Archive for July, 2021
WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Nexstar Names Gliha VP/CFO. In two weeks (8/9), Jefferies LLC managing director Lee Ann Gliha will become Nexstar Media Group’s executive vice president/chief financial officer. She will take over CFO responsibilities from Thomas E. Carter, who was promoted to president/chief operating officer late last year and was Nexstar’s executive vice president/chief financial officer since 2009. According to Carter, “[Lee Ann is] an accomplished finance leader who understands the rapidly evolving media ecosystem and brings extensive industry relationships to her new role at Nexstar. This background will be invaluable to [our] senior management team, board of directors, and our experienced finance team. [She] will be instrumental in advancing our strategic objectives with the goal of further enhancing shareholder value.” Gliha comments, “Throughout its 25-year history, Nexstar has been at the forefront of every major innovation in local broadcasting, while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Nexstar’s corporate and local management teams have built the preeminent local broadcasting and digital media company in the country and consistently delivered impressive financial results for shareholders. I am thrilled to be joining Nexstar – I look forward to growing and evolving the business and driving new value for shareholders.” Prior to working at Jefferies LLC, Gliha was Live Nation’s executive vice president/corporate finance.
Westwood One Sets Affiliate Sales Moves. Boosted to vice president of affiliate sales for 24/7 formats at CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One is Neal Weiner, while Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate sales for the music & entertainment division. Senior vice president of affiliate sales Stuart Greenblatt comments, “With more than a quarter-century with Westwood One, Neal knows this business inside and out; Sue’s new role brings her full circle back to Westwood One. There are no better people to assume these roles and drive Westwood One’s affiliate sales.” Weiner remarks, “We have fantastic new offerings in the pipeline for helping our affiliates to operate smoothly and efficiently and to sound amazing. I’m honored to assume this role at such an exciting time.” Falco notes, “Westwood One is synonymous with great programming and super-sized talent. I’m thrilled to be back on the team with such a well-respected brand.” Weiner’s 26-year tenure at Westwood One has included working with 24/7 formats; music and entertainment shows; sports; and prep services. He began his radio career at then Westwood-owned KQLZ “Pirate Radio,” Los Angeles. Falco most recently spent ten years as United Stations’ director of affiliate sales. Prior to that, she had a six-year run at Westwood One as part of both the news/talk and country affiliate sales teams.
Audacy Introduces Podsauce. The one-hour Dax Holt and Alesha Reneé-hosted multi-platform podcast discovery show assists podcast partisans find new series; it will begin this Thursday (7/29). Audacy Digital executive vice president/general manager Pam Russo contends, “With over two million active podcasts and nearly 50 million episodes worldwide, finding a podcast to listen to can be overwhelming. That’s where ‘Podsauce’ comes in. Through Alesha and Dax’s passion for this exploding medium, coupled with in-depth conversations with the people behind the content, ‘Podsauce’ will give consumers a taste of [the] top shows – both in our portfolio and beyond – and spotlight the very best in the world of podcasting.” Holt spent 11 years at TMZ where he won two Emmy nominations. He hosts the “Hollywood Raw” podcast. Actress/TV personality Reneé has appeared on “Girl Code,” “Guy Code,” “E! News,” “HotWyred,” “The 5ive,” and “106 and Park.” In addition, she has been the host/spokesperson for McDonald’s “Men of McCafe.” Select sound bites titled the “Podsauce Minute” will be heard on Audacy’s 235 broadcast stations.
SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Of $2.16 Billion. That’s an increase of 15% compared to this time last year. SiriusXM’s 2021 Q2 net income of $433 million is up $190 million versus 2020’s $243 million. The substantial increase included $140 million in insurance recoveries related to its SXM-7 satellite. Chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “We are increasing all of our financial guidance. The quarter was bolstered by record self-pay churn of just 1.5%, and we achieved strong monetization in our advertising business with an increase in ad revenue of 82% from the prior year period and 20% from the second quarter of 2019. We have long been the leader in shaping the future of audio for listeners, and we continue doing so by providing curated and premium content in innovative formats.” Earlier this month, the satcaster announced that a daily Megyn Kelly-hosted show (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) will begin on September 7. Witz notes, “In addition, video of the best moments from the show will be available in our app to subscribers and a podcast version of the show will be distributed broadly on SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, and other major platforms. Seth Rogen will do his first-ever podcast with us starting in the fall.”
Salem Radio Network Extends Gorka. The multi-year agreement enables Sebastian Gorka to continue his 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (ET) Salem Radio Network “America First” program that began in January 2019. Salem senior vice president for spoken-word Phil Boyce states, “Dr. Gorka has proven to be a natural on the radio. His insight into current events, his courageous stands on the issues, and his unique sense of humor have blended together to make this one of the best shows in the Salem lineup.” Gorka adds that, “Despite an incredibly hard 18 months for America, conservative talk radio is stronger than it has ever been. I am so grateful to Salem, my superb team and our amazing listeners for their loyalty and enduring love of country. I am overjoyed at the chance to continue our shared mission to tell the truth and make America even stronger than before.” Gorka grew up in London and learned talk radio listening to radio stations there. A three-time author, he hosts a weekend Newsmax TV show.
RTDNA Announces “The Year Of The Team.” Maintaining this year’s news leadership conference will feature “fresh and focused hands-on training and more intimate/inspirational discussions,” the Radio Television Digital News Association’s “The Year of the Team” retreat will be held in Denver on September 23 – 24. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “When approaching our annual conference this year, we listened to what our members said they wanted in a post-pandemic world in terms of professional development. We have developed a curriculum that helps them restore, rejuvenate, refresh and find ways to be more productive, more satisfied, and more well-rounded as they practice the craft of journalism. It’s going to be a holistic reset and refresh of everything we do as journalists and everything we are as human beings.” News leaders will reportedly celebrate the “Year of the Team” with representation and resilience. Attendees will be able to participate in interactive and immersive sessions taught by subject matter experts on a variety of topics relevant to representation and resilience – including self-care and inclusive language.
COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccine Denial/Hesitancy Top News/Talk Story for Monday July 26. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/26). That was followed closely by the highly contentious January 6 Committee debate between the parties. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com.See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland-based Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff have exited Sun Broadcast Group as chief operating officer and vice president/operations, respectively … As first reported by Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), former standup comedian Patti Vasquez’s “Driving It Home With Patti Vasquez” (5:00 pm – 6:00 pm) will be added to Newsweb Chicago news/talk WCPT’s weekday roster next Monday (8/2). Vasquez formerly did evenings at cross-town Nexstar news/talk WGN … Former eight-year traffic pilot/reporter at (now Audacy-owned) St. Louis news/talk KMOX John Larrabee, 73, passed away earlier this month (7/10) at his Moscow Mills (Missouri) home. His other radio credits include stops in New York City (WXLO) and Hartford (WDRC-AM and WPOP), as well as programming St. Louis’ KSLQ and KADI.
Newsmax To Unveil “Eric Bolling The Balance.” Touting it as a (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm) weekday show “for everyday Americans, covering the issues that truly matter,” Newsmax will introduce “Eric Bolling The Balance’’ tomorrow (7/28). According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “Viewers know and trust Eric Bolling as one of the most tenacious guys in news. Insiders know he’s a true veteran who is driven to follow the facts and deliver the news.” Before joining Newsmax last month, Bolling hosted a weekly talk show on Sinclair Broadcasting and hosted “The Five,” “Cashin’ In,” and “Fast Money.” He is a former commodities trader and board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Monday Memo: Is Your On-Air Product Old-School? Podcasting delivers on consumers’ expectation for on-demand EVERYTHING and consultant Holland Cooke calls it “an opportunity to let retailers sponsor pertinent special interest topics.” But, in this week’s column, he cautions that “these are still digital dimes, compared to the analog dollars solid live programming and painstakingly-crafted commercials will earn us.” To read what makes your station special, please click here.
Pending Business: Going Up. In this week’s “Pending Business” column, radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, discusses the state of your “elevator pitch.” Will it work in less than the 60 seconds it takes to go to the eighth floor? Try this: Create one sentence that describes what your station does better than any of your competitors. Ask yourself is there a payoff for the advertiser in that one sentence or is it all product information? Are you connecting a #1 with an advertiser benefit? Have you taken the time to update your elevator pitch to put a more contemporary feel to the language? Lapa discusses these important points and more in an article that touches on the very basics of cutting right to the chase in presenting your station in a clear and positive light to a potential advertiser when time is of the essence. To read more, please click here.
Davis Sets Departure From iHeartMedia. Nashville-based iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group chief operating officer Darren Davis will exit at the end of this year, but will continue with the company as an advisor. In a memo to the staff, iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and iHM president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler write, “Darren has a deep love for iHeart and a true passion for our business and our success. [He] has grown up through our organization continually taking on new roles and more responsibility, becoming a critically important contributor as part of our senior team. After almost 30 years with iHeart, Darren is looking forward to spending more time on a variety of other projects he’s passionate about, including real estate development; local community projects; and traveling with his family. Although his day-to-day operating expertise will be missed, we appreciate all he’s done for our company and are very pleased that he will continue his association with us, albeit on a more limited basis. Darren will be working closely with Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne through the balance of 2021 to continue our momentum and to effectively organize the Digital Audio Group for the future.” Davis has been with iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) since 1992 when he joined adult contemporary WASH, Washington, DC as a programming intern.
iHM, Sports Illustrated, and SI Studios Partner For Multi-Year, Audio Content Deal. The agreement includes eight co-produced Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Studios, and iHeartRadio podcasts, as well as distribution of Sports Illustrated’s existing podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. Mutual marketing and promotion commitments will apply to all joint projects; two of the eight original podcasts are scheduled to launch by the first quarter of next year. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group chief executive officer Conal Byrne comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Sports Illustrated to introduce a brand-new slate of sports podcasts – limited series and ongoing shows alike. It’s an iconic brand that sports fans instantly trust, knowing that they will get the most credible and in-depth industry coverage. We look forward to expanding that footprint into the audio space where we uniquely have the reach and scale to bring Sports Illustrated the audience and monetization they deserve.” According to Sports Illustrated & Maven chief executive officer Ross Levinsohn, “Storytelling is at the core of what SI stands for. The opportunity to partner with iHeartMedia to create and distribute dynamic stories and shows featuring our incredible voices further expands our footprint.” Chief operating officer of 101 Studios, David Hutkin, adds, “While traditionally sports are very visually focused, this venture allows us to introduce audiences to the most memorable events in sports history in unexpected ways. With this new partnership, we have the unique opportunity to tell these historic, remarkable stories to audiences globally.” Set to debut later this year, “Sports Illustrated Weekly” will feature the best of Sports Illustrated’s journalism in an audio magazine. Each 45-minute episode will feature deep-dive segments on the biggest news of the week and the most compelling personalities, trends and themes in sports. Developed by SI Studios, “Lateral Damage” will offer an innovative take on the true-crime genre. Publishing early next year, the podcast tells the story of University of California, Berkeley football player Mariet Ford, who was convicted of viciously murdering his young son and pregnant wife; Ford has maintained his innocence for almost 25 years. The podcast will explore the indelible effect the murder has had on the core group of people in Ford’s sphere.
Local Journalism Sustainability Act Has NAB Support. Introduced by Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell (Washington State); Mark Kelly (Arizona); and Ron Wyden (Oregon), the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021 would aid local news organizations through tax credits to incentivize hiring more journalists, subscriptions and advertising from local small businesses. In a prepared statement, National Association of Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Gordon Smith notes, “At a time when misinformation and disinformation plague online platforms, broadcast radio and television continue to serve as reliable beacons of news that keep local communities informed and connected. We urge congressional passage of this legislation.” According to Senator Cantwell, “The COVID-19 pandemic made it crystal clear that local reporters and newsrooms are essential to keeping the public informed and safe, but their importance spans well beyond health emergencies. At its core, local news is about holding the powerful accountable. The strength of our democracy is based in truth and transparency. Local newsrooms are on the ground in our communities asking the critical questions, countering misinformation, and telling our stories. We have to protect these vital parts of our communities – once they’re gone, they’re gone.” Senator Kelly comments, “Local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations are pillars of our community, bringing trusted local news [and] information about community events and the latest on public health updates in their area. The pandemic made an already difficult financial situation for these news providers even harder, which is why I support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. By providing tax credits for individuals to support local news outlets, they can continue to provide important coverage for readers, listeners, and viewers.” Senator Wyden adds, “The decline of local news has had devastating effects on our communities. Local news has often been the only window into the city council or mayor’s office. Without these outlets, these important institutions in our communities go uncovered. Further, the decline of local news has only fueled the growth of misinformation as Americans lose their most trusted sources of information. As the son of a journalist, these developments trouble me greatly. Our bill would provide financial support to local news at this critical time for our democracy.”
WMVP To Repeat A $50,000 Ad Giveaway. It’s part of an ongoing “Supporting Small Business” campaign by Good Karma Brands Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP “ESPN 1000” and First Midwest Bank. Good Karma Brands Chicago market manager Mike Thomas comments, “We’re excited to continue our partnership with First Midwest Bank to help a local small business see success. Supporting local businesses in our community is central to both ‘ESPN 1000’ and First Midwest Bank. This is a great way for us to introduce the passionate sports fans in our area to a small business.” First Midwest Bank chief marketing and communications officer Jim Stadler adds, “This past year has reminded us of the importance of small businesses and the role they play in creating employment opportunities and momentum for economic growth in their local neighborhoods. We are proud to partner with ‘ESPN Chicago’ for the second year to bring valuable and well-deserved public exposure to these important businesses.” Last year’s “Supporting Small Business” award benefitted Breaking Bread Catering & Deli.
TALKERS News Notes. Former 13-year Tampa Bay Lightning director of broadcasting & programming Matt Sammon is appointed manager/business development & strategy for Skyview Networks. Sammon joined Skyview last September as an executive producer overseeing Notre Dame sports broadcasts and spent two years freelancing with Sammonsez, LLC … After reporting part-time for NPR the past several months, David Gura will join the network next Monday (8/2) as business correspondent. Most recently the host of MSNBC’s weekend morning show “Up With David Gura,” he previously was a Bloomberg anchor. Gura began his career as an intern at University of North Carolina news/talk WUNC, Raleigh … The next installment of the “Gracie Interview Series – Virtual Gatherings” will be this Thursday (7/29) at 2:00 pm (ET). “The Breakfast Club” co-host/“Angela Yee’s Lip Service” host Angela Yee moderates the interview of Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Registration is free at https://allwomeninmedia.org/events/gracie-interview-series-virtual-gatherings/ … iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO “News Radio 1040” afternoon drive talent Simon Conway took his show on the road to Groton, Connecticut for several broadcasts aboard the USS Nautilus. Conway received a tour of the USS Iowa (pictured), guided by captain James Quintin. According to Conway, “The two shows we did from our submarine base at Groton were very exciting. All my questions were answered and the feedback from my audience has been incredible.” In addition to WHO, Conway’s afternoon drive show is heard on iHeartMedia stations in Cedar Rapids (WMT) and Davenport (WOC) … Nexstar Media Group promotes Ron Romines to senior vice president and regional manager. Romines will oversee the company’s broadcast and digital operations in various markets and will report to Nexstar Media Group president of broadcasting Andrew Alford.
Top Talk Topics This Past Weekend Headed By COVID-19. As has been the case in recent years, the news cycle no longer slows down on the weekends. The most-discussed topic on news/talk radio this past weekend has been COVID-19 with a focus on the Delta variant, vaccine hesitancy, controversy over mask mandates and the potential for more shutdowns. This was followed by intense partisan bickering over the formulation of the January 6 committee, followed by climate change, 2020 election denial, and the Olympics.
Acción Adds Tampa and Jacksonville. Effective immediately, Star Over Orlando’s WRSO “Acción 97.9 – La Primera En Noticias” will be simulcast in Tampa on iHeartMedia-owned WHNZ which had been English-language news/talk; a West Tampa translator at 105.9 that was simulcasting English-language news/talk WFLA; and WMTX-HD2. In addition, it will be heard in Jacksonville on iHM’s WFXJ and WKSL-HD2. iHeartMedia senior VP/Hispanic Strategy Hector Marcano comments, “Acción represents a solution for the Hispanic audience eager for a Spanish-speaking newscast and companies that are looking for this fast-growing audience interested in developing a life in the USA.” Division president Linda Byrd notes, “I’m excited to expand the Acción brand to other important Hispanic markets in Florida. Getting the news and information to Florida’s growing Hispanic population in their native language will be very impactful.” Area president for iHeartMedia West Central Florida Chris Soechtig remarks, “We are very excited to deliver a first of its kind Spanish language news platform to the Tampa Bay Hispanic community. With the changing demographics in our area, this is a natural addition to our diverse portfolio.” iHeartMedia North Florida area president Paul Rogers contends, “No other media company can truly help our advertisers, brands, and community organizations reach the full spectrum of the First Coast’s diverse populations like iHeart. We are thrilled to [bring] the first full-service Hispanic news/talk station to Northeast Florida.” Acción – La Primera En Noticias launched in 2018 and news director Jesús Manuel Torres states, “For the past few years, we’ve worked as a team to keep our Hispanic community informed of the events that have changed history. This time, our commitment continues to grow, and our team is ready to continue bringing relevant information and analysis to each market.” Among persons 6+, WRSO is trending 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.8 (April – May – June) and ranks #16 (Nielsen Audio, June 2021). Star Over Orlando-owned WRSO is operated by iHeartMedia under an LMA.
By Holland Cooke
- “The Station That Reaches The Beaches,” the legacy liner with which long-ago PD Al Herskovitz bludgeoned high-band directional AM format competitor WICE; and
- “The Greatest Summer of Your Life,” by then-PD Jay Clark. And for me it sure was. He hired me for Saturday and Sunday nights, $2.50 an hour, and I would have paid him. That gig was my career turning point.
As Jay showed me around the station that day, he pointed to the whiteboard, and said – winking as he took the pipe out of his mouth – “Keep saying those two lines.” And he had us walking-the-talk, showing-up everywhere, creating our own events and hijacking others. Delivering experiences.
TALKERS | July 19, 2021
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Last week my travels took me through the Atlanta area where this time of year baseball tournaments are a common site. Players at all levels participate in amateur tournaments throughout the city. They come from near far to compete for a prized trophy and all-important recognition.
Radio and television broadcasting were changed forever on a summer afternoon
in 1962. Everybody realized it then; hardly anyone cares or remembers today.
(This article was originally posted on LinkedIn on July 23, 2020. It has been edited and amended prior to submission to TALKERS.)
By Mark Wainwright
SYRACUSE — Instant worldwide audio/video communication is a routine, taken‐for‐granted aspect of our lives; we can hold the technology in our hands and access it anytime. Yet, it wasn’t so long ago that this was the stuff of science fiction. By the early 1960’s, live worldwide radio had been around for decades. With a combination of shortwave transmission and some intricate international phone links, you could get a radio broadcast from just about anywhere to just about anyplace. There were limitations, and the audio quality wasn’t great, but it could be done. The bandwidth demands of “broadcast‐quality” television, however, were a much higher hurdle.