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Friday, January 22, 2021

| January 22, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “An Now For Something Completely Different,” looks back at this past week of January 18-22, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Daliah Wachs, M.D., talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkKevin McCullough, talk show host, AM 970 The Answer WNYM, New York; Larry Young, talk show host, WOLB, Baltimore; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Held Last Night Virtually. Pictured above is Conan O’Brien being honored with Best Overall Host – Male award at last night’s third annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards celebrating “the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2020.” The virtual awards event was recorded from multiple locations and exclusively video streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages and broadcasted across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App. Also appearing on the virtual ceremony were Will Ferrell, Hillary Clinton, Gwen Stefani, Dan Patrick, Questlove, Charlamagne Tha God, and many others. You can see all the winners here.

Beasley Subsidiary Prices Offering of $300 Million in Senior Secured Notes. Originally, Beasley Broadcast Group subsidiary Beasley Mezzanine Holdings, LLC intended to price $280 million of 8.625% Senior Secured Notes but increased the size of the offering to $300 million. Beasley says the Notes were offered to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers. The Notes are expected to be fully and unconditionally guaranteed by the Company and each of the Company’s existing domestic majority owned subsidiaries and certain future material domestic majority owned subsidiaries on a senior secured first-priority basis, subject to certain exceptions, limitations and permitted liens. Beasley expects to use the net proceeds of this offering to repay in full existing indebtedness under its senior secured credit facilities and certain other indebtedness, with remaining proceeds to be added to the company’s balance sheet and used for general corporate purposes. The Notes offering is expected to close on February 2, 2021, subject to customary conditions.

Brian Peterson Named SVP of Communications and Marketing for Newsmax TV. Media executive Brian Peterson is named SVP of communications and marketing for Newsmax Media, which broadcasts Newsmax TV. Newsmax says in a press release, “Peterson is an award-winning creator of innovative and strategic integrated communication and marketing plans in media, entertainment, and technology. He has worked at companies such as FOX Cable Networks, FOX Regional Sports Networks, NFL Properties, and Esri. Peterson says, “Newsmax is uniquely positioned to deliver news that matters to its viewers. Chris Ruddy has put together a team of top-tier media professionals and I am glad to be part of this exciting and game-changing channel as it continues its incredible growth.” Ruddy comments, “Brian is considered one of the smartest people in the industry and has a rock-solid track record to prove it. There’s no question Brian will help elevate the Newsmax brand to new heights and we’re thrilled he’s on board with us.”

Edison Research to Present Webinar on ‘What We Learned from the 2020 Election Exit Polls.’ On Thursday, January 28 at 2:00 pm ET, Edison Research will present its first webinar of 2021 titled, “What We Learned from the 2020 Election Exit Polls.” The company says EVP Joe Lenski and VP Randy Brown will give an overview of the process that it used to conduct the exit poll of record for the National Election Pool during a pandemic, and the challenges such an endeavor presented. They will also cover general findings from the exit polls. Additionally, host Tom Webster will lead a discussion on how the vote count was reported by NEP media clients and how it is possible for the vote count to change over the course of reporting. You can register here.

‘America’s Truckin’ Network’ Returns in One-Hour, Recorded Incarnation. According to WVXU.org reporter John Kiesewetter, the WLW, Cincinnati-based “America’s Truckin’ Network” program that was cancelled by iHeartMedia in early November is back in a truncated, recorded format featuring former “ATN” weekend personality Eric “Bubba Bo” Boulanger.  Back in early November, iHeartMedia dismissed “ATN” host Steve Sommers and plugged in local host Dan Carroll to host the overnight daypart. But that show was cancelled after about seven weeks and the Westwood One program “Red Eye Radio” with Gary McNamara and Eric Harley now fills the overnight slot. Kiesewetter reports that Carroll’s program focused on supporting Donald Trump and the “Stop the Steal” campaign. Management never commented on the reason for Carroll’s departure. Now, the “America’s Truckin’ Network” one-hour edition airs from 12:00 midnight to 1:00 am between Gary Jeff Walker’s late-night show and “Red Eye Radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Joe Biden administration appoints Jessica Rosenworcel acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission. This comes after the resignation of former chairman Ajit Pai…..WNYC is launching a limited run, weekly call-in show titled, “America, Are We Ready for the First 100 Days?” The show is designed for “Americans to talk, debate, and find common ground during the first 100 days of the BidenHarris administration.” The program is being hosted by Brian Lehrer and airs nationally Thursdays through April 29 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET on WNYC and on more than 75 public radio stations across the country…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting play-by-play for this Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games. Doubleheader coverage begins with the pregame show at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday…..Cadence13, a podcast company that is part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces a partnership with Punchbowl News — the news community focused on power, people and politics in Washington founded by leading political journalists and bestselling authors Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer and co-founded by veteran Capitol Hill reporter John Bresnahan — for “The Daily Punch,” a podcast hosted by Sherman and Palmer. The program will “bring listeners inside Capitol Hill, the White House, and Washington for an unfiltered, non-partisan look at the key players and stakes of every major issue of the day and the news and events that move political markets.” It launches on February 1…..The Fishnet Syndication show “On The Right Side Radio” – hosted by Reid L. Rosenthal – adds KBTD, Dallas to its roster of affiliate stations.

The Biden Inauguration and Trump Impeachment Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The inauguration of President Joe Biden and the article of impeachment against Donald Trump tied for the most-talked-about stories for the week of January 18-22, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines. Coming in at #3 was race relations in the U.S., followed by Donald Trump’s pardons and commutations tied with Joe Biden’s cabinet picks at #4. 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.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

| June 11, 2019

Cumulus Media Announces Offer of $300 Million in Senior Secured First-Lien Notes. This Issue of notes is a private offering made only to “persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.”  The new offering is $300 million in Cumulus Media New Holdings, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cumulus Media, in aggregate principal amount of senior secured first-lien notes due 2026.  Cumulus reports that it expects to use the net proceeds of the offering to partially repay existing indebtedness under its senior secured term loan facility.

Keith Memloy Appointed PD for WDBO-FM and ‘ESPN 580.’ Rising from assistant program director at Cox Media Group’s news/talk WDBO-FM, Orlando to PD for that and sister sports talker WDBO-AM “ESPN 580” is Keith Memoly.  CMG Orlando director of programming operations Steve Stewart says, “Keith brings a diverse amount of experience and passion to his role.  I look forward to seeing him and the WDBO team help shape the future of Orlando’s iconic radio brand.”  Memoly started his career with CMG in 2010 as the marketing director for WPYO, WCFB, and WMMO in Orlando.  In 2017, he was promoted to assistant program director at WDBO.  He says, “I’m beyond thrilled for the opportunity to lead an amazing, award-winning team of talent that is the fabric of the ‘News 96.5’ and ‘ESPN 580’ brands.  WDBO is a legendary brand in the industry and I would like to thank Jason Meder, Steve Stewart and Tim Clarke for believing and entrusting in me and my leadership.”

Round One of May PPMs Released.  The first round of Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey results is being released, starting with 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations hereTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from this round of ratings beginning tomorrow (6/12).

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Talk Host David Bellavia to Receive Medal of Honor. Buffalo talk radio host and decorated Iraq War veteran David Bellavia is being presented with the Medal of Honor by President Trump in a ceremony to take place on June 25 at the White House.  Bellavia co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Tom Bauerle on Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo.  He’s being presented with the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army.”  You can read the account of what happened in Fallujah, Iraq on November 10, 2004 and Bellavia’s actions at the White House site here. In a story on the WBEN website, Bellavia is quoted saying, “There’s so much love on the battlefield, and you really do care.  You care for your hometown, you care for your country, you care for your friends, but that’s something that separates us from all the other enemies we fight…we love what we do and we love who we are protecting.”

Michael Castner Out at Entercom’s KXNT, Las Vegas.  Talk and news radio pro Michael Castner has exited his role as morning drive host at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas.  Castner’s previous experience includes service at iHeartMedia’s WRNO-FM, New Orleans and KEX-AM, Portland, as well as a stint with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network.  Castner says he’s happy to re-locate and is also available for fill-in work.  He can be reached at michael@michaelcastner.com.

TEGNA Doubles Radio Holdings with Dispatch Broadcast Group Acquisition. The television-centric company TEGNA Inc. owns adult hits KFMB-FM and news/talk KFMB-AM in San Diego in addition to its 49 television stations.  TEGNA has just entered into a definitive agreement with the Dispatch Broadcast Group to acquire two television stations – WTHR-TV, Indianapolis and WBNS-TV, Columbus for $535 million in cash.  That deal also includes Dispatch’s two sports talk radio stations in Columbus – WBNS-FM and WBNS-AM – and that would give TEGNA four radio properties.  In a press release announcing the agreement, TEGNA says of the sports talk duo, “WBNS Radio is Ohio’s sports destination.  97.1 is the flagship home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus Crew, Columbus Blue Jackets, and teams across the state and features popular shows and podcasts including ‘Bishop and Laurinaitis,’ ‘Carpenter & Rothman,’ ‘Common Man & T-Bone,’ and ‘The Buckeye Show.’  1460 AM is the flagship station of Ohio State (OSBI) athletics and the home of ESPN Radio in Columbus.”

ABC Radio Ups Stacia Philips Deshishku to VP/GM. The “interim” is removed from Stacia Philips Deshishku’s title as she becomes vice president and general manager of ABC Radio in which she’ll oversee the company’s audio businesses – from traditional terrestrial radio serving more than 1,650 stations nationwide to podcasts and digital audio.  She had been serving as deputy bureau chief for Washington prior to being asked to be interim leader two months ago.  ABC News president James Goldston says, “Stacia is a terrific mentor, providing wise and candid counsel to all, including me.  She helped successfully transform the Washington bureau and was instrumental in ensuring it maintained its competitive edge and high standards in this non-stop news cycle.”

Chris Moreau Named Market Manager for Cumulus Green Bay. Radio sales and management pro Chris Moreau is promoted from his director of sales post with Cumulus Media Appleton/Oshkosh to vice president and market manager for the company’s Green Bay station group that includes: sports talk WDUZ-AM/FM, country WPCK-FM, hot AC WQLH-FM, classic rock WKRU-FM, and classic hits WOGB-FM.  He’s previously served as business development/account manager for Journal Broadcast Group/E.W. Scripps, vice president/general manager for Bliss Communications in Racine, Wisconsin, and more.

TALKERS News Notes. The San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated “Joe Pags Show” adds new affiliate stations KSEV-AM, Houston and WLOB, Portland to its roster.  “The Joe Pags Show” is syndicated by Compass Media Networks…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP News in Washington, D.C. and PodcastOne have partnered to produce a new, true-crime podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” that details the horrific events that led to a D.C. power couple, their 10-year-old son and housekeeper being held hostage, tortured and brutally murdered inside their own home in May of 2015.  Daron Wint was found guilty of the crimes – known as the DC Mansion Murders – in 2018…..FOX Sports is presenting multiplatform coverage of the 119th U.S. Open Championship.  FOX Sports Radio has on-site coverage from Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday and Friday (6/13-14) via “The Doug Gottlieb Show” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm while FOX Sports Radio news anchor Dan Beyer reports live from the course…..CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent and “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan is serving as the keynote speaker of KYW Newsradio’s “Women’s Achievement Awards 2019,” being held at Loews Philadelphia Hotel on June 27.  This is the 10th annual edition of the awards from the Entercom all-news station that serve to celebrate women making a positive impact on the Philadelphia region.  This year’s event will honor the accomplishments of five exceptional women, all under the age of 40, who were nominated by KYW Newsradio listeners. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We are thrilled to have a journalist as insightful and respected as Margaret on KYW Newsradio every week and honored to have her share her experience and perspective at our event. She embodies what the ‘Women’s Achievement Awards’ stand for and I look forward to her sharing a special evening with our deserving honorees.”

Sterling Swoons Over Swag Bag.  Nationally syndicated Westwood One personality Walter M. Sterling was so impressed with the quality of items in the Talkers 2019 convention “goodie bag” that he devoted a segment of this past weekend’s “Sterling on Sunday” show to talking about it.  Check it out here.

2020 Presidential Race, Trump Impeachment Talk, Southern Border Issues/Mexico Tariffs Threat, U.S.-China Trade War, and Big Papi Shot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/10).  The Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the Democrats’ talk of beginning impeachment proceedings against the president; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the threat of tariffs on Mexican exports; the U.S.-China trade war and the looming G20 summit in Japan; retired Red Sox star David Ortiz is shot in a bar in the Dominican Republic 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. Motor City urban contemporary WDMK-FM is being sold by Urban One to Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. for $13.5 million in a deal that Beasley expects “to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow without materially altering the Company’s leverage.  Beasley intends to fund the acquisition through borrowings under its credit facility and cash generated from operations.”  Beasley currently operates three stations in the Detroit market: rock WRIF, classic rock WCSX, and rhythmic oldies WMGC. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The accretive acquisition of WDMK-FM significantly enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit.  Detroit is undergoing an exciting renaissance as a result of billions of dollars of new investments in the city’s residential, commercial, entertainment and cultural centers, all of which are driving new residents, businesses, tourists, employment and economic activity.  We entered the Detroit market in late 2016 and have consistently improved the operating results of the three stations we acquired, and we believe the proposed transaction is a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders.  The addition of WDMK-FM will mark further progress toward our goal of capturing 30% revenue share in each of our markets while delivering valuable synergies and the potential for SOI margin improvement.”…..Entercom names Kevin Callahan program director for country simulcast KFRG-FM/KXFG-FM, Riverside “K-FROG.”  He says, “I’m honored to be afforded the opportunity to expand my role with Entercom in the Riverside market.  I’ve been fortunate to oversee programming efforts for KSON and I look forward to taking ‘K-FROG’ to new heights in the next chapter of my career.”  Callahan now oversees programming efforts for all Entercom Southern California country stations.  He continues in his role as program operations manager for sister stations KSON, sports talk KWFN “97.3 The Fan,” alternative KBZT-FM “ALT 949,” adult contemporary KYXY-FM, and classic hits KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” in San Diego…..Westwood One announces that Nashville-based personality Elaina Smith is re-branding her original podcast, “Breaking Thru With Elaina.”  It was previously titled, “Women Want to Hear Women with Elaina Smith.”  The program returned with new stories from female artists breaking through the music industry on June 9 on The Empow(h)er Podcast Network on Westwood One. Smith won a 2019 Gracie Award for the first season of the show.  She says, “I’ve been itching to get season two going all year long.  I’m so thankful to everyone for being so patient as I worked on launching my new radio show, ‘With Elaina.’  Now that it is off the ground, it’s time to keep this conversation going, and with a new name!”