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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

| October 26, 2021

Keith Williams Named Market Manager for ‘ESPN 1000’ in Chicago; Tom Olson Rises to Market Manager for ‘ESPN Madison.’ A couple of management changes take place at Good Karma Brands. As a result of Mike Thomas leaving his position as market manager for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000” to take on the market manager role for Audacy in Boston, Good Karma Brands names Keith Williams the new market manager for “ESPN 1000,” effective November 1. Williams – a vice president and partner at Good Karma Brands – is a 22-year veteran of the company and most recently was market manager for WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison.” He says, “I’m thrilled to join the team at ‘ESPN 1000’ and work with the talented group of teammates and loyal partners we have in Chicago. I’m looking forward to furthering Good Karma’s track record as a best-in-class operator of world class brands to ‘ESPN Chicago’ and can’t wait to get started.” Rising to the market manager role in Madison is Tom Olson, who’s been serving as director of sales and marketing. Olson says, “I’m excited to lead one of Good Karma Brands’ heritage markets. Madison is an incredible sports town, and I’m looking forward to working with our talented team, as well as local businesses and marketing partners as we build on our years of serving the passionate sports fans.”

Ed Moloney Named Director of Affiliation and Sales for Skyview Networks. Radio syndication pro Ed Moloney joins Skyview Networks as director, affiliate syndication and sales. In this role, Moloney will serve as a key member of the syndication and content development team, identifying and activating affiliation opportunities to drive significant network growth. Moloney was most recently with Sun Broadcast Group and SuiteRadio as affiliate content manager. Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “Ed brings a sterling reputation, deep knowledge and specialized skills in syndication and affiliate sales to our already established team. His involvement in our growing talent portfolio will benefit existing and prospective clients and provide our affiliation managers strategic direction to achieve network growth goals.” Moloney states, “Over the past few years, I couldn’t help but notice the tremendous growth of Skyview Networks and its innovative leadership team that consistently operates ahead of developing industry trends. I knew right away this was a great opportunity to contribute my skills and expertise to further bolster a winning team.”

Las Vegas Talk Personality Heidi Harris Debuts ‘Headlines with Heidi.’ Las Vegas media personality Heidi Harris – who’s currently hosting her weekly Sunday night talk show on Audacy’s KFTK-FM, St. Louis from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm CT – announces her newest project called “Headlines with Heidi.” The daily program features Harris taking on the day’s news delivered via Facebook Live and posted to YouTube later in the day. Harris tells her fans, “Many of you have written to me about how much you miss me on local radio in Vegas, especially in the mornings, and you’ve been wanting my thoughts on different local issues, races, etc, so I started doing ‘Headlines with Heidi.’ I literally sit at my kitchen counter and talk about the news headlines. I give you my irreverent take on the stories of the day, with a side of my famous snark. The stories may be Vegas-related, national, or STL-related, but it’s fun and I keep it to about 15 minutes. We’re all busy!”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former Salem Media Group talk host (and former Republican congressman) Joe Walsh is launching a new twice-weekly podcast titled, “White Flag with Joe Walsh.” His first two guests on the podcast are former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and actor/comic/radio personality D.L. Hughley. Walsh says, “I don’t want to talk to people I agree with. I want to sit down and have civil, constructive conversation with people who think differently than I do.”…..Audacy and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls announce a multi-year radio broadcast contract extension in which sports talk outlet WSCR-AM “670 The Score” continues to serve as the flagship radio station of the Bulls, airing all regular season and postseason games. Listeners will also be able to hear games via the station’s digital stream on the Audacy app and station website. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “For years, ‘670 The Score’ has been the home for Bulls basketball, and we’re delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with the Reinsdorf family and the Bulls organization. As the voice of Chicago sports fans, we look forward to many more years of giving our listeners premier year-round coverage of the team, both on and off the court.”…..Audacy’s Cadence13, OBB Sound, and SB Projects announce the launch of “In Good Faith,” a new weekly podcast series hosted by Churchome’s lead pastors Chelsea and Judah Smith. Cadence13 says, “While in many ways inspired by their faith, the Smiths will challenge traditional beliefs and root themselves in broader universal principles that touch everyone on and off the show, regardless of personal or religious beliefs.”…..Paris Hilton, London Audio, iHeartMedia, with Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Telepictures are producing, “Trapped In Treatment,” a new iHeartRadio Original docu-style podcast series, hosted by Caroline Cole and Rebecca Mellinger, that will examine and expose the dark secrets and controversial practices of the “troubled teen industry.” Beginning with Provo Canyon School, each season will focus on unmasking one youth treatment facility, through the experience and stories of its survivors and the traumatizing abuse at the hands of their captors.  Hilton has been at the forefront of creating legislation that regulates treatment centers for troubled teens in Utah after being mentally and physically abused at Provo Canyon School. “For 20 years, I lived silently with the memories, and the trauma, from my experience at Provo Canyon School. This past year, thousands of survivors like me have shared their stories, helping to bring into public view what so many of us have locked up. Provo Canyon School will not be able to hide behind the abuse they’ve caused survivors any longer. I am so proud to be producing ‘Trapped in Treatment’ and can’t wait to take you on this audio journey.”

January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Facebook Papers, Supply Chain/Inflation, Border Chaos, and China’s Military Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the public relations crisis affecting Facebook in the aftermath of the release of the “Facebook Papers”; the ongoing effects of the disrupted global supply chain and the inflation affecting retail prices; the flood of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the matter; and China’s military aggression were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.