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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

| October 13, 2021

New York Festivals Announces 2021 Radio Winners. The 2021 Storytellers Gala award-winners from the New York Festivals Radio Awards have been announced. NYFestivals says the world-class audio work created by global storytellers from 30-plus countries was honored at the Storytellers Gala virtual event held yesterday (10/12). New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury honored content creators across all platforms and in all genres and awarded in total 3 Grand Awards, 48 NYF Gold Radio trophies, 46 Silver and 49 Bronze. This year is the 11th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show, the ultimate marketplace for people passionate about media, entertainment, and technology. The 2021 Grand Awards were: “I’m Not A Monster” from BBC Panorama & FRONTLINE PBS in the News Programs: Best Nonfiction Series category. The 10-part series explores journalist Josh Baker’s four-year odyssey to uncover the complex truth about an American family’s journey from Indiana to the Islamic State’s caliphate and back again to the US; The Hobbit, By J.R.R. Tolkien, Read by Andy Serkis in the Audio Books: Best Narration – Solo category. The new Hobbit recording was inspired by an extraordinary charity effort that raised over £300k for Coronavirus charities. This led to actor Andy Serkis narrating this newest recording of The Hobbit. Serkis, who voiced “Gollum” in the film recorded this magical performance of the classic text with affinity for the Tolkien world; and “Weightless” in the Podcasts: Drama Podcast category. The podcast tells the story of a character who has reached a critical moment in his life and deceives himself by telling a story that abounds with emotions, memories, and sensations. “Weightless” uses sound elements and song samples from different periods of the character’s life to illustrate his epic journey. See the complete list of winners here.

BIA Advisory Services: Radio Revenue ‘Getting Close’ to Pre-Pandemic Levels. This comes from BIA Advisory Services SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik in a press release for the firm’s 2022 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, released today (10/13). Fratrik says the forecast sees a rise in local radio advertising revenue next year and is expected to generate $12.7 billion split between over-the-air ($11 billion) and digital ($1.7 billion). By 2026 radio digital revenues are expected to reach $2.4 billion, while OTA goes up and down with the even political years and ends at $11.7 in 2026. “Radio isn’t faring as well as local broadcast TV, and it doesn’t get the same bump as TV in political years,” says Fratrik. “But it is getting close to its pre-pandemic levels as people continue to return to work commutes and traveling by car.” For ad revenue for all media in the U.S., the 2022 forecast says that for the first-time mobile advertising spending will surpass direct mail as the top media advertising platform in 2022. The overall local U.S. advertising market is expected to reach $161.5 billion – a 10.1 % year-over-year growth – buoyed by overall strong economic tailwinds coming out of 2021. The forecast says that traditional media revenue will account for $84.6 billion and digital media will be close behind at $76.8. BIA also says it anticipates $7.5 billion of the sum will come from political advertising during a strong election season.

Salem Podcast Network Launches ‘The Doug Collins Podccast.’ A new podcast hosted by former Georgia Republican Congressman Doug Collins is being added to the shows distributed by Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network, effective October 25. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “For years, I was so impressed with Doug Collins as a Congressman. When we had the opportunity to bring him over to the Salem Podcast Network, we moved fast. He will be a great addition to our lineup and will help us save the country we all love.” Collins is publishing his first book in November that looks at the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, titled, The Clock and The Calendar. Collins comments, “I am excited to be hosting a podcast that will give conservatives the tools they need to go out into the marketplace of ideas and stand up for what we believe in. Our country desperately needs to hear how a little idea that started with our Founding Fathers — the pursuit of happiness — has shaped our country into who we are today: the best nation in the world. This podcast will explore all topics ranging from politics to life advice and will blend them together for a well-rounded discussion that people can listen to and use to get the most out of life.”

Buck Sexton Honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York. Last Friday evening (10/8), Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left), co-host of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” was honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club, the largest GOP club in New York (est. 1902), at the 118th annual Metropolitan Dinner held at The Union League Club of New York City. Other honorees included Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who received the Teddy Roosevelt Award, and Steve Forbes (right), chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, who received the Ronald Reagan Award For Individual Liberty. Photo: Jessica Glick Photography

2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Award Nominees Announced. The nominees for the 2022 edition of iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio Podcast Awards have been announced. The ceremony is set to take place on January 13, 2022 at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles and “will honor the very best in podcasting throughout 2021, celebrating the most innovative talent and content creators in the industry.” iHeartMedia goes on to say, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcast industry saw a record number of podcasts being created and listened to, continuing to push the industry forward with more than 160 million people having listened to a podcast this year alone.” Nominees include “Code Switch,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” “Crime Junkie,” “Louder Than a Riot,” “Office Ladies,” “SmartLess,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “The Daily,” “The Midnight Miracle” and “You’re Wrong About.” Voting runs December 13 through January 2, 2022. See more info and a complete list of nominees here. Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s digital audio group says, “We are excited to be back live for year four of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to recognize all the amazing content and talent that the podcasting medium has produced this past year. Podcast listening has continued to soar across the U.S., seeing a nearly 60% increase in monthly listeners since our first awards show was announced in 2018, filling this industry with more diversity and innovation than ever before. We look forward to honoring these major advancements in-person during the 2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards this January.”

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative news organization Newsmax announces that it has opened a Middle East bureau that’s being led by veteran news anchor Daniel Cohen based in Tel Aviv. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “The Middle East is extremely important regarding geo-political issues and for American interests. We’re pleased to have Daniel Cohen, a savvy, experienced news anchor with a keen ability to communicate complex matters to the public, as our person in the region.” Cohen most recently was morning co-anchor on Los Angeles’ “Good Day LA” on KTTV-TV “FOX 11.”…..PodcastOne adds to its slate of True Crime genre podcasts with the addition of “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” and “This is MONSTERS.” PodcastOne will spearhead the production, sales, distribution and marketing for both shows. Created by Ohio-based bankers Mike Ferguson and Mike Gibson in January of 2017, “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” is a weekly series that guides listeners through the most interesting unsolved true crime stories to ever happen. “This is MONSTERS” began as a pandemic project YouTube show from Washington state-based construction worker Jiles whose interest in some of the gnarliest crimes in history sparked an idea to share that fascination with a worldwide audience resulting in a show, and now podcast, that is heard by millions around the globe…..Audacy’s C13Originals announces a partnership with Campside Media and the launch of “Fallen Angel,” an investigative documentary podcast series about Victoria’s Secret, co-hosted by veteran longform journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, who also serves as writer, and Justine Harman, former features director of Glamour. “Fallen Angel” investigates the origin story of Victoria’s Secret, one of the world’s most iconic brands, and its effect on American culture for nearly 40 years, as told by women who witnessed what really happened behind the curtain. Through insider, first-person accounts from former Victoria’s Secret models, “Fallen Angel” reveals shocking horror stories of how their quest to be part of the elite group of models walking the runway led them down a dangerous path of eating disorders, poor health, depression, anxiety, and other issues.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Jon Gruden Case, and ‘Squid Game’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails; and Netflix’s controversial hit series “Squid Games” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

| September 23, 2021

Jimmy Failla is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the funniest and freshest talents in news/talk radio, FOX News Radio’s 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET midday host Jimmy Failla, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Prior to filling the position as the host of “FOX Across America” in the spring of 2020, Failla – a native Long Islander – worked his way up through the ranks of New York’s stand-up comedy scene and served more than a decade as a cab driver in the Big Apple where he sharpened his insights into the human condition. Harrison and Failla engage in a fascinating discussion about the historic role of comedy and satire in political and social commentary with a focus on the impact today’s repressive political correctness is having upon the communication arts in general. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Kevin Dietz Officially Named Late Morning Host at WJR-AM, Detroit. WJR-AM, Detroit radio personality Kevin Dietz is officially named the host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. He’s been hosting the show at the Cumulus Media station since June 1, three months after longtime host Frank Beckmann retired back in March. Dietz made the announcement via his Facebook page. Dietz was a longtime investigative reporter at WDIV-TV, Detroit who was fired from the station in 2019 after he made a racial comment about another reporter at an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. Dietz issued the following statement after the incident: “The intent of my comment was to openly acknowledge, amongst team members, the challenge it’s been for our company, and many companies, to achieve diversity goals. This is a serious subject that I approached through humor. Nevertheless, the station has a zero-tolerance policy on racially insensitive comments and they determined, despite the intent and context of my statement, that it violated the policy. I understand and support the need for such policies.”

‘Big Horn Radio Network’ Host Darian Dudrick Dies at 52 from COVID. The Cody Enterprise reports that KODI-AM/FM, Cody, Wyoming and “Big Horn Radio Network” morning drive talk host Darian Dudrick died on Tuesday (9/21) at the age of 52 after a battle with COVID-19. His “Daybreak with Darian Dudrick” program aired across the network and was popular for its “Speak Your Piece” call-in segment. Legend Communications co-owner Susan Patrick is quoted saying, “He was loved by the community and whole radio station. He was a great journalist and recognized across the state of Wyoming.” The station issued the following statement after his passing: “It is with saddened hearts that we have to say goodbye to one of our own. Our hearts go out to the Dudrick family with the passing of Darian, a man of God, loving father and husband. He was the voice of Cody and will be missed by all.” He is survived by his wife April and children Kaitlyn and Christian.

RAB: Marketers Looking to Capitalize on ‘Screen-Free Media.’ In its latest “Matter of Fact” column, the RAB addresses the “new wave of radio advertising” that marketers are exploring by presenting a piece by Tammy Greenberg originally published in the Association of National Advertisers Knowledge Center. The piece says, “The diversification of audio platforms and the attention audio commands among consumers has opened up tremendous opportunity for brands to expand their audio strategies and grow their audiences.” American Association of Advertising Agencies president and CEO Marla Kaplowitz says because consumers “are inundated with ads, audio and radio offer a very different and effective alternative to capturing consumer attention while adding complementary scale.” She says the biggest challenge for brands is creative. “It is a given that adding radio to a media mix is going to extend the reach and provide the opportunity to engage consumers differently. To be successful, brands must be thoughtful about the right execution because audio is not stimulating the other senses in the same way as visual media can. Brands must really focus on allowing the consumer to create their own visual sense connected to the audio advertising that invites them in.” Read the entire column here.

Audacy to Broadcast 5th Annual ‘I’m Listening’ Special Tonight. This evening from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Audacy broadcasts its fifth annual “I’m Listening” special – a live national broadcast bringing together artists, athletes, medical specialists and others with intimate conversations about mental health through authentic, open dialogue led by some of the nation’s top influencers. The two-hour special is taking place in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and airs across more than 230 Audacy stations and will be livestreamed via its digital app. The program is being co-hosted by Carson Daly (left) and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble (right) and features appearances by celebrities including: Machine Gun Kelly, Darius Rucker, Nelly, Glennon Doyle, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Shakira, Justin Bieber, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and BleachersJack Antonoff.

PodcastOne Announces Panel of Judges for ‘Self-Made Podcasts Edition’ Contest. The award-winning panel of judges who will select the winner in PodcastOne’s “Self-Made Podcast Edition” contest have been named. They are: Kailtyn Bristowe, creator and host of “Off the Vine,” Adam Carolla, Emmy Award-winner and “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin, broadcast journalist and “Cheating: When Love Lies” podcast host Jillian Hamilton, documentarian Barbara Schroeder, Oxford Road head of client services James Ingrassia, Ad Results VP of media DeSha Runnels, Podsights co-founder Sarah Cotenoff, Magellan AI chief revenue officer John Goforth, PodcastOne president and co-founder Kit Gray, and PodcastOne and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz. “Self-Made Podcast Edition” is driven by fans as well as the panel of judges, all listening to see who will take the top prize: a podcasting contract with PodcastOne, and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network. The winner will then be crowned on September 30, 2021, International Podcast Day.

Brandi Love Visits ‘Shannon Burke Show.’ Pictured above is adult film actress Brandi Love (right) with talk radio host Shannon Burke (left). Love recently appeared on “The Shannon Burke Show” – heard afternoons on JVC Broadcasting’s “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) – and talked about getting booted from Turning Point USA’s Tampa conference in July because of her profession. Love is a columnist for The Federalist and a Donald Trump supporter and had a lot to say about hypocrisy.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago reporter Steve Miller is semi-retiring from the Audacy station after a 38-year career there. Feder reports that Miller will continue to do some fill-in work and special projects for the station. WBBM news director Ron Gleason says, “We’ve been blessed with many great reporters over the years, but when it comes to digging for tough-to-find information, I can’t think of anyone better than Steve Miller.”…..Audacy’s Cadence13 announces the launch of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts: A Friday Night Lights Rewatch,” a weekly podcast hosted by actors Derek Phillips (Billy Riggins) and Stacey Oristano (Mindy Collette-Riggins), in which they return to the fictional town of Dillon, Texas to revisit the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series. The pair invite listeners to take a trip back to Dillon, home of the Panthers and the Lions, as they break down iconic show moments, share behind-the-scenes stories, and answer fan questions, which listeners are invited to send in…..Cumulus Media and Rolling Stone introduce the podcast “Don’t Let This Flop” – a weekly podcast that highlights the week on TikTok, revealing the top trends and memes in all areas including dance, recipes, makeup challenges, viral videos, celebrity videos, grassroots campaigns intended to raise awareness of social issues, and anything else capturing TikTok users’ attention each week. Hosts Brittany Spanos and EJ Dickson are joined by a special guest each week to discuss the significance and relevance of the week’s most popular posts outside the world of TikTok…..The K-Star Talk Radio Network announces the addition of radio host Ron Edwards’ syndicated talk radio program, “The Ron Edwards American Experience,” to its schedule. The program is a one-hour, live, highlight reel of substantive information, history, and current events with a Christian, conservative perspective. K-Star program director Angeline Marie says, “He is a radio veteran that is well respected with over 20 years as a radio host and news anchor in several Midwest markets including Cleveland and Detroit.”

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Border Crisis/Migrant Policy, Policing Reform Stalemate, Michael Sussman Indictment, U.S.-EU-Australian Indo-Pacific Tensions, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/22). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the debate in Congress over raising the U.S.’s debt ceiling to avoid default; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the return of migrants to Haiti; Democrats and Republicans in Congress at a stalemate over federal policing reform; the indictment of attorney Michael Sussman in connection with the DOJs Trump-Russia investigation; the cooperation between the U.S., Europe, and Australia in monitoring China’s rapidly expanding military presence in the Indo-Pacific; and the investigation into the death of Gabby Petito were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

| August 5, 2021

Beasley Broadcast Group Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 96%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent company of Beasley Media Group) indicates net revenue was $59.6 million, an increase of 96.1% over the same period in 2020. The company posts operating income of $5.8 million compared to the $17.6 million operating loss it reported in Q2 of 2020. Station operating income also rebounded to $11.1 million compared to the $11 million SOI loss it posted in the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong 2021 second quarter financial results reflect growing momentum across our media platform, as the continuing broad-based economic recovery accelerated demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and marketing and advertising services. With the significant rebound in the commercial advertising market, second quarter net revenue of $59.6 million increased 24% over first quarter 2021 levels and 96% over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant rebound in net income to $0.2 million and SOI to $11.1 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.0 million. Throughout the second quarter, the resumption of advertising in key categories combined with the success of our content monetization strategies resulted in year-over-year revenue growth across all fifteen of our markets, with healthy double-digit revenue increases in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Notably, our continued emphasis on strong local content and consumer engagement drove best-in-industry ratings performance for our station clusters, according to Nielsen. Our cumulative on-air audience share approached pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter, having grown consistently since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While second quarter non-traditional revenue (NTR) and events revenue was minimal, we made the strategic decision to fully re-open our events business in the third quarter, given the continued strengthening of commerce and consumer activities in our markets, and expect incremental revenue from this source in the second half of 2021. As we work to return all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels of operation, we are closely tracking potential impacts from the Delta variant and the uncertainty it may bring to businesses we serve and our future operating results. Our ongoing focus on digital innovation and the strategic investments we are making in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities are delivering positive results and continue to highlight the value of our long-term revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 96% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for approximately 13.4% of total second quarter revenue, compared to 13.4% in the prior year period and 12% in the 2021 first quarter. With growing audience share and engagement, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions in the second quarter, with total digital impressions growing 29% over the prior year period.”

Salem Media Group Q2 2021 Total Revenue Rises 20.6%. The total revenue for Salem Media Group’s second quarter of 2021 was $63.8 million, an increase of 20.6% over the same period in 2020. Salem posted operating income of $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to the operating loss of $900,000 it reported during the second quarter of 2020. The company’s net income for Q2 of this year was $2.3 million compared to the net loss of $2.5 million it reported for the second quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports data for its three business segments and the Broadcast segment’s net revenue for this quarter was $46.8 million, up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Station operating income rose 66.6% to $10.6 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue rise 9.5% to $10.3 million and the Publishing segment revenue was $6.7, an increase of 68.3%. As of June 30, 2021, the Salem Media Group had $216.3 million outstanding on the 6.75% senior secured notes due 2024, no balance outstanding on the Asset Based Revolving Credit Facility, and $11.2 million outstanding on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans from the Small Business Administration.

Saga Communications Q2 Net Revenue Up 49.7%. Second quarter financial data from Saga Communications, Inc. reveals that the company’s net revenue was $28 million, an increase of 49.7% over the same period in 2020. The company posted operating income of $4.6 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million it reported in the second quarter of 2020.  Station operating expense increased $2.4 million to $21.0 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Station operating income was $8.4 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $181,000 for the second quarter of 2020. Free cash flow was $4.2 million for the quarter compared to a negative $1.8 million for the same period last year. Saga’s balance sheet reflects $59.4 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2021 and $59.6 million as of August 2, 2021.  The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the second quarter 2021.

Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Climbs 41.6%. Today’s second quarter 2021 financial report from Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, indicates the company’s net revenue was approximately $107.6 million, an increase of 41.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.6 million, an increase of 64.3% from the same period in 2020. Urban One reports operating income of approximately $37.9 million for Q2 of 2021, compared to approximately $20.4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $17.9 million compared to approximately $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall we had an extremely strong second quarter; not only was Adjusted EBITDA up 82.4% year-over-year, but we also surpassed our Q2 2019 pre-pandemic Adjusted EBITDA. We are experiencing unprecedented advertiser interest in our audience across the entire Urban One platform. The radio advertising business saw a robust rebound from the worst impacts of the pandemic in Q2 2020, with segment revenues up by 73% and radio syndication revenues up 50.2%. We also benefitted from strong TV scatter markets, with TV advertising revenues up 21.3% in the quarter; furthermore, registered interest in our 2021-22 TV upfront sales presentations has also been extremely encouraging, which will help our fourth quarter revenue performance. Demand for our digital products remains high, with digital revenues up by 147.9% for the quarter and Adjusted EBITDA up by over $6 million; a significant help to our top and bottom-line growth. For Q3, our core radio business excluding political is currently pacing up by over 40%, and we are comfortable increasing our FY21 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to mid-$130 million, excluding casino chase costs. During the quarter we completed the second tranche of our Class A ATM share sale program, which yielded $21.2 million net of fees. This cash influx further strengthened our balance sheet, and we ended the quarter with $129.8 million of cash on hand, which is a healthy place to be ahead of the exciting new investment opportunity in the One Casino & Resort in Richmond, Virginia.”

Ralph Nader is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legendary consumer advocate, political activist, prolific author, Pacifica radio talk show host and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Nader engage in a fascinating discussion about “left/right political thinking” in America as well as social and business changes influenced by advancements in technology, plus more. Nader says working class Democrats and Republicans alike have far more in common than they have differences and that unbridled corporatism is the true enemy of the poor and working class regardless of race or political ideology. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

NAB Announces 2021 Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the 2021 Marconi Awards have been announced. The news/talk Station of the Year finalists are: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WTOP-FM, Washington; KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and KNX-AM, Los Angeles. (NAB lumps all-news and news/talk stations into the same category.) WSB-AM, Atlanta is also up for Legendary Station of the Year. Talk radio hosts making the finals include, for Major Market Personality of the Year, George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith from sports talk KTCK-AM, Dallas “The Ticket.” In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: WFLA-AM, Tampa’s Jack Harris; WBAL-AM, Baltimore’s C4 and Bryan Nehman; WHPT-FM, Tampa’s Mike Calta; and WWTN-FM, Nashville’s Dan Mandis. Medium Market Personality of the Year category finalists include: KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter; KIDO-AM, Boise’s Kevin Miller; KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas’ Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob; and WHO-AM, Des Moines’ Simon Conway. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (8/10), McVay Media’s Mike McVay is joining Loyd Ford from Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works, LLC for “The Radio State Of The Union Live Event” on The Encouragers on Clubhouse. It’s being billed as “a frank discussion about employment, job search, career management, corporate & local radio and the future” and takes place at 7:00 pm ET. Ford says, “We have been discussing the people we love in this business, the talent. This is a unique time in our history. If you are on the talent side of the business, it takes some skill to navigate your way through what is happening. I reached out to Mike because he really does have such deep experience and knows radio as a talent, a consultant and someone who ran programming for one of the largest broadcasters in the country. Plus, he’s willing (like I am) to be candid. This will be a conversation with red meat and a lot of helpful hacks to get ahead, stay balanced and help others.”…..Legendary WGN-AM and WGN-TV sports producer Jack “Rosey” Rosenberg will be recognized by the City of Chicago with an honorary street sign. The southeast corner of E. Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive will double as “Jack Rosenberg Way.” Rosenberg’s career at WGN began in 1954 where he was a producer, news writer, and sports editor and worked with celebrated sports voices including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and others. WGN says, “Rosey was a pioneer in modern sports production and broadcasting and is credited with its development. While Rosey himself was rarely heard on-air, the sound of his typewriter clacking in the background was unmistakable.” Rosenberg died December 26, 2020 at the age of 94…..Futuri announces the launch of AdMatic, “a revolutionary system that helps podcast platforms and creators make their content more discoverable and monetizable using advanced metadata sorting and deployment.” Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig adds, “Two million podcasts all have the same problem: poor metadata sorting that leads to mismatched recommendations for listeners and ineffective advertising for businesses. AdMatic solves this by using Futuri’s AI-driven technology to individually categorize podcast episodes and align with the businesses and products that best match on a case-by-case basis, rather than the hopelessly broad one-size-fits-all approach we currently see in the market.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Outbreaks & Mask Policies, Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations-Impeachment Possibility, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, the Tokyo Olympic Games, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in numerous U.S. states, governors under fire and mask policies; President Joe Biden’s moratorium on evictions; the allegations of sexual impropriety against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the possibility of his being impeached; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the Tokyo Olympics; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

| August 3, 2021

Townsquare Media 2021 Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 45%. The company releases financial data for the second quarter of 2021 and reports net revenue was $107.3 million, an increase of 45% over the same period in 2020. Townsquare Media says it achieved 99.4% of Q2 2019’s net revenue when excluding Live Events net revenue. Total digital revenue growth was up 36% year over year and contributed approximately 47% of the company’s total net revenue in the first six months of 2021. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “Over the next three years, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue, fueling the growth of our digital platform from $180 million of revenue (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of June 30, 2021) to $250 million. Most impressively, I am extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $30.3 million not only exceeded our expectations, our previously stated guidance, and 2019 levels (+1% vs. Q2 2019), but it was also the highest Adjusted EBITDA generated in any single quarter in Townsquare’s history. To accomplish this strong result only one year after the start of the pandemic is a testament to the strength of the Townsquare team, our digital platform and solutions for local businesses, and our careful expense management efforts.” Wilson adds, “As a Digital First Company, our digital revenue and profit growth has accelerated, driving the diversification of our business, total company growth and separation from our local competition. I am incredibly optimistic about Townsquare’s future, and very proud that we are on the path to achieving 2019’s Adjusted EBITDA in 2021, on the verge of a full revenue recovery in 2021, and plan on delivering strong revenue and profit growth in 2022.” Townsquare reports in three segments: Townsquare Interactive – its digital marketing solutions subscription business; Advertising – including broadcast and digital advertising products and solutions; and Live Events – including concerts, expositions and other experiential events. Advertising net revenue for Q2 of this year was $85.9 million, an increase of 50.4% over the same period in 2020. The company also reports net income of $10.1 million compared to the net loss of $28.9 million it posted during the same period a year ago. As of June 30, 2021, Townsquare had a total of $25.1 million of cash and cash equivalents and $550 million of outstanding indebtedness.

Jeff Rickard Named Brand Manager for WEEI, Boston; Ken Laird Promoted to Assistant Brand Manager. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI announces that Jeff Rickard is joining the station as brand manager, effective August 11. Audacy says that in this role, Rickard will oversee content operations for WEEI-FM and the WEEI radio network that spans the New England region. Rickard was most recently PD and morning host at Emmis Communications’ WFNI-AM, Indianapolis. During his career, Rickard spent almost 10 years in Bristol, Connecticut hosting ESPN Radio’s “Gamenight” program and served with Comcast as managing editor and anchor of the Boston-based “Out of Bounds Latenight” show. Rickard has also hosted shows regularly for numerous SiriusXM channels including: NFL Radio, ESPNU, MLB Network Radio, and Mad Dog Sports Radio. He has served as the host of NFL Radio’s “The Sunday Kickoff” during the NFL season for the past five years and is the host of “College Football Overtime” on ESPNU. He says, “Having worked in sports radio for virtually my entire career, I am thrilled to join the team at WEEI. Its rich history is well documented as is the unmatched passion of the Boston sports fan. I’m looking forward to pairing this talented team with fresh, new ideas to both reflect and match that passion.” At the same time, WEEI executive producer Ken Laird is being promoted to assistant brand manager. He’ll continue his role as update anchor and executive producer of the morning drive “Greg Hill Show.”

Ramsey Network Unveils New Podcast, ‘The Fine Print.’ The newest podcast from Ramsey Network is a show that shines a spotlight on the deceptive methods companies, marketers and scammers use to influence money decisions. ‘The Fine Print’ is hosted by Ramsey personality George Kamel and is “a bi-weekly show featuring interviews with experts and industry insiders about the money traps and trends keeping people broke.” Ramsey Solutions CEO and “The Ramsey Show” host Dave Ramsey says, “For 30 years, I’ve heard the pain in people’s voices when they call into the radio show because of a money trap that’s left them in a world of hurt. What if we could prevent that pain by empowering people to avoid the trap in the first place? That’s what ‘The Fine Print’ does. George educates listeners to recognize and steer clear of money minefields so they can be the heroes of their own stories.” Episodes of the podcast include: How TurboTax Is Screwing You; Could Bitcoin Be Your Ticket To Wealth?; The True Cost of Credit Card Rewards; The Dirty Truth Behind Your Credit Score; and How the Robinhood App Steals from the Rich AND the Poor. Find out more here.

LiveXLive and PodcastOne Announces Podcast Competition. This competition is called “Self Made Podcast Edition” and is “an audio competition to find the next big podcast star for PodcastOne.” The company says the competition will be driven by fans and PodcastOne’s panel of judges, as they listen to see who will take the top prize, a podcasting contract with PodcastOne and a total package worth over $100,000 including promotion across the network which features a roster of celebrity podcasters, including Adam Carolla, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Barbara Schroeder, Michael Irvin, and Jordan Harbinger.” The contest kicks off today (8/3) and is open to amateur podcasters only. The winner of “Self Made Podcast Edition” will be crowned on September 30, 2021 – International Podcast Day. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There are so many wonderfully creative and innovative podcasters out there. We’re excited to be able to offer someone the opportunity to make their dreams of becoming a self-made podcast host come true.” Learn more here.

SiriusXM to Unveil Lucille Ball’s ‘Lost’ Radio Show on New Channel. The legendary comedienne is the star of the new SiriusXM channel called, “Let’s Talk to Lucy,” named after her 1960s CBS Radio program. SiriusXM says, “In between starring in four television series and more than 70 films, Lucy would frequently jump from set to set, tape recorder in hand, and talk about all aspects of life with some of the biggest names in Hollywood history, including Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Carol Burnett, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and dozens more. These recordings eventually made it onto air when CBS Radio broadcast them as ‘Let’s Talk to Lucy’ from 1964-1965. However, for the last 50-plus years they’ve never been heard publicly again – until now.” Ball’s daughter Lucy Arnaz says, “Although I have been care-taking these ancient tapes for over 30 years, I had never really listened to them all and had no idea how many remarkable people Mom had talked to on these radio shows. It’s a treasure trove of personal information from some of the greatest talents of American entertainment and my family and I can’t wait to share them with the rest of the planet.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (8/4), a debate among a number of the candidates running to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom in the September 14 recall election will will take place and Salem Radio Network is distributing the event nationally. It’s taking place from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm ET at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California. SRN host Hugh Hewitt – who serves as president of the Richard Nixon Foundation – will moderate the debate along with panelists Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson of KTTV-TV, Los Angeles “FOX 11 News” and former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien. Special radio coverage will be anchored by KRLA, Los Angeles morning host Jennifer Horn and KRLA news anchor Larry Marino. SRN host and candidate Larry Elder is declining to take part saying his goal is “defeating Gavin Newsom not appearing in a circular firing squad with other Republicans.”…..Westwood One is expanding the role of sports media pro Rich Eisen within the network to include pregame and halftime hosting duties for “Monday Night Football on Westwood One.” The Monday night schedule kicks off on September 13, when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Las Vegas Raiders and concludes on January 3, 2022, when the Cleveland Browns battle the Pittsburgh Steelers. Eisen says, “‘Monday Night Football on Westwood One’ is one of the greatest hosting gigs in broadcasting and I’m honored to have the seat. The fact that I can expand my partnership with Westwood One beyond my daily show and podcast platform by talking even more football thrills me to no end.”…..The application window for programming candidates interested in applying to the “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” is being extended through Tuesday, August 10.  The “Elevating Women in Audio: MIW & BDSradio Mentorship” program is a year-long experience for women in music programming, provided by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio and MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music). Personalized conversations with the best programming minds in the business are geared to help advance a career within the radio/audio industry. Additionally, the mentee receives a scholarship to attend Radio Show 2021 this October in Las Vegas. The mentorship is available to one female brand manager, content/program director, assistant program director, and/or music director from any U.S. based music format. To apply, click here…..The popular finance and investing podcast “Pennies: Going in Raw,” hosted by Hugh Henne and Dan, the Deity of Dips, is now a part of the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “With more than 2.3 million downloads, the podcast takes an exciting and informative spin on stock market topics like day trading strategies, volume, price targets, penny stocks, accumulation, reverse splits and much more. The show also features a range of guests from young, successful traders to the leaders of multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, and CEO and founder of HimsAndrew Dudman…..Today through Thursday, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway (left) is pulling double duty as he fills in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated program. Conway’s WHO show is also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, Iowa…..iHeartMedia Pittsburgh’s Steelers Radio Network announces changes to its broadcast team. As part of the changes, Craig Wolfley, a former Steelers offensive lineman who has served as a sideline analyst on the Steelers game day broadcast since 2002, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Hillgrove in the broadcast booth as color analyst. Wolfley takes over for Tunch Ilkin, who retired after 23 seasons in the booth. Former Steelers offensive lineman Max Starks is joining Missi Matthews for sideline reports. He recently served as a sideline reporter for Westwood One. Starks will also join Wolfley as co-host of “In The Locker Room, Presented By Neighborhood Ford Store,” a daily, in-season radio program airing on Steelers Nation Radio.

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Eviction Ban Expires, January 6 Investigation, Voting Rights, Southern Border Policy, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). The rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in the U.S. and abroad and the issue of mask mandates; the White House puts the onus on states as the federal ban on evictions expires; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the suicide of Capitol police officer Kyle DeFreytag; today’s planned DC rally supporting the For the People voting rights bill; the Biden administration continues the Trump administration policy of deporting illegal migrants; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles returns to the Olympics to win bronze in the balance beam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.