Baste the turkey and cue Bing Crosby — here comes the all-Christmas format. Heading into the long Thanksgiving weekend, the Inside Radio database shows 209 AM/FM stations (and counting) have already flipped the Santa switch, a slight increase from the day before Thanksgiving last year. And more than one Christmas station is the new normal for many markets.
With holiday shopping season stretching from before Halloween to late-December, retailers are reworking their media buying strategies. A Kantar Media analysis shows that department stores spent 38% less this year through November 2. MORE
Beasley Broadcast Group is getting its management house in order for the six Tampa stations it’s picking up from CBS Radio. Kent Dunn is appointed VP/market manager and Tee Gentry is named operations manager for the cluster, which Beasley expects to take over before the end of the year as part of a multi-market swap with CBS. Both are Beasley vets currently stationed at its Augusta, GA cluster.
What Christmas format? Radio’s hot new classic hip-hop genre has stations scrambling to grab the first-mover advantage. That was in full display on Tuesday in Atlanta as the city got not one, but two new stations playing hip-hop tracks from the 1990s and early 2000s. MORE
Cox Media Group urban AC “Star 94.5” WCFB, Orlando is the latest station to turn back the musical clocks to the ‘90s and early 2000s. More of format adjustment than flip, “Star” is “celebrating the holidays with Throwback Hip-Hop and R&B.” Unlike Radio One, which started the recent trend last month in Houston, WCFB is balancing classic hip-hop with vintage R&B, while putting recent tiles on hold. Listen HERE.
Just days after Chrysler announced it would begin offering digital radio in all of its brands with the addition of Fiat, the automaker says it will now offer HD Radio as an optional upgrade in a second Chrysler brand vehicle. The technology will come included as part of the Uconnect dashboard entertainment system in Chrysler 300 models. It joins the Chrysler 200 in offering digital radio. MORE
Some Roanoke, VA radio listeners are no doubt giving thanks for Ed Walker. He may be selling “101.5 The Music Place” WVMP, but the real estate developer and entrepreneur helped preserve the station’s adult alternative heritage. MORE
Google has struck a deal to add streaming radio aggregator TuneIn to its list of content providers for Chromecast, its streaming media device. The tech giant made the announcement yesterday in a brief blog post. TuneIn joins other streaming radio providers such as iHeartRadio, Rdio and Pandora that are available to users. The Chromecast dongle sells for $35. When plugged into a TV set or a computer monitor, it allows users to play audio and video content from content providers’ mobile apps.
CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, whose Canadian talk show “Q” aired on five dozen public radio stations in the U.S. until his firing last month, has withdrawn his $50 million lawsuit against the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Ghomeshi and CBC have agreed to use a union grievance resolution process instead. Ghomeshi was fired after three women alleged he sexually “attacked” them. The host called the allegations part of a “smear” campaign and said he’s just into “adventurous forms of sex.” MORE
Entravision’s board has approved the doubling in size of a planned stock repurchase program first announced in August. The company says it will buy up to $20 million of its own stock. No timetable has been announced for the buyback. So far Entravision has repurchased about two million shares for $9.1 million. “We are committed to returning value to our shareholders through our dividend and repurchase programs and remain well positioned to execute on our strategic plan and drive long-term value creation,” CEO Walter Ulloa said in a statement.
Wall Street is worried that the Copyright Royalty Board could impose massive rate hikes on streaming radio services. That’s led one firm to downgrade its rating on Pandora stock. MORE
Spotify is offering the latest evidence that streaming is a business that drags a financial ball and chain with it no matter whether it originates from Silicon Valley or Sweden. The streaming music service disclosed on Tuesday that it had more than $1 billion in revenue in 2013. But so far Spotify has yet to turn a profit. MORE
Univision Local Media CFO Marc Manahan and Sinclair Broadcast Group COO David Amy have been named co-chairs for the Media Financial Management Association’s 2015 CFO Summit. It will be held next February 26-27 in Ft. Lauderdale. Participation in the forum is limited to senior financial executives at media companies. MORE
The goal of Radiotopia from PRX, the podcasting collective formed by several veteran public radio programmers, is to create “a new kind of public radio” not on-air but through podcasts. That mission is well on its way after a Kickstarter campaign to raise $250,000 netted more than $620,000 from nearly 22,000 contributors. It becomes the best-funded radio project in Kickstarter history. MORE