By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — “But I’m doing a whole SHOW, not just the ‘snack-size’ episodes you recommend,” one podcaster wrote, after reading last week’s column, itself conspicuously succinct.
While I continue to heed the listener research which recommends (forgive me) “less is more,” I myself subscribe to several longer-form podcasts. My concern about going-longer is the same caution I offer to eager beavers who ask me about launching a weekend show: It’s a lot of work.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment (Series Finale) of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment and series finale of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that has looked back each week for the past three-and-a-half years at the hottest topics discussed in the American talk media per the research of TALKERS, is now posted. This new episode titled, “A House Divided,” reviews this past week of 11/7-11. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Murray Sabrin, professor emeritus of finance, Ramapo College, NJ; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Matthew B. Harrison, Esq., associate publisher, TALKERS/law professor, Springfield, MA. The show has been airing weekends (Friday evenings to Sunday nights) on 100-plus broadcast signals and networks across the U.S. and U.K as well as having developed a significant international following as a podcast. To listen to this week’s milestone episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS topic research, please click here.
LiveOne Reports Revenue for 2023 Fiscal Q2 Up 7.3%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of Fiscal 2023, LiveOne says consolidated revenue was $23.5 million – an increase of 7.3% over the same period in 2022 Fiscal Q2. LiveOne is the parent company of PodcastOne and the filing reveals that PodcastOne “posted record 1H Fiscal 2023 revenue of $17.2 million as U.S. unique monthly audience surpassed 6.7 million in September 2022.” LiveOne is planning to spin out PodcastOne as a separate, publicly traded company and expects to file an S-1 with the SEC by December 15. Returning to the company’s consolidated financial data, LiveOne posted a net loss of $3.4 million, a dramatic reduction from the net loss of $15.2 million it reported for second quarter of Fiscal 2022. LiveOne CEO and chairman Robert Ellin comments, “The momentum in LiveOne’s audio business, which includes Slacker Radio and PodcastOne, continues to experience growth of paid members through partnerships, including Tesla, as well as an increase in advertising and sponsorships. We expect our audio business to collectively achieve revenue in excess of $80 million in Fiscal 2023 and generate more than $16 million in Adjusted EBITDA. Over the past year, we have successfully reduced costs and overhead by an expected $25 million on an annual basis while focusing on the operating performance of our audio division. A significant part of our strategy is a decision to forgo any live tentpole and pay-per-view events until Fiscal 2024, which has resulted in a lowering of expected Fiscal 2023 revenue to between $100 million and $110 million. These measures will allow us to utilize our capital and resources to strengthen our balance sheet, buyback stock and focus on the growth of our profitable businesses.”
Christian Arcand Returns to WEEI, Boston to Produce PM Drive Show. Sports talk radio pro Christian Arcand – who was a casualty of the recent cuts at Beasley Media Group and served as an air personality at WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – joins Audacy’s WEEI-FM, Boston as producer of the “Merloni, Fauria & Mego” show and as host of the Saturday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program. Arcand originally served with WEEI first as co-host on the “Planet Mikey” show with Mike Adams and then hosted the “WEEI Late Night” program before joining WBZ-FM five years ago. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Mike Thomas says, “Christian is a talented guy and a great team player. A lot of people in the building, including myself, have had the pleasure of working with him in the past. What he will bring to ‘Merloni, Fauria and Mego’ on and off the air will really help propel the show and the station forward.”
Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Host Election Event. Pictured above at Tuesday night’s midterm election night event in Nashville are Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities Clay Travis (right) and Buck Sexton (left) – hosts of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” with U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Travis and Sexton hosted the event for key advertisers, political guests and others. Among the special guests who attended the private event to watch the election results were: Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Jesse Kelly, Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, FOX News commentator and Outkick The Coverage host Tomi Lahren, country music star John Rich, former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, among others.
Hillsdale College Produces Election Night Coverage. In the photo above, student broadcasters at Hillsdale College’s radio station WRFH-LPFM, Hillsdale, Michigan “Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM” present their live election night coverage on the station with a remote broadcast. The school says that more than 20 staffers were involved in some way during the evening, as they welcomed panels of fellow students, Hillsdale professors, candidates, reporters, and pundits to the airwaves. The event was open to the campus community and more than 200 people turned out to watch and listen.
KDWN, Las Vegas Hosts Election Night Special. In the Las Vegas market, KDWN talk host Steve Sanchez (right) presented election night coverage on the station that included contributions from GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs (center) and “Finding Common Ground” host Patrick Casale (left).
New York Festivals Welcomes Diego Cannizzaro to Radio Awards Advisory Board. The New York Festivals announces that DMC Studio owner Diego Cannizzaro is joining the NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board. New York Festivals Radio Awards vice president Rose Anderson says, “The 14-member Advisory Board panel is an international brain trust of innovative storytellers and industry executives whose expertise spans all genres of audio entertainment and journalism. Diego’s mastery of every aspect of his craft in works like ‘Madre’ and ‘Weightless’ brings emotions, memories, and sensations to his listening audiences. These insights and the Board’s essential guidance ensure that New York Festivals will continue to honor world-wide excellence across all platforms.” Cannizzaro’s DMC Studio is located in Buenos Aires and specializes in radio arts, sound stories, commercials, field recording, sound design and mixing. He is an industry pro known for award-winning work. He creates audiovisual productions for radio, TV, social networks, and movies. He comments, “I consider New York Festivals as an iconic common place, in a global level speaking. A meeting point for all who are really involved in storytelling in the media. Personally, it is an honor to be part of the Advisory Board with outstanding colleagues from all the media worldwide.”
NOT TOO LATE! Comrex Offers Talk Broadcasters Free Trial of Gagl Remote Contribution Service for Post-Election Programming. High-quality, remote contribution is a vital part of any live broadcast – and that’s especially true during election season. Comrex has provided talk radio hosts, reporters and sportscasters with great remote broadcasting tools for decades. Their Comrex ACCESS units have become a ubiquitous presence at political conventions, breaking news stories and anywhere broadcast-worthy things are happening. While Tuesday’s elections are in the rear-view mirror, post-election contribution to your station’s coverage of local and national races is still going strong and will for the foreseeable future. Those contributors need to be able to connect from remote locations at the drop of a hat. Often, reporters and contributors will call in from their remote locations on a mobile phone, which is a simple solution, but results in poor audio quality. Other reporters will have access to a remote audio codec, which provides excellent audio quality, but also requires some management from the engineering team. Gagl, the new remote contribution solution from Comrex, is the best of both worlds. According to the folks at Comrex, reporters and contributors can connect to the Gagl interface from a web browser on a smartphone or laptop, meaning it’s as easy as a phone call to get connected. Up to five reporters can be in a Gagl session at the same time. The Gagl session is connected to a Comrex IP audio codec in the studio, and so on-air hosts are able to talk with field reporters. Each reporter has their own mix-minus, and their audio is studio quality with very low delay, so quality isn’t sacrificed for simplicity. Gagl is a subscription-based service and it’s a first for Comrex. “It’s kind of a pivot for us,” Comrex director of sales, Chris Crump tells TALKERS. “Broadcasters are looking for easier, faster and less expensive ways to do their job. But quality and reliability are just as important,” says Crump. “Gagl uses a web browser on a smartphone or computer. It’s as easy as clicking a link to connect. But it connects to a Comrex IP Audio Codec back in the studio for reliability and greater stability. It sounds great and is designed to be dependable as Comrex customers would expect.” Anyone with an ACCESS or BRIC-Link codec can try Gagl free for two weeks by contacting Chris Crump at Comrex Corporation: firstname.lastname@example.org. Office phone: 978-784-1776. Mobil phone. 404-610-5954. comrex.com
Politics and Midterm Elections Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 7 – 11, 2022. The politics surrounding the 2022 midterm elections and the races that will determine control of Congress for the next two years combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was former President Donald Trump’s position as a Republican kingmaker and his expected announcement he’ll run for president in 2024, followed by inflation and fears of a recession at #3. The Takers 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.
KWAM, Memphis Seeks News/Talk Morning Host. Memphis news/talk outlet KWAM-AM “The Mighty 990” is looking for the next great talk show host in America. We have an immediate opening for a morning show host. Our host must have at least three years experience and must be well-versed on national, Tennessee and Memphis news. Send resumes and audio clips to email@example.com.
Dave Ramsey Joins RAB’s ‘Radio Works’ Series. The RAB announces that as part of its Radio Works initiative, the next presentation in the series, titled, “Radio Works for Financial Services,” will feature remarks by talk radio star and financial expert Dave Ramsey. RAB says next Wednesday’s webinar “will focus on the expansive financial services category and key segments such as retail banking, investment banking and credit cards with a concentration towards the challenges and opportunities ahead in 2023.” The webinar will also feature Peter Nelson, president of Glenwood State Bank in Minnesota and Chris Uhde, sales manager, Leighton Broadcasting in Alexandra, Minnesota to discuss how the community bank is navigating through the current economic climate, its impact on their customers and radio’s role in their approach. The presentation – free for RAB members – is on November 16 at 1:00 pm ET. You can register here.
FOX Sports Radio Adds ‘The Paulie & Tony Fusco Show’ to Podcast Lineup. The satirical sports talk podcast, “The Paulie & Tony Fusco Show,” joins FOX Sports Radio’s slate of podcasts. FSR says, “Each week on ‘The Paulie & Tony Fusco Show,’ former ‘Herd with Colin Cowherd’ producers Andrew Samson and Sharief Ali hilariously portray die-hard Philadelphia sports fans and ‘legendary’ cable TV stars who think they have the best sports takes when they actually have the worst.” FOX Sports Radio SVP of sports programming Scott Shapiro jokes, “When the Phillies were 21-29, I made a wager that the Phillies wouldn’t make the World Series for another decade. I now significantly regret that ill-advised wager as the result is having to take on this so-called podcast. If you value your time, please DO NOT listen to this podcast.”
College Hoops Star Drew Timme Launches Podcast. A collaborative effort between iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcasts and the College Athletes Network (CAN) results in the new podcast, “Gimme Timme,” starring Gonzaga basketball star Drew Timme. iHeartMedia says this weekly podcast expands on its partnership with CAN to “bring college sports-centered podcasts hosted by the athletes themselves to fans.” The podcast will also include co-host Noah Buono – a former walk-on at Duquesne University and host of CAN’s “Walkie TalkieZ.” Timme says, “I’m super excited to do this podcast. It’s my senior season and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to take people along for the ride. I love listening to Draymond Green’s podcast. I want my podcast to have the same angle, just from a college perspective. Listeners will get the full Drew experience each and every episode.”
Bob Pittman and Bud Walters Among Honorees at LABF’s Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts. Next Tuesday (11/15) Library of American Broadcasting Foundation presents its “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” annual celebration at Gotham Hall in New York City. LABF says the ceremony honors “the distinguished individuals who have – for the past century – been the creators, innovators, journalists, leaders, performers, and producers that have brought the electronic arts to the prominence they occupy in the United States and the world today, and who have set the stage for the future.” Among this year’s group of honorees are radio’s Bob Pittman, chairman & CEO of iHeartMedia, and Bud Walters, president of Cromwell Media. Also being honored are: Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports; S. Epatha Merkerson, actress, “Chicago Med,” “Law & Order”; Adam Symson, president & CEO, The E.W. Scripps Company; Peter Williams, justice correspondent (Ret.), NBC News; Fareed Zakaria, CNN anchor, author, columnist for The Washington Post; and Julia Child, TV chef, (posthumously).
RAB Board of Directors Elects New Directors for 2023. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces the results of its Fall Board of Directors meeting in Chicago on November 1-2. Newly elected officers include Chair: Jeff Warshaw, chief executive officer, Connoisseur Media; Vice Chair: Erik Hellum, chief operating officer, Townsquare Media; Finance Chair: Sabina Widmann, president, regional general manager, TelevisaUnivision; Secretary: Mike Dowdle, executive vice president of business affairs, Bonneville International; Immediate Past Chair: Mike Hulvey, chief executive officer, Neuhoff Media. Warshaw says, “I am proud to serve as the RAB chair and further support the organization and the industry as we continue to advocate for radio.” Joining the RAB board of directors are David Bevins, Connoisseur Media, Felipe Chávez, Bustos Media, Julie Koehn, Lenawee Broadcasting Company and Kevin Perry, Perry Publishing & Broadcasting. Jonathan Brewster of El Dorado Broadcasters will be rejoining the board. Exiting the board are Keith Lawless, formerly at Cox Media Group, Art Rowbotham, Hall Communications, Inc., Jeff Smulyan, Emmis Communications and Pat Walsh, Emmis Communications.
TeshMedia and Compass Media Networks Expand Their Relationship. The two organizations announce that they are expanding their long-standing partnership. Compass Media Networks will now manage affiliate sales, in addition to continuing as The TeshMedia Group’s exclusive advertising representative for the full array of The TeshMedia Group’s audio brands. John Tesh says, “For nearly a decade we have trusted our friend, Peter Kosann, and Compass Media Networks for our advertising sales. And so, it only makes sense that we would take the next step and partner with Compass’ awesome affiliate relations team to help us super-serve our stations.” Kosann comments, “TeshMedia is a unique treasure to the radio industry – delivering unique, compelling, exclusive, and awesome content that drives ratings and revenues for affiliates. We are extremely proud and humbled to expand this wonderful relationship with Connie, Gib, John and their full team of producers and writers.”
TALKERS News Notes. Connecticut talk radio host Lisa Wexler is returning to her program at Connoisseur Media’s news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport after her leave to run for re-election for probate judge in Connecticut’s Westport-Weston District. Wexler won the race with 72% of the vote. Interestingly, she ran this time as a Democrat after having previously won three elections as a Republican in the same district. Connoisseur Media SVP Kristin Okesson says, “We congratulate Lisa on her re-election as probate judge and are looking forward to having Lisa back on-air after this brief election hiatus. Our listening community has clearly missed her on WICC.”…..Benztown announces that it is appointing Leon McWhorter as head writer. The company says, “McWhorter is the newest addition to Benztown and client partner Yamanair Creative’s writers’ room, serving commercial production clients across the U.S. He will report to MJ Bloch, Benztown’s East Coast director of commercial production, and Darren Silva, West Coast director of commercial production.
Midterm Election Results, Trump 2024 Presidential Bid, The Economy, Elon Musk & Twitter, Russia-Ukraine War, and Hurricane Nicole Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The results of the midterm elections and the Georgia runoff election that may determine control of the U.S. Senate; former President Donald Trump’s expected announcement that he’ll run for president in 2024; inflation and concerns about a recession; the chaos surrounding Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on Europe’s winter energy crisis; and Hurricane Nicole makes landfall in Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Townsquare Media’s 2022 Third Quarter Net Revenue Soars 8.4%. Third quarter net revenue was $120.6 million – an increase of 8.4% over the same period in 2021. Townsquare Media reveals in its 2022 Q3 financial report that net income for the quarter decreased $10.1 million to $2.8 million, as compared to $12.9 million in the same period in 2021, primarily driven by non-cash impairment charges to the company’s FCC licenses of $10.3 million. Townsquare Media breaks its financial reports in to three operating segments. For the third quarter of this year, Digital Advertising net revenue increased $6.5 million, or 21.3%; Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions net revenue increased $2.1 million, or 9.7%, as compared to the same period in 2021 due in part to the addition of approximately 850 additional net subscribers during the third quarter of 2022; and Broadcast Advertising net revenue increased $2 million, or 3.4%, compared to Q3 of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson comments, “I am proud to report another record setting quarter of results that clearly demonstrate the undeniable success and differentiation of Townsquare’s transformation into a Digital First Local Media company. The Townsquare team reached all-time Q3 highs with net revenue growth of 8% year-over-year, and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 6% year-over-year, meeting our Q3 guidance. In addition, net leverage declined to an all-time low of 4.54x as we continue to make progress towards our 4x net leverage target. Our growth engine has been and will continue to be our digital solutions, which were the primary driver of our third quarter growth, accounting for half of Townsquare’s total revenue and total profit. Total digital revenue increased 17% year-over-year in the third quarter, and trailing 12-month digital revenue grew to $225 million. As a uniquely positioned Digital First Local Media Company focused principally on markets outside of the top 50 in the United States, Townsquare has a resilient digital growth engine supported by both a recurring subscription digital marketing solutions business, with a large addressable market and limited competition, and a highly differentiated digital advertising technology platform.”
Ramsey Solutions to Give Free Finance Course to 1,000 Veterans in Recognition of Veterans Day. In honor of Veterans Day this Friday (11/11), Dave Ramsey announces that he is giving away access to his company’s Financial Peace University for 1,000 veterans on “The Ramsey Show.” Ramsey Solutions says the nine-lesson digital personal finance course has helped millions take control of their money for 30 years. Veterans who enter their information on the company’s website and are selected, will be able to join a class in-person or go online to watch videos on-demand as they learn the fastest way to pay off debt, save for emergencies and invest for the future. Military members list financial troubles among their top stressors. In the first 90 days of working the FPU plan, the average household pays off $5,300 of debt and saves $2,700 for emergencies.
KFI, Los Angeles Set to Begin 12th Annual Pastathon with SoCal Wendy’s Restaurants Joining the Cause. The annual KFI Pastathon charity event that encourages listeners to donate money, pasta, and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club gets underway on Tuesday (11/15) and includes new partner Wendy’s restaurants in Southern California. The iHeartMedia news/talk station says that Caterina’s Club provides more than 25,000 nutritious meals every week to children in need in Southern California. The charity also helps families get back into stable home environments and teaches teens the skills they need to work in the hospitality industry. This year, all 168 Wendy’s restaurants in Southern California will offer their customers a donation option from November 16 through December 4. In addition, on November 29, ‘Giving Tuesday,’ these Wendy’s will also donate $1 from every Frosty sold to the KFI PastaThon. With the help of listeners, local businesses, and the continued partnership with Smart & Final stores and Barilla Pasta, the 2021 event raised a record-breaking $1 million dollars and 115,000 lbs of pasta and sauce. Since 2010, the KFI PastaThon event has raised over $4.6 million and 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for children in need in the community. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci states, “We are so delighted to have Wendy’s partner with us on our efforts to feed Southern California kids. Because of generous partners like Wendy’s, Chef Bruno is feeding over 25,000 kids every week. As we embark upon our 12th annual KFI PastaThon we know the need is bigger than ever but so are the hearts of our listeners and partners. Our goal this year is to once again raise over a million dollars. Thank you to Wendy’s for helping us make that dream a reality!”
Radio and Podcast Power Session Being Made Available for Colleges & Universities. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation (LABF), in partnership with Benztown, the University of Maryland and the Broadcast Education Association (BEA), are creating a produced 90-minute, on-demand recorded Zoom video session focused on radio and podcasting for colleges and universities utilizing the LABF collection. The LABF Radio and Podcasting Power Session initiative, led by LABF board members Dave “Chachi” Denes – Benztown president – and BEA executive director Heather Birks, features University of Maryland reference specialist Michael Henry hosting a virtual walk-through of the library, followed by an insightful conversation about the vast collection highlighting incredible moments in U.S. history captured through the eyes and voice of television and radio broadcasters. Additionally, industry professionals from across different disciplines of the podcasting and radio business, including radio executive Mike McVay along with Benztown’s R Dub! from “Sunday Night Slow Jams”, Darren Silva and MJ Bloch, Tom Green, Susan Aksu, Beasley Media Group chief revenue officer Tina Murley and other experts speak to the students about the many career opportunities available to them in the industry. Denes says, “Everyone involved with this program is passionate about radio and podcasting. It’s an absolute honor to be able to share our knowledge with students that will someday be leading the industry.” The initiative initially launched as a semester-long course with Clark Atlanta University in 2021. The school is the first to utilize the 2022 90-minute abridged class-offering. It will be available to colleges and universities.
TALKERS News Notes. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM and Motor Racing Network will have the station airing the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2023. This three-year pact comes on the heels of the news that the City of Chicago has signed a three-year deal with NASCAR as the home of the first-ever Chicago Street Race. The unprecedented 12-turn, 2.2-mile Chicago Street Race will take the Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series past and through many of Chicago’s most renowned downtown landmarks during Fourth of July Weekend, July 1-2, 2023. WLS program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to be the new Chicago radio home of NASCAR and we look forward to growing this new partnership as we gear up for the first-ever Chicago Street Race next summer – and what promises to be an unforgettable Fourth of July weekend.”…..SiriusXM announces the launch of a new original comedy channel, Team Coco Radio. Executive produced by Conan O’Brien, the channel will feature exclusive audio content as well as select Team Coco podcasts, including the popular “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” The channel debuts on November 15. Subscribers can hear the biggest interviews and the funniest stand-up moments from Conan’s iconic TBS show, as well as select Team Coco podcasts, including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” plus “Inside Conan” and “Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan.” Fresh commentary from Conan will also be weaved throughout the programming, as he recalls funny behind-the-scenes stories and other entertaining and insightful anecdotes.
Midterms/Trump’s 2024 Aspirations, The Economy, China COVID Lockdowns, Meta Layoffs/Twitter Chaos, January 6 Cases, Russia-Ukraine War, Powerball Jackpot, and Tropical Storm Nicole Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). Tuesday’s midterm elections, the battle for control of Congress combined with former President Donald Trump’s expected announcement he’ll run in 2024; inflation and fears of a recession; the COVID lockdowns in China and their effect on the global supply chain; Facebook parent Meta to lay off 11,000 workers and Elon Musk’s mercurial leadership of Twitter; the trials of Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy relative to the January 6 Capitol attack; Russia’s attack on Ukrainian infrastructure; a ticket for the record $2 billion Powerball jackpot sells in California; and Florida braces for Tropical Storm Nicole were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.