Many NTS MediaOnline Today expressed surprise upon receiving our ‘Breaking News’ email yesterday (7/19) reporting that Beasley Broadcast Group has entered into a “definitive agreement” to acquire Greater Media. The transaction, which has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both Beasley and Greater Media, is subject to FCC and other regulatory approvals as well as customary closing conditions. In connection with the acquisition, Beasley will initially acquire 21 radio stations in seven markets including four new markets (Detroit, MI; Middlesex, NJ; Monmouth, NJ; and, Morristown, NJ) and three markets where the Company has existing operations (Philadelphia; Boston; and Charlotte, NC). Upon closing, Beasley’s portfolio of stations that it owns and operates (prior to planned divestitures) is expected to expand to 73 stations (52 FM and 21 AM) in 16 markets. The company reports the acquisition of Greater Media will also push Beasley’s station ownership rankings from 17th to 9th in the nation, based on 2015 revenue numbers.
Commenting on the just announced deal to acquire Greater Media’s radio assets, Caroline Beasley (left) — Interim CEO and CFO of Beasley Broadcast Group — said, “The acquisition of Greater Media’s broadcasting and related digital assets represents a transformational growth opportunity for Beasley and is strategically and financially compelling for our shareholders. The transaction increases our broadcast portfolio by approximately 40% and more than doubles our audience reach, giving us both market leading stations and great brands. Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 55-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of providing our local communities with great entertainment and critical information, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. Similarly, Greater Media and the Bordes family have a 60-year track record of serving local communities and developing new technology and services to improve media communications. A focus on strong core programming and targeted localism has been the foundation of both companies’ operating philosophies, ratings strength and market leadership. As such, we intend to implement our proven strategy of focusing on local programming and effective digital media marketing solutions across the two companies as well as best practices from our existing operations with those from Greater Media.”
On the other side of the Beasley/Greater Media deal, Peter Smyth (right) — Chairman and CEO of Greater Media — commented, “We share with Beasley a common appreciation for the enduring strength of local radio broadcasting and we are delighted that our stations will become part of Beasley’s expanded footprint. As part of the Beasley portfolio, we believe our stations will be positioned extremely well for future growth and that our team members, customers and the communities we serve will continue to thrive. Our employees have provided the skills and talent necessary to drive our ongoing growth and success over the years and we are proud of this heritage. I am thankful for their hard work and dedication and am confident they will continue to make many valuable contributions as part of a larger organization. I look forward to working with the Beasley team to bring our companies together to realize the power of this compelling combination and ensure a smooth transition.”
Politico.com’s Darren Samuelsohn takes a look back at the Talk radio days of Indiana Governor Mike Pence (left) in the 1990s, and how that experience helped shape the GOP’s 2016 Vice Presidential candidate. “Pence the radio host partnered his screeds against Bill Clinton with pot shots at Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott. The result was a political figure still as stolid as a small-town banker but with a surgeon’s feel for the anti-Washington feelings of the grass-roots midwest — a tea party conservative before there was a tea party,” writes Samuelsohn. Read the full story HERE … Venerable New York City News/Talker WOR 710 AM can now also be heard on FM HD at 104.3 HD2 (WAXQ). The FM simulcast includes all of the iHeartMedia station’s programming, including New York Mets baseball play-by-play … Cox Media Group/Tulsa promotes Mary Garcia to Digital Sales Manager. Garcia joined the stations last year as a Digital Sales Specialist, following a stint at ad agency Sq1. She began her digital advertising career in Dallas as a Senior Digital Analyst at ReachLocal.
iHeartMedia has staked its claim to the New York skyline with its new presence on one of the city’s most iconic billboards, high atop the old Ruppert Ice House, overlooking the Triboro/RFK Bridge leading into Manhattan and out of The Bronx. The billboard displays the company’s nationally-recognized iHeartRadio logo and is one of only eight brands to grace the historic billboard over the last 80 years. Over 8,000 square feet (the size of 12 traditional roadside billboards) in size, and visible for miles from various vantage points around the city, the billboard will also display a digital LED screen that promotes iHeartMedia’s New York City radio stations (including News/Talk WOR) and upcoming iHM events. The now Clear Channel Outdoor America-owned billboard and the building it stands atop have a long history that dates back to the 1920s.
NTS MediaOnline Today sends out our sincere congratulations to Midwest Communications President/CEO Duke Wright on being honored with the 2016 Rockwell Award earlier today, on the final day of Conclave 41 in Minneapolis. The annual award recognizes “individuals who have contributed to the industry as an inspirational leader, and a person of great accomplishment” … A reminder that tickets for this year’s National Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and celebration, to be held on November 17th at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, are now on sale. Secure your tickets for the black-tie optional event HERE … The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) will honor Gray Television Director of Talent Development Jeffrey Marks with RTDNA’s 2016 John F. Hogan Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes an individual’s contributions to the journalism profession and freedom of the press. Marks became known worldwide in the wake of the shooting of two news journalists on live television during his tenure as GM at WDBJ-TV/Roanoke, VA. Marks will be honored on September 19th during RTDNA’s Excellence in Journalism 2016 conference in New Orleans.
iHeartMedia partners with with Libsyn (Liberated Syndication), to bring the podcast hosting network’s more than 28,000 podcasts to iHM’s digital and streaming media platform … Weekly Standard editor and ABC News contributor Bill Kristol (right) is teaming up with PodcastOne to launch The Kristol Clear Podcast. Kristol will be joined by Media DC Creative Director and Talk radio veteran Michael Graham for the unedited and unplugged weekly conversation about politics, with weekly updates posted Friday’s at PodcastOne.com and the PodcacstOne app, WeeklyStandard.com and iTunes … Mr. Skin of MrSkin.com — “the world’s #1 resource for celebrity nudity” — launches the official Mr. Skin Podcast. Hosted by Jim ‘Mr. Skin’ McBride, stand-up comic Jimmy Failla and Playboy model Andrea Lowell, new updates of the hour-long podcast will post every Tuesday at MrSkin.com, Soundcloud, the Google Play app, and iTunes.
Talk 99.5’s (WAPI-AM-WZRR-FM/Birmingham) Matt & Aunie Show co-hosts Matt Murphy and Andrea ‘Aunie’ Lindenberg (pictured) are giving away a Bushmaster XM15 rifle — described as a “sister weapon” to the controversial AR15. Murphy told AL.com’s Ivana Hrynklw the duo wanted to promote the giveaway as “a way to break down some of the miscellaneous beliefs about this type of gun.” The prize will be awarded as a gift certificate to a local licensed gun dealer, where the winner will have to undergo all background checks and necessary requirements to be allowed to purchase a gun in Alabama. Read more HERE … Red Zebra Broadcasting Sports/Talker ESPN 980 (WTEM/Washington, DC) adds NFL Hall of Famer John Riggins to the official Washington Redskins Pregame Show. Riggins, Super Bowl XVII’s Most Valuable Player, will team with ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan in the lead-up to Redskins’ football games … iHeartMedia has inked an agreement with NPR that will allow its 260+ member stations to make their live News/Talk programming available via iHeartRadio, iHM’s digital radio and streaming platform. All NPR stations that join iHeartRadio will also have access to 50% of their individual iHeartRadio landing page’s digital banner inventory to encourage listeners to donate and directly support the station’s public programming … WYM Media Management reports that Herman Cain will be among those to broadcast his nationally syndicated WSB/Atlanta-based talk show, live from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland all next week … PodcastOne has launched The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast, co-hosted by blogger and digital influencer Lauryn Evarts and her husband Michael Bosstick. New episodes will be posted every Tuesday at PodcastOne.com and iTunes.
While recent research from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) shows a record number of minority and women TV News Directors, as well as a record number of women in television news, the report also says minority numbers in radio newsrooms have slipped year-to-year. Radio’s minority workforce fell by 0.4%, with African Americans and Native Americans dropping, Hispanics rising, and Asian Americans holding steady. Offering some good news for radio, RTDNA says the percentage of minority News Directors in radio rebounded from a drop last year (up almost two and a half points), with the percentage of women radio News Directors up by more than 4 points. Read more details and see infographics from the report HERE.
Cumulus Media/Knoxville has appointed broadcast management veteran Jeff Jarnigan as Operations Manager of the Tennessee cluster that includes NewsTalk 98 WOKI, AM 990 & FM 99.1 SportsRadio WNML and legendary Country station WIVK-FM. Jarnigan brings over 30 years of radio broadcasting experience in the Knoxville market and more than 20 years of background in programming management to his new job. “We’re thrilled to add someone of Jeff’s reputation and experience to lead our outstanding programming team,” said Ken Salyer, VP/Market Manager for Cumulus’ Knoxville operation. “His knowledge of our stations, market, and region are invaluable, as is his passion for our industry and community.” Commenting on his new gig Jarnigan (pictured) — who most recently served as Assistant GM for East Tennessee PBS and sports a radio resume that includes stints with Citadel Broadcasting, Journal Broadcasting and South Central Media — added, “These radio stations are each dominant in their respective formats and have defined success in East Tennessee radio for decades. I’m excited to partner with the station teams to continue that success and drive their future growth.”