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Sports Radio Tuning Tied to Baseball Opening Day

MLB Opening Day
MLB Opening Day
As the oldest professional sporting league in America, baseball has been around since before the advent of radio. The first radio broadcast took place on KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh in 1920, and a year later the first baseball game on the radio also aired on the station -- a Pirates-Phillies affair. That year (1921) also marked the first year that the World Series was carried on the radio. Fast forward to today and PPM numbers confirm that people still tune in for baseball.

Nielsen's PPM ratings for April confirm a seasonal increase in listening to sports radio stations when the major league season gets underway. Each year, the All Sports format's audience share peaks in the fall when football kicks off and the World Series takes place, remains strong through the end of the NFL playoffs and then spikes again in the spring around opening day.

This year, Major League Baseball's opening day -- March 29 -- was the earliest opening day ever and marked the first day of the April PPM survey (March 29-April 25). As a result, sports radio had its strongest April book since PPM measurement began in full in 2011. This month's 4.6% share among the total audience (ages 6 and older) is the highest April result for the format ever.

The return of baseball is not the only factor that coincides with a seasonal shift in audience on the radio. The summer season is just around the corner, and each year as habits and lifestyles change, so to do radio listening trends. For the Classic Hits and Classic Rock formats, the summer has turned into the most important time of year. Over the past four summers, these two formats have seen their audience grow more than any other and claimed the title of ‘format of the summer' as a result. Classic Hits saw the most audience growth during the summers of 2014 and 2015, followed by Classic Rock in 2016 and 2017.

This year, Classic Hits is positioning itself strongly in the months leading up to summer as the format had its best April book on record, while Classic Rock declined slightly compared to past trends. Particularly among Millennials (listeners aged 18-34), Classic Hits is on the upswing in 2018, following the strongest first-quarter results that we have seen for the format.

iHeartMedia/Minneapolis Ups Michelle Redberg to VP/Sales

Michelle Redberg
Michelle Redberg
iHeartMedia Minneapolis elevates Michelle Redberg to Vice President of Sales, effective immediately. The 14-year media veteran has extensive background in broadcast and cable television and joined iHeartMedia as a senior account executive in November, 2016. As VP/Sales, Redberg will report to Region VP/Sales for the Western Great Lakes Region Greg Alexander, while working with its other VPs/Sales serving the Minneapolis metro area.

"Michelle is one of the bright stars of our company. She has a contemporary approach to leadership along with a compassion for our advertisers and an understanding of today's marketing and business challenges," said Alexander. "Michelle's passion, skills, energy and drive made her an obvious choice to help lead our strong Twin Cities brands."

"I am honored to become a member of iHeartMedia's talented leadership team. Joining this organization has been an incredible opportunity and I look forward to contributing to our continued success," added Redberg.

NextRadio Launches FM Streaming Capabilities in Mexico

NextRadio has announced the launch of FM radio streaming capabilities for all smartphones including an iOS version for iPhone mobile device users in Mexico. The TagStation-owned NextRadio app utilizes the enabled FM chip inside select Android devices to tune to every local FM radio station. If an Android device has the FM chip enabled, NextRadio saves data and battery life compared to streaming apps and works during emergencies when power is out and cell towers are down.

"We're thrilled that NextRadio is now available for use on both iOS and Android devices in Mexico," said TagStation President Paul Brenner. "We want to empower all users to enjoy local FM radio without having their content restricted by geographic location or choice of device."

NextRadio says it's still committed to unlocking the FM Chip in all phones but wanted to offer consumers the choice to listen to live local radio on any phone. NextRadio developed a streaming version until this goal becomes a reality.

iHeartMedia Revenues Down 3.1%, iHM Revs Drop 1.7%

According to a 8k filing with the SEC, iHeartMedia -- in the midst of chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization -- reported first quarter net revenues delcined 3.1% to $1.36 billion from $1.32 billion in 2017. Consolidated revenue was mostly driven by a 20.6% jump in International Outdoor revenue. iHM (radio) revenues dropped 1.7% to $744.5 million from $757.1 million. Consolidated operating income fell 45.4% to $62.2 million from $114 million. iHM operating income declined 16.1% to $123.8 million.

David Bailin Named VP/National & Network Sales for SBS

David Bailin
David Bailin
Spanish Broadcasting System has appointed David Bailin as Vice President, National and Network Sales. A leading sales veteran in the media industry, Bailin will be responsible for revenue generating sales strategies, expanding business development initiatives and creating 360 multimedia platforms for SBS' national and network division AIRE Radio Networks.

Based out of the SBS New York office, Bailin will also collaborate with SBS' digital platform, LaMusica, with its respective sales and business development efforts.

"David Bailin is a dynamic sales executive who has a proven track record of success and a deep knowledge of our diverse marketplace, said Elisa Torres, EVP, SBS National and Aire Radio Networks. "We are excited to have him join our team and deliver innovative media solutions that are designed to super-serve our clients and Hispanic consumers."

Most recently, Bailin, was Senior Vice President, National Sales for Entravision Communications, where he oversaw network and national spot duties in the New York office. Bailin, a graduate of the University of Michigan, has over 20 years of media sales experience and has held similar roles for various media companies.

"I'm thrilled to join the SBS national and network sales team," said Bailin. "The opportunity to build on the success of a renowned company that has so many iconic media brands across multiple consumer touchpoints is what excites me the most. I'm looking forward to working with the team on creating competitive and engaging platforms for our clients and audience."

Jeff Hill Joins Cumulus Media/Chicago as VP/Sales

Jeff Hill
Jeff Hill
Thirty-year Chicago radio sales executive Jeff Hill has been named Vice President, Sales, for Cumulus Media-Chicago. In the newly created position, he will head sales for Alternative Rock station 101 WKQX-FM; 94.7 WLS-FM, Chicago's Classic Hits station; and Talk Radio station WLS 890 AM.

Hill joins Cumulus from WGN Radio in Chicago, where he was Director of Sales for eight years, having previously served the station as Local Sales Manager and Interim General Manager. Prior to that, he was Sales Manager for ABC Radio for eight years and formerly served as Local Sales Manager for WLS-AM and Local Sales Manager for CBS Radio's WCKG. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. An Illinois native, he earned a B.S. degree in Radio and Television from the University of Northern Illinois in Carbondale, IL.

"Cumulus-Chicago is thrilled to be adding a market veteran like Jeff Hill as our Vice President of Sales," said Marv Nyren, VP/MM Cumulus Media-Chicago. "Jeff's success in Chicago will allow our cluster to continue to build relationships with the ad community and compete at the highest levels of performance."

"I'm really excited to join the Cumulus Chicago radio group," said Hill. "I look forward to learning from the team and sharing my experience with the staffs of 101 WKQX, WLS-FM and WLS-AM."

Salem Media Group Agrees to Sell KGBI-FM/Omaha

Salem Media Group
Salem Media Group
Salem Media Group has agreed to sell 100kW Contemporary Christian KGBI-FM (100.7 The Fish)/Omaha, NE, to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. The University of Northwestern-St. Paul also operates 20 non-commercial Christian CHR stations in the Midwest, including stations in Minneapolis and Duluth MN, Sioux Falls SD, Fargo and Bismarck ND, Des Moines and Waterloo IA, Madison WI, Kansas City and Hartford.

Salem's Broadcast Media President Dave Santrella said, "Salem rarely sells its assets, but when we do, we make every attempt to ensure that the buyer will continue to program the station with a format that will make a positive impact in the community. The track record of University of Northwestern-St. Paul ensures us of that outcome and we couldn't be more pleased."

University of Northwestern Senior VP/Media Jason Sharp added, "We are grateful for the partnership we have experienced with Salem Media Group during this process. We look forward to expanding our network in Omaha and continuing the work of pointing people to Jesus through music and programming that makes an eternal impact."

Pending approval by the FCC, the parties expect to close the transaction in the third quarter of 2018. Greg Guy of Patrick Communications was the broker representing the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.

XHTZ-XHRM/San Diego Ink R Dub to Multi-Year Deal

R Dub!
R Dub!
Local Media San Diego has re-signed XHTZ-FM (Z90) and XHRM-FM (Magic 92.5) Program Director and afternoon personality R Dub! to a new, multi-year deal. R Dub! joined the stations in April, 2011. With the agreement, comes R Dub!'s new title of Supreme Commander (they're serious), where he will continue to oversee the programming, strategy and branding of the company's CHR, AC and Urban products.

VP/General Manager Gregg Wolfson said, "We are extremely excited that RDub! will continue to call Local Media San Diego his home. His ability to deliver relevant and compelling local radio to San Diego is nothing shy of impressive."

R Dub! added, "Apparently, I'm still foolin' ‘em! No, seriously, I wake up every single day and pinch myself. I'm not only so fortunate to do radio in the country's most desirable place to live, but I'm working with a company that truly believes in live, local and dynamic content! From our iconic brands and patented promotions like #EPIC48Hours, to the incredible pool of talent we have in the building-including Morton in the Morning and Jagger and Kristi-I'm so proud to play a small role in this incredible team, that is truly a family."

Envision Networks Launches Financial Planning Show

Brian Bowen
Brian Bowen
Envision Networks launches its latest syndicated program, "Retire with Integrity," a two-hour common sense investment show hosted by expert Brian Bowen. Bowen and co-host Tug Cowart tackle timely financial planning topics including bitcoin, insurance, family planning, college tuition, 401Ks, IRAs, and stock market tips communicated in a relatable and easily understandable way. "Retire with Integrity" is ready-made to attract multiple, local sponsorship opportunities.

"Failing to plan is actually a plan... just a failing one," said Bowen. "Help your listeners reach their financial planning goals with the expert advice from Retire with Integrity."

"When we investigate new shows to offer affiliates, we look for compelling content that listeners want to hear," added Envision Networks President and CEO Danno Wolkoff. "The value of Retire with Integrity is the fun nature of the program and the appeal it holds financially for stations to sell to local advertisers."

Regional Media to Acquire Three in Canton IL

Regional Media
Regional Media
Regional Media has agreed to acquire 250w News/Farm WBYS-AM (1560), 240w W229BZ-FM (93.7) and 25kW Country WCDD-FM (107.9) servicing Canton, Pekin, and the surrounding area in IL. Terms were not immediately disclosed. Regional Media also owns stations in Macomb, Kewanee, Sterling, Rock Falls, Dixon, and the Quad Cities with anticipation of taking over Canton operations in early June.

Regional Media lead engineer Wayne R. Miller said, "I am incredibly happy about Fletcher Ford (Regional Media CEO) and Jason Gilbraith's (Regional Media VP) acquisition of the stations. They are first class broadcasters that have brought life to a lot of stations across the state. I am proud to be a part of this operation."

Longtime employee Rhianna Kees added, "We are excited for this new chapter and look forward to continuing to provide the best in local radio."

Bill Whitaker to Receive 2018 Paul White Award

Bill Whitaker
Bill Whitaker
The Radio Television Digital News Association announces Bill Whitaker as the winner of the 2018 Paul White Award. Named for the first news director of CBS, the Paul White Award is RTDNA's highest honor and recognizes a lifetime of achievement and service to the profession of broadcast and digital journalism. Whitaker is a correspondent on the CBS News program "60 Minutes" and has covered major news stories domestically and across the globe for CBS News in his long career as a journalist.

"Bill Whitaker has been an outstanding broadcast journalist for almost 40 years," said Radio Television Digital News Foundation Chair Vincent Duffy. "From his start at KQED in San Francisco, to his work today on ‘60 Minutes,' Bill has covered presidents, the OJ Simpson trial, and important stories all over the globe. Throughout his career, he has brought important stories to light, brought concern and smiles to our faces, and showed a generation of journalists how the job should be done."

Since joining "60 Minutes" in 2014, Whitaker's reporting has taken him to Asia, Africa, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East, including a timely investigation of the vetting process Syrian refugees undergo before coming to the U.S. and an interview with the highest ranking North Korean official to defect in decades.

Domestically, his award-winning stories have provided keen insights into the hot-button issue of race and policing in America with his reports from Cleveland, Chicago and most recently, Tulsa, Okla., where he got the news-making first interview with the city police officer accused of manslaughter for shooting an unarmed black man. He has chronicled the epic battle to capture and hold Mexico's infamous drug lord Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman, and has also drawn attention to death penalty issues and America's heroin epidemic.

In 2017, Whitaker received the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award from the RTDNF. He will be presented with this year's Paul White Award on Friday, September 28 at Excellence in Journalism 2018 in Baltimore.

iHeartMedia/Tampa Names Russell Robertson SVP/Sales

Russell Robertson
Russell Robertson
iHeartMedia has named Russell Robertson Senior Vice President of Sales for Tampa Bay, effective immediately. Robertson will be responsible for leading a team of talented sales managers and professionals to provide advertising and marketing partners with first-in-class assets designed to help them achieve their marketing goals and report to Chris Soechtig, Market President for iHeartMedia Tampa Bay.

"I'm thrilled to have Russell join our team", said Soechtig. "His 10+ years of experience in iHeartMedia's Pacific Northwest & San Diego Regions coupled with his passion for helping clients grow their business makes him the ideal choice for SVPS in Tampa Bay."

Russell comes to Tampa from iHeartMedia Seattle, where he most recently served as the SVPS. He also served as the General Sales Manager for KOZ, KGB, KLSD, and Chargers Radio Broadcast for iHeartMedia San Diego.

"I am very thankful for the opportunity I had in Seattle and working with some amazing broadcasters. The opportunity to be in my home state working with the Tampa iHeartMedia team was an opportunity I had to pursue," said Robertson. "The last 17 years with iHeartMedia has allowed me the chance to work in amazing markets like San Diego, Seattle and now Tampa. My wife Amanda, my kids Tori and Zack and I are looking forward to settling in and making Tampa home."

Alan Kirshbom Named iHeartMedia Market President for Raleigh

Alan Kirshbom
Alan Kirshbom
Alan Kirshbom has been named Market President for iHeartMedia/Raleigh, effective immediately. He'll spearhead all aspects of the market's operations including sales, programming, digital, events and promotion initiatives, and report to Dave Carwile, President of iHeartMedia's Virginia/Carolina Region.

"We are thrilled to have Alan leading our team in Raleigh and are confident he'll have an immediate and positive impact in the market," said Carwile. "Alan combines a proven track record of sales leadership, creating culture and driving revenue growth. He will provide a great compliment to our outstanding sales and programming leadership for our stations."

Kirshbom joins iHeartMedia Raleigh after previously serving as the Vice President and Market Manager for Cumulus in Memphis, Tennessee. He also served as Vice President and Market Manager for Entercom in Austin, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kirshbom began his career at WRNO in New Orleans and is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.

"iHeartMedia's Virginia/Carolina Region has assembled a world class winning team armed with all the innovative tools iHeartMedia has to offer," said Kirshbom. "I am proud and thrilled to call Raleigh my new home. Together, we will continue to raise the bar on delivering successful marketing solutions for our clients and serving our community."

Max Media/Norfolk Chooses Eastlan As Ratings Provider

After an extended period of operating without audience ratings, Max Media will again be a ratings subscriber but this time with Eastlan Ratings. Under the terms of a new multi-year agreement, Eastlan Ratings will field its initial audience measurement study in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News market in Summer 2018.

"We needed a ratings system to again measure growth within our building," remarked Max Media Norfolk GM Keith Barton. "We feel Eastlan is a perfect alternative and costs a fraction of Nielsen."

Just up the road in Virginia, Centennial Broadcasting announced a long-term renewal with Eastlan in their Winchester/Leesburg and Fredericksburg clusters. Market Manager Mark Bass said, "We did extensive research before moving from Nielsen to Eastlan three years ago and discovered they have a lot of happy clients. Now after three years of experience using Eastlan, we find that contrary to what some would have lead us to believe, we've seen no negative impact or attrition from either our National, Regional or Local advertisers."

CRS Announces Morgan as President's Award Recipient

Charlie Morgan
Charlie Morgan
The Country Radio Broadcasters announces Charlie Morgan as the recipient of the 2018 President's Award. The award will be presented during the Country Radio Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards ceremony, to be held on Wednesday, June 20 in Nashville. Morgan is Senior VP/Market Manager of Emmis New York, which includes WBLS, WLIB and WQHT. He also oversees the company's cluster in Indianapolis, which includes WIBC, WFNI, WYXB, WLHK and Network Indiana.

A Butler University graduate, Morgan has over 35 years of radio experience, the first 23 years with Susquehanna (now Cumulus) Radio, (WFMS/WJJK/WISG) in roles from Morning host to SVP/Market Manager. In 2007, Morgan joined the team at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, serving as President and COO of IMS Productions. In 2009, he returned to radio joining the Emmis team managing the Indianapolis cluster for seven years (WLHK, WIBC, WYXB, WFNI) and now the Emmis New York cluster (WBLS, WQHT, WLIB).

Morgan has been recognized for his leadership in radio, honored on multiple occasions as one of the top managers in radio, most recently in 2016. He's served the industry as President of the Board of the Country Radio Broadcasters and is a current Board Member of the Country Music Association, the New York Market Radio Group (NYMRAD), and the New York State Broadcast Association.

CRB/CRS President Kurt Johnson commented, "Charlie is simply one of the best at what he does. And he does a lot. It's hard to think of anyone who's made more impact as a leader across a diverse list of organizations in and around Country Radio, earning accolades at every step. He's been a fixture at CRB and CRS for years and is a good friend to artists, managers, labels, DJs... basically pro's in every part of Country music. Charlie personifies the spirit of CRS and I'm proud to give him the President's Award on behalf or the CRB Board."

iHeartMedia Seattle Names Mark Glynn Senior VP/Sales

iHeartMedia appoints Mark Glynn as Senior VP/Sales for its cluster in Seattle, effective immediately. Glynn most recently served as a Vice President of Sales for TTWN, KBKS and KUBE in Seattle. He began his career at iHeartMedia Minneapolis and is a graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He'll report to President, Pacific Northwest Region Robert Dove.

"Mark has a successful track record in the Seattle market with strong established relationships," said Dove. "I look forward to working with him as we continue to leverage iHeartMedia Seattle's iconic station brands and unmatched market reach to build a robust sales strategy."

"I'm honored to be given the opportunity to lead the sales organization for iHeartMedia Seattle," added Glynn. "Audio is booming, and iHeartMedia Seattle is in a fantastic position to help advertisers get their messages heard by leveraging their eight iconic radio stations and lineup of superstar influencer talent."

Green Joins Sun & Fun Media as Chief Revenue Officer

Dennis Green
Dennis Green
Sun & Fun Media appoints veteran radio affiliate sales executive Dennis Green as Chief Revenue Officer for the company. In the newly created post, Green will lead the development of new products and services for radio stations, and will manage an affiliate sales team. He'll continue to be based in New York. Green joins Sun & Fun Media following a 22-year run at Westwood One, where he was Senior VP/Affiliate Sales and Broadcast Operations. He's also served as VP/Broadcast Operations and Affiliate Sales for Cumulus Media Networks.

Sun & Fun Media CEO/co-Founder Rob Koblasz said, "Dennis Green is one of the most respected, experienced and trusted affiliate sales executives in the radio industry, and we are thrilled that he is joining Sun & Fun Media as Chief Revenue Officer. With Dennis' considerable expertise in radio operations and network radio sales, we will be able to offer our affiliates more and better solutions exclusively for barter than ever before."

Green added, "I am excited to tackle my next challenge in the media world with Sun & Fun Media. This company has enjoyed a track record of success for 22 years and I look forward to helping lead the charge to expand the company's product offerings and grow its affiliate base. Thanks to Sun & Fun Media Co-Founders Rob Koblasz and Roger Fray for this opportunity. To all our current and soon-to-be affiliates: Prepare to be wowed."

Previously, Green was Head of Multimedia Syndication at Bloomberg in New York, and was also Director of Affiliate Sales and Operations, Illinois & Wisconsin Radio Networks. He holds a Master's degree in Sports Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A. degree in Telecommunications/Political Science from Indiana University at Bloomington.

Changes & Moves
Melissa Forman
Melissa Forman
Melissa Forman returns to WLIT-FM (93.9 Lite FM) Chicago as morning host weekdays from 61-10am, effective May 29.Forman, a Chicago native, hosted mornings on the More

Quick Snaps
ABC Radio: ABC Radio's Jason Nathanson catches up with American Idol winner Maddie Poppe backstage. Photo credit: ABC News