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Analysis shows radio ad spending
still lags usage.

Radio remains the Rodney Dangerfield of media, according to a new analysis of ad spending by eMarketer that’s a sort of cross-platform power ratio. U.S. advertisers will spend just 13 cents on radio per U.S. adult per hour this year. That’s below the 16 cents average for all media and a far cry from the nearly $1 spent on print.

Nissan to include HD Radio in 2015 Murano.

Nissan has finally joined the HD Radio party. The Japanese auto giant says the 2015 Murano will become its first vehicle to include HD Radio. A top 10 automaker in the U.S., Nissan had been an HD holdout. Its arrival means all major auto manufacturers in the U.S. now offer HD Radio technology. MORE

Radio helps Nielsen revenue grow 13%.

The addition of Arbitron and Harris Interactive helped push Nielsen revenue higher by double-digits during the first quarter. The company reports revenue jumped 13% to $1.49 billion. “If you exclude our acquisitions,” CEO Mitch Barnes said, “the core top line growth was just under 5%.” Barnes also told analysts today the company’s recent radio ROI study is a “great example of big data informing the effectiveness of a traditional form of media.” The analysis showed the typical brand sees a sales lift of $6 for every $1 spent on radio ads.

Pandora’s active listeners drop in Q1.

The explosion of options for listeners to hear streamed audio is likely to blame as Pandora today reported a rare drop in its total number of active listeners. At the end of March it said it had 75.3 million active users, down nearly a million from three months ago. But the industry’s biggest webcaster reported a 45% jump in ad revenue, selling $130.6 million worth of ads during the first three months of the year. That helped Pandora reduce its losses by about a quarter versus a year ago.

Sirius XM swings to 11% revenue increase.

Satellite radio subscribers hit a record 25.8 million in the first quarter, pushing revenue for Sirius XM Radio to $998 Million, an 11% increase over 2013’s first quarter. The company corralled 266,799 new net subscribers, up 6% from the prior-year period. CEO Jim Meyer says it was the ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and that new car installations and trial conversions set first quarter records.

Clear Channel posts 2% revenue growth.

Buoyed by headway in its traffic and weather business and stronger national and digital advertising, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment grew revenue by $14 million, or 2%, during the first quarter. Revenue from Media and Entertainment, which includes the company’s 840 radio stations and digital assets, reached $670.3 million in the quarter. Clear Channel says it hit 47 million iHeartRadio registered users by March 31, up 66% over the same time last year. MORE.

SBS says 2014 is off to a strong start.

Because of bookkeeping issues, Spanish Broadcasting System is a bit behind schedule on its year-end 2013 revenue reporting and only this week had a call with investors. Asked how the now-finished first quarter turned out, the company declined to offer specifics but COO Albert Rodriguez told analysts they “did well” during the quarter with spot sales up mid-single digits. MORE

Political pitch moves to branded web radio stations.

In the mood for Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi? Dial up Chris Christie Radio. Ready for some Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and James Brown? Tune into Obama 101. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. RFC Media, a startup run by veteran Houston radio manager Pat Fant that produces branded digital content, is rolling out branded online radio stations for candidates, campaigns and parties. MORE

Rover may put on Stern on the witness stand.

Cleveland media is already salivating at the prospect of Howard Stern on the witness stand in a trial featuring WMMS (100.7) morning host Shane “Rover” French. Why Stern would be called isn’t clear, but in court documents filed by French’s attorney, Stern and an unnamed Sirius XM Radio representative are listed as potential witnesses. MORE

XAPPmedia gets $3 million in seed money.

Voice-activated, call-to-action online audio ads are getting a $3 million thumbs-up from investors. That’s how much seed money XAPPmedia is receiving in a first round of funding from private investors. The interactive audio advertising platform launched in late March with NPR as its first client. MORE

Clock ticks toward start of latest AM auction.

The number of participants in the upcoming auction for 22 AM construction permits has been whittled down to 17. What’s been designated as Auction 84 will resolve a group of pending, mutually-exclusive applications that grew out of a 2003 window for new AMs. Bidding is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 6. MORE

Keek expands in U.S. with former Emmis managers.

Former Emmis-New York market manager Alex Cameron has been hired as chief executive for the Toronto-based mobile video social network Keek. Cameron exited her Emmis post in February after the company rolled in YMF Media’s urban stations and Deon Levingston was named to lead the operation. MORE

Fourth generation takes seat on Cox board.

The parent of Cox Media Group has added a pair of new directors to its board. EVP Alex Taylor and former vice president of corporate development Jamie Kennedy will take two seats at the table for the privately-held company. “Alex and Jamie are fourth-generation members of the Cox family,” says board chair Jim Kennedy, whose grandfather started the company in 1898. MORE

Recording Academy to help preserve rare recordings.

The Grammy Foundation is awarding 15 grants worth more than $200,000 to help preserve and archive rare interviews and ensure the role of audio in American history. It includes a $19,350 grant will go to preserve more than 250 original transcription disks of the historic radio series “The Goldbergs” stored at the UCLA Film & Television Archive in Los Angeles. MORE

With Coldplay, TV gets into the record release biz.

Radio has increasingly been challenged by artists and record labels to ramp up the showcase they give big-name musicians when they release a new album. Consider the album release parties that have stretched from on-air to online and even TV in some cases. Some artists are looking to stretch the bounds even further. MORE

Salem buys three translators.

Salem Communications has just closed on $400,000 worth of deals to add FM translators for three AM stations in the Orlando; Sarasota-Bradenton, FL; and Omaha, NE markets. The seller in all three cases is Clark Parrish. MORE

Boston’s ‘Kiss’ locks in Matty through 2018.

Matt Siegel’s contract doesn’t expire until 2016 but Clear Channel is making sure the top-rated morning personality remains perched on CHR monster “Kiss 108” WXKS, Boston for the long haul. The star of “Matty in the Morning” has extended his contract through 2018, the company announced yesterday. MORE

Public Radio Capital changes name, expands focus.

For the past 12 years Public Radio Capital has acted as a broker and a lender, working with more than 275 public broadcasters looking to expand their footprint. PRC’s mission has been to “broaden the reach of public radio.” But in an effort to better reflect its work, PRC has changed its name to Public Media Company and adopted a new mission statement. MORE

FCC to tackle net neutrality.

FCC chair Tom Wheeler told reporters Wednesday that he plans to release new net neutrality rules today to address speed restrictions by internet service providers. The FCC will reportedly propose preventing ISPs from blocking or slowing the public’s access to some websites and streaming services. MORE


Patrick Communications


Deal Digest for the week of April 24. 2014

Wyoming - Four years after Tracy Broadcasting filed chapter 11 bankruptcy after it defaulted on a $1,626,728 loan from Valley Bank and Trust, the debtholder has filed to take control of hot AC “The Boss 92.9” KOLT-FM, Cheyenne, WY. Valley Bank used a $910,000 credit bid to win a court auction of the license. In the years that bankruptcy trustee Joli Lofstedt was in control of KOLT-FM, Montgomery Broadcasting has been operating the station since 2010 under a time brokerage agreement. It looked to be the likely buyer. But Montgomery defaulted on the terms of the TBA, and it no longer appears it’ll buy a sister FM for Cheyenne market news-talk KFBC (1240). But Montgomery is expected to continue to operating KOLT-FM while Valley Bank looks for a new buyer. MORE DEALS