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Friday, November 12, 2021

| November 12, 2021

Legendary Radio Figure Al Herskovitz Dies at 90.  One of the radio industry’s most-liked and enduring figures, Al Herskovitz, has passed way in Bradenton, FL on November 11 at the age of 90 after suffering an episode of cardiac arrest. Herskovitz was an alumnus of many top American radio stations and broadcast companies including: WPRO, Providence; WIP, Philadelphia; and WPOL-AM/FM, Los Angeles, as well as CapCities Communications among others where he served in program director and station manager capacities for a number of years. In early 1986, Herskovitz and Michael Harrison formed H&H Broadcasting, Inc. and acquired WSPR, Springfield, MA which they transitioned from an adult contemporary music format to a seminal spoken word approach they dubbed “Supertalk” – a precursor to the modern style of talk radio that boomed onto the scene during the 1990s. H&H owned and operated WSPR until late-1988. When TALKERS was launched in 1990, Herskovitz joined the company and served as its senior director of marketing until his recent retirement in 2019 at the age of 88. In the 2000 presidential election he served as the Steve Forbes campaign’s media advisor. Herskovitz was an active member, right until his passing, of the Sarasota, FL-based Media Round Table – a group of working, retired and semi-retired media professionals from around the country who currently live full- or part-time in Florida. Harrison states, “Al was like a brother to me and a rock in my life. He was a friend, a partner, and a mentor, not to mention one of the most dependable and decent human beings I could ever have been blessed to have as a close associate over the decades. Even into his late-80s, Al was sharp and energetic. He knew as much about the radio business and stayed abreast of the ever-changing technology of the digital era as if he were a bright millennial on the leading edge. He was, indeed, remarkable!” Herskovitz was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT – the son of hard working Jewish Hungarian immigrants, the late Leo and Elsie Herskovitz. He’s a veteran of the United States Army where he served and saw action in the Korean War. He is pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Eileen Herskovitz who passed away in 2012. Herskovitz’s colorful career, spanning almost seven decades, brought him into contact with some of the world’s most colorful individuals in politics, show business, sports and business. These experiences are documented in a memoir titled, The Tall, Skinny Jewish Kid with Eyeglasses from Bridgeport: A Radio Guy’s Chance Encounters with the Colorful and Famous (Talkers Books, 2018). A graveside service will be held at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221 https://www.skywaymemorial.com/ at a date and time to be announced.  Check the Skyway website or Talkers.com for further details.

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, “Inflation Nation,” looks back at this past week of 11/8 – 11/12. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSClaire Carter, commentator, Good For You Radio/founder, Good For You NetworkRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel. 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; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

WRKO, Boston Raises Almost $200K for Disabled American Veterans. Boston news/talk outlet WRKO-AM “The Voice of Boston” raised more than $192,000 during its sixth annual DAV Radiothon to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts. The iHeartMedia station held the 13-hour radiothon yesterday (11/11) and with WRKO personalities Jeff Kuhner, Barry Armstrong, and Howie Carr encouraging listeners to donate. Funds are designated for the DAV of Massachusetts’ homeless shelter and transportation programs. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, sports Rob Sanchez says, “It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to dedicate Veterans Day to help the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our great country. Our generous listeners always amaze me and have once again shown their support to raise $192,082 for the DAV of Massachusetts.” Since 2016, DAV Radiothon has raised over $800,000 to benefit veterans in the community.

NPR and Edison Research Spoken Word Audio Report Indicates Young, Multicultural Listeners Drive Consumption While Mobile Listening and Podcasts Add to Increases. The results of the NPR and Edison Research 2021 Spoken Word Audio Report – based on a national online survey of 1,000 adults 18 and over who listened to spoken word audio in the last month – reveals “the continued increased consumption of spoken word audio in the U.S. and the drivers behind the growth.” The report finds 75% of those in the U.S 13+ (212 million people) are monthly spoken word audio listeners, and 45% (127 million people) are daily spoken word audio listeners. Spoken word audio listening is up 40% in the past seven years, and up 8% year over year, with the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio reaching 28% of time spent with all audio. A look at a seven-year trend shows dramatic increases among young and multicultural listeners. The study shows 26% of 13-34-year-olds’ audio time is spent with spoken word audio, an increase of 116% over 2014. Similar increases are noted among multicultural listeners: Black listeners spend 22% of their audio time with spoken word (an 83% increase over 2014); Hispanic/Latino listeners spend 27% of their audio time with spoken word (an 80% increase over 2014); and White listeners now spend 29% of their audio time with spoken word, a 26% increase over 2014. Digital listening is also changing the spoken-word audio landscape. Mobile listening has increased 278% over the past seven years, with one-third (34%) of all time spent listening to spoken word audio being done on a mobile device. The increase in consumption on a mobile device holds for all ages, not just younger demos. Of all spoken word audio consumed by those 13+, 22% of it is to podcasts, a 176% increase over seven years ago (8%). You can find out more about the study here.

Season Two of ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ to Debut on November 22. The podcast docuseries “We Interrupt This Broadcast” is back for season two with episodes beginning streaming on November 22. Together, season one’s “JFK Assassination” episode and season two’s “The Killing of Lee Harvey Oswald” episode commemorate the November 22 and 24 anniversaries of these historic events, revealing never-before-heard audio and revelations from broadcasters and journalists who were covering these events in real time. Listeners are enlightened with impactful details that did not previously make the airwaves or subsequent historical accounts. The series is hosted by legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams and is “a celebration of the art of journalism and the heroism of journalists who broke the news and reported the captivating details from the front lines of these iconic moments.” Season Two episodes include interviews and thrilling new details by broadcasters, TV journalists and historians who were entrenched in these notable moments: Oswald Assassination; Watergate: Nixon Resigns; Challenger Explosion; Rescue of Baby Jessica; The OJ Simpson Slow Speed Chase; The Oklahoma City Bombing; Y2K; Hurricane Katrina Slams New Orleans; Election Night 2016; and War of the Worlds – The Original ‘Deep Fake’, which recently began streaming on its historic anniversary. Brian Williams says, “Podcasting allows us to get it right – we get to tell the story calmly and accurately. If we do it right, it will bring people as close as possible to the feeling of being as fortunate as we are to have this job. It’s been a tremendous privilege and honor to live through breaking stories as they are happening, right alongside our viewers. Listening to ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast,’ you’re going to feel that same tension, excitement, mystery, and urgency that we felt in the moment as we broadcasted.” The docuseries is produced by i4 Media Ventures, LLC and is repped for ad and sponsorship sales by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales.

TALKERS News Notes. A three-hour special Thanksgiving program from CBS Audio hosted by Gil Gross is available for air Wednesday November 24 – Sunday November 28. The show consists of three hours of bright and informative conversation about America’s most beloved holiday, including: culinary “horror” stories of Thanksgiving dinners gone wrong; the harrowing story of Squanto, the Native American credited with saving the Pilgrims and inaugurating the American Thanksgiving; how a train with 260 tons of frozen turkeys brought about the creation of the frozen TV dinner; bringing back vintage Thanksgiving recipes and creating innovations in the traditional Thanksgiving meal; and how Thanksgiving and football became married family traditions…..Boston public media outlet GBH names Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel the new co-hosts of “Morning Edition” at GBH News. Alston rejoins GBH from WBUR, where she is a host of the NPR podcast, “Consider This,” produced in conjunction with GBH. Siegel is currently the host and producer of the Washington, DC-based daily news podcast “POLITICO Dispatch.” GBH general manager of news Pam Johnston says, “Our audiences have told us that mornings matter most when it comes to news. They look to us to get the information they need and set the tone for the day ahead. With Paris and Jeremy as co-hosts of ‘Morning Edition’ at GBH News, our audiences will get local stories from different perspectives. They’ll engage with a pair of dynamic, smart and accomplished journalists who possess a real knack for understanding and dissecting the complex stories of our time.”

Inflation, Supply Chain and Economic Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of 11/8-12. Soaring consumer goods and fuel prices, the supply chain breakdown, labor woes, and economic politics combined as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, the Aaron Rodgers controversy, and school board battles, followed by the January 6 investigation tied with social media & journalism 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.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

| November 11, 2021

WFAN, New York Unveils New Evening and Overnight Shows. Sports talk WFAN, New York announces new evening and overnight programming. The Audacy station brings aboard Keith McPherson to host the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show and promoted part-time talk host Sal Licata to host of the 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am show. Both programs debut on November 15. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Keith and Sal will form a dynamic evening one-two punch, as both have the passion and drive to usher in an exciting new era on ‘The Fan.’ These hours became a must listen for decades with the iconic Steve Somers behind the microphone, and that will continue as Keith and Sal entertain the tristate area nightly be it on the road or even at home under the covers.” McPherson was most recently social media manager and podcast host for Jomboy Media. He says, “This is really a dream come true. I find no greater joy or entertainment than live sports and it’s a blessing and an honor to have this opportunity at a place like WFAN. I look forward to talking sports every day in New York and helping to lead this station into the future.” Sal Licata started his broadcasting career as an intern at WFAN in January 2003 and worked his way up to part-time host. In addition to his work at WFAN, Licata has been with SNY since 2010 and can be seen weeknights on “Geico Sportsnite” and weekly on “Baseball Night in New York.” Licata says, “Having a full time show on WFAN means everything to me. It’s an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to talk sports every night with the most passionate fans, in the greatest city in the world, on the best sports talk station ever created. It’s all I have ever wanted.”

New York Festivals 2022 Radio Awards Now Accepting Entries. The 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards competition is now open for entries. New York Festivals Radio Awards honors storytellers from around the globe. Since 1957 NYF has celebrated excellence and innovation across all genres and platforms, keeping pace with industry-wide developments and global trends. Vice president and executive director Rose Anderson says, “When we added nine categories for social justice content last year, radio producers and the global audio storytelling community responded with thought-provoking work. This year, we are thrilled to announce the debut of our new trophy, the iconic NYF Tower in hand-polished Gold, Silver, and Bronze.” For the second year in a row, New York Festivals welcomes JusticeAid, an organization that promotes justice through the arts and public engagement, as a partner. The NYF Radio Awards receives entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from over 30 countries around the globe. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. New York Festivals invites award-winning industry leaders from around the world to become members of their world-class Radio Awards Grand Jury. The 2022 Grand jury will be set in the coming months. Those jurors will include some of the world’s most recognizable voices and captivating content producers in the radio industry. Entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. You can see the 2021 winners here. Although the 2021 in-person NAB Show was cancelled due to pandemic quarantine restrictions, NYF pivoted with a 90-minute virtual ceremony Storytellers Gala featuring highlights and acceptances from 100 winning teams of men and women coming from their homes in 40-plus countries. The 2022 Storytellers Gala will take place at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas on April 26, 2022. This is the 12th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show. The deadline to enter the 2022 Radio Awards competition is February 9, 2022. Find out more about entering here.

Brian Kilmeade is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-media talk star Brian Kilmeade is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Kilmeade is a longtime member of the trio that co-hosts the FOX News Channel cable TV morning show “FOX & Friends” in addition to hosting his own nationally syndicated midday program on FOX News Radio. Kilmeade is ranked #4 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list. He is the author of seven books – two about sports and he’s just published his fifth about key figures and stories in American History. This series brings new insights into the lives, times, and impact of icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and his new one is titled, The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and their Battle to Save America’s Soul. Harrison and Kilmeade discuss the deeply nuanced relationship between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (not to be confused with Stephen Douglas) which so directly relates and connects to the reckoning between the races currently taking place in the national conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Names Bekki Yang SVP of Sales for Twin Cities. Radio sales pro Bekki Yang is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes news/talk WCTS-AM “Twin Cities News Talk,” sports KFXN “KFAN,” and KQQL-HD2/W227BF “Black Information Network,” and five music brands. iHeartMedia Minneapolis market president Greg Alexander says, “Bekki thinks big and acts big. Innovation and creative thinking are at the core of her career success. I’m thrilled to promote her to senior vice president of sales.” Yang has a 22-year history with iHeartMedia, most recently serving as the vice president of sales for Minneapolis. Yang says, “I’ve had a very long career with iHeartMedia and I couldn’t be more excited to take on this new role with the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team. I look forward to the continued success that Minneapolis has established while adding new ideas and leadership to the team.”

Winners of 2021 Marconi Awards Announced. The National Association of Broadcasters announces the winners of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards, honoring radio stations and on-air personalities for excellence in broadcasting. The awards were announced during the virtual NAB Marconi Radio Awards Celebration. Spoken-word winners of note include: WSB-AM, Atlanta, Legendary Station of the Year; KTCK-AM, Dallas’ The Musers, Major Marker Personality of the Year; KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter, Medium Market Personality of the Year; KYW-AM, Philadelphia, Major Market Station of the Year; KTMY-FM, Minneapolis, Large Market Station of the Year; KRMG-FM, Tulsa, Medium Market Station of the Year; WTOP-FM, Washington, News/Talk Station of the Year; and KTCK-AM, Dallas, Sports Station of the Year.

Alabama Host Cam Marston Announces Effort to Expand Radio Show. “What’s Working” – the radio show hosted by Cam Marston that focuses on trends in the workplace, workforce, and marketplace – is expanding. The program is based at WAVH-FM, Mobile and over the past four years has included interviews with a broad array of businesspeople from foresters, to brewers, to manufacturers, to authors, to Tony Award-winning actors. Marston says, “The focus of my show has always been for the benefit of my listeners in and around the Mobile, Alabama market. Now I want to bring the show across the state where I can connect with a larger spectrum of businesses.”

Inflation/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, COP26/U.S.-China Deal, Kamala Harris in Paris, and Belarus-Poland Refugee Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). Soaring retail and fuel prices and the broken global supply chain; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s attempts to prevent the House panel from getting presidential records; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask & vaccine mandates; the COP26 summit in Glasgow and the U.S.-China emissions reduction deal; Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to France; and the refugee crisis at the Belarus-Poland border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

| November 10, 2021

Vince Vitrano Named New Morning Host at WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee. Milwaukee’s WTMJ “Newsradio 620” announces that Vince Vitrano is named the new host of the Good Karma Brands station’s “Wisconsin’s Morning News” program, replacing Gene Mueller, who recently announced his retirement after 44 years in Milwaukee radio. Mueller will retire in February 2022. Vitrano says, “For a kid born and raised in Wisconsin, this job is like playing for the Brewers and the Bucks! Salute to Gene Mueller, who is a friend, a colleague, and someone I’ve looked up to in our business. To succeed him in this role is truly an honor.” Gene Mueller comments, “Vince Vitrano is a perfect choice to fill ‘the big chair.’ He’s a true Wisconsinite — a solid news veteran who shares the interests, sensibilities, and concerns of our listeners. I will sleep better and longer knowing Vince is there, continuing a legacy broadcast with passion, care, and integrity.” Vitrano is an Emmy award winning reporter and anchor, joining E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ-TV in the spring of 2000 as a general assignment reporter. He has earned numerous honors from the Associated Press, the Milwaukee Press Club, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. He is active in the community, on the board of directors for Special Olympics Wisconsin and The First Tee Southeast Wisconsin.

Gen Media Partners and Jim Higgins form G Accelerate Networks. Media executives Warren Friedland – managing partner of Gen Media Partners – and Jim Higgins have announced the launch of G Accelerate Networks, a joint venture in which both parties hold a stake and which Higgins will lead as president and CEO. They say G Accelerate Networks will be “laser-focused on bringing in new business from both existing and new radio content and service providers, producers, and programs that are looking to accelerate their revenue potential, as well as increase their affiliated stations and national footprint.” Higgins, who was most recently president and CEO of Key Networks, says, “Too many radio content producers are getting lost and not getting the attention and dedicated sales and affiliate services required to keep them top-of-mind with stations and thriving financially. Warren and I are committed to changing that result for those clients that join us at G Accelerate. We welcome the opportunity to provide them with the effort, resources, and passion required to deliver growth and success.” G Accelerate Networks will also tap into and work with all of Gen Media Partners’ companies – including G Networks, Hispanic Radio Networks, Gen Media Partners Radio Reps, and others – to assist in growing their revenues and affiliations. Friedland adds, “G Accelerate will also be looking for select equity investments and acquisitions in content and service provider companies whose vision and mission lines up with or complements Gen Media Partners. We’ve known Jim for many years, and he was always the shining star of the companies lucky enough to have worked with him. His vast executive experience and client relationships with both creatives, producers, agencies, and advertisers is unmatched in the network business. We are thrilled to be a part of his new venture.”

Howard Greiner to Lead iHeartMedia Albany. With the retirement of Albany area president Kristen Delaney set to take effect on December 31, iHeartMedia announces that Howard Greiner is been named the new area president for the Albany area, which includes Poughkeepsie and Sussex, New Jersey. Greiner has been operating his own consulting firm for the past three years and spent the 18 years before that with Buntin Out-Of-Home Media. iHeartMedia Community Markets division president Dan Lankford says, “I’m excited to welcome Howard to the iHeart family. Howard’s extensive marketing knowledge and years of experience building winning teams will be a great asset to our Albany area operations.” Greiner says, “I am excited to join America’s leading audio company bringing over 30 years of national, regional and local marketing and media experience to an exceptional team of professionals in the Albany, Poughkeepsie and Sussex, New Jersey markets. Our team will continue to deliver best-in-class marketing initiatives to the region’s business community in an ever-evolving media landscape.”

Scott Basilotta Named VP of Distribution for Today’s Homeowner Media. Nine-year staffer Scott Basilotta is promoted to vice president of distribution for Today’s Homeowner Media. Basilotta most recently served the company as director of television and radio syndication, leading distribution efforts for the brand’s nationally syndicated television and radio shows, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.” During his tenure, Basilotta expanded the “Today’s Homeowner” TV footprint by 38%. The show currently airs in 208 of 210 markets and is available in 92% of the U.S. “Today’s Homeowner” Radio has seen even more growth over the past nine years with a 458% increase in stations airing the weekly show. The two-hour broadcast currently airs on 319 stations. Additionally, the brand’s “Tips for Today’s Homeowner” vignettes have seen a 362% increase during Basilotta’s term. The 90-second features air on 377 stations.

Broadcasters Foundation Launches End of Year Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is launching its annual year-end giving campaign today, with an appeal for tax-deductible donations that will allow the Foundation to continue providing financial assistance to those in broadcasting who need it most. A 501(c)3 charity, the Broadcasters Foundation is the only organization dedicated exclusively to delivering financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe. Personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative can be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate. This year’s plea for donations follows a year-and-a-half of several cancelled fundraising events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even as more broadcasters than ever are reaching out for monthly or emergency relief. The Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.8 million in monthly and one-time emergency grants in 2021. Monthly grants have increased 75% and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 20 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed more than $15 million to broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “Our grant recipients are hard-working broadcasters from across the country and from all size markets, who have been hit by challenging, often life-altering circumstances. With the support and generosity of the people in our industry, we can help your colleagues and their families get through their toughest times.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow night (11/11) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a Town Hall broadcast addressing vaccine mandates. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments as the station addresses the legal ramifications of vaccine mandates on both employers and employees. Scott underscores this program is not intended to debate whether vaccine mandates are good or bad. “These mandates are a reality. Our goal is to detail the legal obligations, rights and options for both employer and employee.” The program’s on-air panel will feature: Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; Peter Frattarelli, Esq., a workplace law attorney with Archer Attorneys at Law and chair of Archer’s Labor & Employment Practice Group; and Dana Wefer, Esq., a workers’ rights attorney. The panel will also address issues surrounding medical and religious exemptions, as well as workplace accommodations from both the employee and employer standpoint…..The final regular show for WFAN, New York’s Steve Somers will happen this Friday (11/12). Somers is the Audacy station’s longest-serving sports talk host who announced recently that he would be retiring “sooner rather than later.” On Monday (11/15) from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, WFAN will air a special show featuring guest callers…..Salem Media Group announces it will present at the virtual Q4 Investor Summit conference at 1:00 pm CT on November 17. The Investor Summit (formerly MicroCap Conference) is an exclusive, independent conference dedicated to connecting smallcap and microcap companies with qualified investors…..The Newsmax nationally syndicated “Rob Carson Show” – heard daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm – announces the addition of three new affiliate stations as Delmarva Education Association’s WMLB-AM, Atlanta; Maga Radio Networks’ WJFN-AM/FM, Richmond; and Pan Am Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD add the program to their lineups…..Pictured at left is GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs with the Christmas Tree at Opportunity Village – an organization that helps people with people with intellectual disabilities and their families through enrichment, empowerment, and employment programs and services. Dr. Wachs says the organization holds its Magical Forest event from Thanksgiving through the New Year each year. The event is one of its largest fundraisers to fund their programs and employment placement.

Biden Infrastructure Bill, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Energy Prices, China’s Military Aggression, and Astroworld Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The passage of President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure bill in the House and criticism of the Republicans who voted for it; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and NFL fines Packers, Rodgers and Lazard for flouting protocols; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and former President Trump’s attempt to claim executive privilege over documents the House committee is seeking; soaring retail, food, and energy prices; China’s war games using U.S. ship mock-ups; and the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

| November 9, 2021

Audacy Third Quarter Net Revenue up 23%. Reporting its 2021 third quarter financial data, Audacy says net revenue was $329.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to the same period in 2020. Spot revenue was $220.6 million, up 21% compared to Q3 of 2020 and digital revenue was $61.4 million, up 30% compared to the same period a year ago. Operating income for the quarter was $29.2 million, compared to an operating loss of $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2020. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field says, “I am pleased to report that Audacy continues to rebound from the pandemic, as third quarter revenues grew 23% over the prior year and 8% sequentially over the second quarter, while EBITDA grew 58% year over year. While many ad categories remain highly impacted as a result of the pandemic, it is great to see an increasing number of categories back above 2019 spending levels. During October, we announced the acquisition of WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming and ad tech business, which we have relaunched as AmperWave, enabling us to accelerate our digital product roadmap and enhance our growth potential… And our podcast studios had a strong quarter of creative, premium original content development including the first release from our 2400Sports studio, our first C13 Features ‘movie for your ears’ in partnership with Endeavor, and the ‘Succession’ companion podcast hosted by Kara Swisher in partnership with HBO Max. We continue to rapidly evolve and fundamentally elevate the organization through a series of strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, talent additions and premium content development and are well positioned to accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunities in the dynamically growing audio marketplace.”

Cumulus Audio Active Group: October PPM Audiences Increase. This week’s Cumulus Media Audio Active Group blog focuses on recent information from Nielsen Audio that “as COVID infections fall, public concern over COVID wanes, and commutes to work and school resume,” American AM/FM radio listening “has increased to new highs in the October 2021 48 Portable People Meter markets.” Other noteworthy data includes: 1) Consumers are on the road in their cars; Geopath reports U.S. October 2021 miles traveled were 7% greater than October 2019; Apple Maps says October 2021 driving search volumes surged 59% past pre-COVID levels; 2) U.S. AM/FM radio had its strongest reach performance since COVID, recovering 99% of the March 2020 PPM cume audience in PPM markets; 3) Nielsen October 2021 PPM AQH audiences rose to 96% of March 2020 levels, the second best showing since the pandemic; and 4) Morning audiences exploded to their highest levels in 20 months; Versus a year ago, women 25-54 AQH increased 20% and teen AQH rose a massive 74%. See more from the blog here.

SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Announces Hunger Strike Over Voting Rights Bill. Morning drive talk host Joe Madison says he’s beginning a hunger strike in protest of voting rights not getting passed in the Senate. Madison – a.k.a. The Black Eagle – hosts the morning show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. He says, “As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today by abstaining from eating until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives and both have stalled in the Senate. Madison adds, “I call it basically starving for voting rights. And that began on this date. And I repeat just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy. Yes, my life matters. My health matters, but our right to vote matters more.”

Hot Radio Guest Speaks at Major Libertarian Gathering. Emeritus finance professor Dr. Murray Sabrin of Ramapo College in New Jersey – one of conservative and liberty-minded talk radio’s most popular “go-to” guests for three decades – recently spoke at the Mises Institute “Supporters Summit” in St. Pete Beach, Florida and outlined his provocative and innovative strategy for medical freedom. Sabrin is the author of Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life: The Case for a Single Payer System, where the individual/family is the single payer not the government. In Sabrin’s proposal, medical freedom consists of cash payment for routine care, a super health savings account for more expensive treatment and a catastrophic insurance policy. Also, Sabrin advocates a massive expansion of nonprofit medical centers to replace the $700 billion Medicaid program. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who advocates Medicare for All, a government single payer system, to a debate so the American people can hear two diametrically opposing views on the future of medical care in America. To book Professor Sabrin as a hot guest, contact Victoria Jones of DC Radio Company at 917-865-3991 or victoria@dcradiocompany.com.  To view Dr. Murray Sabrin’s 20-minute speech at the Mises Institute event, please click here.

Outkick Partners with Skyview Networks for Ad and Affiliate Sales, Content Distribution. The new relationship between OutKick’s sports talk network and Skyview Networks will have the latter providing network ad sales, affiliate sales and content distribution to Outkick, beginning with the “Outkick 360” program starring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. Outkick founder Clay Travis says, “We’re thrilled to work with Skyview to expand OutKick’s brand and reach. Beginning with the ‘OutKick 360’ show, we’re working with the best talent to bring authenticity, perspective and fun back to sports radio. Radio is at the core of OutKick, and we could not ask for better partners than Skyview to grow our network.” Skyview COO and president Steve Jones adds, “We’re excited to be working with the OutKick team in launching a new sports network that provides radio stations dynamic and entertaining programming that will drive ratings and revenue. OutKick’s engaging and knowledgeable hosts with their fan-first sports perspective matched with sports wagering analysis to capture gaming revenue sponsorships fit perfectly with Skyview’s #1 local play-by-play sports position in network radio.”

Audacy Names Brian Benedik Chief Revenue Officer. Media executive Brian Benedik is named chief revenue officer for Audacy, effective December 1. Benedik was most recently VP/global head of revenue for augmented reality developer Niantic. In his new role with Audacy, he’ll lead all aspects of revenue generation across corporate, national, regional and local levels and develop fully integrated, multiplatform sales solutions and breakthrough strategies to attract new revenue streams. Audacy COO Susan Larkin comments, “We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to Audacy and our executive leadership team. His resume speaks for itself, with key roles at audio publishers like Spotify, iHeart Radio, Audible and Katz Media, where his strategic vision enabled the former to quickly elevate from a newcomer in our industry to a multi-billion-dollar leader in the audio streaming space. Brian’s considerable expertise and experience will amplify our revenue generation efforts as Audacy continues its upward trajectory.” Benedik states, “The audio industry is booming with innovation and consumers are enjoying wonderful content experiences across a number of platforms. The Audacy re-imagination efforts are beyond impressive and the portfolio of assets across radio, streaming, podcast, live events, sports play-by-play and sports betting are best in class. I’m looking forward to working with David Field, Susan Larkin and the Audacy executive team to drive value to marketers and our loyal users.”

Biden’s Low Approval Ratings, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, COVID Travel Ban Lifted, China’s Military Aggression, and Astroworld Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). President Joe Biden’s approval ratings slip to an all-time low of 38% with Americans saying he’s not focusing on the most important issues; the effects of the broken global supply chain, soaring retail prices and record high gas prices; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Appeals Court halt of Biden’s vaccine mandate, and the controversial case of Aaron Rodgers; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the U.S. lifts the international travel ban; China’s war games using U.S. ship mock-ups; and the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 8, 2021

| November 8, 2021

Monday Memo: Ask the CVS Question. “Supply chain” is something CNBC talks about all day and our listeners and advertisers suffer every day. “To be useful and relatable and relevant and SOUND LOCAL,” consultant Holland Cooke recommends asking “the question the CVS clerk asks when you bring what you’re buying to the counter.” In this week’s column: “How to have listeners quoting you to each other.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says the best way for radio to compete with digital ad platforms like Google is to serve clients in a way that the digital guys can’t. He offers some suggestions for radio sales pros to consider when e-commerce and online advertising are growing at exponential rates. Read it here.

Talk Host Jon-David Wells Puts Show on Hold to Serve Texas Guard Duty. Talk radio host Jon-David Wells – whose program “The Wells Report” is syndicated nationally via USA Radio Network – is donning his Texas State Guard uniform and his combat boots as he becomes First Sergeant John D. Wells of the Texas State Guard. Wells has been activated by the Texas Military Department to take part in a multi-month deployment and to do so, Wells is putting his radio program on temporary hiatus. Wells will be updating his fans through his website, thewellsreport.net with newsletters, blogs and occasional videos. “The Wells Report” originated on September 11, 2001, when Wells turned his light-hearted lifestyle/pop culture talk show into a daily, three-hour examination of the day’s news with analysis for facts, commentary and debate.

Westwood One and ‘The BOB & TOM Show’ Sign New, Three-Year Deal. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” and CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One announce they’ve inked a new, three-year agreement to continue their relationship. The program is heard on more than 100 affiliates across the U.S. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “‘The BOB & TOM Show’ was one of the first shows to make it big in multiple markets back when satellite distribution was new, and that legacy continues today with top ratings and revenues in our affiliated markets. Tom [Griswold] and the cast are both consistently amazing and amazingly consistent. We look forward to another three years with this incredible team.” Griswold says, “Our relationship with Westwood One makes this business fun. We can spend our time and resources making people laugh…Westwood handles everything else. Thrilled to be ‘hitched’ for three more years.”

Audacy Names Palak Forbes SVP, Digital Business Operations. Media executive Palak Forbes joins Audacy as SVP, digital business operations. She’ll report to chief digital officer J.D. Crowley and will “provide commercial and operational leadership for the company’s podcast business, while working across Audacy’s entire digital portfolio and with key strategic partners to enable continued strong growth in Audacy’s digital and podcast businesses.” Forbes was most recently head of business development and operations at The New York Times. Crowley says, “As we make consistent strides to evolve and enhance our digital and podcast businesses, Palak is a perfect choice to lead our day-to-day efforts to provide a world-class experience for our customers, creators and consumers. Her deep experience launching and scaling innovative new businesses, and expertise managing strategic relationships with companies across the media and technology sectors will enable us to continue delivering robust growth.” Forbes states, “Digital audio is in a really exciting phase where we have evolving audio formats and listening experiences as well as new ways of life emerging from the pandemic. Audacy has brought together a portfolio of innovative brands to meet the needs of the modern listener, content creators, and advertisers alike. I’m so excited to operationalize our strategy across the digital portfolio. It’s an honor to join the leading creator of original and premium audio during this time of growth and transformation.”

Longtime WDRC, Hartford Host Brad Davis Passes. The radio station’s website posts notice that former longtime morning drive personality Brad Davis died at the Connecticut Veteran’s Home in Rocky Hill on November 2 at the age of 87. The cause of death was not revealed but he had been in declining health recently. Davis worked in radio and television beginning in 1956. He began his 43-year stint as WDRC-AM morning host in 1977 when it was still a music outlet. He eased the program into a talk show over a number of years. He was inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Biden Infrastructure Bill, COVID-19/Aaron Rodgers Flap, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COP26, China Military Aggression, and Deadly Astroworld Concert Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden gets his Infrastructure Bill through the House; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccines for kids, mask & vaccine mandates, and the Aaron Rodgers COVID flap; the supply chain breakdown, the soaring cost of retail goods, and the record high price of gasoline; last week’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow; concerns over China’s military aggression toward Taiwan and its military build-up; and the deaths of eight concertgoers and the wounding of hundreds of others at the Astroworld festival in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.