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Nielsen: Podcasts Are the Darling for Advertisers

Nielsen's has released its podcasting report "Nielsen Podcasting Insights: A Marketer's Guide to Podcasting." The medium saw a significant growth in engagement from 2016 to 2017. As a result, podcasts are becoming a darling of advertisers, as well as a trusted source for brands looking to reach consumers. To determine if podcasts are driving results, the report looks at three new product categories from Nielsen's Fanlinks Survey: Juice, Milk, and Cereal, mainstream products that nearly all U.S. consumers buy on a frequent basis.

The report also looks at the increasing role of smartphones in podcast usage along with a summary of Nielsen's brand lift studies conducted specifically for podcast networks. Nielsen's Media lab also looked at podcast increase in purchase intent for a variety of advertisers, including personal care, financial services and recruitment sectors.

The category of cereal, in particular, is a good example of how influential avid podcast listeners can be. Ninety-three percent of all households in Nielsen's Homescan Panel have purchased breakfast cereal in 2017-that's nearly 115 million homes in the U.S. When it comes to podcasting, more than half of all cereal-buying households (62 million homes) indicated that someone in the home is a fan of podcasts.

The average podcast household spends $72.51 per year on cereal while avid podcast fans spend $77.93 per year on cereal (13.4% more than the average household). In total, $4.5 billion dollars were spent in 2017 on cereal among podcast households in the U.S.

Mainstream podcasts in the comedy genre delivered +7.3% brand lift on average while more niche-oriented podcasts in the business category scored a +14% brand lift for a variety of advertisers.

For more information visit www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights.html.

Cumulus/Indianapolis Taps Boomer as Operations Manager

Christopher Layfield
Christopher Layfield

Cumulus Media appoints veteran programming programmer Christopher "Boomer" Layfield as Operations Manager for its three-station group in Indianapolis including Country WFMS-FM, Classic Hits WJJK-FM and Rhythmic CHR WYRG-FM. He'll also handle Program Director duties for WFMS-FM. Layfield succeeds Steve Guittari, who left in January. Layfield heads to Indianapolis from Charlotte, where he was Program Director for iHeartMedia CHR WHQC-FM (Channel 96.1). He's also held programming positions in markets including: St. Louis, Richmond VA, San Diego and Nashville.

Cumulus Media/Indianapolis VP/Market Manager Tom Stemlar said, "We are so lucky to be able to add a programming star of Boomer's caliber to help us continue to outgrow a very competitive Indianapolis radio market."

Layfield added, "Cumulus has assembled quite a talented team in Indianapolis getting great results with a pair of the market's iconic radio brands in Classic Hits WJJK and Country WFMS, as well as the exciting new CHR Energy 93.9. For me, it's a privilege and a thrill to join such a thriving operation in one of America's great cities and work alongside such passionate people to elevate these brands even higher."

Podtrac Rankings Reflect February Audience Decline

The Top 10 Podcast Publishers and Top 20 Podcasts rankings for February, 2018 are out reflecting a decline in U.S. Unique Monthly Audience for each of the Top 10 publishers in February over January. Total Global Unique Streams and Downloads for the group of Top 10 publishers was down 7% in February from January. Total Global Downloads and Streams for the Top 10 Publishers in February, 2018 increased by 108% year-over-year from February, 2017.

FOX Sports Radio Unveils Spring/Summer Weekend Lineup

FOX Sports Radio (FSR) has announced its weekend lineup for the 2018 Spring and Summer sports season. Debuting March 24 and 25, FSR's new weekend roster will feature an ensemble of sports personalities, former players and analysts providing around-the-clock coverage, including game-day previews, analysis and interviews. Joining FSR for the first time, NBA Champion and two-time All-Star Caron Butler will team up with NBA Insider Chris Mannix from 12-3pm ET on Sundays.

"I've always had a great deal of respect for Chris," said Butler. "He came to my home once and told me how passionate he was about the game of basketball - I instantly respected him more. I'm happy to have him as a partner and excited to join the FOX Sports Radio team."

"Caron broke into the NBA around the same time I started writing for Sports Illustrated, and we have been having great basketball conversations ever since," added Mannix. "He's as keen a basketball mind as there is out there, and I look forward to continuing those conversations every week. We couldn't be more excited to join the FOX Sports Radio team."

FSR hosts and FS1 analysts Chris Broussard and Rob Parker partner for the first time for "The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker" on Sundays from 6-9pm. ET. In addition, FSR personality Mark Willard will team up with 14-year NBA veteran and FOX Sports BIG3 Analyst Jim Jackson, who returns for his third season with the Network to breakdown the weekend in sports from 3-6pm ET on Sundays. Willard will also partner with six-year NFL offensive guard Rich Ohrnberger on Saturdays from 4-8pm ET.

Finally, FOX Sports College Sports Insider Aaron Torres joins the Network to co-host Saturday evenings from 11pm-1am ET with FSR's Arnie Spanier.

"After five consecutive months of all-time record listenership to FOX Sports Radio, what better time than now to strengthen our core and get even better," stated Premiere Networks VP/Sports Programming Scott Shapiro. "We are fortunate to have an incredible array of dynamic personalities ready to provide smart, entertaining, and provocative sports talk."

ESPN Radio's Weekday TV Simulcasts Now Have One Home

The TV simulcasts of ESPN Radio's weekday morning "Golic and Wingo" and midday's "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" will join afternoon's "The Will Cain Show" on ESPNEWS beginning Monday, April 2. The move makes the network the TV home of ESPN's three weekday national radio simulcasts.

"We thought it important to bring the ESPN Radio simulcasts together, for one-stop-shopping, as it were, on ESPNEWS," said ESPN Audio Senior VP Traug Keller. "There are benefits in this move for advertisers and viewers alike, and with the other changes to the daily programming on our networks, the time was right."

Iron Imager Contest 2018 Announces Call for Entries

Benztown announces a call for entries for its seventh annual Iron Imager Contest, an international radio imaging contest seeking the World's Best Imager. The contest is open for submissions through the Round 1 Submission Deadline of Monday, April 2. The Iron Imager Contest is open to all radio imaging, production and programming professionals 18 and older, and will be judged by top producers and programmers from the U.S. and around the world.

Challengers will demonstrate their imaging skills using audio ingredients from Benztown's production libraries, paired with contestants' original scripts. Benztown has also committed additional resources to enhance challengers' submissions, offering for free the voice talents of many of its voice talent, including DJ Felli Fel, Brad Hartz, Brian West, Ashley Cavaliere, Issa Lopez and Blaze Berdahl. The contest culminates in a live final round on Thursday, May 3 between the winner of Round 1 and current Iron Imager, Brad Leask, Network Imaging Producer at NOVA Entertainment in Sydney, Australia.

Benztown President Dave "Chachi" Denes said, "If you've had enough of talented good-looking Aussies like Margot Robbie, Liam Hemsworth and Brad Leask getting all of Hollywood 's accolades, you need to submit your demo now."

Leask added, ""Iron Imager is an incredible experience. I can't wait to see who makes it through to take me on. Whoever it is, I'm ready for ya. Come and get it."

To enter and for full contest rules, visit the official Iron Imager Contest 2018 website at www.benztown.com/ironimager.

BBN to Acquire WCPQ-FM/Joliet for $5.09 Million

Bible Broadcasting Network Inc., a non-profit Virginia corporation, has agreed to purchase 50kW Ethnic WCPQ-FM (99.9) licensed to Park Forest, IL, from WCLR Inc., an Illinois corporation for $5.09 million. The station covers Joliet and Kankakee with a fringe signal in Chicago. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the broker in this transaction.

AdLarge's cabana Inks CoS Podcast Ad Sales Deal

AdLarge cabana
AdLarge cabana

AdLarge Media's digital audio division, cabana, announces its newest podcast advertising sales partnership with music and pop culture juggernaut, Consequence of Sound (CoS). Noted for its popular music news blog, CoS is expanding its influence into the audio space with a network of entertainment-centric podcasts that covers the lifestyle spectrum of pop culture, including music, film, television and more.

"Consequence of Sound has an incredible impact on legions of passionate music fans, and adding podcasts is a natural progression," noted AdLarge Media and cabana Co-Founder/Co-CEO Gary Schonfeld. "We're thrilled to represent them and give our advertisers an exciting podcast platform to connect with young and highly engaged audiences."

"It's an incredibly exciting time for podcast networks right now, and AdLarge's cabana is an equally exciting place to be," stated Consequence Podcast Network Director Cap Blackard. "By joining AdLarge's cabana, we want to foster that connection by aligning the right brands with the right listeners in what we hope will be a truly organic experience. People are spending less time online reading and more time listening."

Research Director Releases Enhanced Hot Zip Report

Research Director Inc. announces an upgrade to its Hot Zip Report. Now, in addition to providing stations with data on which market zip codes provide the most listening, the report features an enhanced trending section. Radio outlets will now be able to track listening by zip code over the previous 14 Nielsen surveys. The report also breaks down market listening for each zip code by Cume, AQH and AWTE. The report is available for Nielsen subscribers.

Brian Thomas to Program Atlanta's Kicks 101.5

Brian Thomas
Brian Thomas

Cumulus Media has appointed veteran programmer Brian Thomas as Program Director of Kicks 101.5/WKHX-FM/Atlanta. Thomas was most recently with Cumulus Media-Chicago where he served as Program Director for WLS-FM. Thomas also serves Cumulus as a member of the Corporate Programming Team for the Country format, and is Vice President, Programming, Classic Hits.

Previously, Thomas was Program Director for Cumulus Media's Country station in New York City, NASH FM 94.7/WNSH-FM. Prior to joining Cumulus, he was National Vice President of Classic Hits programming for CBS Radio. He was also Program Director of Country WQYK-FM and Classic Hits WRBQ-FM, and Vice President, Programming for CBS Radio in Tampa.

"I am thrilled to have Brian join our team," said Sean Shannon, VP/MM Cumulus Media-Atlanta. "His knowledge and his passion for Country is contagious. I can't wait to see what he can do with this legendary brand."

Louie Diaz, Operations Manager, Cumulus Media-Atlanta, said, "It's an exciting time for us, and Kicks 101.5. Atlanta is ready for Brian. Time to turn it up!"

"It was always my dream to program WLS-FM in Chicago, but I started in Country and everyone knows I love it," said Thomas. "And although I am Corporate Program Director for Country at Cumulus, it's not the same as having a Country station down the hall. I'm beyond thrilled that Sean Shannon, Mike McVay and Charlie Cook have confidence in me to program KICKS, one of America's leading Country stations. And looking forward to working with Louie Diaz and the team at Cumulus Atlanta!

Veteran Programmer Linder Appointed WLS-FM Chicago PD

Wade Linder
Wade Linder

Veteran radio programmer Wade Linder is appointed Program Director for Classic Hits WLS-FM/Chicago. He moves to WLS-FM from WLUP-FM, where he has served as Program Director since June, 2014. Prior to that, Linder was PD for KXXR-FM in Minneapolis, a station he programmed for nearly 20 years. Linder began his radio career in 1990 at KQRS-FM/Minneapolis, where he was Music Director and Assistant Program Director. He went on to launch KEGE-FM/Minneapolis in 1994, prior to signing on at KXXR-FM.

Cumulus Media/Chicago VP/Market Manager Marv Nyren said, "Having the luxury of replacing a premiere Program Director like Brian Thomas with Wade Linder doesn't happen often. We are most fortunate to be able to move Wade from WLUP-FM to the Program Director's role at WLS-FM. This allows us the opportunity to continue growing upon the heritage and recent success of 94.7 and to keep one of the country's most talented PD's in our cluster."

Executive VP/Content & Programming Mike McVay added, "It is rare that a market has as many strong programmers in one building as does Cumulus Chicago. We're excited to be able to take advantage of Wade's skills and experience and use him as the growth of WLS-FM continues."

Linder said. "I am thankful for the opportunity to keep doing what I love - Radio, at another great Chicago brand, WLS-FM. There are a lot of talented and passionate people who want to win here. The future looks bright."

Westwood One Adds Radio Veteran Paul Joseph as VP/PO&C

Paul Joseph
Paul Joseph

Westwood One hires veteran media executive Paul Joseph in the newly-created role of VP/Program Operations and Content, for its Music and Entertainment division. He'll be based in Culver City, CA and reports to Senir VP/GM, Music and Entertainment Susan Stephens. Joseph joins Westwood One from Cumulus Media/Los Angeles. Before that, he was the creator and executive producer for IMG's The Source, where he secured IMG's 12,000 roster of stars with their own radio hour on satellite radio.

Joseph was also the creator and executive producer of "The Radio Music Awards" on ABC-TV/NBC-TV, consultant and executive producer of "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" at KIIS-FM/Los Angeles, Executive producer of "American Top 40," Executive producer of "Rick Dees in the Morning" at KIIS-FM, producer of KIIS-FM's Unite, Wango Tango, and Jingle Ball events and writer/producer of "Into the Night" for ABC late night television.

"There is no doubt that Paul is a star and a mentor that makes magic happen," said Stephens. "His expertise will be invaluable to our roster of talent and producers as he works one-on-one with our team to help each person and show achieve their personal best. Investment in talent and programming is priority at Westwood One, and this strategic hire is another example of our commitment to great content and employee growth."

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the amazing Westwood One team," added Joseph. "Our goal is to strengthen programming and content across the platforms by using all the tremendous assets of Westwood One and Cumulus Media, including Zach Sang, the brightest young star in radio. Many thanks to Suzanne Grimes, Charles Steinhauer, Kirk Stirland, Susan Stephens, and, of course, Mike McVay for their confidence and support. Let's Rock."

Cumulus Ups Jim Kurdziel to Regional VP/P Rock

Jim Kurdziel
Jim Kurdziel

Cumulus Media promotes veteran Rock programmer Jim Kurdziel to Regional VP/Programming, Rock overseeing the Rock and Alternative formats for the company's stations in the Northeastern U.S. Kurdziel will continue to serve as Program Director and midday personality for WEDG-FM (103.3 The Edge)/Buffalo. In his new role, Kurdziel will support stations in Buffalo, Syracuse, Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre, Saginaw MI, New Orleans and Appleton WI.

Executive VP/Content & Programming Mike McVay said, "Jim has shown his ability to program successfully. His track record speaks for itself. We're excited to expand his role and take advantage of his success and experience."

VP/Programming, Rock Troy Hanson added, "We are incredibly proud of Jim for this well-deserved promotion. He is a natural leader. It is a true recognition of his skills, talents and commitment to excellence. And that's just his hair."

Kurdziel said, "It's hard for me to put into words how much this means to me. To have Mike McVay, John Dimick and Doug Hamand believe in me is humbling and I don't know what I can say about Troy (that he won't make fun of me for saying). He doesn't like getting credit or attention, but to put it simply, he's made a lot of lives and careers better, especially mine."

iHM/Chicago Names Echo Robinson Director of M&P

Echo Robinson
Echo Robinson

Echo Robinson is appoints Director of Marketing and Promotions for iHeartMedia's Chicago region, effective immediately. She joined iHM's Chicago Region in 1995 and steadily progressed from Intern to Senior Promotions Coordinator before her appointment to Promotions Director in 2001. Robinson is graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

"Echo's wealth of experience and expertise makes her the perfect choice for this position," said iHeartMedia Chicago Region President Matt Scarano.

"I was blessed to have the opportunity to start my media journey at iHeartMedia Chicago," added Robinson. "I am grateful and excited to venture into the next phase of my career with such an amazing company."

Triton Digital Expands Compliance/Industry Relations

Triton Digital
Triton Digital

Triton Digital names Mickey Bhuiyan as Senior Manager, Compliance and Industry Relations. A certified public accountant, certified internal auditor, certified fraud examiner and a chartered global management accountant, Bhuiyan brings to Triton more than 20 years of compliance, audit, finance and forensic investigations experience at a number of industry leading organizations. He served in roles such as Chief Internal Auditor at CBG (a joint venture between Rio Tinto Alcan and Alcoa), Senior Consultant of Legal and Compliance at Standard Life Canada (Manulife) and Manager, Financial Evaluations at Air Canada.

In his new role, Bhuiyan will drive the expansion and maintenance of internal controls, audits, standards and processes of the Webcast Metrics product suite that Triton Digital provides to the audio industry. In addition to managing and conducting audit and compliance activities, Bhuiyan will also represent Triton Digital in a number of industry committees and working groups.

"Providing trustworthy, comprehensive audience listening data remains a top priority for our organization, and a responsibility that we take seriously" said Triton Digital CEO Neal Schore. "A proven expert in compliance with extensive experience in operational, investigative and value-add audits, Mickey will undoubtedly be a tremendous asset to our growing team that is committed to driving the growth of the digital audio industry through the continuous development and innovation of the industry's most trusted audience measurement services."

SonicAi, Jacobs Release Free Smart Speaker eBook


SonicAi, the strategic audio partnership between Amplifi Media and Jacobs Media Strategies, has released an eBook on how media companies and brands can best utilize audio to take advantage of the smart speaker explosion. "Look Ma, No Hands!" combines research from Jacobs Media's Techsurvey 2018 and other sources with Fred Jacobs and Steve Goldstein sharing their experience in creating audio by addressing five key areas:

  1. Why you need a voice strategy and not just a skill.
  2. How is that skill working?
  3. How will your skill stand out and be used?
  4. Building "sticky" skills.
  5. How to market and monetize skills.
According to Jacobs Media Strategies President Fred Jacobs, "We're learning there's more to winning in this space than just launching skills. Brands need a coherent audio strategy. We hope the eBook is a good start."

"Brand managers need to do more than just check off the Alexa box. ‘Look Ma, No Hands!' is a primer that every management team can benefit from in developing a voice-first strategy," noted Amplifi Media President Steve Goldstein.

The free eBook is available at www.sonicai.com.

Pamal Broadcasting Launches ALT104.9 in Albany NY


Pamal's Albany Broadcasting launches an Albany-based Alternative outlet, flipping Sports WINU-FM (Win 104.9) to "ALT 104.9" with a playlist featuring the latest alternative hits and longtime favorites. The station is celebrating its launch by focusing on the music first by playing 10,000 back-to-back songs 100% commercial free. Listeners can also connect to the station at alt1049albany.com and ALT104.9 on Facebook.

"As a locally owned and operated company, Albany Broadcasting always has its finger on the pulse of what the listeners in the Albany market are seeking and we identified the need for an Albany based new alternative format," said General Manager A.J. Bodden. "Broadcast radio remains the #1 medium as it relates to new music discovery and Albany Broadcasting is thrilled to be in a position to now give that opportunity to alternative listeners in Albany. My team and I, along with our local ownership, could not be more proud to be launching this new format and filling a void that has existed here for a long time."

Changes & Moves
Chuck Powell
Chuck Powell
KJR-AM (Sports Radio 950)/Seattle will debut of the new "Chuck and Buck" in mornings and Jason Puckett in middays, effective March 26. Chuck and Buck will air weekdays from 6-10am More

Quick Snaps
Westwood One: Laura Okmin co-hosted Westwood One's Today in PyeongChang, a nightly two-hour live broadcast that airs each day and providing coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games. Pictured is Okmin with alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, who won a bronze medal in the downhill.