Tag: "ransomware"

Protecting Your Company from Cyberattacks

| December 23, 2019

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS 
Legal Editor

 

BOSTON — It is being reported by Jerry Del Colliano that radio giant Entercom has suffered its second major cyberattack in the last three months.  The attack which occurred over the weekend appears to be another ransomware attack.  In a September ransomware attack, it was reported that the hackers demanded a ransom of $500,000 to return control of affected systems which included email, phones, production, billing, and other crucial systems.  These ransomware attacks are not isolated incidents.  In the last year, other major radio companies including Townsquare Media and Radio One were hit with similar ransomware attacks, as were numerous smaller radio stations.  You are never too big or too small to be a victim of a ransomware attack.

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Monday, December 23, 2019

| December 23, 2019

Entercom Hacked Again? Media industry insider and reporter Jerry Del Colliano reports this morning (12/23) that some of Entercom’s IT systems have been compromised by a “more sophisticated attack” than the one the company suffered in September of this year.  Del Colliano’s report states that the attacks happened early Sunday morning as hackers gained access to encrypted servers thought to be located in Philadelphia.  The report says the attack seems “aimed at the critical Entercom all-news stations” and that KYW, Philadelphia was “playing back recorded segments from the overnight into the day (on Sunday).”  TALKERS magazine has reached out to Entercom for comment about the matter.  Obviously, at this point the scope of the alleged attack is impossible to determine.  As of this morning, KYW appears to be functioning normally.

Protecting Your Company from Cyberattacks. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman – who also publishes the website scamicide.com – offers some advice for media companies to help them avoid the debilitating and expensive effects of cyberattacks.  He writes, “A major reason for the increase in ransomware attacks is due to the new business model used by sophisticated cybercriminals who develop the intricate ransomware programs.  Instead of merely deploying the malware themselves, they are now selling or leasing the use of their malware, along with tech support, on the Dark Web to less sophisticated cybercriminals.  The Dark Web is a special part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.  It is expected that ransomware attacks will continue to increase throughout 2020.”  For more on how to protect your IT infrastructure, read Weisman’s column here.

It’s Official: Bart Scott to Middays at ‘ESPN New York.’ The announcement comes from WEPN, New York owner ESPN that former New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is returning to “98.7FM ESPN New York” on January 2 to join Alan Hahn as host of the “Bart & Hahn” show from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Scott will also serve as a regular contributor to ESPN television’s “Get Up” and “First Take” programs.  Scott has been serving as co-host of the early afternoon show at Entercom’s crosstown WFAN with co-host Maggie Gray.  He was originally partnered with Gray and Chris Carlin in afternoon drive at WFAN.  The trio were bumped to late afternoons when Mike Francesa returned to WFAN four months after leaving at the end of 2018.  Carlin, who exited WFAN in early September, recently join WEPN as evening host.  ESPN New York VP/GM Tim McCarthy says, “We are so excited to have Bart back at ‘98.7 ESPN’ where we started his radio career.  The combination of Bart and Alan will add a unique perspective to New York sports talk in a very entertaining fashion.”  Scott worked as an NFL analyst for CBS from 2013 to 2017.  He joined ‘ESPN 98.7FM’ as a special guest for the 2017 NFL season on “The Michael Kay Show” and “Humpty & Canty.”  He also hosted “Inside The Jets.”

Brenda Egger Named Region President for iHeartMedia Denver. Management and sales pro Brenda Egger is the new region president for iHeartMedia’s Denver region.  Most recently, she was senior vice president and market manager for KSE Radio.  Prior to that she was market manager for Citadel Broadcasting in Colorado Springs.  She began her career in radio sales for KOA, Denver.  In her new role, she will work closely with the programming, business, and sales teams for all station brands in the Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins markets.  iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Jeff Tyler states, “I’m thrilled to have someone with Brenda’s experience and knowledge join the iHeartMedia Denver team.  We have a tremendous team and strong brands in the Denver region and I am confident that Brenda’s tenure in the state provides the leadership and excellence that our partners and our advertisers have come to expect.”

Monday Memo: Telephone. It’s For You.  Is radio surrendering to smartphones?  Or exploiting them?  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares an eerie warning.  Read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Steve Ruxton is joining Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM as a part-time and fill-in news anchor.  Ruxton is an anchor and reporter for the Chicago-based, syndicated television financial news show.  Ruxton previously served as host of Weigel Broadcasting’s “Stock Market Observer” and “WebFN.”…..WHO, Des Moines “Newsradio 1040” afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway is busy during this holiday season.  In addition to his PM drive show, he’s filling in on morning drive at WFLF, Orlando “News Radio WFLA” this week and next (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).  Next Monday, he’ll also be filling in for nationally syndicated talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, the San Francisco 49ers, and the 49ers Foundation announce that they raised more than $125,000 for local Bay Area youth sports initiatives as a result of the third annual 49ers Foundation Holiday Sports Auction.  The two-day charity auction was broadcast from the KNBR studios on Tuesday, December 3, and Wednesday, December 4.  KNBR has partnered with the 49ers Foundation on the auction for three consecutive years, raising more than $300,000 since its inception in 2017.

Impeachment, Financial Markets Activity/Economy, 2020 Presidential Race, India Protests, North Korea Threats, Virginia Car Pileup, and Eddie Murphy Returns to ‘SNL’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the Democrats’ strategy for the next step in the process; the positive activities in the financial markets and the state of the U.S. economy; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the violent protests in India over the new citizenship law that excludes Muslims; North Korea’s threat of a “Christmas present” for the U.S.; the 69-car pileup in Virginia caused by ice and fog; and Eddie Murphy’s return to “Saturday Night Live” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Three Podcasters to Be Honored at January Podcast Awards. When next month’s 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards take place at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles, three podcast producers will be honored with iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards.  The New York Times’ “1619” podcast will receive the Social Impact Award; NPR’s “Life Kit” podcast will get the Innovator Award Presented by Zoom; and Tenderfoot TV’s Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright with be honored with the Audible Audio Pioneer Award.  The awards show will stream live Friday, January 17 at 11:00 pm ET/8:00 pm PT via a LiveXLive stream and on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. iHeartMedia says, “The iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards pay tribute to the creators, organizations, and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting’s expanding role in today’s popular culture.”  The 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will “honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.”  See more here.

Cyberspace Law and Security Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The publisher of one of the nation’s leading sources of credible information about scams and fraud – Scamicide.com – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to his work with Scamicide.com, Steven J.J. Weisman is a professor of law at Bentley University in Boston, a prolific best-selling author, a columnist for USA Today, a widely sought media commentator, and the legal editor of TALKERS.  Harrison and Weisman discuss a wide array of topics including the dramatic erosion of privacy that is threatening liberty and democracy in this new era.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Via her Facebook page, on-air pro Fran Lane reveals that she’s the victim of budget cuts at Entercom’s adult contemporary WLIF, Baltimore.  Lane, who hosted the evening “Love Songs” show says, “It is with a very heavy heart that I share this news with you… I am no longer employed at ‘Today’s 101.9’ due to company-wide budget cuts.  I hosted the 7 to midnight ‘Love Songs’ show for nearly 26 years.  I am heartbroken.”

Your Radio Station Is in Danger of Being Hacked

| May 6, 2016

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — Radio and television stations are prime targets for hackers with a myriad of different motivations.  Some hackers may simply be looking to hack your station’s websites and computers to temporarily take control of these media to embarrass the station or make a political statement.  Other more profitably inclined criminals are hacking into your computers to trick station employees into downloading ransomware, threatening to destroy your data if you do not pay a ransom.  Still others, motivated by identity theft, are seeking to steal information including W-2s and other personal information for purposes of identity theft, including income tax identity theft.  Finally, some radio and television stations will be targeted by hackers seeking to gain access to your station’s bank accounts or to lure the stations into paying phony invoices.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

| May 6, 2016

cumulus logoCumulus Media’s 2016 Q1 Net Revenue Down Slightly; Challenging Quarter for Westwood One.  New CEO Mary Berner says that her company is in the “early stages of a multi-year turnaround.”  The first quarter saw Cumulus Media’s net revenue reach $268.5 million, that’s down just 0.9% compared to the same period in 2015.  Adjusted EBITDA was $41.9 million, a dip of 6.1% year-over-year.  Berner says, “Our first quarter results and second quarter pacings are consistent with the considerable challenges we must overcome.  However, we are seeing some signs of progress in each of our turnaround initiatives – enhancing operationalbernermary blocking and tackling, instituting a strong and positive culture, and driving improved ratings.”  It was not a good quarter for Westwood One.  Unlike iHeartMedia, which reported growth in its syndication sector (especially in the news/talk realm) during Q1, net revenue for Westwood One was $91.5 million – down 3.2% from the same period a year ago.  And Westwood One has exclusive national radio rights for the NFL and the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, both of which took place during the first quarter.  Berner tells investors on Thursday’s conference call that decline at WW1 was the result of “a noteworthy falloff in scatter demand as the quarter progressed.”  She continues, “Westwood One is facing difficulties in the second quarter, currently pacing down high-single digits, with virtually all upfront account in at this stage we saw a pretty meaningful weakening demand in the scatter market with limited dollars in the pipeline in relation to what we saw during the same period a year prior.  While some of this weakness appears to be market driven, our challenges in the network have some unique elements which will take more time to address, given the new leadership of the business and the much longer sale cycle.  At this stage, we’re working to tactically influence the back half of the year while more strategically positioning the business for the 2017 upfront cycle.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript of the conference call.  Members can read the whole transcript here.

ewscrippsE.W. Scripps Reports Radio Segment Down 4.6%.  The first quarter of 2016 resulted in radio revenue of $14.6 million for E.W. Scripps – that’s a decrease of 4.6% from the same period in 2015.  In the company’s financial report, it states guidance for the second quarter of this year appears similar: Radio revenue is expected to be down in the mid-single digits.  Segment profit in the radio division was $2.1 million in the first quarter of 2016, about flat with the 2015 quarter.  The company’s television and digital segments were both up over the same period in 2015.

momsmedia16Analysis: 2016 Moms & Media.  Media consultant Holland Cooke took in Thursday’s webinar from Edison Research (sponsored by Triton Media) in which Edison VP Melissa DeCesare presented data from the company’s 6th annual “Moms & Media” study.  The good news for radio is that 77% of moms use radio weekly (either AM/FM or online).  Moms are very connected with 91% owning a smartphone.  For moms, online listening averages 12 hours and 19 minutes per week but 46% of that TSL is added media consumption time – it’s time that’s not taken from another medium.  For more about the media habits of this demographic – one that often is in charge of much of a family’s decision making – click here.

weismanstevenYour Station Is in Danger of Being Hacked.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman warns station operators of the new and insidious ways in which your radio station could easily be hacked.  Chances are you’re aware of recent stories about hospitals being made victims of ransomware.  They were forced to pay the hackers ransom in order to regain control of their computer systems.  As Weisman writes, ways of preventing this crime – or others like it – happening to your station exist and are affordable, but the first step begins with your employees.  Read this insightful column here.

talkersten logoThe Presidential Race Continues to Dominate News/Talk Discussion.  Not surprising is the fact that the presidential race was this week’s most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio.  It has been for weeks and will probably continue to be so through November.  On this week’s Talkers TenTM chart, the Hillary Clinton emails case landed at #2.  Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy, followed by Russia-NATO tensions at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Odds & Sods.  Nationally syndicated super star Rush Limbaugh and Mahindra USA are again honoring thelimbaughrush service and sacrifice of U.S. military personnel via the program’s Mahindra Military Salute Giveaway promotion.  This is the third annual Mahindra giveaway.  Last year, more than 6,500 service men and women entered the contest and Retired Army Colonel Shep Snow of Sagle, Idaho won a Mahindra eMax 22HST tractor with loader.  All current and former military service members are eligible to enter to win this year’s prize: a Mahindra mPact® XTV 750S utility vehicle in camo.  Entries are being accepted between May 2 and May 29.  The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 31…..Pacific Palisades resident and Weiss Agency founder Eric Weiss recently won a contest to give the official slogan to the town’s Fourth of July Parade.  Weiss – who confesses to the Palisades News that he’s always loved slogans – heard about a contest to give the parade a theme being orchestrated by the paper.  He brainstormed and came up with the winner: “Independence Day – the Palisades Way.”  The Weiss Agency represents numerous radio leykisbillboard16kentperformers…..When Tom Leykis put up the second billboard of 2016 in the Los Angeles area promoting his internet program and ran a contest to reward a listener for being the first to see it, he never though it would be “Adam-12” star Kent McCord.  But, it was!  Leykis tells TALKERS magazine, “We put up our second Tom Leykis show billboard somewhere in the LA area and had a listener contest.  First listener to find and submit the billboard along with its specific location would get a free, one-year subscription to our on-demand library.  This time, we told them, it’s not on a freeway, but it is in a prominent location.  It only took a couple of days before we had a winner.  But we were blown away by who the winner was.  McCord submitted the photo you see here saying he was strolling down the Sunset Strip when he saw the billboard on the south side of Sunset Boulevard…..Music Ventures Inc.-owned news/talk KFKA, Greeley, Colorado is holding its third annual 1310-a-Thon in conjunction with The United Way of Weld County.  On Thursday, May 26, the station will speak with United Way of Weld County staff members, volunteers, board members and those impacted by what the United Way does to raise funds for the charity.