In a memo to Emmis Communications staffers today, 598 employees qualified under the company’s two-year Employee Retention Plan & Trust learned that their net worth has just increased. The memo delivered jointly by company founder/CEO Jeff Smulyan and and EVP/CFO/COO Pat Welsh stated: “We hope you are pleased with this long-awaited award. Emmis prides itself on valuing its employees’ dedication and commitment, and our stellar performance over the past few years shows the difference that extraordinarily talented and dedicated employees can make. This is a token of our appreciation and reward for your efforts over the last several years.” Created during some economic rough seas two years ago, the memo also acknowledges, “It is no secret that the Plan helped Emmis to address issues with the preferred stock. You’ve probably read about that in the industry trades. However, our Board also created the Plan to recognize your contributions and sacrifices since the recession, and to reward those of you who continued to stay with the company as the economy got better.” Examples show eligible employees making a $30k annual salary will get 1,105 share of Emmis Communications common stock, or just over $3,600 at current market value. Those making $40K will see 1,480 shares, valued at just over $4,900, and those making $50k-plus will receive 1,841 shares, worth just around $6,100. The plan, which will distribute on April 2nd, excluded executive officers and and capped the level of salary credit at $50k. The values noted are estimates subject to market fluctuations and taxes. Among the company’s owned and operated stations is Emmis’ hometown heritage News/Talker WIBC/Indianapolis.
Mark Ramsey, namesake of Mark Ramsey Media asks, ”Wouldn’t it be great if radio had its own version of SXSW? A place for the cool kids in and around the audio space to meet and play together?” Ramsey reports that his 2nd annual Hivio — billed as ”the audio future festival”– will be just that. Taking place on June 4th in San Diego, once again Hivio will be free and held in “a funky warehouse in downtown San Diego.” The event will be streamed free and will feature an anything-but-the-usual-suspects lineup of intimate one-on-one conversations with a diverse group of guests including: Tim Sabean, SVP/Entertainment and Comedy at SiriusXM; Emma Coats, filmmaker and former Pixar story artist; Andrea Russett, YouTube phenomenon and radio talent and her General Manager Phil Becker; Doug Sterne, VP of Audio Sales for Pandora; Craig Bruce, Head of Content for Southern Cross Austereo; Mark Middo, “Growth Hacker” and author of the book 5 Minute Business; Robert Rose, Chief Strategist of the Content Marketing Institute; Ric Militi, CEO of ‘anti-agency’ InnoVision LLC; J.D. Heilpren, founder of the disruptive mobile audio platform AGOGO; Rob Greenlee, CTO of PodcastOne; and an exclusive opening video from social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk. Ramsey reminds you that the only way to get a seat at Hivio is to put your name in the hat to get on the list — keeping in mind that about eight times as many people wanted to attend last year’s Hivio as there were seats! Register early for your chance to take part in a fresh look at the media biz and enjoy a great day in America’s Finest City HERE.
Compass Media Networks teams with Connoisseur Media to syndicate a new nightly caller-driven relationship program hosted by Dr. Laura Berman (pictured). Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman will air from 9pm-midnight (ET), Monday-Friday … From our “Not Exactly Talk Media News” Department: All of us here at NTS MediaOnline Today send our very best wishes for a speedy recovery to the one-and-only Shotgun Tom Kelly, who recently underwent successful quadruple heart bypass surgery. ‘The Gunner’ is expected to be back at the helm of his long-running afternoon drive show at K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles soon … New York Public Radio has received a $10 million grant from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. The gift is reported to be the largest single gift ever made to a public radio station. New York Public Radio operates WNYC, WQXR and New Jersey Public Radio and is one of the largest producers of nationally distributed public radio programming … The New York Mets and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment have confirmed that Seth Everett will join the radio broadcast team for Mets games broadcasts on WOR/New York, the team’s new radio home. Everett, most recently with FOX Sports Radio and crosstown WINS, will host a 30-minute pre- and post-game show before and after every Mets regular season game. As previously announced, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin are teaming up for their third season together as the play-by-play announcers for Mets games … Condolences: To the family, friends and colleagues of longtime radio executive and air personality Jack Roberts, who died Friday (3/7) after a lengthy illness. He was 62. During his extensive career in broadcasting, Roberts worked as an on-air personality, producer, program director, and general manager. Most recently serving as Executive Producer of CRN Digital Talk Radio programming and host of the CRN morning program, What’s Cooking Today?, Roberts’ radio career resume included stints at WRKO/Boston, WPRO/Providence, WDRC/Hartford and WWRC/Washington. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Southern California Broadcasters Association President Thom Callahan reaches out with an alert about a new radio commercial produced for Kingsford Charcoal that violates the FCC’s guidelines for Emergency Alert System (EAS) tones. “It was to start on Monday (3/10) on many of our member stations,” Callahan told NTS MediaOnline Today. “The spot tries to mimic an EAS alert. We have told SCBA member stations in Southern California not to air these spots, but that may not be the case for all U.S. markets.” Callahan (pictured) says that the agency for Kingsford is creating a new commercial for Southern California stations, but says he senses there are other markets that may already be ignoring a possible FCC fine and violation by airing the offending spot. “Don’t mess with EAS, its alert tone, or warning system,” he warns. “Periodically, ad agencies or broadcasters come up with the idea to attract attention to an advertisement by using the EAS warning tones, or police sirens, or other emergency sound effects. The FCC has frequently warned that this practice is off limits and made it clear that the EAS is a national public warning system to be used only during a national emergency, or to deliver important emergency information such as Amber Alerts and weather information, like tornado warnings, targeted to specific areas.” To that we add this simple advice: Forewarned is forearmed.
Broadcast and network radio veteran Tony Garcia, most recently an executive with RegionalHelpWanted.com, is getting set to launch a new venture. Garcia, well-known to many in the Talk radio biz for his years as Director of Syndication for Greater Media/Charlotte’s Bob & Sheri and Matt & Ramona shows and other projects, tell NTS MediaOnline Today he plans to remain in Denver, the city he relocated to a back in 2010 to join onTargetJobs, the parent company that purchased RegionalHelpWanted from Eric Straus. Straus announced this week that he is buying back that company and moving it back to its original headquarters in New York State’s Hudson Valley region. Look for Garcia to formally announce soon that he’ll hang out his own shingle and offer his considerable consulting, marketing, distribution and affiliate relations skills to selected shows and personalities aspiring to be syndicated. Industry friends and those interested in seeking Tony’s professional advice can reach him HERE.
Boston Talk radio veteran Howie Carr took to Twitter to announce that he’s been elected to public office even though he didn’t campaign, or even know he’d won. The WRKO afternoon host was elected to represent Precinct F on the Wellesley Town Meeting courtesy of an unsolicited write-in vote. “I am now an elected official“ tweeted Carr, along with a picture showing the official notification showing the 40 write-in mandate that swept him into office … NTS MediaOnline Today congratulates WestwoodOne syndicated Talk radio host Mark Levin (pictured/center) on being honored with the first annual Citizens United Andrew Brietbart Defender of the First Amendment Award at the 2014 CPAC in Washington, DC. In accepting the award Levin praised the late Andrew Breitbart as a “happy warrior” and added, “But I’m a pissed off warrior, quite frankly, and I don’t make any bones about it.” Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak has the full story from yesterday’s (3/6) event HERE … Mark LaNeve has joined Entercom’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. LaNeve has served since 2012 as COO of WPP’s Global Team Ford, an agency that serves as the marketing and advertising partner to Ford and Lincoln businesses globally.
The 2014 edition of The Infinite Dial, the 22nd study in the long-running series of research reports on consumer adoption of digital media from Edison Research and Triton Digital, covers a wide variety of topics, with new research findings on online radio, smartphones, podcasting, social media and more. Among some of the findings: A “vast majority” of respondents to both AM/FM radio and Internet Radio report that commercials are “a fair price to pay for free audio content.” However, among listeners to both AM/FM and Internet Radio, researchers found that commercials on broadcast radio are perceived as “more plentiful and intrusive,” but also more “relevant” than online spots.” When asked if an FM tuner in cell phones could lead to increased listening among AM/FM radio listeners, 64% of respondents replied the option would have “no effect” on their listening habits, with just 17% saying it would make them listen “a lot more than you listen now,” and 16% reporting the option could make them listen “a little more than you do now.” This year’s Infinite Dial also found that AM/FM radio continues to be the dominant in-car listening platform, with 86% of respondents reporting listening to broadcast radio while driving, compared to just 17% for satellite radio and 14% for online radio. See more details from the latest project HERE.
Noreen Ippolito has been named VP/Sales for Clear Channel Media & Entertainment/San Diego, where she’ll oversee sales for the company’s seven radio stations in America’s Finest City including heritage News/Talker KOGO and Sports/Talk KLSD. She succeeds Sean Johnson who recently left the cluster to produce The Home Pro Show, a brokered weekend talk show that airs on KOGO … Mark Rosenthal, who has been overseeing the Katz Radio Group since last summer, is upped to CEO of Clear Channel-owned Katz Media Group, adding oversight responsibilities for the Katz Television Group. In his expanded role, Rosenthal will report to CC President/CFO Rich Bressler … Former Goldman Sachs executive Art Reimers has announced he will step down from the Board of Cumulus Media at the end of his current term … Condolences: To the family and friends of legendary radio and TV personality Geoff Edwards, who has died at the age of 83 following complications from pneumonia. While a well-known voice on the west coast from his stints at L.A. radio stations KFI and KMPC, Edwards (pictured) is best know across the country as the host of a number of popular 1970s and 80s TV game shows including Jackpot! and Treasure Hunt. More on Edwards’ colorful media career from People magazine HERE.
In a memo to employees, Buckley Broadcasting President/CEO Joe Bilotta confirmed today that the company is selling its Connecticut radio stations to Westport, CT-based Connoisseur Media. The deal includes heritage News/Talk WDRC-AM/Hartford and its Classic Hits sister WDRC-FM, along with News/Talkers WMMW/Meriden, WWCO/Waterbury and WSNG/Torrington. “After much reflection and discussion, the Board of Trustees has decided that the reality of the evolving competitive landscape are cause for a change in the ownership of our Connecticut properties.” Billotta (pictured) wrote in the statement to the stations’ staffers. “With this acquisition, Connoisseur will be the leading radio broadcaster in the State of Connecticut and they are very excited to have the Buckley stations as part of their growing company.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the sale of the Connecticut stations, along with the previous sale of WOR/New York to Clear Channel, Buckley’s remaining owned and operated radio stations — including News/Talk KNZR-AM&FM/Bakersfield and Sports/Talk KIDD/Monterey – are all located in California.
ABC News Radio welcomes WBT-AM & FM/Charlotte as the network’s latest affiliate. ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones told staffers in a memo that bringing the Greater Media News/Talker “back into the ABC News family is the result of the terrific journalism we create and the outstanding affiliate service we provide 24/7.” The news comes on the heels of the signing of another legendary News/Talker, KOA/Denver, to the network’s affiliate roster. ABC News Radio is syndicated via Cumulus Media-owned WestwoodOne … Talk Radio On TV: Look for WYD Media Management syndicated talk host Leslie Marshall when she joins Megyn Kelly (pictured) tomorrow night on FOX News Channel’s The Kelly File at 9pm (ET) … Adam Symson, SVP and Chief Digital Officer for The E.W. Scripps Co., was honored last night with the 2014 Borrell Award of Merit during Borrell’s annual Local Online Advertising Conference in New York City. The honor, also known as the Innovator’s Award, is bestowed on “an executive who has taken an innovative and measurably successful path to help his or her local media company in its digital transformation.”