Austin in August have sold out, with 100 vendors booking space.
We took it as our prompt to check in with the TAB on its plans for holding a physical trade show on Aug. 3 and 4. It would be one of the first events in the U.S. radio industry to “go back live” since the pandemic began early last year.
Oscar Rodriguez is TAB’s president.
Radio World: It looks like TAB is moving firmly ahead with plans to hold a physical event. I’m sure you have a sense that you will be one of the first. What factors led you to decide to proceed in physical form?
Oscar Rodriguez: Our members. They’ve been hunting down vaccines since they first became available and now there’s an ample supply in Texas, so that was our primary consideration. But ultimately, they’re ready to meet and do business.
They want to explore new gear and revenue building strategies that’ll make them more efficient and profitable … lessons learned during this long-running disaster. They want to reconnect with friends across the state. And they know they’ll get a big bang out of the very few bucks it all costs.
RW: Will there be a virtual component as well?
Rodriguez: We definitely considered a virtual component or hosting a hybrid event. After much discussion, we decided to move forward and dedicate our resources to bringing in some top-notch presenters/panels and encouraging folks to join us — safely — in-person in Austin.
After more than 18 months of virtual events, most folks are burnt out on virtual gatherings.
RW: Describe the precautions show planners are taking, and how the attendee experience will be different.
Rodriguez: Our team has been working diligently with the JW Marriott (our host venue) since last year to make sure all safety precautions are in place. Believe me, this has been no easy task with everything changing so quickly.
The JW currently requires wearing of face masks in all indoor public areas, and we will enforce that or whatever requirements are in place at the time of the event.
[Related: “IBC Show Set to Go Ahead in September”]
We also are asking all registrants to agree to our health and wellness waiver before they are allowed to enter the show. Of course, we are setting the events/meetings and including floor decals to allow for social distancing, providing many hand sanitizer stations, and working with the JW to stay on top of frequently sanitizing common areas, etc.
We’ve also redesigned our big meal events to ensure safety and comfort, while making sure everyone has the sustenance they need for the non-stop schedule we always present.
RW: What will the experience of visiting a booth be like, and are there rules or guidance for those interactions?
Rodriguez: Initially, we’d planned to have 166 booths in the Trade Show. In order to respect social distancing rules, and best use our contracted space, we had to widen aisles and leave more open space, forcing us to reduce the exhibits to 100 8-by-8-foot booths.
Booth sales opened at the beginning of March (our latest start date ever) and sold out May 4, and we already have a waiting list.
In terms of the experience of visiting a booth, to be honest, we don’t know. Every exhibiting company will have their different level of comfort, and we will work with them to make sure we make that happens.
We’ll have our lead retrieval system in place so there won’t need to be any need to exchange business cards. But a lot of our exhibitors have hands-on equipment that they want to demo. And we are leaving it up to the individual exhibiting companies to decide how they want to handle their one-on-one interactions.
We’ve heard from some attendees/exhibitors who just don’t feel comfortable traveling yet, or their companies won’t allow it. We completely understand that and know that we’ll see them back in Austin in 2022.
For the most part, however, we’ve been hearing from both our exhibitors and broadcast attendees that they are ready to travel and reconnect in person with industry clients and friends who they haven’t seen in close to two years. They are excited — and we are too!
We’re expecting exhibitors to send fewer reps to work the show. And where a broadcast station might have sent five or six people in the past, they’ll most likely be sending fewer … though we’ve had some register more team members than ever before, so it may balance out.
Our Convention Committee has been working diligently on crafting a fantastic schedule of sessions and events and I’m confident their hard work will pay off in terms of broadcast attendees.
RW: What will the experience of attending a session be like?
Rodriguez: In the past, we set the meeting rooms to max capacity. Obviously, that’s not an option this time around. We’re setting each room to allow for social distancing and encouraging mask wearing whenever not seated.
RW: What else should we know?
Rodriguez: We’ll be celebrating 100 years of broadcasting in the Lone Star State! The 2021 TAB Show coincides with the centennial anniversary of the first broadcast signal in Texas, by WRR Dallas, on Aug. 4. That celebration, of course, will cover a lot of history. It’ll also be rooted in the present as the agenda focuses on the technology and practices powering modern radio stations, as well as the ATSC 3.0 “Next Generation” TV standard that’s already on-air in Texas.
Information including a list of exhibitors, sponsors, registration fees and schedule are at https://www.tab.org/convention-and-trade-show. Session topics and presenters for the sales, marketing and technical programs are pending.
Three media companies discussed their first quarter earnings results at the same time Thursday afternoon, and among the trio of entities that own radio stations was Entravision Communications.
Entravision, which superserves Hispanic audiences, isn’t a radio-centric company. And, based on its revenue results for Q1, it isn’t a TV-centric company, either.
In mid-April, a Class A FM that’s been simulcasting a Mexico-licensed Regional Mexican station operated by a Rio Grande Valley-based broadcaster on the U.S. side of the border was sold by MBM Texas Valley.
It’s now seeking FCC approval to sell a second station serving the popular beach community.
Reftone, the company created by engineers Dave Hampton and Lisa Chamblee, recently started shipping the LD-3B Ref-Cube. The cube-shaped monitor with a single 4-inch driver is a powered version of the company’s Ref-Cube monitors. The LD-3B is the first active model released by Reftone.
Available singly or in pairs, the LD-3B is capable of putting out 25 W at 8 Ohms. It offers two connection options: Bluetooth 4.2 or analog via a 3.5 mm input.
The monitors are 5 x 5 inches in size, weigh 5.5 pounds each, and are housed in magnetically sealed birch-plywood enclosures. Because they have no ports, the cabinets are less prone to resonance and offer clear midrange reproduction. According to Reftone, they designed the Ref-Cubes to “allow you to hear full-range audio clearly at low volumes.”
The LD-3B provides more than just midrange, however. Thanks to its full-range driver, it boasts a frequency response of 70 Hz to 20 kHz, which is wider on both ends than similarly designed speakers from its competitors.
You can purchase the LD-3B singly mono ($399) or as a stereo pair ($599). A special white stereo pair is available at $699. For the pairs the left monitor functions as a satellite, which is connected to the right with an included speaker wire equipped with banana plugs.
According to Reftone, these powered Ref-Cubes are designed for a wide range of applications, including tracking, editing, mixing, mastering, broadcast and post-production. Due to their small dimensions, magnetic shielding and ability to connect to an audio source using Bluetooth, the LD-3Bs are easy to place in virtually any production environment.
The nation’s top audio media company and No. 1 licensee of radio stations released its first quarter 2021 earnings just after Thursday’s Closing Bell on Wall Street.
What did iHeartMedia have to share, ahead of its earnings call for analysts and investors?
Revenue fell 9.5%, or 7% ex-political. Adjusted EBITDA in Q1 2021 declined by $38 million. That’s better than what iHeart’s forecasts predicted, and only fuels its confidence that it will return to 2019 adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.
If there ever was a time to swing from a significant net loss to profit, this is it. And, Salem Media Group delivered, with total revenue rising year-over-year.
Here’s the thing: Salem’s publishing division, along with continued strong digital dollars, made the feat possible. Net broadcast revenue declined in the first quarter of 2021.
The company’s fiscal performance during the first three months of 2021 were bumpy but could have been worse. This sequential growth was coupled with positive comments from CEO Mary Berner during the company’s Q1 ’21 earnings call on Wednesday referencing “enhanced operating leverage” and “continued year-over-year sequential growth.”
Cumulus Media‘s path to profitability appears to have gotten the seal of approval from some in the investment world. The company’s shares were up significantly on Thursday.
There’ll soon be a new person responsible for overseeing the content, sales, brand, and operations across all platforms — as well as defining and executing the vision and strategy — at a TEGNA property in the Lone Star State.
My column about the FCC’s political-file consent decrees caught the eye of an engineer whose employer has one radio station under a decree; he was appointed to be its designated compliance officer, so he’s getting a close look at the impact.
“I thought I might offer you a little off-the-record inside look at how easy it is to run afoul of the FCC’s political broadcasting rules,” he told me. But given how many stations are affected by this issue, I asked permission to share his comments anonymously, and he agreed.
Here’s what he wrote:
Paul, 73.1943(c) requires: “All records required by this paragraph shall be placed in the online political file as soon as possible and shall be retained for a period of two years. As soon as possible means immediately absent unusual circumstances.” That “as soon as possible” and “immediately” is what got us and a lot of others in trouble.
I get it … political candidates need to know right away, the same day, what competing candidates are doing in terms of advertising schedules, so that info needs to be up and available… immediately.
What happened in our case was that a gubernatorial candidate placed an order last October for an ad buy on our station. The account executive dutifully entered the order. Traffic got the spots scheduled and the spots aired right on time.
However, the paperwork for the order sat on the AE’s desk for a few days before she gave it to the person responsible for OPIF uploads. And just like that, because an AE set another piece of paper on top of the order sheet, we were in violation. When the OPIF manager got the order sheet, she immediately uploaded it and of course it was time stamped … several days after the order date.
There was no way around it, and we owned up to it in our renewal application.
It was nothing malicious, nothing particularly careless, just an honest mistake on the part of an employee who probably should have had a greater awareness of the rule and the possible consequences of violation.
Paul, another perilous, treacherous path to violation is network programming.
Oftentimes, political buys are made at the network level. The syndicators are required by contract (by our contracts, anyway) to immediately send us the paperwork so that we can upload it, but they quite often do not, either at all or not until several days later if they do at all.
We have no way of knowing what political ads are embedded until/unless we hear them or the syndicators tell us. When we do get the paperwork, we always annotate it with the date/time received and immediately upload it. But that could still constitute a violation, even though it is arguably beyond our control. The FCC would argue that we are responsible for everything that goes out over our airwaves, and they are correct.
The point of all this is that while political OPIF violations in this renewal cycle may seem epidemic, I don’t believe that is the case.
The OPIF and time stamping of uploads make it impossible to claim compliance if even a little late — not that we would ever knowingly do that anyway (we always in the past disclaimed our certifications in license renewal applications, “to the best of our knowledge …”). A tiny mistake under the current system makes for a black-and-white license renewal issue. It’s all very frustrating.
For now, we have put an embargo on all non-federal political advertising and will only take federal candidate ads that we are required to by law.
We hate to leave money on the table and not give candidates a platform, but we simply cannot take a chance that another small mistake will be made and affect our licenses.
Thanks to this reader for sharing his experience of how the current FCC initiative is affecting one company’s daily operations.
The post “It’s All Very Frustrating”: Life Under a Consent Decree appeared first on Radio World.
In the last year, fueled by “Black Lives Matter” social justice protests, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives reached full tilt across Corporate America. Now, there is a growing realization that “DEI,” or D&I, action is no replacement for marketing and advertising to ethnic consumers.
That’s the crux of a statement being sent by the Hispanic Marketing Council today to Fortune 1000 Chief Marketing Officers and the media.
It was a company first: Saga Communications President/CEO Ed Christian was absent from its Q1 2021 earnings call held Thursday morning. He’s “doing fine,” CFO Sam Bush told those on the call.
Christian suffered a painful muscle pull, Bush reports, and he was at a doctor’s office getting X-Rays instead of offering his trademark “picturesque comments,” as Bush calls them, on what turned out to be a nine-minute fiscal review for analysts and investors of Saga’s first three months of 2021.
An interesting new series of infographic maps attempts one sort of answer to the common question, “Who is making money off of podcasting?”
The maps identify top-earning podcasts by country and by several popular genres.
The company that put them together believes the highest-earning podcast, in the United States and globally, is “The Joe Rogan Experience” with $72.3 million in what it calls “potential earnings.”Click to enlarge.
They think Europe’s top-earning podcast is comedy show “Sh**ged Married Annoyed,” with an estimated annual value of $10.6 million. And the highest-earning business podcast is U.S. show “The GaryVee Audio Experience” with $6.3 million.
The overall global map is fun to browse; click the image at right to see it enlarged. (A link to the full set of maps is at the end of this story.)
These were put together by financial blog Top Dollar Financial Insights Hub, which is part of debt consolidation company Accredited Debt Relief, working with UK-based content marketing agency NeoMam Studios (the latter produces “creative content that online audiences will want to share and journalists will want to write about”).
They did a similar project last year called YouTube Moneymakers, identifying the most popular YouTuber in various countries and estimating their earnings.
in issuing the podcast infographics, they noted that there are an estimated 850,000 active podcasts and 30 million podcast episodes, but that the industry’s revenue is estimated at less than $1 billion dollars right now.
Big media companies like iHeartMedia believe there is a lot more to be made in podcasting, and have made investments in the infrastructure and analytics to build that business, as seen in IHM’s launch of a programmatic “private marketplace” just this week.
Describing their process, the mapmakers say they compiled the top 20 podcasts in various countries across Spotify and Apple lists using Chartable, found the podcasts on Castbox and recorded the number of plays, number of overall episode and the number of episodes in the last 12 months.
“Following the calculation that Castbox sees about 2% of overall plays, Top Dollar multiplied the number of plays by 50 and calculated the number of plays by episode,” the organization stated in a press release.
“The team went on to estimate the potential earnings in the last 12 months by assuming three 60 second ads per episode and taking CPM values from AdvertiseCast.”
It then applied the same process for several specific genres as well.
See all the maps here: https://www.accrediteddebtrelief.com/blog/every-countrys-highest-earning-podcast/.
It’s only a proposal, and you have about a month to have your say with the FCC.
And, your voice may be integral to the prevention of a regulatory fee increase proposed by the Commission.
When Viacom reunified with CBS Corporation, some industry observers may have questioned why the Viacom team — orchestrated by majority shareholder National Amusements, Inc. and one Shari Redstone — was given control over what was once known as Black Rock.
Thursday’s release of ViacomCBS’s Q1 2021 results illustrate just how correct that decision was. Streaming revenue is on fire, and that was a key catalyst for the company during the first three months of 2021.
Getty Images/Mehau Kulyk Science Photo Library
David Bialik consults to stations on their streaming and audio processing. He is an AES Fellow and award-winning leader who has held technical positions with Entercom, CBS, Bloomberg, United Broadcasting, Bonneville International and the National Association of Broadcasters.
This interview originally appeared in the ebook “Trends in Audio Processing for Radio.”
Radio World: What would you say is the most notable trend in processing?
David Bialik: An important development in the use of processors is the awareness that streaming requires different processing than “over-the-air.” While broadcasters want to be the “legally” loudest, streaming does not have to be the loudest, but they can be the clearest; and with commercials originating from various locations, matching loudness levels is extremely important.
The current recommendation from the AES’ recommendation for Streaming Loudness (currently being revised) is –17 LKFS.
Stations (and engineers) are now understanding that one size of processing does not fit all. You should not use the same processing for over-the-air that you do for streams. Use a loudness meter. Orban released a free one that is quite good!
As far as features: Many processors are good and have good features. Bob Orban and Frank Foti have often joked that they make the gun but you do not have to shoot it. Do not process so aggressively that you cannot identify the instruments. You should always be able to hear the cymbals! Ask yourself if the artist wants to hear their audio clipped or not.
RW: How will the cloud and virtualization affect the processing sector?
Bialik: Stations are hoping this will cost less and take up less real estate. Hopefully the benefit of a cloud architecture will create redundancy and eliminate a point of failure.
It also makes your internet connection more important and the need for backup more critical.
RW: With so many people working remotely, what are the implications for managing processing today?
Bialik: Security will be important, of course. Routing will be incredibly important since a station will have to set a “Quality of Service” to guarantee that the audio always has the bandwidth needed.
Stations will want remote facilities to sound the same as studios. Remote users will need good acoustics, and be able to produce high-quality audio — we do not want 1K telephone sound.
RW: Content comes at us from so many locations. What role do loudness and LRA (loudness range) play?
Bialik: This will be more important, especially for streaming where Direct Ad Insertion is being used. You do not want to be listening to content (at –17 LKFS) and then have commercials and interstitials played much louder. I have heard this happen at 6 dB louder at times. You will be knocked off your chair.
RW: Are listeners, especially younger ones, moving toward greater fidelity because of their use of on-demand services and personal downloads?
Bialik: Stations with a good dynamic range will always sound more appealing to the listener.
RW: There are committees at the Audio Engineering Society working on recommendations and guidelines for online audio content. What would you like to see from this work?
Bialik: I am chairing much of this. Loudness issues invite the listener to constantly adjust the level. If they are adjusting one control it is as easy to turn the content off. How will that help the TLH?
RW: AES loudness metrics are moving to a lower target level for content, streams, podcasts and on-demand file transfer, like metrics established for online and over-the-top video. Given current practices, could radio see loss of potential audience due to listener fatigue?
Bialik: I believe the lack of dynamic range will cause listener fatigue. Hopefully the content will have good dynamic range and good loudness levels. The level of audio-only streams is being targeted at –17 LKFS while video is at –24 LKFS. Within the short term future, loudness could be controlled by metadata. Yes we are talking a 7 dB difference. The recording industry is also pushing for –24 LKFS. This allows for more headroom as well.
RW: With new “hybrid” radio platforms coming out, a listener might tune to an FM signal in a market but then drive out of it, with the receiver switching to the station’s online stream. What matching challenges does this present?
Bialik: Stations that have to cover ads and sports blackouts will sound worse.
RW: What else should we know?
Bialik: If everyone say streaming is the future, why not invest in the future now and do the best audio you can?
News, in Spanish, credible news, has become essential to people’s lives.
How is CNN en Español meeting this challenge in the U.S. as a global news organization? SVP and Managing Director Cynthia Hudson shares all with RBR+TVBR Editor-in-Chief Adam R Jacobson in this InFOCUS Podcast, presented by dot.FM.
New growth from new solutions. A new culture, driven by a growth mindset. A compelling financial model.
Those are the key highlights provided in a sleek earnings presentation put together by Nielsen, as it released its first-quarter 2021 results. How did it do? Revenue was up, but did Nielsen beat Wall Street estimates?
Just in time for Mother’s Day is a report that suggests buying a smart speaker for Momma isn’t a good idea. Why? She’s likely already got one, and uses it a lot.
That’s the basis of data analysis of moms and smart speakers from the Edison Research/Triton Digital series The Infinite Dial that also takes info from Edison’s The Social Habit.
Beasley Media Group is headquartered in Southwest Florida, and its stations serving the region stretching from Fort Myers south to Marco Island has just made a flurry of staff promotions.
This includes the naming of a new Program Director at “96 K-Rock,” the venerable personality-based station.
As the Cinco de Mayo Closing Bell rang on Wall Street, Fox Corporation released its fiscal third quarter financial results.
With comparable data to fiscal Q3 2020 difficult, as Fox today isn’t the same company as it was at the start of last year, net income attributable to shareholders came in at $567 million ($0.96 per share). This is up from $78 million ($0.13 per share).
On an adjusted basis, net income dipped to $523 million ($0.88), from $568 million ($0.93), namely due to the absence of a Super Bowl telecast.
What was the contribution of the Fox Television Stations to the mix?