FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with Max Fergus, CEO and co-founder of LUM; Report highlights drop in business travel revenue for hotels

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” features Max Fergus, CEO and co-founder of LUM, a music platform based in Madison. 

Fergus describes the company as “the future of the creator economy for the music industry,” and discusses how the industry has changed over time with the rise of streaming services and social media. 

“I believe that music is potentially the biggest creator economy industry in the world,” he said. “Millions of extremely talented musicians that need to find new ways to engage and monetize fans by giving them really cool and unique experiences.” 

Since the business was created in 2018, the platform has picked up over 200,000 music creators and recently rolled out a new monetization and engagement service for artists called Creator Clubs. 

“Right now, artists on LUM are earning more per-stream than every other U.S. streaming service,” Fergus said. “I think that goes to show the scale of musicians we’ve been able to get on the platform.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts: 

See a recent story on LUM: 

— Wisconsin hotels are projected to see a nearly 64 percent drop in business travel revenue between 2019 and 2021, according to a report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association. 

The report, created by data analytics firm Kalibri Labs, projects that 2021 business travel revenue for Wisconsin hotels will be about $351 million. That number from 2019 was over $961 million. 

It also shows that Milwaukee is projected to see an even larger decrease by percentage. Projected hotel business travel revenue for the city is about $53 million for 2021, compared to over $230 million in 2019 for a drop of about 77 percent. 

At the national level, the report shows total business travel revenue for hotels this year is projected to be $59 billion lower than in 2019. Report authors note that business travel is the industry’s largest revenue source and has been slow to bounce back amid the pandemic, as business travelers and employers cancel or postpone trips. 

The report has a breakdown of projected revenue losses by state and for major hotel markets around the country. 

See the states breakdown here: 

See the projections for major markets: 

— The state’s unemployment rate held at 3.9 percent in August, according to the latest federal figures provided by the state Department of Workforce Development. 

The rate hasn’t changed for five months in a row, and remains below the national unemployment rate of 5.2 percent. 

The DWD release shows most private industries continue to see job gains over the year, though financial activities, health services and construction sectors all lost between 1,000 and 3,000 jobs over the year. 

See the release: 

— The seven-day average for new COVID-19 deaths in the state has largely been on the rise for several weeks, reaching 12 deaths per day at the latest count. 

That rate was just two deaths per day one month earlier. A total of 7,806 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed in the state, the Department of Health Services dashboard shows. 

Meanwhile, the seven-day average for new cases in the state saw a recent spike, reaching 2,110 cases per day yesterday. That’s the highest it’s been since mid-January. 

As of yesterday, 56 percent of the state’s population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 52.7 percent had completed the vaccine series. On the national level, 63.5 percent of the U.S. population have gotten at least one dose and 54.2 percent are fully vaccinated. 

See the latest numbers on COVID-19 deaths here: 

— A newly opened lab at the Marshfield Medical Center in Minocqua will provide testing services for patients with sleep disorders. 

The four-bed lab opened last week and offers tests for sleep apnea, wakefulness and sleep latency, which measures how fast it takes the patient to fall asleep. It also provides overnight monitoring of various metrics such as breathing and heart rate. Electroencephalogram testing, which monitors electrical activity in the brain, will be available next month. 

Dr. Amit Biswas, a sleep specialist and neurologist who leads the lab, says sleep disorders and sleep apnea in particular are common and can lead to more serious health issues if not treated. He’s been with the health system for more than 20 years, and previously saw patients at the Minocqua care center and used the lab space at Howard Young Medical Center.

“There is an increased risk of strokes and heart disease which can be catastrophic for some patients,” he said in a statement. “Sleep studies can help in diagnosis and treatment of these medical issues, preventing potential long-term complications and disability.” 

Marshfield Clinic Health System has other sleep labs in Beaver Dam, Eau Claire, Marshfield, Neillsville, Rice Lake and has plans to open another site in Ladysmith. The new lab is also staffed with three sleep lab technicians, though Director of Communications John Gardner says the Minocqua health center isn’t adding any extra providers. But the system overall has recently added extra sleep specialists that “can conduct outreach services if needed.” 

In an email, Gardner said the new lab will “both address the shortage of sleep study services in the region” as well as offering comprehensive sleep medicine services. 

“Sleep labs in local communities where our sleep medicine specialists practice also do outreach in other communities, allowing patients to receive care closer to home, rather than travelling to another center or town to have their sleep study done,” he said. 

See the release:


# Health departments’ contact tracing efforts in ‘surge mode’ as COVID-19 cases rise

# Fiveable investor Matchstick Ventures closes on $55M third fund

# Wisconsin lost 8,200 private sector jobs in August, unemployment rate unchanged



– Ag products among Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin finalists


– On the level: Contractors, unions launch ‘Breathe Easy’ campaign to help ensure schools have clean air

– Construction executive and founding ABC member Westra dies at 92


– Wisconsin unemployment unchanged at 3.9% in August

– ‘Territory we’ve never seen before:’ Meat prices skyrocket amid labor shortage


– Summerfest 2022 returning to early summer dates, but keeps weekend format

– Wisconsin COVID grant applications open for some businesses


– Eligible Wisconsinites still have time to get $100 for getting vaccinated against COVID-19

– Granite Hills behavioral health hospital opens in West Allis


– Former Milwaukee Bucks star Michael Redd takes new approach to venture capital


– New group runs toward diversity in Madison’s fitness community


– Pick ‘n Save operator Kroger to raise prices, CFO says. Here’s why.


– Ryder Cup means big business for small Wisconsin town


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