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Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

| July 15, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Begin Posting Today.  First Up:  Sean Hannity Keynote Address.  As promised last week, today (7/15) marks the first day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014.  The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The world-wide showing of these very special videos kicks off today with the event’s powerful keynote address by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity.  The focus of Hannity’s address is a critical look at the present state of Nielsen Audio ratings which the talk show host strongly suggests do not do an adequate job of rating the true audience of talk radio which is spread across a variety of digital platforms — none of which Hannity claims are presently represented in the giant media research firm’s metrics-gathering system.  Hannity told the hundreds of broadcasters in attendance, “Clear Channel pays Nielsen $100 million a year for bad information; Cumulus pays them $50 million a year for crappy information.  If we don’t confront the ratings failure that exists today and has not kept up with new technology, we are literally paying for our own demise.  It’s madness!”  Hannity was joined onstage during his speech by renowned talk radio programmers Phil Boyce, VP of spoken word programming, Salem Communications and Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media. Both men concurred with Hannity’s premise adding their views that today’s distorted ratings picture falls into the hands of people and organizations who use it for political motives to create the false impression that news/talk radio is losing its audience and influence, when the exact opposite is true.  To see the entire session, please click here.  Coming tomorrow (7/16), WFAN, New York legendary personality Mike Francesa delivering the Talkers New York 2014 sports talk keynote address.  The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

patrickmattHouston Talk Host Matt Patrick to Broadcast from U.S.-Mexico Border.  In a series of programs dedicated to the current child immigration crisis, Matt Patrick, host of “Houston’s Morning News” on Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston “NewsRadio 740,” and “The Matt Patrick Show” on the company’s sister station KPRC, Houston, is visiting the Texas-Mexico border this week.  On Wednesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 17, Patrick will broadcast both programs live and will broadcast the KTRH show live on Friday as well.  Today, Patrick travels to the border to meet with U.S. Border Patrol and local and state officials who deal with border security.

armstrongcarrigan smallWHJJ, Providence to Air “The Financial Exchange” Show.  The WRKO, Boston-based program, “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan,” is being added to the programming lineup at Clear Channel’s WHJJ, Providence beginning July 28.  The show airs live from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WRKO and will be delay broadcast from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WHJJ.  WHJJ program director Bill George comments, “We’re very excited to add ‘The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan’ to the ‘NewsRadio 920’ programming lineup.  Barry and Kim talk about the economy and its impact on our everyday lives like few radio personalities can.  This isn’t just a show about money.  From your job, to your home, to planning for your family’s future, it’s about the topics that matter most to people in Southern New England.”

sportstalkfloridaGenesis Communications Launches ‘The Power Hour’ on Florida Sports Talkers.  On the company’s sports talk simulcast of WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa branded “Sports Talk Florida,” Genesis Communications debuts what it’s calling a “sports and pop culture mash-up show titled, “The Power Hour.”  Hosted by SportsTalkFlorida.com digital director Matt Sardo, the show “features a lively mixture of athletes, pop culture personalities, and insiders from SportsTalkFlorida.com, all uniting to smash stereotypes and bring a new twist to sports radio.”  The show is being co-hosted by Amanda Borges, assistant digital editor of SportsTalkFlorida.com and a self-described “college football junkie and health and fitness freak.”  Borges states, “This show is an awesome way to get to know athletes for their strange quirks and hobbies.  It’s not every day that you get to talk to tough quarterbacks about their secret love for chick flicks and Taylor Swift.”

masondanRadio Show “Super Session” Headliners: Mason and Pittman.  CBS Radio president Dan Mason and Clear Channel chair and chief executive officer Bob Pittman will participate in this year’s Radiopittmanbob Show “Super Session.”  NAB executive vice president of radio John David will moderate the “From the Control Room to the Board Room” discussion.  One common thread Mason and Pittman share is that the two group heads started in the industry as on-air talents.  The session is, therefore, intended to illustrate how their early careers influence current leadership and programming decisions.  Produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and the NAB, the Radio Show will be held in two months (9/10 – 12) in Indianapolis.  The Mason-Pittman “Super Session” takes place on September 11.

gcn logo”Super Human Radio” Gets GCN Syndication Deal.  Carl Lanore has been broadcasting “Super Human Radio” since 2005.  Beginning the middle of next month, Genesis Communications Network (GCN) will begin syndicating the Lanore and Alisa Profumo-hosted program,which is dedicated to providing health, fitness, and longevity tips.  GCN owner Ted Anderson comments, “We are very excited to have ‘Super Human Radio’ join the Genesis Communications Network.  ‘Super Human Radio’ is a perfect fit for our listeners and will give them great insight into the importance of health and wellness.”  According to Lanore, “No matter what religious theology you subscribe to, we have this one life right now and we want to make it the best life we can.  We want to live long healthy lives.  Something as simple as not getting startled with avoidable disease is our right and not a privilege.”  Having weighed more than 300 pounds, Lanore experienced his own major weight-related health issues, however, he transformed himself about 14 years ago.  The 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm weekday “Super Human Radio” discusses ways to deal with similar issues for those facing potential complications with weight gain and diseases associated with unhealthy lifestyle.

sandersmichelleMMG Slots Sanders as Senior VP/Sales.  Former Focus 360 LLC director of strategic development/national accounts Michelle Sanders is appointed Media Management Group’s senior vice president of sales.  MMG president and chief executive officer Jeff Schwartz comments that his company “specializes in lifestyle programming that has amassed a large and loyal following both on-air and online.  Michelle is absolutely one of the best in the business at explaining the benefits of this targeted content to prospective sponsors.”  Sanders remarks, “I am profoundly honored to join the talented team at MMG, a company that is dedicated to developing, promoting, and providing integrative advertising solutions for its nationally syndicated media clients. MMG has shown itself to be able to adapt to the ever-changing media environment, which is critical in today’s marketplace.  I am delighted to take on this new role and to be joining MMG at a time when it is positioned for such growth and future success.”  Sanders will manage cross-platform advertising sales for MMG Radio Network‘s “The Frommers Travel Show,” “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein,” “Intelligent Medicine with Dr. Ronald Hoffman,” and “Home Wizards with Cindy Dole and Eric Stromer.”  Sanders’ previous background includes an eight-year run with Interep as regional market director.

axebrentOdds & Sods.  The Syracuse Post Standard is reporting that Syracuse.com community engagement specialist – and former WSKO, Syracuse sports talk personality – Brent Axe will begin hosting a one-hour, daily show titled, “On the Block with Brent Axe,” to air at 5:00 pm on Galaxy Communications-owned simulcast WTLA and W249BC “ESPN Radio 97.7” on August 4…..Detroit public radio host Craig Fahle is exiting Wayne State University-operated outlet WDET-FM and his daily weekday morning program to take a position with the Detroit Land Bank Authority…..Just off her recent gig on ABC TV’s “The View,” controversial celeb Jenny McCarthy will do a limited-run talk show on SiriusXM beginning tomorrow, July 16.  The one-hour, weekly program is titled, “Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy,” and will feature her “trademark humor and outspoken style to discuss topics such as parenting, sex, dating and marriage.”  Celebrity guests will include: Chelsea Handler, Perez Hilton, Jenny’s fiancé Donnie Wahlberg and many others…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles is announcing the next installment in its “Ask the Mayor” series with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday, July 17 at 10:00 am.  The show is a live, listener call-in program hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.

bayneflamingo‘Cities 92.9’ Bloomington Host Ian Bayne Fights City Gas Tax.  Pictured here is WRPW, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois morning drive host Ian Bayne (left) with a listener (right) who’s placed a flamingo on her lawn as part of the Bayne-organized campaign to fight a city gas tax to help fund a flamingo museum in the region.  Bayne reports he recently had Mayor Tari Renner on the Pilot Media-owned news/talk station “Cities 92.9” to defend the gas tax hike comment on the flamingo sign campaign.  Meanwhile, Bayne says of this effort, “This campaign is just the beginning of a listener revolt here in central Illinois to fight back against government oppression.  I have three words for this – yes we can.”

Child Immigration Crisis-Amnesty Proposals, Israel-Hamas Violence, Obama Approval Ratings, Clinton, Inc. Book to Be Released, Elizabeth Warren Presidential Bid Speculation and World Cup Final Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/14).  The ongoing child immigration crisis in the Southwest and the war of words over immigration reform; the violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip; chatter about President Obama’s approval ratings and suggestions he’s losing popularity among Democrats; the soon-to-be-released book about  Bill and Hillary Clinton titled, Clinton, Inc.; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s populist message and talk about her presidential candidacy in 2016; and Germany’s victory over Argentina in the World Cup Final were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.