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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

| February 11, 2014

entercomEntercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013.  The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat.  Also free cash flow increased by 2%.  For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%.  Though station expenses decreased slightlyfielddavid during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million.  Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11).  President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase.  2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year.  We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”

beasley logoBeasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing.  In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.”  In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management.  It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services.  Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns.  Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.”  Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremelybeasleycaroline excited by this relationship.  It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component.  The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.”  Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging.  Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers.  Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue.  We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”

mckayjeffTALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks.  Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production.  Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations.  Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year.  It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide.  When Clearwolkoffdanno Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations.  However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel.  Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio.  His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that envisionnetworks newcreates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates.  It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line.  What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry.  He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows.  His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets.  Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication.  In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general.  In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward.  I’ve seen this movie many times before.  Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.”  To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here.  And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.

krasnymaxMax Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances.  The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets.  Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales.  Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed.  No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”

wls-am logoFCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine.  The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009.  The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News.  During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per.  Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000.  But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.

clarkjackFormer MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols.  During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis.  Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show.  The station also issued an apology to Pujols.  But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused.  Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.

farmjournalmedia“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch.  What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.”  The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets.  Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts.  “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments.  “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program.  It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.”  Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day.  We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media.  Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.”  Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

wmalbeatlesThe Beatles Played in Washington, Too!  As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”  But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC.  Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital.  Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach BoysMike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.

wsouhunterOdds & Sods.  Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today.  Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college.  He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program.  Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16.  Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry.  They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.

brentmegSCRABrent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop.  Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity.  This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home).  The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot.  Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio).  Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg.  True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10).  Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.