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Thursday, May 12, 2022

| May 12, 2022

Michele Tafoya Joins Salem Podcast Network. National sports media figure Michele Tafoya is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network to host a new podcast titled, “Sideline Sanity.” The former NBC Sports sideline reporter’s new show – focusing “life, politics, and world news” will be produced four times per week, beginning on May 23. Tafoya’s broadcasting career includes a lot of radio in addition to her TV work. She served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk “KFAN,” hosted afternoon drive on Audacy’s WCCO-AM, and worked alongside morning star Tom Barnard at Cumulus Media’s KQRS-FM. She says, “I’m thrilled to launch my first podcast with the Salem Podcast Network. It’s exciting to join the chorus of talented Salem voices discussing the historic issues facing America and the world.” Salem Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson comments, “I cannot wait for the rest of the country to get to know Minnesota’s own Michele Tafoya beyond her successful years of reporting from the sidelines. She’s full of insight, passionate about her platform, and she’s ready to speak her mind. And Salem Media-Twin Cities is eager to help as we produce her podcast for a national audience and look forward to working with her locally as opportunities arise.” Tafoya announced her retirement from NBC Sports in February of this year and has joined the campaign of Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls as campaign co-chair.

 

David ‘Mad Dog’ DeMarco to Exit ‘The Game’ in Lansing After 26 Years. Sports talk personality David “Mad Dog” DeMarco is leaving his role as afternoon drive host on Townsquare Media’s WVFN, Lansing, Michigan after tomorrow’s program, capping a 26-year sports talk career in the market. According to a story in the Lansing State Journal, DeMarco began his sports talk gig in 1996 as part of “The Sports Guys” on WVFN. For four years in the early aughts, the “Mad Dog & Company” show aired on crosstown WQTX-FM, returning to WVFN in 2007. For the past 12 years, DeMarco has been selling for the station, as well. He says, “I had to be like Clark Kent and then go into sales mode and hit the streets as a salesman. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They just think that I did the show for three hours and I go home and smoke cigarettes and get high and stuff. I had to really buckle down and be disciplined that I was going to do this. And I did. It’s not even ratings anymore. It’s how much money that you can bring in. It’s like the mafia — you’re an earner is what you are. And if you can’t earn, you’re not going to be around.”

 

Edison: Comedy Top Podcast Genre for First Quarter of 2022. According to data from Edison Research’s Edison Podcast Metrics, the top podcast genre in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022 was comedy. This list of podcast genres is based on weekly audience size. (Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+.) The list of the Top 10 Genres for Q1 2022 is: 1) Comedy, 2) News, 3) Society and Culture, 4) True Crime, 5) Sports, 6) TV and Film, 7) Business, 8) Arts, 9) Religion and Spirituality, and 10) Education. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche comments, “As advertisers increasingly seek to target podcast listeners, it becomes more important to understand the appeal of various genres in the space.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. There’s special programming available from ABC Audio for the coming Memorial Day weekend. ABC News Radio will present, “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Alex Stone. The program reports on America’s heroes, including those who lost their lives serving their country and individuals performing good deeds at home. It features Katersky’s interviews with Gold Star families who lost loved ones last summer in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew its troops. The special also shines a light on COVID-19’s toll on the country as well as the resilience of Americans trying to emerge from the pandemic and recover from the past two years…..WNYC Studios announces that Kenya Young is appointed to the newly created position of SVP, WNYC Studios – part of New York Public Radio. In this position, Young will oversee a portfolio that includes “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry,” “The United States of Anxiety with Kai Wright,” “Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale,” “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience,” and the “Blindspot” series co-produced with HISTORY. Young was most recently managing editor for collaborative journalism at NPR. Young will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for WNYC Studios’ portfolio of podcasts, and leading and supporting the teams developing and producing shows. In partnership with Emily Botein, VP, original programming, she will manage and grow current Studios productions and build out WNYC Studios new documentary unit devoted to producing longform nonfiction audio works…..Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal “Save Democracy” Tour 2022  will make a Los Angeles appearance at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Joining Miller will be Hal Sparks, Frangela, and John Fugelsang on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 pm for an evening of standup comedy and special guests. Miller says, “We have a lot of work ahead of us supporting the Democratic agenda that moves all of America forward by delivering an even bigger majority to Capitol Hill.”…..“The Regular Joe Show,” hosted by Joe Giganti and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network, adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD, Albuquerque adds the program to air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and WPA Radio LLC’s KTLR-AM/K279CR, Oklahoma City is now airing two hours of the program daily. Giganti says, “These are exciting opportunities to bring our upbeat, witty take on some of the most pressing and challenging issues of the day. I think it’s so important to maintain your ability to laugh and have a little fun, especially when tackling some of the heavier hot topics – perhaps now, more than ever.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The high cost of food and gasoline, the roiling stock market & plunging value of cryptocurrency, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and Putin’s warning to Finland over plans to joins NATO; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

| February 24, 2022

KOA’s Mid-Morning Host Ross Kaminsky is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of talk radio’s leading thinkers in the realm of economics and foreign policy, Ross Kaminsky – heard 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on iHeartMedia’s news/talk giant KOA, Denver – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Kaminsky grew up as a Navy brat and has spent most of his adult life waving his hands and yelling on the market trading floors in Chicago after studying economics, foreign policy, and politics at Columbia University. In addition, he has been to over 60 countries which adds to his perspective on a wide range of talk topics. Harrison and Kaminsky discuss a variety of current topics including the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the pandemic, political correctness, education, the economy and the changing nature of communications media. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

Cumulus Media Q4 2021 Revenue Rises 2.6%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2021 and for the whole of 2021, Cumulus Media Inc says Q4 net revenue was $252.3 million, an increase of 2.6% over the same period in 2020. Net income for the quarter was $17.6 million compared to the net loss of $249,000 posted in Q4 of 2020. For Cumulus, digital revenue was the savior in the fourth quarter. The company reports broadcast radio spot revenue of $121.8 million, down 4.8% from Q4 of 2020, and network revenue of $71.3 million, a year-over-year decrease of 1.8%. However, digital revenue was $35 million, an increase of 47.3% compared to Q4 of 2020. Looking at the whole of 2021, net revenue was $916.4 million, up 12.3% over the whole of 2020. Broadcast radio spot revenue was up 6.1% over 2020 and network revenue was up 8.5%. Digital revenue for 2021 was $126.8 million, an increase of 47.6% over 2020. Cumulus reports net income of $17.3 million for 2021 compared to the net loss of $59.7 million it posted for 2020. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “2021 was a year of tremendous progress and accomplishment for Cumulus. We not only achieved meaningful revenue growth in core radio, delivered substantial growth in digital, and greatly improved our operating leverage through material fixed cost reductions, but we also further and significantly de-levered our balance sheet, and executed many initiatives which bolstered our position as a true audio-first media company. As we carry this momentum into 2022, we continue to see significant upside with multiple pathways to enhance shareholder value.”

 

Round Two of January 2022 PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2022 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 January 2022 sweep covered January 6 – February 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP jumps 1.6 shares to finish with an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises to the #2 rank, while Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM is flat with a 3.6 share and remains ranked #12. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle adds three-tenths to finish with a 6.9 share and jumps to #1, while Lotus Communications’ crosstown all-news KNWN-AM/FM dips three-tenths and falls to the #5 rank with a 5.2 share. In Phoenix, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI shoots up 2.3 shares for a 5.7 share finish and the #3 rank as Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KTAR-FM is up a half share and climbs to the #13 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets (and yesterday’s round one) here.

 

 

Jim Bohannon Emcees Polar Plunge. Pictured above is Westwood One late night talk host Jim Bohannon serving as master of ceremonies for the annual Polar Plunge fundraiser for the Special Olympics in Westminster, South Carolina on Saturday, February 19. Bohannon said, “Air temperature? 44 degrees. Water temperature? We were afraid to check.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. As the conflict in the Ukraine escalates, ABC News Radio correspondent and anchor Aaron Katersky (pictured here in Lviv, Ukraine) continues to report from inside Ukraine where he’s been for the past week. Katersky also leads ABC News Radio’s live anchored coverage and is sharing his insights directly with affiliates through more than two dozen daily two-ways. Katersky’s experience as a war correspondent in network radio goes back to 2003 when he embedded with the Marines in Iraq…..At CBS News Radio, foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata co-anchored from the Ukraine “The World News Roundup” with Steve Kathan in New York. CBS says that today’s broadcast was eerily reminiscent of the origin of “The World News Roundup” which debuted 84 years ago when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in March of 1938. The broadcast, which was hosted by Robert Trout, first gave the world the voices of Edward R. Murrow and William Shirer, pioneering a top-of-the-hour news format that linked foreign correspondents around the globe with an anchor in New York City, giving listeners first-hand reporting from CBS journalists who were, and continue to be, eyewitnesses to the most important events in world history…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated radio program “The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” adds new affiliate stations as WSGW, Saginaw, Michigan; WORK, Canandaigua, New York; WTSN, Dover, New Hampshire; and WKYX, Paducah, Kentucky pick up the program for their lineups. Show host Tom Kraeutler says, “Across the country, home improvement projects have increased as more people work from home and stay at home. The continued growth of our affiliates shows that now more than ever, ‘The Money Pit’ is a great tool for advertisers to reach active, engaged homeowners.”

 

WRVA, Richmond Host Jeff Katz Helps Raise Funds for Virginia Charity. Talk radio host Jeff Katz – pictured here his with daughter Julia – just finished a 36-hour fundraising blitz for The Friendship Circle of Virginia that pairs typically developing teens with disabled children. Katz says, “It’s always believed that the special needs kiddos will get the most out of the friendship that develops but the typically developing teens are the ones who always rave about the experience. These friendships last for lifetimes!” Katz says the charity does one fundraiser per year and his team – “Julia’s Jewels” was the big “winner” this year, setting a fundraising record of $21,351 in 36 hours.

 

GBH President Jonathan Abbott to Step Down at Year’s End. Longtime GBH president and CEO Jonathan Abbott announces he’ll step down from that post he’s held with the public media organization for 15 years at the end of 2022. GBH says that during his tenure, Abbott “reimagined the ways that GBH, the largest producer for PBS, creates and distributes content locally and nationally across new platforms, offering greater access to its award-winning journalism, educational and cultural programs for millions of Americans. He invested in public media’s essential role as a community resource, expanding coverage of local issues with the re-launch of GBH 89.7 as an audience-focused NPR news service.” Under Abbott’s leadership GBH has grown to encompass 10 digital and broadcast media channels and he’s grown the organization’s endowment from $63 million to $523 million. He comments, “The mission to share knowledge, inspire learning and strengthen community is why I’ve devoted my career to expanding the reach and impact of public media. There is no more exciting place to do this work than GBH. It has been my great privilege to work with an extraordinary group of talented and dedicated colleagues, supporting the creation of compelling, world class content and trusted journalism that helps us understand the critical issues of our times. I am grateful to our community for its enduring support of GBH and public media.”

 

Russia Invades Ukraine, Financial Markets/Inflation, COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Trump Org Investigation, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/23). The Russian military begins its move into separatist regions of the Ukraine as Vladimir Putin warns the U.S. not to interfere and former President Donald Trump praises Putin as a “genius”; the world’s financial markets reel on the news of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and soaring retail prices for consumer goods and gasoline; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the truckers’ “People’s Convoy” headed for Washington, DC; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the grand jury investigation into the Trump Organization stalls as two NYC prosecutors quit; and the frigid and snowy weather affecting much of the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 18, 2021

| January 18, 2021

Monday Memo: We Are Changed. “New Year, new challenges…AND opportunities!” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, HC lists “10 Fresh Insights into People’s Changing Behaviors,” based on “billions of tweets (yes, with a B).” Read it here.

Wednesday’s Biden Inauguration Preparation, Capitol Assault Investigation, Impeachment, Trump Pardons and Commutations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccinations, Social Media and Free Speech, Migrant Caravan, Navalny Arrested, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; the ongoing investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill; the House’s vote to impeach Donald Trump again; speculation about the coming pardons and commutations from President Trump; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and criticism of vaccine rollout problems; social media’s banning “spreaders of misinformation” and the issue of free speech; a new migrant caravan from Honduras crosses Mexico for the U.S.; Putin opposition figure Alexei Navalny returns to Russia and is detained; and today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Pending Business: How Do You Like to Be Coached? Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says he recently worked with two top 20 market radio stations with no formal system for sellers to give feedback to air talent handling live reads. “The pattern is predictable. The seller sells, the host does the endorsement read, and results are disappointing. The host reads are off target and the dance begins. No one has taken the time to adjust the feedback system.” Read his column here.

Joe Zarbano Exits WEEI, Program Director Role. The Boston Globe reports that Joe Zarbano has left his PD role with Entercom sports talk station WEEI, Boston. Zarbano first joined WEEI in 2007 as an intern and rose through the ranks to become program director in 2016. He stated in a company-wide memo, “After careful thought and consideration, the time has come for me to pursue new challenges and step away from WEEI. In May of 2007, I walked into 20 Guest St. to begin an internship that I was so excited about I couldn’t sleep the night before. Little did I know, it was the beginning of a 14-year journey that would lead me to some of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life.” The Globe says that while WEEI won a Marconi for Sports Station of the Year in 2018, the Nielsen ratings have been kinder to crosstown competitor WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The paper notes that in the fall ratings period, WBZ-FM “was first in the market in the men 25-54 demographic, while WEEI was a distant fourth.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville Midday Trio Exits for Outkick Gig. According to a piece in the Nashville Post, the trio of Johnathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky, and Chad Withrow – hosts of the “Midday 180” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” – are leaving the station for a new role with Clay TravisOutkick. Travis is building a new Outkick OTT Network that will launch later this year. The Post says Travis’ new venture intends to air from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET with live audio and video plus a podcast network. Hutton tweeted, “We’re parting ways with the station, but ‘We’re Not Leaving.’ We remain in the business to win. A priority for each of us was to ensure we’d continue to work with one another, as we are the closest of friends, and we will continue to raise the bar.”

Emily Pankow Named General Counsel for Red Apple Media. Longtime Red Apple Group counsel Emily Pankow is appointed to the general counsel role for Red Apple Media, owner of WABC, New York and operator of WLIR-FM, Long Island. Pankow launched her legal career with Red Apple Group as an associate. CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Red Apple Media and WABC Radio will be well served by Emily’s legal insight. She has proven herself time and time again as an asset to our company over the past 15 years. Since the acquisition of WABC, Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.” Pankow comments, “I’m honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company’s growth under John Catsimatidis’ leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media’s success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”

Jordy Culotta Exits WNXX, Baton Rouge. Co-host of the “Off the Bench” program (7:00 am to 10:00 am) Jordy Culotta exits the Guaranty Media spors talk station. Culotta co-hosted the program with T-Bob Hebert and it’s unclear at this time if the company will replace Culotta or continue with Hebert hosting solo.

Retired Wisconsin Radio Personality John Moser Dead. WTMJ, Milwaukee reports that longtime WBEV-AM, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin radio personality John Moser has died, just two weeks after delivering his final broadcast for Good Karma Brands’ WBEV-AM. The details surrounding Moser’s passing are not clear. His family says he went into the woods near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to hunt coyote and did not return. Authorities later found his body and the cause of death is under investigation. Moser began his career in Beaver Dam in 1973. During his time there, he served as a news announcer, disc jockey, marketing consultant and general manager.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s not a lot of detail on this but Townsquare Media is dropping the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from its talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls. The company posted the following to its websites: “As of January 18, 2021 the show ‘Pratt on Texas’ will no longer be heard on Townsquare Media radio stations in Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls, Texas. Townsquare Media thanks Mr. Pratt for his years of service hosting ‘Pratt on Texas,’ and wishes Mr. Pratt the best in his future endeavors. An additional announcement will be forthcoming concerning future programming on KFYO, KYYW, and KWFS-AM.” Pratt posts on his website that the move is the result of “cancel culture,” apparently implying that his show has been pulled because of his conservatism. Pratt says his ratings “are as great as ever.”…..All day today (1/18), SiriusXM’s Urban View channel and the Joe Madison show are honoring the legacy and celebrating the influence of Martin Luther King Jr. Madison is hosting a special edition of his morning show featuring speeches, sermons, and never-before-heard interviews. Madison is sharing his address to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on King’s legacy, King’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech and “Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool” sermon, Rev. C.L. Franklin’s “The Eagle Stirreth the Nest,” and exclusive new interviews with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, attorney Raymond C. Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and journalist Joan Walsh. Topics will include the 13th Amendment, supporting Black colleges and Black youth in the South, health equity, and white supremacy…..ABC News Radio is offering extensive live anchored coverage of the inauguration events, starting with the COVID-19 memorial ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. On Wednesday, January 20 ABC News Radio will offer a primetime special report that includes coverage of the planned celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from the Capitol with reporting by correspondent Karen Travers, correspondents Alex Stone and Mark Remillard, and multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara. Coverage will also include reporting and analysis by former White House correspondent Ann Compton, political analyst Steve Roberts, and ABC News’ political team and security experts. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post a special edition on Wednesday featuring the latest reporting on the Inauguration.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

| January 7, 2021

Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.

Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.

Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.

Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.

Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

| October 22, 2020

Rising Radio America Talk Star Chad Benson is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Described as “a new generation talker,” Radio America syndicated talk show host Chad Benson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Benson’s rapidly growing three-hour daily syndicated program heard live 6:00 am to 9:00 am MT (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) emanates from KTAR, Phoenix where he also is co-host with Larry Gaydos of the station’s popular afternoon drive program. Both of these programs are proving to be very successful with the 25-54 adult demos. In addition to KTAR, Benson’s syndicated show is performing well on such stations as KXL-FM, Portland; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa among others. One of the syndicated show’s unique features is it is updated throughout the day so that it is current regardless of when stations run the program. Benson’s radio career began in his native California in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH (K-EARTH), Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan Show and went on to be heard on several California music stations. Building upon his creativity developed on the music side of the business, he honed his talk skills at Talk Radio UK in London as one of the first commercial talk hosts to take on the mighty BBC, boasting over a quarter million listeners per week. With success and experience abroad, he returned to the US and hosted programs in Palm Springs at K-NEWS-FM and in San Antonio at KTSA before eventually joining KTAR. He also played professional soccer while in Europe and was talented enough to be signed onto the rosters of several teams including the Bristol Rovers, the Falkirk (Scotland) Football Club and the Portsmouth Football Club. Harrison and Benson talk about today’s media, politics and sports with an eye on the future. Check it out! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

SiriusXM Third Quarter Revenue Up 1%. Reporting on 2020 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue was $2.02 billion, up 1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Net income increased 11% to $272 million in the third quarter from $246 million a year prior. While subscriber revenue rose from $1.55 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to $1.59 billion in Q3 2020, advertising revenue was down from $366 million in Q3 2019 to $345 million in the third quarter of 2020. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM maintains strong momentum heading into year end, and we are increasing all of our full-year subscriber and financial guidance today. Our talented people and our powerful business model have delivered stellar results during a challenging year for our company and country. Our commitment to having the best possible audio content from top talent, as well as leading media and sports brands, has never wavered. First, we are making significant progress in extending our relationship with Howard Stern. We reached a new agreement with Kevin Hart for more content, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter we launched UNINTERRUPTED Radio from the NBA bubble on Pandora, and we debuted our fulltime channel with the members of U2 on SiriusXM. Pat McAfee joined our sports lineup, and we returned to live sports across the MLB, NBA and NFL.  And we brought our listeners special moments like the recent interview between Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday on The Beatles Channel.”

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘Building Black Biz’ Initiative. The newly revealed “Building Black Biz” initiative from iHeartMedia New York is designed to “support, sustain and grow local Black-owned businesses in the New York metro area.” In this effort, iHeartMedia New York pledges to support the “Building Black Biz” initiative during the next three months with more than 100 million media impressions on hip hop WWPR “Power 105.1,”CHR WHTZ “Z100,” WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” hot AC WKTU, classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3,” and news/talk WOR as well as the stations’ websites and social media channels. iHeartMedia New York says that through the “Building Black Biz” initiative, listeners and aspiring business owners can hear from successful entrepreneurs within the tristate area on how they started their business and what advice they would give to new entrepreneurs. iHeartMedia New York president Bernie Weiss says, “I am so proud of our team for going above and beyond and creating this comprehensive campaign. New York needs more Black-owned businesses and I am thrilled we can use the power of all of our six radio stations to do our part in making a real impact.”

Jack Heath Joins Binnie Media to Host Talk Show. A week after exiting iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire where he hosted the “NH Today” morning drive program, Jack Heath is joining Binnie Media to host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that will be simulcast across New Hampshire outlets WTPL-FM, Hillsboro (Concord market); WEMJ-AM/W279BS, Laconia; and WTSN-AM/W251CF, Dover. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “Jack’s show will stay consistent with the content from his former show, while adding some new features, additional geography, and more FM coverage. Jack will be joining our other great on-air talent for a truly star studded cast of broadcasters on our news talk sports stations.” Bill Binnie adds, “We are thrilled to have a talent like Jack join Binnie Media. He brings a breadth of experience and professionalism in journalism along with a connection to politics that will be of interest to our listeners.”

WGN, Chicago Plans ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ This Halloween night (10/31) WGN, Chicago will air “Halloween Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. The program will feature mystery, thriller, and terror-themed selections from 12 Golden Age of Radio dramas including “Suspense” starring Bela Lugosi, “Lights Out,” “Inner Sanctum Mystery,” “Escape,” “The Whistler,” and “The Sealed Book.” Amari, who has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. He says, “It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ seven hours, so stay up late, pop some popcorn, pull the covers up close, and be chilled by ‘theatre of the mind’ classic radio horror and mystery shows.” Last week (10/15), TALKERS magazine published a piece by University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon titled, “The Scare On the Air” that is an homage to the radio horror genre. If you missed it you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The October 19 interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles generated a lot of coverage in other media outlets – from CBSStephen Colbert to CNN to The Hill to The New York Post – after Dr. Fauci addressed the criticism he received from President Trump. While explaining that he knows Americans are fatigued by the pandemic but that he believes we’ll put it behind us after a vaccine becomes available, he then said, “That’s the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in The Godfather: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.” Hear the whole interview here…..ABC News Radio offering three hours of live, anchored coverage for tonight’s presidential debate. Programming includes a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams…..iHeartMedia and “Bobby Bones Show” co-host Amy Brown are partnering to launch The Amy Brown Podcast Network that will include a slate of health and wellness podcasts that will be co-produced by Brown and iHeartRadio. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne comments, “Our goal is to provide the highest quality programming across every podcast genre – and health and wellness is one of the most important categories in the medium right now, given the engagement of the listeners and the authenticity of the content. Amy is an incredible podcast talent – not just as the host of her own show, but someone who has a great eye for recruiting and developing new podcasts, too – and we want to support that however we can.”…..Entercom Podcast Network’s Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries,” for a weekly podcast based on the long-running television show and Netflix streaming series. The podcast will present all new unsolved cases and each episode will take a deep dive into one specific story. The “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will be executive produced by Chris Corcoran, chief content officer of Cadence13, and Terry Dunn Meurer, the co-creator of “Unsolved Mysteries,” and will be co-directed and co-produced by Cadence13 and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions. Season One of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will launch in early 2021.

The Presidential Election/Final Debate, Early/Mail-In Voting, Iran-Russia Election Interference, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Hard Drive Case, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Vote, Pope Supports Same-Sex Unions, Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty in Opioids Suit, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The November presidential election and tonight’s final presidential debate; the issues of early voting and mail-in voting; the allegation that both Russia and Iran are practicing cyber interference in the U.S. presidential election; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for a fall-winter second wave; the allegations that a hard drive from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicates then-Vice President Joe Biden influenced the Ukraine; today’s Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Pope Francis voices support for same-sex unions; OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in the opioid epidemic case and will shut down; and pro sports during the time of COVID were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh. Programmer and talk show host Scott Ryfun was a college student in 1991 when he first heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio. At the time, Ryfun was a conservative college student when he stumbled across Limbaugh’s show while spinning across the radio dial. He became hooked and his love of Limbaugh’s show led him into the radio business. “My goal was to host an issues-oriented talk show and to be insightful and entertaining, but there was only one local political talk show in [my] town and no one seemed interested in letting me have it. So, I decided to learn how to do every job in radio I could so that I’d be a valuable employee while I awaited my opportunity to do the show I wanted to do. I also spent my time trying to deconstruct conservative talk radio and figuring out how it worked and how to make it work for me.” Today, Ryfun is vice president of programming at iHeartMedia’s Brunswick, Georgia operations and morning host at news/talk WGIG-AM/W245DO. He’s written a piece titled, “Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh,” that encapsulates much of what he’s learned about great talk radio from Rush Limbaugh. Read his insightful piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The 2020 “iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One” is streaming on LiveXLive.com and broadcast across iHeartMedia’s county radio stations tomorrow (10/23) at 8:00 pm ET. Bobby Bones is hosting the seventh edition of this event that will feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, and special performances by Morgan Evans and Gabby Barrett, recorded live on one stage in Nashville.