Radio+Television Business Report
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.
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.
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.
The latest Spot Ten TV report as measured by Media Monitors finds that one brick-and-mortar retailer is using spot television to reach audiences than any of its competitors.
It makes Target the lone member of its category on a chart dominated by auto insurance specialists.
The latest Media Monitors Spot Ten Radio report is out, and for the week ending Feb. 28, there’s not much movement among advertisers using national radio to reach consumers.
That’s actually good news, as this demonstrates brand consistency. Progressive remains the No. 1 paid brand, with more than 57,000 spot plays. Babbel is also a key user of spot radio, as are Indeed and Bank of America-owned Merrill.
New this week: Pfizer, a maker of the approved COVID-19 vaccinations.
It began broadcasting on Christmas Eve 1925. It may be the only radio station audible, after dark, on a radio in locales as diverse as Los Angeles, Orlando and Hartford.
In 2021, however, the might of a 50kw Class A clear channel signal on the AM isn’t what it used to be. That explains why, starting March 22, one of America’s most recognized radio stations will be gaining a 250-watt FM translator superserving this station’s home market.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The NAB has launched a new volunteer initiative designed to “enhance communication” between broadcast media’s biggest lobbying organization and its member stations’ employees at all levels.
The association says its Broadcast Ambassador Program ensures stations are taking full advantage of the benefits that come with NAB membership.
“Broadcast ambassadors” have a direct line of communication with NAB staff, who share timely information on benefits ranging from professional growth opportunities and advocacy updates to human resources tools and technical expertise. The ambassadors in turn share this information with interested colleagues to ensure all levels of the company are reaping the benefits of NAB membership.
Those with a desire to build relationships with colleagues, communicate on behalf of NAB and provide valuable member insights are encouraged to apply or nominate an individual. Ambassadorships are open to those in non-executive or general management positions in NAB member organizations, and the application process is ongoing.
“We are excited to enrich relationships with our members through this new ambassador program,” NAB EVP/Industry Affairs April Carty-Sipp said. “Ambassadors will complement our board of directors in helping to shape NAB’s goals to meet the industry’s evolving needs.”
Broadcast Ambassadors are distinguished representatives for their station or group working directly with NAB to meet the needs of the member company. They provide important updates and help shape new NAB initiatives and benefits by providing feedback and member insight.
As a critical point-of-contact, Broadcast Ambassadors offer guidance and information on NAB events, educational offerings, advocacy initiatives and other membership benefits. They also update their colleagues and leadership on NAB’s work on behalf of local broadcasters.
Participants will be featured in NAB Member News and receive industry-wide recognition for their participation in the program. They also have the opportunity to network and engage with broadcasters throughout the industry.
All candidates must receive a recommendation from an NAB member station or group executive. For more information, contact email@example.com.
LOS ANGELES — She’s been EVP/General Manager of Horizon Media’s Century City-based operation since 2012 and joined the ad buying giant in October 2009 after two years as SVP/Communications and Planning Director at Universal McCann.
In her time at Horizon, she was responsible for a diverse portfolio of client business including Corona Beer, Jack in the Box, STX and ABC.
Today, the media and advertising worlds are mourning the loss of Serena Duff.
He spent more than 20 years in key positions with WarnerMedia and predecessor Turner Broadcasting, where he created and led dozens of nationally recognized products including the Watch TCM steaming service and TCM.com.
Now, this esteemed industry veteran is joining The E.W. Scripps Co. to lead its newly expanded national television business’ digital efforts.
Selected by Cincinnati-based Scripps for the role is Richard Steiner.
He’ll be responsible for developing, directing and managing the digital strategy for Scripps’ new national networks, including oversight for OTT, AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, web and mobile
Steiner reports to Scripps networks COO and entertainment head Jonathan Katz; Scripps’ national assets are comprised of the former Katz Networks and ION Media properties.
At WarnerMedia and Turner, Steiner rose to SVP/Digital, developing and launching Turner’s Turner’s first entertainment-focused direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service, FilmStruck. Steiner also developed TVEverywhere (TVE) and multi-platform strategies for digital activation and new media for TCM, TNT and TBS; created and supported e-commerce initiatives, and developed web and mobile products. Earlier, Steiner was Turner’s VP/Digital Activation.
Before joining Turner, Steiner evaluated programming titles for acquisitions for the Starz Encore Group.
“Richard is a visionary,” Jonathan Katz said. “As a proven innovator in developing world-class streaming products, he’s the perfect leader to help the Scripps Networks leverage the popularity of our content and brands to serve diverse audiences across OTT and connected devices.”
As recently as December 21, 2020, public relations firm NRPR Group was busily pitching opportunities to chat with Charlie Nooney, CEO of MobiTV, on how cable television companies “can maintain its relevance” in the coming years as subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) continues to gain market share.
Now, NRPR and Nooney are fielding calls of a whole other nature: the pioneering Emeryville, Calif.-based company is voluntarily reorganizing by seeking federal bankruptcy protection.
It’s Tuesday morning in Guam, a U.S. territory much closer to Tokyo and Manila than Tenleytown, in Northwest Washington D.C., or McLean, Va.
Yet, veteran communications law expert and Jacksonville, Fla.-based attorney John Wells King is well versed on the Hagatña radio scene. That’s because he’s the legal counsel for a licensee that’s parting ways with an AM on the Pacific island taken silent last year.
The incoming licensee? A broadcast ministry seeking donations for a new transmitter for its station serving Saipan, in the nearby U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Matrix Solutions’ Monarch Media Ad Sales Platform is now in place at one of the nation’s biggest owners of both radio and television stations.
As such, the company will now have what Matrix calls “complete visibility into their aggregated data while also providing extensive CRM capabilities and media intelligence designed to increase revenue opportunities and extend operational efficiencies.”
When financial historians look back at the final three months of 2020 and take a microscope to the broadcast media sector, they’ll likely notice one very clear delineation point between those companies focused on audio content and their brethren with a lens on visual fare.
Radio station owners, even with political bumps that bolstered earnings, still suffered from steep double-digit revenue and profit dips in Q4.
Television station owners, thanks largely to retransmission consent fees and political ad dollars, took to their collective surfboards and collectively rode the high surf caused by COVID-19 across October, November and December 2020.
Add TEGNA to the list of companies that navigated the waves smoothly.