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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

| May 4, 2022

Cumulus Media 2022 First Quarter Net Revenue Rises 15%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Cumulus Media’s total net revenue for the period was $232 million, an increase of 15% over the same period in 2021. The company says it was the fifth straight quarter of sequential improvement in revenue performance versus a comparable quarter in 2019. Cumulus also reports a Q1 net loss of just $0.9 million, down from the net loss of $21.9 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. The broadcast radio segment is broken into two parts – spot, which rose 11.9% over the same period a year ago, and network, which was up 5.2%. The company’s digital segment was up 18%, led by digital marketing services (+35%) and podcasting (+22%). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Our outstanding first quarter results once again demonstrate the positive impacts of our ‘audio-first’ strategy to transform the company from a one-dimensional radio broadcaster to a multi-dimensional audio media company. Following a strong 2021 performance, this quarter’s results underscore our ability to deliver value to our shareholders through sustained profitable top- and bottom-line growth and balance sheet de-levering. We delivered sequential revenue improvement for the fifth straight quarter versus the comparable 2019 quarter, grew EBITDA by 250% year-over-year, and generated continued strong cash from operations, which collectively allowed us to achieve the company’s lowest net leverage in over a decade. Given our best-among-peers balance sheet, strong financial momentum and the company’s positive 2022 outlook, we expect ongoing cash flow generation that will support a meaningful return of capital to shareholders now and in the future. Accordingly, as a first step, today we are announcing a $50 million share repurchase program with a plan to commence share repurchases in the near-term. This capital return program is underpinned by our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued.”

 

Cumulus Rejects Unsolicited Acquisition Bid. The last sentence of Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner’s statement outlining its first quarter results says it all: “The company is significantly undervalued.” That was also the theme of a memo from Berner to Cumulus shareholders regarding the unsolicited offer from a consortium led by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeffrey Warshaw to acquire Cumulus. Berner says, “The company recently received an indication of interest in acquiring the company for $15 to $17 per share. After a careful and thorough review, conducted in consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the board unanimously concluded that the indication of interest significantly undervalues the company and is not in the best interests of its shareholders. The company’s board is open to all paths that continue to drive superior shareholder value. Our strong momentum across business lines, multiple digital revenue growth drivers, operational efficiency and superior cash flow provide the company with substantial untapped upside that it expects to continue to realize on behalf of its shareholders. Given these facts and circumstances, the board unanimously believes execution of the company’s strategy will deliver significantly more value to shareholders than this indication of interest.”

 

Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ Debuts This Week. The Bill O’Reilly-hosted program from Key Networks debuts this week on 58 stations across the U.S. Key Networks says “No Spin News” is “a full hour of trailblazing journalist and bestselling author O’Reilly’s fair, smart, fact-based analysis” airing every weeknight. The one-hour show has been airing in New York on 77 WABC for over a year under the title, “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” The program now joins the suite of shows syndicated by Key Networks that includes: “The O’Reilly Update,” “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” and “The O’Reilly Update – Weekend Edition.” O’Reilly says, “We are beyond happy that radio stations from coast-to-coast are spreading the ‘No Spin’ mantra. We provide something that’s badly needed in the USA: honest fact-based analysis.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green comments, “Based on the success of ‘The O’Reilly Update,’ the marketplace was ready for more content from Bill O’Reilly. ‘No Spin News’ provides analysis on what is happening in the world that listeners want to hear. This is content you won’t get anywhere else, and I expect stations to add Bill O’Reilly’s ‘No Spin News’ in large numbers!”

 

WABC-TV, New York Opens Long Island Bureau at Hofstra University. New York City’s WABC-TV is opening a new, Long Island bureau today (5/4) inside the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University. The small bureau will have a full-time reporter and two production trucks in Long Island, New York. WABC has a history of supporting the journalism program at the university, donating significant quantities of valuable equipment and providing internship and career opportunities for many students. Hofstra students will have regular exposure to WABC journalists, expanded internships, guest lectures and seminars held by WABC professionals. The Long Island bureau, located in the newsroom of Hofstra’s award-winning, student-run radio station, WRHU-88.7 FM, reinforces WABC-TV’s commitment to Long Island, as well as the Herbert School’s commitment to community journalism, including the newly launched community news site, LongIslandAdvocate.com. Lawrence Herbert School of Communication dean Mark Lukasiewicz states, “Our journalism program emphasizes experiential, hands-on learning and encourages our student journalists to engage with Long Island communities to tell impactful stories. The Eyewitness News Long Island bureau, located alongside WRHU’s newsroom, will provide that kind of hands-on opportunity – a daily chance for students to observe and learn from great local journalists doing the work of New York’s top broadcast news operation.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Rob Carson Show” joins the 1400 Investments, LLC-owned Nevada Talk Network. The program, syndicated by Newsmax and airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, is being heard on KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks-Carson City; KDJJ-FM, Fernley-Fallon; KPKK-FM, Amargosa Valley; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPVM-TV 25.6, Pahrump…..The syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – adds new affiliate station KTXW-AM/FM, Austin “The Bridge” to its roster of affiliate stations…..FOX Nation – FOX News Media’s “on-demand streaming service designed to complement the FOX News Channel experience with a members-only destination for its most passionate and loyal super fans” – is premiering a documentary series about music and television industry star Sharon Osbourne in September. Titled “Sharon Osbourne: To Hell & Back,” the four-part program features “a candid and heartfelt look into Osbourne’s personal and professional life, highlighting how she found herself in the crosshairs of the cancel culture movement after exiting CBS’s ‘The Talk.’”…..SiriusXM is presenting nationwide, comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/7). The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network.

 

Roe v Wade Leak, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). Reactions to the leak of a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the primary elections in Ohio and Indiana, the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the activity on the world’s financial markets, the supply chain woes, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the effects across the globe; and concerns about new Omicron variants and the possibility of a serious summer COVID wave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 22, 2021

| October 22, 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 “What, Me Work?” looks back at this past week of 10/18 – 10/22. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Howard Monroe, talk show host/station owner, WVLY, Wheeling; 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; 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.

Armstrong & Getty Podcast Hits 100 Million Download Mark. Podcasts from the syndicated news/talk morning duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty have surpassed the 100 million mark, according to “The Armstrong & Getty Show.” They say tracking of Armstrong & Getty podcasts began in 2019, meaning the show reached this milestone in less than three years. The total includes Armstrong & Gettty’s “One More Thing,” “On Demand,” and “Extra Large” podcasts. The duo says they see podcasting as a natural extension of their show. “We love the podcasting era. Now our listeners can come back to the show after dealing with life. They don’t turn off the radio, they just hit pause.” The Armstrong & Getty podcasts average more than 3.4 million downloads each month.

Miller & Moulton Launches on Beasley’s Tampa and Ft. Myers Stations. Florida sports talk personalities Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) are back together on Beasley Media Group stations as the company partners with the Florida Sports Network to bring the “Miller & Moulton” show to WBCN-AM/W251AL, Fort Myers “ESPN Southwest Florida” and business talk WHFS-AM, Tampa “Money Talk 1010” for morning drive. Beasley says Miller and Moulton have produced an entertaining and informative show with national guests since 2006 and have been consistently ranked among top rated sports shows in the history of Southwest Florida radio. Beasley Southwest Florida VP and market manager AJ Lurie says, “It’s great to have ‘Miller & Moulton’ back where they started. Our audience has missed them.” Florida Sports Network president Marty Booher comments, “We have a great relationship with Beasley in Detroit with the Michigan Sports Network and are thrilled to partner with them again in their hometown of Naples and across the state of Florida. We already know that sports fans love the ‘Miller & Moulton’ brand and we’re proud to put them back on the air as we expand their show across the state. Listening to the show is like being in your favorite Florida sports bar for four hours in the morning!”

iHeartMedia Execs Reveal New Workplace Plan. In a memo to all staffers, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler explain their plans for the future of working from the office and from home. Saying that at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, they believed all staffers would return to the office when it was safe to do so, they say now, however, “that construct fails to take into consideration everything we’ve learned in the last year and a half – from new skills and new ways of working to maximizing our technology to enable us to communicate, innovate and work together as a team. So, we will never ‘return to the office’ as we all knew it; instead, we’ll be returning to a ‘New Work Environment’… Although we’ll start as a hybrid of working from home and some use of the office, we know it will evolve as we learn together. We should all think about the office as a productivity tool, vs that more rigid ‘home base’ we’ve been used to – and the office will always be open for your use.” They go on to say that “overall we think most people will have a hybrid approach, one in which they’ll spend a period of time in the office every week, depending on what their team’s needs are. And even that schedule may vary week to week, or even month to month, depending on what you are working on… On a practical note, your individual schedule will be developed with your managers, built around the needs and timetables of each location and function, and hopefully tailored to everyone’s specific talents and jobs. In this process, the most important thing we can do is protect your well-being. To that end, we would encourage you to follow the latest recommendations for both vaccines and office protocols. We’ll remain committed to providing you support through all our office and company policies.”

WFAN, New York’s Steve Somers to Retire from Full-Time Show. According to Andrew Marchand’s story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York night host Steve Somers will retire from his full-time position sometime this fall. The 74-year-old sports talk host has been with the station for the entirety of its 34 years as a sports talk outlet. Somers told listeners to his show that he doesn’t want a farewell tour as some hosts who’ve left the station have done saying he would find it embarrassing. Audacy SVP Chris Oliviero tells the Post, “Yes, sadly it is true. Steve will be wrapping up his full-time run at WFAN sometime this fall. He is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks in the history of WFAN. Steve and the FAN became stars together in this town. The voice, the wit, the humor, the catchphrases all iconic. Now we have to convince him to give us all, especially the listeners, a chance to celebrate him because he is worthy of the accolades.”

iHeartMedia Washington, DC Names Jen Richer APD. Programming pro Jen Richer is named assistant program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC cluster that includes news/talk “104.7 WONK-FM,” WUST-AM “DMV BIN 1120,” and six music brands. Richer was most recently executive producer for WMAL-FM, Washington’s “Vince Coglianese Show.” In the past she’s also served as executive producer for 104.7 WONK- FM’s “Reaction Zone,” news director for iHeartMedia Washington D.C., co-host and executive producer of “The Tommy Show” on WIAD-FM, and host and executive producer of “The Fresh Perspective Show” on WIAD-FM. She says, “I am so excited to rejoin the team at iHeartMedia Washington, DC for this incredible new opportunity to work with such a talented team of programmers and talent. There couldn’t be a more important time for radio to connect with our listeners as we start transitioning into the ‘new normal,’ and I am looking forward to helping deliver an awesome experience for the Washington DC community through these landmark stations.”

Former KHTK, Sacramento Sports Personality Grant Napear Sues Bonneville for Wrongful Termination. KOVR-TV, Sacramento is reporting that former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer and sports talk personality Grant Napear is filing a suit against station owner Bonneville International for firing him in June of 2020. Bonneville fired Napear after he tweeted a response to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins who asked him for his take on the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Napear replied, “All Lives Matter… every single one.” At the time, Napear said, “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” Now, he says he’s filing the lawsuit because he believes he’s been wronged, and he wants to be “vindicated.” Bonneville has not commented on the lawsuit.

Triton Digital Releases September 2021 Podcast Report. This report for the period of August 30 to October 3 from Triton Digital ranks the top 20 podcast networks in the U.S. based on average weekly downloads and the top 100 podcasts, also based on average weekly downloads. SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks as the #1 network for September with 38.4 million AWD. Some broadcast companies whose podcast networks ranked in the top 20 include: NPR at #2 (32 million), Audacy Podcast Network at #3 (29.1 million), Cumulus Podcast Network at #4 (17.7 million), FOX News Podcasts at #10 (3.6 million), and Salem Podcast Network at #12 (3.2 million). The top podcast on Triton’s chart is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” Other podcasts of note on this chart include: Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” at #4, Cumulus’ “Dan Bongino Show” at #8, Salem’s “Charlie Kirk Show” at #12, and FOX News’ “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #13. See the complete charts here.

77 WABC Radio Backs the Blue. Pictured above are a number of New York City police officers with Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo. Red Apple’s news/talk 77 WABC dedicated yesterday (10/21) to the men and women in blue with an all-day, on-air salute that included current and past police dignitaries. Photo: Jillian Nelson jillpics.com

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast team for iHeartMedia Seattle’s coverage of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken is complete. Sports talk KJR-AM serves as the official flagship station for the Kraken Audio Network and will debut its broadcast team tomorrow (10/23) when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. The broadcast team includes: Everett Fitzhugh as the network’s play-by-play voice, retired NHL player Dave Tomlinson as broadcast analyst, and former voice of the Everett Silvertips, Mike Benton, as the network’s studio host…..Audacy’s C13Features releases a video trailer for its new, scripted audio movie, “Treat.” C13Features partnered with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh of Two & Two Pictures, and Best Case Studios, to co-produce the story written by Nathan Ballingrud. “Treat” tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Actress Kiernan Shipka plays protagonist and narrator Allie West…..CNN Audio debuts its first episode of “Tug of War” – a new limited-series podcast hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels to some of the most volatile corners of the world to document the greatest power struggles of our time. The first episode has her taking listeners onto the streets of Afghanistan and into the homes of its citizens as they watch the balance of power start to tip — and the Taliban tries to keep order with truncheons and whips. She shares firsthand accounts from Afghan citizens who witness the United States military withdrawal – after two decades of war – escalate into the Taliban swiftly toppling the Afghan government watching their 20 years of hard-earned freedoms crumble…..Chick Pallotta, creator, executive producer, and host of the nationally syndicated radio series titled, “The Inside Stories Behind the Christmas Songs,” signs a two-year agreement with Orbyt Media, a division of Bell Media Inc. of Canada, to syndicate his series to Canadian radio stations. Programs feature many legendary songwriters who explain how their holiday hits originated. The series comes in two forms: the original short-forms (structured where all the verses of the song are wrapped around the songwriter’s narrative) and the two-minute versions. The series now totals 39 programs. They have aired on SiriusXM and hundreds of radio stations across the U.S., including WCBS-FM, New York City and news/talk KXEL-AM, Waterloo, Iowa. Some 15 different radio formats have aired the holiday series that’s now in its 11th year of syndication.

Budget Debate/Infrastructure/Inflation/Supply Chain/Labor Issues Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 18-22. The negotiation among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s social spending and infrastructure bills, the world’s supply chain woes and labor shortages came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the January 6 investigation tied with the House voting to hold Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt and former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over boosters, mask & vaccine mandates and SRN talk host Dennis Prager’s intentional COVID case. 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.

Program Director/News Director. iHeartMedia is seeking a program director/news director to oversee news/talk WHAM, Rochester; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse and “FM Talk” WAIO-FM, Rochester. This person will “lead all aspects of the radio stations’ on-air experience in a leadership and operations role, responsible for talent, content, news operations, programming, and online presence.” This is a Rochester-based position. To find out more about this role and to apply, click here.

Morning News Reporter. News/talk WSYR, Syracuse seeks a morning news reporter. This role is based in Syracuse and the position requires the news reporter gather and verify factual information through interviews, observation and research; Monitor sources for breaking news, e.g., wires and social media; Plan, write, edit, and voice news broadcasts; Finalize content using digital audio editing software; Maintain crucial deadlines in order to provide news stories in a timely fashion; and more. Find out more about this position and apply here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

| August 18, 2020

Brian Davis Named OM for Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh. Programming pro Brian Davis returns to Cumulus Media to take on the operations manager position for the company’s Appleton-Oshkosh, Wisconsin cluster that includes news/talk WOSH-AM, country WPKR-FM, classic hits WVBO-FM, alternative WWWX-FM, and nostalgia WNAM-AM. Davis served as a programmer in Cumulus’ Bloomington, Illinois cluster from 2011-2016. Most recently, he was a brand manager for Townsquare Media’s Dubuque, Iowa station group. Cumulus Appleton-Oshkosh VP and market manager John Rowe says, “This is a homecoming of sorts for Brian, having worked in the marketplace a few years ago. We’re thrilled to have Brian’s passion for radio and know he will make an immediate impact at a time when programming leadership is critical to the cluster’s continuing success.” Davis comments, “I am very excited to be rejoining Cumulus and returning to Northeast Wisconsin. We have an outstanding team and a great lineup of stations, and I know we’re going to do great things together!”

Entercom Names ‘D-Lo and KC’ Midday Show at ‘ESPN 1320’ in Sacramento. The new 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show at Entercom’s KIFM-AM, Sacramento “ESPN 1320” is “D-Lo and KC,” hosted by Damien Barling (left) and Kenny Caraway (right). Entercom Sacramento Stacey Kauffman says, “Damien and Kenny are two incredibly talented, local personalities that bring passion, energy and enthusiasm to 1320. Damien’s market experience coupled with Kenny’s passion for Northern California sports make this a winning combination. I couldn’t be more excited to see what they’re able to accomplish right out of the gate on air and on our digital platforms.” Barling previously hosted on sister KHTK-AM’s “The Lo-Down.” Caraway is a content creator across multiple mediums, including podcasting, sports radio host, podcast and radio producer, as well as co-host for The Athletic’s Sacramento Kings podcast, “Throne Room Breakdown.”

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present Back to School Town Hall. This year’s “back-to-school” season is very different from past years due to COVID-19 and Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in its Town Hall broadcast series to help New Jersey parents prepare for the start of the new school year. New Jersey has more than 600 school districts with each setting its own policies regarding how and where kids will begin school, leading to great confusion among parents. Station special projects director Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing health and education experts together to answer parents’ questions. He says, “Kids may be permitted to attend some in-class learning, but is it safe to do so? We will get parents the answers they need to make the best decisions possible for their children.” The program’s expert panel will feature: Marie Blistan, president, New Jersey Education Association; Patricia Wright, executive director, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association; Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist; and Dr. Steve Tobias, director, Center for Child and Family Development. Scott and his guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour. The broadcast takes place Thursday (8/20) at 7:00 pm and is being streamed on Facebook Live and via the New Jersey 101.5 app.

‘97.1 The Fan’ in Columbus Unveils New Lineup. Columbus sports talk outlet WBNS-FM “97.1 The Fan” unveils its new program schedule, including its new morning drive show. The Tegna station puts ‘Fan’ personality Brandon Beam together with former Ohio State linebackers Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel for the “Morning Juice” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. The station also creates a new midday show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Station director of operations Matt Erhard says, “In addition to the energy and excitement of launching ‘Morning Juice,’ I’m excited to team up Anthony Rothman, who’s been covering sports in Central Ohio for 27 years, with Matty “Ice” Hayes, a born and raised Ohioan who brings fresh perspective and insight as he makes the move from producer to host. I’m extremely proud to see these next career steps for guys who have helped shape ‘The Fan’ into the sports powerhouse that it is today.” The station is making a move physically as well. Vice president and general manager Todd Markiewicz says, “I am also excited to announce that we are moving our radio studios from Front Street to the 10TV building on Twin Rivers with brand new, state of the art broadcasting facilities. Creating synergy between 97.1 The Fan’s sports lineup along with 10TV’s sports anchors allows us to create ‘The Best Damn Sports Team In The Land.’ With TV and radio’s sports personalities under the same roof, we will be able to provide the most thorough and entertaining sports information to fans in Columbus for years to come!”

Lisa Ann Bonk Joins JAM Media Solutions as National Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Lisa Ann Bonk is named national sales manager for JAM Media Solutions. The company operates seven radio stations – three music brands in Iowa, plus news/talk WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina and three music brands on the Outer Banks – as well as digital publication OBXToday.com and a New Jersey-based direct response ad agency. Bonk worked with new company COO Steve Borneman at WABC, New York and also served as a regional manager at Interep Radio. Borneman says, “I am happy to be reunited with Lisa! Lisa hired me many, many years ago at 77 WABC and I am looking forward to the contributions she will make at JAM. Lisa is one of the best sales leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with and she’s an all-around wonderful person!”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at Crossing Broad, Beasley Media Group is going to lease the old WIP-AM – now WTEL-AM – to iHeartMedia and that company plans to flip the format. It’s currently airing sports as “610 ESPN Philadelphia.” Beasley acquired the signal in a swap with CBS RADIO…..Good Karma Brands’ “ESPN Cleveland” is launching a new daily podcast titled, “The Daily Grossi,” hosted by Cleveland Browns analyst Tony Grossi and Matt Fontana. “ESPN Cleveland” director of content Matt Fishman says, “Tony is the eyes and ears for the fans this year at training camp. ‘The Daily Grossi’ podcast provides fans an inside look at Kevin Stefanski’s first season as the Browns head coach as he tackles the additional challenges 2020 has provided.”…..FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd appeared on the August 14 edition of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in which he talked about the possible impact of the college football season on the presidential election, how major sports leagues have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to salvage their seasons, and a variety of other sports topics. You can see it here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/DeJoy Testimony, Presidential Race/DNC, Southwest Heatwave/California Power Woes, and Protests/Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for more cases, and the outbreaks at some college campuses; the state of the U.S. Postal Service, its funding woes, and next week’s testimony before Congress by USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy; the November presidential election and last night’s opening of the Democratic National Convention; the record-setting heatwave in the Southwest and the rolling blackouts in California; and the Portland protests and urban violent crime increase in several cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

PPM Analysis: Adult Hits. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the adult hits format. In this report, you will find charts that show weekly 6+ AQH share movement compared to the June 2020 PPM survey, the July 2019 PPM survey, as well as market rank and market share. See the whole report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Notifying their listeners via social media, country WQMX, Akron program director and afternoon host Ken Steel and station music director Jody Svoboda Wheatley have been let go by owner Rubber City Radio Group. Noting that their departure is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheatley posts to Facebook: “Exactly two weeks ago I celebrated my 19th year working at WQMX, and it turns out that today is my last. Our company decided that I should be their first COVID casualty, along with my favorite co-worker, Ken Steel. I guess if I wasn’t going to leave the company on my own terms, at least I left in the next best possible way…at the top with the best ratings WQMX has ever had, and next to the best boss and co-worker/friend that I’ve made along the way. So I guess it only makes sense that we exit this ride together, even though we both don’t deserve it. It’s definitely their loss. Not sure what’s next for me, but I guess I’m ready to find out.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

| April 8, 2020

Cumulus Announces Furlough and Pay Cut Plans. It was the last of the large radio companies to take drastic measures, but Tuesday (4/7) Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner made her employees aware of the company’s plans via a video message.  Berner told her workforce that the Covid-19 plan was temporary and will be implemented in the coming days.  As part of the plan, Cumulus’ salaried staffers will take three non-consecutive weeks of furlough over the course of 15 weeks that begins on April 20.  For the group of employees who don’t have supervisors or don’t have anyone else who can cover for them, they will work for 90-days without pay, beginning April 16.  For those employees whose duties have been reduced or eliminated, they are on a 90-day furlough, starting April 16.  Berner said the company intends to bring all furloughed employees back when full-scale business operations resume.  She is taking a 50% pay cut during this period and says the executive leadership team is taking a 25% cut and is giving up incentive compensation for the year.  She said, “Even though these are intended to be temporary actions, I know they are going to land hard – really hard – and that is in the emotional and financial toll that a furlough or salary cut will take on each of you, but also in terms of the increased workload the vast majority of you will have to take on during your co-workers’ furlough weeks.  I am truly sorry and sad about this announcement.  None of you deserves this.”  It’s unclear how the company is dealing with its union-represented air staffers.

‘The Mighty 990’ in Memphis Offering Week of Free Advertising. Memphis news/talk KWAM-AM/W300DE “The Mighty 990” is offering small businesses in the Memphis market a free week of advertising.  Starnes Media Group says, “It’s just one significant way the news/talk radio station is lending a helping hand to the community during the global pandemic.”  Company CEO Dalton Glasscock adds, “We’ve covered the stories of neighbors and small businesses in this community sacrificing to help in this fight against our invisible enemy.  These people, their businesses, and their stories have inspired us to do what we can to help them and other businesses that need an extra hand during this time.”  The company adds that Glasscock and president Todd Starnes are not taking their salaries during the pandemic and are committed to their staffers.

‘Cats Roundtable’ to Air on WABC, New York. The nationally syndicated “Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” begins airing on “TALK RADIO 77 WABC” in New York at 9:00 am this Sunday (4/12).  Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media recently closed on its purchase of the radio station and assumed operations.  Catsimatidis’ show features “A-list guests from politics, business, science, and more.”  Guests on the program have included: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Rand Paul, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and more.  Catsimatidis says, “It’s exciting for me to have my show on the legendary 77 WABC.  WABC is a staple in talk radio and a vital part of New York City.  I love New York, and I’m looking forward to welcoming all the new listeners from 77 WABC.”  Red Apple Media and WABC Radio president Chad Lopez says, “John’s personal relationships give him unprecedented access to world leaders and newsmakers.  We’re delighted to welcome ‘The Cats Roundtable’ to our lineup of great talk shows and to give our advertisers the opportunity to connect with John’s engaged listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. The content creation deal between iHeartMedia and Aaron Mahnke is extended and includes two more years of new content for the popular “Cabinet of Curiosities” podcast, two new seasons of “Unobscured,” as well as an executive producer role for the newly launched hit “Strange Arrivals,” additional seasons of “Noble Blood” and a new scripted series set to launch this fall.  Additionally, the partnership will add a slate of five new podcasts to feature groundbreaking talent including Rabia Chaudry – attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Adnan’s Story…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM evening host Justin Kaufmann is returning to his public radio roots at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM to host a two-hour, Saturday afternoon call-in show on the coronavirus pandemic.  Before joining WGN five years ago, Kaufmann worked for WBEZ for 21 years…..Entercom sports talk WFAN, New York announces the second season of the Travelers Insurance-sponsored Sunday morning program, “Talkin’ Golf with Ann Liguori,” is airing on the station through June 28.  Entercom programming SVP Mark Chenoff comments, “Ann is a WFAN original and continues to serve as our premier golf reporter, also covering the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and other special events for the station.  No one is more dialed into the sport than Ann and we’re looking forward to the return of her show, giving listeners an inside look at movers and shakers in the game, including players, celebrities, authors, broadcasters and other newsmakers in the world of golf.”…..iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM and rock WMMS-FM and three local TV outlets joined together last Saturday for a broadcast fundraising effort to help raise more than $150,000 for United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist families in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

U.S. Coronavirus Cases and Death Toll, the Hydroxychloroquine Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Wisconsin Primary, Acting Navy Secretary Resigns, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the debate over prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization and his threat to withhold U.S. funds from the organization; the decision to go ahead with Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Wisconsin; acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigns from his post after his controversial badmouthing of the USS Theodore Roosevelt captain; and the state of the presidential race 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. International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization are presenting “One World: Together At Home” a program that will be globally televised and streamed in support of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  It’s taking place on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 8:00 pm EDT on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia, and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada.  “The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.  At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.”…..A casualty of the coronavirus-related programming changes at Entercom includes the end of “The TJ Show” on CHR WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio.”  The program, hosted by TJ Taormina with co-hosts Loren and Producer Matt, has aired on the station since 2013.  Taormina served with iHeartMedia’s WHTZ, New York on the Elvis Duran program prior to joining WODS…..The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” program adds new affiliate stations: WLGZ, Rochester “105.5 The Beat,” KFXZ-FM, Lafayette, Louisiana; KJMP-AM,  Ft. Collins; KJMZ-FM, Woodward, Oklahoma; and KKST-FM, Alexandria, Louisiana.  DeDe McGuire states, “Our show is a family.  We share our laughs and reveal our personal stories about how we are coping with this pandemic and the new normal it’s creating in our lives.  We are all in this together.  Connecting to family, friends, and community is more important than ever.”…..Programming pro John Shomby exits his NASH director of programming position and WKDF, Nashville PD role with Cumulus Media.  He joined Cumulus in 2016 after serving as director of programming for Max Media’s Norfolk station group for 13 years.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

| February 6, 2018

WABC, New York Pairs Curtis Sliwa and Rita Cosby for Midday Show.  A programming tweak at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York partners 77 WABC political editor Rita Cosby with incumbent midday talk radio personality Curtis Sliwa for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  The new “Curtis + Cosby” show debuts today (2/6).  WABC program director Craig Schwalb states, “This is basically a New York dream team – two veteran New York broadcasters and celebrated New York personalities that our listeners simply adore.  It’s an incredible combination.”  Cosby states, “I am thrilled to co-host the brand new ‘Curtis + Cosby’ show with my longtime friend, radio superstar Curtis Sliwa.  With such an unprecedented barrage of endless news topics, now is the perfect time for us to join forces and engage our listeners in a way you will hear nowhere else.”  Sliwa adds, “This is an actual first in a large radio market.  Two Polish-Americans who are teamed together.  Rita has reported from throughout the world and has made solid contacts with newsmakers and cultural figures that she has brought to the microphones of 77 WABC.  And in this age of ‘ME TOO,’ she brings a female voice to our talk radio industry that has been sorely missed.”  Sliwa had been partnered with liberal foil Ron Kuby at WABC until May of last year.  Then, FOX News Channel personality Eboni K. Williams served as Sliwa’s co-host through October of 2017 before departing for new opportunities.

Talk Host Chris X Joins ‘Conservative Cartel’ Show.  Signing on with Pinnacle Broadcast Holdings, Inc to co-host “The Conservative Cartel” program with Matt Locke is Chris X, former host of ChrisXradio.  In a press release, Pinnacle says Chris X “got his start at a local Houston TV news station where he quickly moved into radio to help launch Houston’s only business radio station, 650 AM [KIKK]…He graduated to co-hosting the highly rated afternoon drive-time show, ‘StreetTalk.’”  Pinnacle shared owner and executive producer Ron Phillips states, “Chris X is an amazing talent.  I’ve known him for more than two years and somehow I knew at the beginning that we’d be working together!”  Host Matt Locke adds, “2018 is going to be a great year in radio.  Chris X is a radio innovator and a true mover and shaker.  I’m thrilled to welcome him to the Cartel family!”  The program airs weekdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and the Saturday 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program is carried via TheBlaze.

Beasley Promotes Shoulder to Cry on for Patriots Fans.  After the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, Beasley Media Group sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” launched an ad blitz — including the image above — in the Boston Herald and on billboards.  Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “The move was in response to our heartbreaking loss and the need to give our Patriots fans a vehicle to express themselves.”

Westwood One Names Motel 6 and GEICO Winners of Sports Sound Awards.  For the fifth straight year, Westwood One has been honoring the advertisers whose Super Bowl ads ranked as the most engaging audio commercials.  This year, 2018 Westwood One Sports Sound Awards recognize Motel 6 and GEICO.  Motel 6 won the Listeners Choice Award, its third win in five years.  The hotel chain’s “Slam Poetry” spot featuring Tom Bodett promotes the motel chain in rhyme, culminating with an impressive mic drop.  Hear it here.  GEICO was winner of the Media Choice Award with its “Beatboxing” ad that offers a vocal percussion calling for clean-up on aisle 14, after a customer drops a jar of pickles.  Hear it here.  Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “Congratulations to Motel 6 and GEICO for their creative ingenuity!  Their clever use of sound through slam poetry and beatboxing resonated emotionally and elevated their audio creative to make a connection with consumers.  We’re proud of this year’s competition, and our exclusive live broadcast of the Super Bowl, which offered our marketing partners a riveted audience and a dedicated platform to build and reinforce their brands sonically.”

iHeartMedia’s Thea Mitchem Signs New Deal.  National Programming Group EVP Thea Mitchem signs a contract renewal with iHeartMedia to continue serving in that capacity for the Northeast Division.  The company says Mitchem will continue to report to National Programming Group EVP and general manager Brad Hardin, as well as iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck.  The company says that “under the new agreement, Mitchem will continue to partner with iHeartMedia Markets Group Division president Tom McConnell to collaborate with its regions located in the East, providing national programming assets, services and resources.”  She’ll also continue overseeing programming of 60-plus iHeartMedia stations in over a dozen markets, including New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia.  And, she will remain a key member of iHeartMedia’s urban brand management team.  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman states, “Thea is unquestionably one of the most influential women in the radio industry.  We’re thrilled that she will continue to oversee programming efforts for our Northeast markets. Under her leadership, we have seen unparalleled ratings success in several markets including Washington, DC, Philadelphia and New York City, where ‘Power 105.1’ has posted the best ratings in the station’s more-than-15-year history.”

MIW Releases Gender Analysis Report.  The latest MIW Gender Analysis Study has been released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.  The study tabulates the number of women in management positions in the radio business.  The 2017 edition of the study finds that “out of 11,301 AM and FM radio stations, accounted for by PrecisionTrak, as of December 31, 2017, 1,974 stations, or 18.1%, have women holding the general manager position in 2017.  This is an increase from 2016 which was 17.8% and continues to show growth from 2004, 13 years ago when the percentage was only 14.9%.  The annual study is compiled, analyzed and released by the MIW Group from information provided by PrecisionTrak.”  MIW says, “Overall, the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management.  In 2017, 31.9% of all stations have a female sales manager, which is up almost a half-point from last year.”  MIW also looks at women in programming position and reports, “The greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be as program directors.  Women currently program only 10.5% of all radio stations in the country, and that percentage has basically remained flat for the last 11 years.  The news is better in the top 100 radio markets where women programmers represent 11.7%; however, that number is unfortunately down slightly from last year.  In an effort to further support that particular segment of the industry, the MIW Group announced a new mentoring opportunity in 2017, the MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program.  MIW Group spokeswoman Denyse Mesnik comments, “Compiling this data is one of the most significant projects we undertake each year.  Our hope is that the MIW Gender Analysis sparks conversation within each company, and at each radio station, about ways to develop internal efforts that encourage the advancement of female leadership.”

TALKERS News Notes. Public news/talk WAMU, Washington names Jeffrey Katz (not to be confused with WRVA, Richmond talk host Jeff Katz) news director for the station.  Katz has been interim news director since November.  He joined the station in May of 2017 as senior managing editor.  Prior to that he was director of digital content for National Geographic.  He’d been with NPR in numerous capacities over a 15-year period…..After almost 10 years with ESPN as part of its brand, Red Zebra-owned sports talk WTEM, Washington returns to the “Team” brand.  The station is still an ESPN affiliate and is airing ESPN Radio network content – mostly in evenings and on weekends.

Dow Plunges Again, Trump-Russia Investigation, Democrat FBI Memo Rebuttal, Pennsylvania Gerrymandering Case, Eagles Upset Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/5).  The Dow Jones Industrial Average drops more than 1,100 points on Monday after Friday’s selloff and experts’ predictions that the sellout is not over; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives; Congressional Democrats’ desire to release their memo they say clarifies the GOP FBI surveillance memo; the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to overturn Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s mandate that congressional maps be redrawn due to gerrymandering; the Philadelphia Eagles upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, and the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea 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.  There are on-air changes taking place at iHeartMedia’s country KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull.”  The station announces that Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is the new APD, music director and afternoon drive personality, effective immediately.  He joins the station at the same time as it adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show for morning drive.  iHeartMedia launched the country format on the station back on December 18.  iHeartMedia SVP of programming JoJo Turnbeaugh states, “Following an extensive nationwide search, it was clear that B-Dub is uniquely qualified and the perfect fit to join the ‘106.7 The Bull’ family.  B-Dub’s vast knowledge of the country format, outstanding relationships within the country music scene, and incredible work ethic are exactly what we need to take ‘106.7 The Bull’ to new heights.”  Washington was most recently with the company’s Sacramento station group programming KBEB “92.5 The Bull.”…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports that Woof Boom Radio closed on the $608,000 purchase of WKHL, West LaFayette from Educational Media Foundation.  The new calls will be WLQQ, and Woof Boom will reveal its format flip later today (2/6)…..Today at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Edison Research is presenting data from its “Country Radio: At Home With Smart Speakers” study.  Edison says that “country fans are more likely to use their smart speakers to listen to the radio than do fans of other kinds of music, and they listen longer…Edison researched more than 1,800 adults ages 18-plus in a variety of studies, in addition to one-on-one interviews.  The purpose of the presentation is to help country and other broadcasters take advantage of a device that has the potential to ‘put radio back in the home,’ where AM/FM radios are quickly disappearing, but at the same time makes it easier to listen to digital music and other forms of content.”…..GMPT Media, the joint venture between Gen Media Partners and The Tacher Company, signs Magnum.Media’s 16 Wisconsin radio stations to exclusive national ad sales representation.  Magnum.Media founder Dave Magnum says, “We’re enthused about Gen Media Partners and Tacher joining forces.  GMPT is bullish on radio and so are we.”…..Howard Stern and SiriusXM are producing a special program to honor late rocker David Bowie.  “The Howard Stern Tribute to David Bowie” will premiere on the Howard 101 channel on Friday, February 9.  Stern says, “When I got into rock ‘n’ roll music, one of the artists that I first really got into was David Bowie.  He was always evolving, he was always on top of things, he was just a great musician and a great songwriter and a great singer.  I want to make sure that people remember David Bowie.”  The program will feature “a wide variety of artists inspired by the late musician, performing his songs with their own inventive styles and interpretations,” including: Peter Frampton, Daryl Hall, Todd Rundgren, Greta Van Fleet, Biffy Clyro, The Struts, and more.

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary.  Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on urban contemporary.  Comparing 6+ data from the December survey to the Holiday survey, urban contemporary fared pretty well, “over half the stations (53%) on our urban contemporary panel improve between December 2017 – Holiday 2017; 34% are down; and the remaining 13% are steady.”  A year-over-year comparison paints a different picture, “In a virtual flip of the month-to-month results, 53% of this urban contemporary panel regresses year-to-year; 39% improve; and 5% are unchanged from Holiday 2016.”  No urban contemporary outlet ranked #1 in its market during the Holiday survey, but four stations ranked #3 in their respective markets, 6+.  They were: Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103”; Radio One’s WERQ, Baltimore “92Q Jams”; iHeartMedia’s WOWI, Norfolk “103 Jamz”; and iHM’s WHRK, Memphis “K97.”  See the entire report here.