NAB and FCC Challenge Third Circuit Court’s Action on Ownership Changes in the Supreme Court. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States, National Association of Broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission (and fellow petitioners Bonneville International Corporation, Connoisseur Media LLC, Fox Corporation, News Corporation, News Media Alliance, Nexstar Inc., The Scranton Times L.P., and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.) are asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vacated the FCC’s ownership rules changes. As industry watchers are aware, after adopting a Reconsideration Order, the FCC repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule, the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the TV Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. It also established a modest presumptive waiver of the Local Radio Ownership Rule for parties seeking approval of a limited number of transactions involving radio stations in markets that contain multiple “embedded” markets. In the brief, NAB and the FCC argue that Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to review its media ownership rules every four years and to “repeal” or “modify” any rule that is no longer “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.” They note that no party challenged the FCC’s statutorily mandated competition analysis, nor did the Third Circuit question it on the merits. Yet, they argue, the Third Circuit concluded that the Commission inadequately considered the effect of those changes on minority and female ownership – even though Section 202(h) says nothing about that issue. On that ground alone, the Third Circuit vacated all the Commission’s rule changes (as well as other agency actions in these consolidated cases) and ordered the agency to collect additional statistics on ownership diversity. The same divided Third Circuit panel has repeatedly elevated its policy concerns over the statutory text and purported to retain jurisdiction over the FCC’s Section 202(h) orders, effectively blocking review by any other court for more than 15 years. The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to rule on “whether under Section 202(h) the Commission must produce and consider statistical evidence or conduct an in-depth theoretical analysis regarding effects on minority and female ownership before repealing or modifying media ownership rules that it determines are no longer ‘necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.’” Oral arguments for this case have not been scheduled yet.
Michigan Station Owner Jamie McKibbin Dies in Boating Accident. The owner of McKibbin Media Group – Jamie McKibbin – died in a boating accident on Clendening Lake in Harrison County, Ohio on Sunday (11/15). McKibbin and James ‘Bud’ Miller were on a hunting trip when the accident happened. McKibbin and his wife Katina own the company that includes news/talk WKHM-AM/W268CA, sports talk WKHM-HD2/W270CJ “FOX Sports 101.9,” country WIBM-AM/W240DG and CHR WKHM-FM in the Jackson, Michigan market and adult contemporary WCSR-FM in the Hillsdale, Michigan market. On the WKHM-AM website the company posted his obituary that says, “Jamie achieved his lifelong dream of owning radio stations with the purchase of the Jackson stations in December 2019, followed by the addition of his hometown stations in Hillsdale in February 2020. He was also involved with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and had recently joined its board of directors.” McKibbin is also survived by his 14-year-old son Walker.
TALKERS News Notes. News comes from NAB that the 2021 Audio Engineering Society fall convention will co-locate with NAB Show on October 11–13, 2021 in Las Vegas. NAB says, the co-location brings together the premiere convention for pro audio professionals with the world’s largest convention encompassing media, entertainment, and technology. The AES Show will take place at the Westgate Hotel, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center where NAB Show will be held. The AES fall convention was previously co-located with NAB Show New York at the Javits Convention Center annually in October from 2017–2019. The two events were held virtually in 2020. NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown says, “We are excited to be building the most significant, in-person media and entertainment event of 2021 and are ready to bring the industry together once again at NAB Show in October. Together with AES, we will provide unparalleled access to critical information, inspiration and solutions for audio engineers and content creators.”…..iHeartMedia and podcast network and production studio Cloud10 Media are partnering for a two-year production and distribution deal that will “leverage Cloud10’s diverse slate of curated celebrity-hosted audio programs and iHeartMedia’s national cross-platform network in order to reach a wider audience of consumers across the country.” As part of the deal, all existing and upcoming Cloud10 Media podcasts including “Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best,” “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson,” “Work in Progress with Sophia Bush,” and more will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network and will be promoted across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network…..FOX Sports Radio reports record audience gains across multiple digital platforms for October 2020. FSR says it experienced its best streaming month of all time in October, with total listening hours increasing +28% year-to-year. Additionally, the FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network’s audience grew +123% year-to-year in October, marking FSR’s second-best month ever in terms of podcast listens. FOXSportsRadio.com also experienced its second-best month in history with October page views growing +46% year-to-year, and the network’s YouTube channel saw its views increase by +41% year-to-year in October…..SiriusXM announces a new long-term agreement with the NBCUniversal News Group under which the simulcasts of MSNBC and CNBC will continue to air on SiriusXM, as will the TODAY Show Radio channel. TODAY Show Radio is a 24/7 channel dedicated to TODAY and is home to exclusive radio programs hosted by some of the morning show’s stars. Under the new agreement, SiriusXM also becomes the exclusive advertising representative and end-to-end ad tech platform for a broad slate of NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC podcasts. In addition to live airings of TODAY, the channel features exclusive weekly programs including “The Hoda Show” hosted by Hoda Kotb (Mondays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) and “Off The Rails” (Tuesdays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) with co-hosts Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer, and Sheinelle Jones…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago Public Media is naming Sasha-Ann Simons host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm “Reset” talk program on WBEZ-FM. Simons is currently a host and correspondent at American University’s WAMU-FM, Washington, DC. She takes over for Jenn White who left WBEZ to take on the hosting duties for the WAMU-FM-based “1A” program syndicated by NPR. Since her departure, Justin Kaufmann has been serving as interim host. Simon begins her duties on December 14.
WPG-AM, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Makes ‘Insider 100 Power’ List. Calling it “a coveted, tough list to make,” WPG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he is honored to make Insider NJ’s “Insider 100 Power” list. He adds, “It’s a real professional honor to be included and I’m so appreciative with what they wrote about me.”
Trump’s Continued Challenge of Election/Fires HS Official, Biden Transition, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Holiday Get-Together Controversy, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, and Big Tech Senate Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). The continuing rhetoric from President Trump about the election results and his firing of Homeland Security official Chris Krebs for vouching for the integrity of the vote; the transition of the Joe Biden administration; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for future cases, and the progress on vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; the contentious issue of mandates against large gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas; the presidential election recount taking place in Georgia and that state’s January runoff elections for its U.S. Senate seats; and testimony from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Kasper joins Alpha Media Canton as evening host for its hot AC WHBC “Mix 94.1.” Cluster content director Gabriel Carrillo says, “It’s not often you get the opportunity to bring in a talent with whom the audience is intimately familiar. When [OM] Bo Matthews and I had the chance to sign-on Kasper to the team it was a no-brainer. Finding someone with an instant connection to the market is very rare to find. We sound LOCAL and on the pulse of what is going on in our community. His experience in both Cleveland and Youngstown give our station a true Northeast Ohio feel.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime classic rock WONE-FM, Akron air personality T.K. O’Grady, who passed away at the age of 66 from natural causes. WEWS-TV, Cleveland reports that O’Grady worked in radio for 40 years and joined Akron’s Rubber City Radio in 1998. WONE-FM posted on its website that there will no service or calling hours due to COVID-19, adding, “May his memory be eternal.”