Pending Business: Beam Me Up, Scotty. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you sell talk radio for a living, take a minute to thank William Shatner.” Why? “For years talk radio sellers used the anecdotal examples of iconic figures who crossed into the older demographic with faces and lifestyle that made the older demo more advertiser friendly. From Mick Jagger and Joe Namath, to Cher and Goldie Hawn, these were the easy-to-reference examples leading the path to older demo acceptance. And now a new normal has fallen into our collective talk radio lap, William Shatner who at age 90 touched the sky as the planet logged on.” Read more here.
Monday Memo: Speaking of Vaccine Mandates. “Until we can come up with something else to argue about,” the latest COVID controversy offers what consultant Holland Cooke calls “new evidence demonstrating the importance of choosing our words carefully.” In this week’s column HC bullet-points some fresh research. Read it here.
Matt Sheeder Promoted to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Radio sales pro Matt Sheeder is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes KTLK-AM, sports talk KFXN “KFAN,” and news KQQL-HD2/W227BF “BIN 93.3,” plus five music brands. Sheeder was most recently serving the cluster as local sales manager. Sheeder started in the media industry in 2015 at Comcast Spotlight. He joined the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team as an account executive in 2018. Sheeder says, “I feel fortunate to be able to help expand and lead this high-performing team. The past three years of my career at iHeartMedia have been incredibly enriching and have only helped me grow both professionally and personally. Thank you to the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team for this exciting new opportunity!”
WTOP, Washington’s Chris Roth to Acquire WNAV-AM, Annapolis from Pat Sajak. The Annapolis, Maryland radio station owned by “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak – oldies intensive, full-service outlet WNAV-AM – is being acquired by partners Chris Roth and Frank Brady for $1,000. Roth is currently a staffer in the WTOP-FM, Washington production department. WTOP has the story and notes that Roth and Brady will have to trim some of the payroll but hope to keep as many of the two dozen staffers as they can. The station will have to move from land that Sajak owns but Sajak is committing up to $100,000 to help with the move and a new lease. Roth says he will keep his position with WTOP as he transitions to his new role as co-owner of the station. Meanwhile, Sajak comments, “I am indebted to our advertisers and, of course, our loyal listeners. As I move toward retirement over the next couple of years, I’ll always look back at my ownership of WNAV with great pride and satisfaction.”
AdLarge Releases 2021 Podcasting Buying Guide. The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 has been released by AdLarge. The company says this guide features “essential information on the rapid evolution of the marketplace including the latest resources and tools for measurement, analysis, and attribution available today. While similar to the first three guides by remaining simple to follow and understand, the fourth edition goes beyond the basics of buying and delves into the specifics behind content selection, measurement efficacy, and targeted delivery.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek adds, “As more buyers continue to experience the unmatched ROI of podcast advertising, we recognized the opportunity to provide guidance and context to the quickly evolving landscape of attribution, measurement, and delivery. The unprecedented growth we are witnessing today is a true testament to the power of podcasting.” AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas states, “Working with a broad range of shows and clients has uniquely positioned AdLarge as an authentic resource to buyers. Our spectrum of knowledge has enabled us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which we’ve outlined in this playbook. Our goal is to provide everyone with the tools to make the most informed advertising decisions possible. The substantial increase year-over-year in advertiser spend has proven the audience is attentive, engaged, and ready to take action.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM morning drive personality Steve Cochran has kicked off the fourth season of his podcast “Live From My Office.” Guests on the twice-weekly podcast this season are expected to include: Tom Waddle, Mark Giangreco, Lou Piniella, Bill Leff, Spike O’Dell and comedians Kathleen Madigan and John Da Cosse…..Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT-FM, Nashville “ESPN 102.5 The Game” and the NHL’s Nashville Predators agree to a multi-year extension that continues WPRT’s role as the official flagship station and broadcast partner of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Cromwell Media president Bud Walters says, “For over 10 years the Predators have been the ‘best’ to work with. They’ve brought such excitement to Nashville, and we look forward to continuing our partnership together. We are very proud to be the flagship home of the Nashville Predators Network.”…..Townsquare Media’s KHOM, Hannibal, Missouri “NewsTalk 1070” adds Premiere Networks’ “Glenn Beck Program” to its daily lineup, effective today (10/18). Beck’s show airs locally from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden vs Progressive Democrats, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Bannon Subpoena, U.S. Missionaries Kidnapped, and Ahmaud Arbery Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The effects of the global supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden’s challenges bringing progressive Democrats aboard his agenda; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., and mask & vaccine mandates; the January 6 investigation and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s defying a subpoena to testify before a congressional committee; the kidnapping of 17 U.S. missionaries by a gang in Haiti; and the trial of three Georgia men in the slaying of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
William Shatner did for sellers what Donald Trump did for talents. They drove talk radio to another level and we all benefited.
I remember the 2015-2016 undercurrent evident on countless sales calls. It was all about how talk radio had run its course and the end was near. Five years ago the theory was talk radio listeners were aging out and the demographics were growing so old, soon there would be no value for advertisers in reaching those older, outdated listeners. Nothing left of relevance in talk radio to attract listeners and advertisers. Enter Donald Trump and arguably his persona helped make talk radio relevant, influential and on fire again.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Boosters and Rockets,” looks back at this past week of 10/11 – 10/15. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, medical field podcaster/forensic psychiatrist. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
Kristine Bellino Joins WIBX-AM, Utica Morning Show. Television and radio pro Kristine Bellino returns to Townsquare Media’s WIBX-AM, Utica, New York to serve as morning news anchor and co-host of the “First News with Keeler in the Morning” program, effective Monday (10/18). Townsquare says that Bellino has worked in television, radio, and cable TV, most recently as director of programming and audience development and morning show host at public radio outlet WCPE-FM, Raleigh. She has also produced and hosted a podcast on sustainability and dreams of owning an off-the-grid farm one day. Bellino says, “I am thrilled to be working with Bill Keeler and Andrew Derminio in the morning again, I am beyond excited! Returning to our adopted hometown of Utica is an inspiring homecoming for my family. Returning to TSM and [market president] Karen Carey’s team means doing it right.”
FOX News Inks Book Deal with HarperCollins. A new deal between FOX News Books, the publishing imprint of FOX News Media, and HarperCollins calls for the publication of six new titles. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “We are thrilled to once again partner with HarperCollins, furthering the multiplatform brand extension of FOX News Media. Over the past 25 years, we have developed a unique connection with our audience and look forward to delivering more of the content they desire from their favorite FOX News personalities through our expanded publishing platform.” Next month, All American Christmas will be the third title from the imprint. Authored by “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy, along with her husband, FOX News contributor Sean Duffy, the book features an inside look at how the family of 11 celebrates the holidays, showcasing their favorite memories and traditions with stories and photos from over the years. The Duffy’s will also spotlight several FOX News personalities sharing their favorite holiday memories, including stories from Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Bill Hemmer, Dana Perino, Martha MacCallum, Geraldo Rivera, Lawrence Jones, Jesse Watters, John Rich, Charles Payne, and many more.
Cumulus Adds FM Translator to WFTW-AM, Fort Walton Beach. Fort Walton Beach, Florida news/talk WFTW-AM now has an FM translator broadcasting its audio at 107.5 FM. Cumulus Media launched the new signal at 7:00 am this morning (10/15). Cumulus Fort Walton Beach-Destin VP and market manager Ashley Allegretto says, “This is an exciting day for local radio and for the Fort Walton Beach market. We are elated to bring this sought-after content and renowned programming lineup to the FM dial.” Cluster OM and program director Chris Kellogg adds, “The proud tradition of 1260 WFTW continues across multiple streaming platforms and now the addition of 107.5 FM. This deepens our commitment to our conservative community of listeners and businesses and provides multiple access points for news and opinion.”
WGN, Chicago to Present ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ Chicago’s WGN Radio will broadcast “Halloween Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” live on Sunday, October 31 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show will consist of six half-hour spooky classic radio shows including: “Mystery in the Air” starring Peter Lorre, “Lights Out!,” “The Whistler,” and “Mystery House,” starring Bela Lugosi and John Carradine. Listeners can also expect shorter scary clips and other fun surprises. Amari says, “I’m super excited to be on the air live this Halloween evening to bring WGN listeners some of the spookiest shows from the golden age of radio. It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ four hours, so don’t miss it!” Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving original radio broadcasts, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.
TALKERS News Notes. A contest from Beasley Media Group and Philadelphia restaurateur John Tripodi is asking WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” listeners to provide the new name for a restaurant and sports bar. Midday show personality Anthony Gargano unveiled the details for the Name This Restaurant and Sports Bar Contest. The restaurant – located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania – has re-opened but needs a name. The person who comes up with the winning name receives a $100 monthly tab for a year at the location. It’s also the location of the official home of “97.5 The Fanatic’s Football Friday Tailgate with Anthony Gargano” live broadcast (Fridays from 10am to 2pm) and 97.5 The Fanatic’s “Birds Away Game Pre-Game Show with Devon Givens and Derrick Gunn.” WPEN-FM program director Chuck Damico says, “Partnering with John Tripodi and his amazing place for our ‘Name This Restaurant and Sports Bar’ promotion was an opportunity we had to jump at. If you’re not actually at the game, you’re out with friends and enjoying delicious food (maybe a drink or two) and having a great time! This is the next great spot to be doing it and to have the chance to have one of our listeners decide what it’s called. How cool is that?”…..SiriusXM announces its coverage of the 2021-22 NBA season in which it offers live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on SiriusXM NBA Radio. The NBA begins its season on Tuesday (10/19) as the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets in a rematch of last season’s seven-game conference semifinals series. SiriusXM hosts Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine will host a special show live from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee starting at 6:00 pm ET and leading into the game broadcast.
The Economy, Inflation, Supply Chain Woes, and Labor Shortage Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 11-15. The state of the U.S. economy, the inflation affecting consumer prices, the broken supply chain, and the shortage of workers in the U.S. and abroad combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., booster shots and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the pandemic’s effect on the politics of education at #3. 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Ramsey Solutions’ Borrowed Future Premieres Today; Teachers Given Free Access to Share with Students. The student load documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions is being released today (10/14) and the company is offering every teacher in the U.S. free access to the film. Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream is produced by Dave Ramsey and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play. Ramsey Solutions says the film uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry and exposes how it’s built to work against borrowers. Dave Ramsey – CEO of Ramsey Solutions, host of “The Ramsey Show,” and executive producer of the film – comments, “It’s ironic to me that the dumbest decisions we make as a society are related to education, of all things. Student loans are not the only way to get a degree. Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.” The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a debt-free college graduate, and high school students who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans – until now. Borrowed Future is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. See more about Borrowed Future here.
Audacy Offers $45 Million in New Notes to Fund ‘Small Digital Acquisition.’ A subsidiary of Audacy – Audacy Capital Corp – plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $45 million in aggregate principal amount of the Issuer’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Audacy says it is in the process of completing a small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million and expects to fund this acquisition through a draw on the Issuer’s revolving credit facility. This acquisition is expected to close in October 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Audacy intends to use the net proceeds from this offering (after deducting discounts and commissions and paying offering-related expenses) to repay outstanding amounts under the Issuer’s term loan to offset the impact of the revolver draw. This offering is not conditioned upon the consummation of the acquisition, nor is the acquisition conditioned on the consummation of this offering. The Additional Notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $425 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. The Additional Notes will have identical terms (other than issue date and offering price) as the Existing Notes. The Additional Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. The Additional Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.
NAB’s Marconi Awards to Happen Virtually; Radio Show to Merge with NAB Show Permanently. With the cancellation of the in-person NAB Show this fall, the
National Association of Broadcasters announces the presentation of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and the State of the Industry Address by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will take place virtually on November 10 at 2:00 pm ET via NAB.org/watch. At the same time, NAB announces that going forward, the annual Radio Show will be integrated into the NAB Show beginning in April 2022 in Las Vegas. NAB says, “This change provides more opportunities in one location for radio professionals and elevates radio in the larger media ecosystem represented at NAB Show.” NAB adds that the integrated event in Las Vegas will feature signature awards, networking events and a comprehensive conference program, including popular sales and marketing sessions presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “It’s important that we continue to bring radio professionals together to network, celebrate audio and engage in meaningful discussions around the future of our industry.” Salem Media Group president of broadcast media and NAB joint board chair David Santrella states, “In today’s world where radio companies are essentially multimedia companies, the value in attending NAB Show cannot be overstated. We are now streaming and podcasting and even producing video. NAB Show provides unparalleled access to the critical tools, knowledge and connections we need to grow and thrive in today’s media business.”
Nielsen: AM/FM Radio Listening Near its Highest Point in a Year. Results from Nielsen’s ongoing Audio Consumer Sentiment survey that addresses current American feelings about the COVID pandemic and how it impacts their lives have been released and they indicate that nearly nine in 10 (86%) say they are spending the same amount or more since the Delta variant emerged. Despite the Delta variant and increasing COVID cases in the summer, more than eight in 10 (82%) don’t think their own financial situation will change in the coming months. Also, radio’s average quarter-hour (AQH) audience trend is up 4% year over year, with 7.5 million people age 12+ listening during an average quarter-hour in PPM Markets in September 2021. Radio’s reach trend is stable. Radio reached 121.5 million consumers in PPM markets during an average week in September 2021. In Continuous Diary Measurement markets, Radio’s reach and AQH audience have been remarkably stable during the past year. The study finds that seven in 10 working Americans now work outside the home – an 80% jump since April 2020. The gain in those who work outside the home is a key statistic for audio since consumers spend more time with radio when they travel in vehicles to get to work or shop. There were also big gains in the area of transportation. Overall, nearly a third (31%) are spending more than an hour in their vehicles yesterday compared with 14% in April of last year. That’s a two-fold increase, and heavy radio listeners are far more likely to spend more time in their vehicles. In September, 55% of heavy radio listeners spent more than an hour in their vehicle yesterday.
Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show’ to Celebrate 40 Years on Air. In November, Warren Eckstein will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his radio program “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein.” His program is syndicated nationally via Radio America. In addition to his work as a pet behaviorist and TV-radio personality, Eskstein founded the Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund – a not-for-profit organization in memory of his late wife, Fay. Its mission is to fund hundreds of small animal organizations across the U.S. The Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund aims to be the outsourced fundraising arm for small animal rescues when other financial resources are unavailable. Speaking about his show, Eskstein says, “Unlike most talk radio shows, my focus is on the listeners and callers. I rarely do interviews, because for 40 years, pet guardians are calling with questions they need answers to. My show has listeners with four generations of pets. We’ve laughed together and cried together. There is a level of trust the show has built with my audience – they know I will never endorse a product unless I personally use it for my pets. My reputation is on the line with every show.”
CBS News Honored with Four Honors from New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards. The winners of the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards have been announced and CBS News earned four honors in this year’s competition. “The Debrief with Major Garrett” took home the Gold Award in the News Podcast category; “Mobituaries with Mo Rocca” earned a Silver Award in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; “My Life of Crime” from “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty was a finalist in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; and “Century of Sound” was a finalist in the Best Nonfiction Series category.
TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown promotes Thomas Green to director of custom imaging and appoints Royce Stevenson to the custom imaging manager role that Green held prior to his promotion. With Benztown since 2019, Brooklyn, New York-based Green is the audio producer for National Geographic’s FYC Podcast “The Making Of.” Stevenson joins Benztown from Audacy’s KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” where he was most recently assistant brand manager and music director…..KMG Utopia Studios, TalkShoe, and Mark Krantz Productions announce that award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano and his daughter Daniella Pantoliano are kicking off season two of their popular podcast, “No Kidding? Me Too!” at Advertising Week NY 2021 with a live Q&A on Monday, October 18 at 4:30 pm ET and a virtual session on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:00 pm ET. The two will conduct an intimate interview with Kelly Carlin – author, performer, and life coach – the only child of comic legend George Carlin. She’ll share her family’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and healing. Joe Pantoliano says, “We are thrilled to bring this important conversation to Advertising Week. It is important for us to collaborate with brands and advertisers on the increasing intensity of brain Dis-Ease, the co-occurring nature of addiction, and how to discover a recovery process. This is a perfect opportunity to raise the volume on recovery.”…..Stitcher announces its acquisition of “The Bellas Podcast” hosted by sisters, WWE Hall of Fame Inductees, TV personalities, and best-selling authors Brie and Nikki Bella. Before going on hiatus in spring 2021, “The Bellas Podcast” was part of the Endeavor Audio network. As it relaunches, hosts Brie and Nikki will produce the show with support from Stitcher.
Former Baltimore Talk Host Alan Christian Dies at 81. The Baltimore Sun has the obituary for Alvin Eugene Christian Jr., a.k.a. Alan Christian, who hosted talk radio programs on Baltimore radio stations during the 1970s and 1980s. Christian died on October 5 at age 81 after suffering from heart complications. During his career, Christian hosted talk shows on WBAL-AM, WERQ-AM, and WFBR-AM. His radio career launched in 1967 when he joined Metromedia Radio News to cover the Pentagon and the 1968 presidential campaign before being promoted to Washington bureau chief. He joined WCBM-AM in 1971 and moved to WBAL in 1974 to host “The Alan Christian Show.” At the end of his radio career, he hosted a weekly show on WERQ from 1992 to 1993 before retiring.
Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, SS COLA, COVID-19, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Jon Gruden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; Social Security announces cost-of-living increases for monthly recipients; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; China’s continuing military aggression against Taiwan; and NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.