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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

| October 6, 2021

WIP, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Announces Retirement. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime WIP-FM, Philadelphia morning host Angelo Cataldi will retire from the Audacy sports talk station when his contract expires at the end of 2022. Cataldi has been with the station since 1989. The Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Cataldi decided to work another year (instead of retiring at the end of 2021) “after meeting with WIP’s new program director, Rod Lakin, whose first day at the station was Monday. Cataldi told listeners he started to become burned out back in May and was prepared to announce his retirement at the end of this year when his contract expired but said Lakin asked him to remain on an additional year.” WIP made some concessions to keep Cataldi around for another year, including a new four-day work week, a driver to shuttle him to Atlantic City for remotes, and the rehiring of marketing director Cindy Webster as a “special consultant” to the show to “help with our relationships with the teams and promotions.” Cataldi hosts the show with fellow cast members Rhea Hughes and Al Morganti as well as a rotating group of Philadelphia sports figures.

Audacy Names Lena Moss Glaser VP and Executive Producer for 2400Sports. Production pro Lena Moss Glaser joins Audacy as vice president and executive producer of the company’s new podcast studio, 2400Sports. In this role, Glaser will oversee all production and content operations for all 2400Sports podcasts, partnering with producers and talent internally and externally to develop slates of new podcasts. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I’m thrilled to welcome Lena to Audacy and our podcast team as we continue to scale our newest studio 2400Sports. Her deep experience in sports media, from digital and social-first content to international productions at the biggest sporting events in the world, and her ability to find unique stories that engage a diverse range of audiences, combined with her reputation as an incredible leader, makes her a perfect fit to lead 2400Sports, and we’re looking forward to Lena lending her voice, skills and talent to our team.” Glaser began her career with NBC, where she produced network studio shows for four Olympic Games and served as coordinating producer of NBC’s Paralympics coverage in Sochi, Rio, and Pyeongchang. Her additional remote, studio, and feature credits include work on the US Open, Wimbledon, and Roland Garros; three Super Bowls, and “Football Night in America.”

Round Two of September PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2021 survey period covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In the Washington market, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM drops seven-tenths for an 8.5 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish and falls from #1 to #2. At Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM, the station sheds one-tenth for 3.2 share finish and the #13 rank. iHeartMedia Boston’s news/talk WRKO tacks on one-tenth to finish with a 3.9 share and remains ranked #9 while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds four-tenths to remain ranked #3 on the strength of a 6.6 share. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM continues its occupation of the #1 spot even though it dipped two-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 7.1 share. Lotus Communications’ all-news KOMO-AM/FM stays in the #3 rank while shedding four-tenths for a 5.4 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.

CUMULUS Promotes Conrad Trautmann to Chief Technology Officer. Rising from his previous position as SVP, technology & operations for CUMULUS MEDIA to chief technology officer is Conrad Trautmann. He reports directly to president and CEO Mary Berner. Trautmann joined CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One in 2000 as EVP, technology, and was promoted in February 2016 to SVP, technology & operations. In his new role, he is responsible for the oversight of companywide broadcast engineering and information technology, as well as purchasing, real estate and facilities management across the company. He also serves on the Radio Technology Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters. Berner says, “Conrad’s contributions to the company over the past 21 years are countless. Unsurprisingly, Conrad has done a particularly commendable job successfully leading the company through the technical challenges presented by COVID-19, and by severe weather events we’ve experienced across the country. He has also been critical to broadening and advancing the technology that drives our growth platforms in digital and podcasting. This promotion recognizes the vital role that he continues to play in our success.”

Triton Digital Releases August 2021 Streaming Ranker. Data from Triton Digital’s Streaming Metrics measurement service for the August 2021 period is released. Rankings are computed based on Average Active Sessions (AAS) which represents the average number of sessions at any point in time in the reported time period, with invalid sessions omitted. AAS can be calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period. Measuring the Monday – Sunday 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight period in the U.S., iHeartMedia is far and away #1 with 289,528 AAS. The following media companies also ranked in the top 25: NPR Member Stations (#2), Audacy (#3), Cumulus Streaming Network (#4), Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (#7), Hubbard Broadcasting (#8), Salem Communications (#11), Urban One (#12), Bonneville International (#13), Midwest Communications (#18), and Lotus Broadcasting (# 23). You can see all the rankings in the August survey here.

Jim Thompson to Retire from Broadcasters Foundation of America; Tim McCarthy to Transition to President Role. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that president Jim Thompson will retire from the Foundation at the end of 2022. In conjunction with that announcement, the BFoA unveils a succession plan whereby Thompson and broadcast veteran Tim McCarthy will serve as co-presidents through 2022, at which time Thompson will move into an active consultancy role. The search committee unanimously chose McCarthy as the best candidate for the position, and the board of directors unanimously endorsed him and the succession plan. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “I have known Tim for almost 20 years. He is an outstanding leader and I look forward to working with him and Jim for a seamless transition. Jim has done a phenomenal job getting the word out about our mission and increasing the number of broadcasters we help. The entire board and I are delighted that he will remain with the Foundation as co-president and then as a consultant.” Thompson says, “Serving the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation has been the most rewarding experience of my career. I cannot think of a more worthy task then helping our colleagues in their darkest moments. The search committee and the board have made an excellent choice in Tim – I know I will be leaving our mission in good hands.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning drive star Eric Ferguson is off the air at WTMX-FM for the month of October while Hubbard Radio deals with the accusations of now three former station staffers who’ve accused Ferguson of inappropriate behavior. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England announced to the rest of the staff that Ferguson would be off the air while the station does more investigating. He said, “We take these allegations seriously and we are confident in the results of multiple investigations we have initiated. But we also owe it to ourselves and our listeners to have a deliberate and thoughtful process about our path forward, and candidly we are not there yet.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” air personality Hardy is adding new duties as afternoon drive host at sister classic rock station WBOS-FM “ROCK 92.9.” Hardy is co-host of the “Zolak & Bertrand” midday show on “98.5 The Sports Hub.” WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “Hardy is one of the most talented, creative people I have ever worked with. His day-to-day role on ‘Zolak & Bertrand’ and with 98.5 will remain the same. Expanding his role locally and within the company is a win for everyone.”

MIW Announces Traci LaTrelle is This Year’s Mentee. This year’s mentee in Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio’s MIW & BDSradio Mentorship Program is Howard University Radio Network’s WHUR-FM music and assistant programming director Traci LaTrelle. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “Traci is incredibly accomplished and still eager to grow further in our business. I am so excited for the opportunities that lie ahead of her and the chance for MIW to play a part in her growth. Congratulations to Traci and, as always, big thanks to Haley Jones, Scott Musgrave, and MRC Data who make this mentorship possible.”

Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills/Debt Ceiling, Facebook Whistleblower, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, and California Oil Spill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The negotiations among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and the related issue of the debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appears before a U.S. Senate committee; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the subpoenaing of Trump administration officials; and the damage and probable cause of the Southern California oil spill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 25, 2021

| June 25, 2021

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, “Bridges, Roads and Condos,” looks back at this past week of June 21-25, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Harry Hurley, morning show host, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; 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; 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.

WABC, New York Host and Former Trump Lawyer Rudy Giuliani Suspended from Practicing Law in New York. The New York State Appellate Division, First Department suspended the law license of former NYC mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York talk host Rudy Giuliani. The court ruled that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” It added that Giuliani’s conduct “immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.” The fate of Giuliani’s New York law license hangs in the balance as the court added, “We find that there is evidence of continuing misconduct, the underlying offense is incredibly serious, and the uncontroverted misconduct in itself will likely result in substantial permanent sanctions at the conclusion of these disciplinary proceedings.”

Audacy Unveils Sports Podcast Studio Building 2400Sports. The new podcast studio for production of Audacy sports podcasts is being launched. 2400Sports houses Audacy Sports’ digital audio content, including both new and existing original podcasts. It is the latest addition to Audacy’s podcast portfolio, which contains premium podcast companies Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, as well as the recently acquired Podcorn. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “We’re excited to launch a third major studio with a goal of building 2400Sports into the home of the country’s best sports podcasts. We look forward to developing elite partnerships, including our just-announced deal with MLB, to create truly special, riveting sports content.” In the new partnership with MLB, Audacy and the league will collaborate on the production and distribution of official podcast programming for the league and its clubs. The studio will launch with a new flagship podcast series in development that revisits baseball’s most dramatic and thrilling postseason campaigns. The first installment, coming this fall, will take a deep dive into the Chicago Cubs’ historic march to the 2016 World Series championship. Audacy will work with all 30 clubs to develop new podcast content. Also concurrent with the studio launch, Audacy announces a development deal with award-winning podcast producer Jody Avirgan’s Roulette Productions. Over the coming months, Avirgan will contribute to 2400Sports’ slate of programming by developing and creating new original shows across a range of sports and genres. From 2016-2020, Jody Avirgan was the executive producer and host of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcasts.

KBLA, Los Angeles Adds Black Information Network News. The new talk station launched by Tavis Smiley – KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” – is adding BIN: Black Information Network’s national news service to its programming, according to Premiere Networks. KBLA will feature Black Information Network News’ :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists. Premiere says the news service is available on more than 40 stations nationwide and is “the first and only 24/7 comprehensive national audio Black News service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” KBLA president and COO Elston Butler says, “We’re excited to partner with Black Information Network News. We knew it would deliver the trusted news and information that is valuable to our listeners. Other news sources offered KBLA a nice piece of the news pie, but with BIN, we felt we would receive the whole recipe that our listeners deserve.”

Cumulus Media Completes $175 Million Debt Paydown. The company completes a multi-step procedure it began in May of this year to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Here’s how it happened: On May 17, Cumulus Media completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. On May 25, it paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to a mandatory prepayment obligation arising from the company’s previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020. Pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, on May 26, 2021, the company launched a tender offer to repurchase approximately $26 million of the Notes at par, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. As of the expiration of the Tender Offer, approximately $3 million of Notes were validly tendered, accepted for payment and subsequently cancelled. Giving effect to the impact of the Tender Offer, approximately $450 million principal amount of Notes remains outstanding. Finally, on June 24, Cumulus submitted an irrevocable paydown notice to the administrative agent of the Term Loan to effectuate a required paydown of $23 million, which represents the remainder of the initial amount of the Tender Offer that was not validly tendered prior to the expiration date. Cumulus EVP and CFO Francisco J. Lopez-Balboa says, “As the improvement in economic and public health conditions continues to drive momentum in business trends, we felt it appropriate to accelerate several debt repayments in order to expedite our balance sheet de-levering, reduce interest expense, and increase our free cash flow generation. We believe this better leverage and free cash flow profile, more than $200 million of available liquidity and solid rebound trajectory are significantly enhancing our financial flexibility. Given our strong competitive position, proven execution track record, and numerous revenue growth drivers, we are confident in our multiple pathways to grow shareholder value.”

The Score’s Danny Parkins Leads Fundraising of More Than $650,000 for Food Bank. The Athletes for Justice’s Austin Harvest food mart project was the beneficiary of WSCR, Chicago’s “What About Chicago Radiothon.” The Audacy sports talker helped raise more than $650,000 for the charity launched by former Chicago Bear Sam Acho and its mission to erase a food desert and build a permanent facility that can fully service the community and those in need. 670 The Score brand manager Mitch Rosen says, “What a tremendous 24 hours. ‘The Score’ asked and the audience delivered for Austin Harvest to build a permanent food mart. I can’t thank our dedicated listeners, our score team, Danny Parkins who led all of us, and Sam Acho enough. We’re so proud to help support a great cause. Thank you, Chicago.” Parkins adds, “That’s the Chicago that I know and love. We saw a problem and helped to solve. So, when people ask, ‘What about Chicago?’ I want people to tell them the story of Austin Harvest, Sam Acho and ‘670 The Score.’ Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us erase a food desert and fund the construction of a permanent facility for Austin Harvest.” Austin Harvest is in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and was originally a pop–up food mart that was a converted liquor store. The mart addressed a food desert in the city and was staffed as an after-school program three days a week by local kids.

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Raises $27,000-plus for Boston Children’s Hospital. The Beasley Media Group sports talk station raised more than $27,000 to benefit the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (P.A.C.T.) Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital via the 10th Annual Who’s Your Caddy? Classic charity golf tournament. WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” afternoon drive personality Tony Massarotti created the original event in memory of his nephew who was cared for by the P.A.C.T. Unit. Pictured above (from l-r) are: Massarotti, Chris L. and Erika O. from Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast and “The Sports Hub Golf Club” host Hardy.

Pompeo Speaks at National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above is former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) with Salem Radio Network VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup (right) at the annual National Religious Broadcasters conference in Dallas. Pompeo warned the 3,500 attendees of the dangers posed by teaching Critical Race Theory in schools and applauded Christian broadcasters for “helping protect religious freedom and traditional American values in our nation.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass is hinting at a return to the talk radio business after taking a buyout from the paper that’s been acquired by hedge fund Alden Global Capital and launching his own media platform johnkassnews.com. He currently is hosting a podcast called “The Chicago Way with John Kass” on WGN-AM’s digital platform. In the past, he hosted a talk show on WLS-AM, first with co-host Jake Hartford, then with Lauren Cohn.  Kass tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I’m in meetings now with various broadcast entities to continue talking to people in Chicago. I think they might want to hear what I have to say.”…..Audacy announces that Mike Hoss is the new play-by-play announcer for New Orleans Saints game day broadcasts on news/talk WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Hoss will work with color analyst and Saints all-time leading rusher Deuce McAllister in the booth. Audacy New Orleans SVP and market manager Kevin Cassidy says, “When we started our search for the new ‘Voice of the Saints,’ the goal was not only professional play-by-play, but also someone with a deep connection to the team, the Saints amazing fan base and our community. Mike checks all the boxes. His extensive experience covering the team both on and off the field has allowed him to paint a front-row picture for fans over the course of his career, and we trust his knowledge will enhance our coverage on game days.”…..The GCN nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new station KTLR, Oklahoma City to its roster of affiliates…..Colorado Springs-based Way Media announces the addition of Steven Thompson as vice president of technology. Thompson was most recently VP of technology for Hope Media Group and KSBJ, Houston. WayFM VP of broadcast operations Jim Marshall comments, “The addition of Steven to the WayFM roster puts us in a position to further solidify our operations. He played a key role in KSBJ’s expansion in South Texas and I’m thrilled that Steven has joined our leadership team. He has a heart for God and a desire to excel in the technical arena. I love that combination.”

Former ‘Talk 106.7’ Atlanta Host Mike Brooks Dies at 66. According to a story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Rodney Ho, former WYAY-FM, Atlanta “Talk 106.7” talk host Mike Brooks died unexpectedly Wednesday (6/23). Brooks was a former police officer who also had served as a correspondent for CNN, among numerous other career ventures that included hosting a talk radio show on Cumulus Media’s former news/talk station “Talk 106.7.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Goals and Delta Variant Top News/Talk Story This Week. The controversy over the vaccinations against COVID-19, the Biden administration’s goals, and the Delta variant combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the blocking of the For the People voting bill and race relations, followed by the economy and the compromise infrastructure bill 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.

NEED A GREAT EXPERT GUEST? Newsom Recall Attracts National Talk Media Interest. The official word that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) will definitely face a recall election has sparked interest in the subject of California politics at talk media outlets across the nation. Attorney/author Wayne Avrashow is a reliable non-partisan expert on the subject of California politics and is available for interviews on the Newson development as well as all things Golden State. He is a frequent contributor to RealClearPolitics and a California political insider. He has an extensive background in California politics, served on two government commissions, was chair of a Los Angeles County ballot proposition, and co-authored ballot arguments. He began as a campaign manager for two victorious Los Angeles City Councilmembers and later served as chief of staff. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he represented clients before numerous California municipalities and in Nevada and Idaho. He has lectured at Southwestern University School of Law and was an adjunct professor at Woodbury University in Los Angeles. He authored numerous op-ed articles that appeared in daily newspapers and in legal, business, and real estate publications. He authored Success at Mediation: 10 Strategic Tools for Attorneys, a book used by law students at the University of Southern California School of Law. And he is the author of a current Amazon best-selling novel Center Stage: A Political Thriller (2021, RealClearPublishing) about a rock star who runs for the U.S. Senate. His experiences in politics, government and business, and as a practicing attorney provide unique insight into the machinations and characters that populate political campaigns. His website is www.wayneavrashow.com. He can be contacted directly at 818-995-1100 or walaw@sbcglobal.net