Radio studio
A radio studio. Photo via Pixabay

U.S. radio station ownership is only slowly becoming more diverse, according to a report recently released by the Federal Communications Commission. The biennial report, documents submitted by broadcasters, compared changes in majority ownership based on gender and ethnicity between 2017 and 2019.

In 2017, 78% of commercial AM radio stations were owned by men. By 2019, the figure was lower at 69%. Female ownership held steady at 9 percent in both reporting timeframes. The remaining stations were majority-owned by investment entities which did not report on gender or race.

In 2019, the FCC said 77% of AM stations were majority-owned by white operators, while only 7% of by Hispanic operators, 3% by Black operators and 3$ by Asian operators. In 2017, the percentage of white operators was 94%.

Similar trends were reported for FM stations, according to Insider Radio, a trade publication. Male majority ownership dropped to 66% in 2019, down from 83% in 2017. FM station ownership with no majority interest of either gender nearly tripled, jumping from 9% in 2017 to 26% in 2019.

The FCC said 5% of commercial FMs were majority-owned by a Hispanic broadcaster in 2019, a one-point rise from 2017. Black ownership held steady at 2% with no commercial FMs majority-owned by an Asian American.

Also on the FM dial, the FCC said 77% of stations in 2019 were majority-owned by a White broadcaster. That was down from 94% in 2017.

“This data makes clear that women and people of color are underrepresented in license ownership,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, acting FCC chair. “This requires attention because what we see and hear over the public airwaves says so much about who we are as individuals, as communities and as a nation. It is essential that we identify ways we can encourage more diversity in this market, including reinstatement of the minority tax certificate program.”

Nine former FCC chairs recently spoke in favor of reviving a program that gave tax breaks to companies that sold stations to women and minorities.

Social Media Firm Koji Hires Annie Morita, Ex-Apple Exec in China

San Diego-based Koji, an app specialty startup, has hired Annie Morita, a marketing and new media veteran, as chief operating officer to lead the company’s next phase of growth.

Most recently, Morita was an executive with Apple as the business lead for the technology giant’s Internet Software and Services Division in China, focusing on Apple’s App Store and Apple Media products, including Apple Music, iTunes and podcasts.

Annie Morita

Prior to Apple, Morita served as head of global interactive for DreamWorks Animation and led the company’s gaming efforts. She also was the lead executive for Oriental DreamWorks, the company’s first join venture in China.

She also has held top leadership positions at Warner Bros. Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Electronic Arts, where she was a founding member of EA Mobile. She began her career with Turner Broadcasting System as an assignment editor with CNN International before moving to Hong Kong as the head of marketing for Turner International Far East Ltd., launching CNN International, TNT and Cartoon Network to the region.

Morita holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, and a master’s diploma in patisserie and baking from Le Cordon Bleu, a Paris-based cooking school. She is a trustee emeritus at Smith College, where she served on the board of trustees from 2006-2011. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.

Koji offers hundreds of free apps, along with the Koji Link on the Bio platform, which gives creators on Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitch and other social media platforms new ways to engage audiences, connect with supporters and monetize audiences across IOS and Android devices. Koji launched in March 2021 and has raised $16 million in venture capital through its parent company GoMeta.

“The same way the introduction of the iPhone and the App Store disrupted incumbents like Nokia and Blackberry, and radically transformed what we do with the device in our pocket, Koji is transforming the entire creator economy to be a more integrated and equitable environment for creators and consumers,” said Morita. “The sheer scale of Koji’s vision and velocity of execution is extremely unique, and I am excited to lead the next phases of evolution.”

“Annie brings a wealth of operational experience having spent nearly three years running the world’s largest app store,” said Dmitry Shapiro, CEO of Koji. “While there are over 100 mini-apps in the Koji App Store, being used by over 50,000 social media creators, we are just getting started.”

Fox 5 Names Michael Martin as General Sales Manager

KSWB-TV Fox 5 San Diego has promoted Michael Martin from local and digital sales manager to general sales manager. He succeeds Kelly McMackin who retired in August. McMackin joined KSWB in 2014.

Michael Martin

Martin has more than 30 years of media sales experience, including 13 years as local and digital sales manager and 24 total years at KSWB. He will direct the sales teams and have responsibilities for the day-to-day oversight of local, national and digital sales initiatives at the station.

“I am very excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Martin said in a statement. “I believe that my years of experience guiding our team both on the linear and digital side have uniquely qualified me for this next step. I look forward to helping our station, as well as our clients, continue to grow and deliver measurable results.”

“Mike’s experience as local sales manager overseeing direct business development and his role as a digital solutionist has allowed us the opportunity to create a unique local sales manager-digital sales manager hybrid position,” said Scott Heath, Fox 5 VP and GM. “He is the right person to lead our local, national and digital sales teams forward. His creative thinking, positive attitude, coupled with his linear and digital savviness, make him an ideal leader for the station and his desire to win will serve our station and clients well.”

Radio’s Local Media San Diego Presenting SoCal Taco Fest

Local Media San Diego, operators of four local radio stations, will present SoCal Taco Fest, a festival featuring tacos, music, Lucha Libre wrestling and Chihuahuas, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23, at Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego.

The compnay said activities will include food from 25 Southern California taco restaurants, Chihuahua races, a margarita cantina and a lineup of national and local music acts headlined by feel-good party rapper Flo Rida.

Tickets are priced at $30 for general admission and $125 for VIP extras, including special gate entrance, beverage tickets, taco and nacho bar, front row access to the music stage and private restrooms.

SoCal Taco Fest is a signal of the return of large-scale music events organized by radio stations following last year’s pandemic-driven shutdown of nearly all live entertainment.

As noted by Insider Radio, a trade publication, several recent large-scale concerts hosted by radio stations around the country have been welcomed by listeners, artists and clients. “A sense of a return to normalcy has extended to station partners and show sponsors who had to sit out a year before being able to have their brand attached to signature events,” said Insider Radio.

Local Media San Diego operates KFBG-FM Big-FM 100.7, XHRM-FM Magic 92.5, XHTZ-FM Z-90.3 and XTRA-FM 91X. 

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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