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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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

| September 21, 2021

Cumulus Media Names Two Execs to Multi-Platform Content Development Positions. The new title SVP, sports, content and audience is a promotion for Bruce Gilbert, who has been serving with Cumulus Media for the past seven years. This new title formalizes Gilbert’s role following “consistent accomplishments leveraging the company’s massive sports portfolio to build compelling new franchises and successful partnerships.” Gilbert continues to direct all sports programming for Cumulus radio stations and Westwood One Sports, which also entails overseeing key partnerships with iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, and the PGA Championship/Ryder Cup. Cumulus also brings Doug Cohn aboard as SVP, music & entertainment, content and audience in which he’ll “lead new content development across the company’s platforms, including broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, social media, digital, and live events.” He was previously with ViacomCBS as SVP, music & talent for Nickelodeon. Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips says, “Today’s audio ecosystem provides us with infinite opportunities to break talent out of their traditional lanes and our consumers with the ability to access our products whenever they wish, on an ever-widening array of platforms. Cumulus is bursting at the seams with creative chops and the ambition to thrive in this exciting environment. Doug has shown a Midas touch in understanding what the next generation will want, and Bruce has forged groundbreaking partnerships for years and will now have more runway to innovate – these two leaders possess the vision to produce a surge of remarkable new Cumulus content.”

Broadcast for Broadway. Pictured above at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District are (from l-r): The Broadway Association’s Cristyne Nicholas, Broadway historian, NYPost columnist, and WOR morning host Michael Riedel, and WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon host Kevin McCullough. Salem’s “AM 970 The Answer” and McCullough presented the “Broadcast For Broadway” show from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm last Friday night as Broadway shows were staged for the first time since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The program was presented in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund.

WARC and iHeartMedia Study Underscores Gap in Audio Investment from Marketers. According to data from a study by WARC and iHeartMedia, although consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, brands only allocate 8.8% of their media budget to audio, while 25% of brands eschew audio entirely. The study concludes that consumers of every generation are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening. WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9 billion this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, yet the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market. The study identified four key types of advertiser attitudes towards audio: 1) Audio Avoiders, the 25% of advertisers who do not invest in audio at all; 2) Broadcast Believers, who have seen the benefits of radio and are beginning to delve into more forms of audio; 3) Digital Only, those who have started to invest but are missing out on the full suite of audio options, particularly the 90% reach of broadcast radio; and 4) Cross-Platform Champions, who explore audio’s full potential and continue to test, learn from and optimize their investments across platforms. iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman says, “The Audio Investment Gap is the single-biggest growth opportunity for brands. With the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers paired with in-car listening, audio is everywhere, and consumers are listening in more places, more times throughout the day. But too many brands are on mute. Brands that right-size their audio investments and begin spending and innovating across radio, streaming and podcasts outpace competitors in finding new audiences, building brand affinity and driving sales.” See the full report here.

NuVoodoo: Delta Variant Keeping the Vaccinated at Home. A recent study from NuVoodoo Media Services on public attitudes toward attending large indoor gatherings indicates the unvaccinated are “nearly twice as likely to attend large indoor gatherings with no COVID restrictions, when Compared to their vaccinated counterparts.” Among the people 18-64 surveyed, 47% were fully vaccinated, with another 10% having had the first of the two-shot vaccines – meaning 57% of the subjects are at least partially vaccinated. There’s another 5% who say they’re trying to find time to get vaccinated. There are 20% who are not interested in getting vaccinated at all and another 18% who say they’re still researching facts about the vaccines or aren’t sure about getting vaccinated. The study found “only 4 in 10 people would attend a large public indoor gathering that didn’t require prior COVID-19 vaccination or other safety measures.” NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert says, “As always, the devil is in the details – and the results change with age. In our sample, which includes only pre-retirement demographics and excludes the vaccination status of seniors, 55-64s are the only age cell in our study where a solid majority are fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates hover around 40% among young women and fall well below that level among young men.” NuVoodoo EVP of research Leigh Jacobs adds, “Our study results indicate that Delta’s impact on event attendance is significant. For example, better than 2 in 5 either will not (or might not) attend business conferences or trade shows. Requiring proof of vaccination lifts attendance among the vaccinated while disenfranchising the unvaccinated. Potential attendance is limited either way. Last week’s cancellation of the October NAB event underscored the value of virtual attendance options wherever possible. Virtual won’t work to replace every event experience, but it can be an attendance-widening addition in many cases – and an insurance policy in others.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new podcast from retired NBA All-Star Metta World Peace debuts on PodcastOne today (9/21). “Mettaphorically Speaking” features Metta World Peace as he interviews a variety of people from the worlds of athletics, music, film and television, and business covering topics including sports, business, mental health and community, with a goal of inspiring and empowering listeners to pursue their own passions and dreams.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray comments, “Metta World Peace was a force to be reckoned with on the hardwood courts of the NBA and he’s a force to be reckoned with in the world of podcasting. His drive to search for the deeper purpose and meaning in life matches the drive that shone in his career as a professional athlete, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be hosting his podcast.”…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartPodcast slate of true-crime shows in collaboration with KT-Studios after their first successful venture together produced, “The Piketon Massacre.” The new slate of podcasts begins with, “The Dougherty Gang.” iHeartPodcast Network COO Will Pearson says, “iHeartMedia is excited to join forces with KT-Studios to co-produce this brilliant new slate of true-crime podcasts. We’ve seen incredible success with KT-Studios and are excited to offer listeners a full slate of new podcasts that delve into everything from unsolved murders to some of the most bizarre crimes in the name of love.”…..This Thursday, WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” personality David Kaplan steps off on the second annual Walk As One Chicago charity walk to benefit Bernie’s Book Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing book ownership. During the 24-mile walk, Kaplan and Bernie’s Book Bank CEO Darrin Utynek will distribute free books to K-6th grade students at James Ward Elementary. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 19 million books to Chicagoland children ages birth through sixth grade.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling Debate, Biden UN Address, Immigration Woes/Border Agents Violence, U.S.-Australia Sub Deal, Canadian Election, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/20). U.S. COVID-19 deaths match the number of those who died from 1918-21 Spanish Flu pandemic, boosters, masks & mandates; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling; President Joe Biden to make first address to UN; the immigrant situation at the U.S.-Mexico border and the video of border agents on horses rounding up Haitian migrants; the controversy over the U.S.-Australia nuclear sub deal; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins re-election but fails to gain a majority in parliament in Canada; and the case of Gabby Petito and missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Old Habits

| July 12, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — It’s been over 260 years since Benjamin Franklin warned American sellers.

“Old habits die hard,” he wrote and so we are reminded every time we see him on the largest denomination of American currency, the $100 bill.

Yet our digital PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, ACH, wire transfer, direct deposit, etc. society has leapfrogged way beyond anything Ben could have imagined. And so that visual reminder isn’t as present as you may think. But his phrase has stood the test of time and stands tall as a warning to every seller in the radio/audio business. Why do most sellers still ignore someone who organized the first fire department, post office, library and creator of that all time best seller, the lightning rod?

Read More

Pending Business: Next

| May 24, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ready for the next round of re-discovering audio? I hope so, because it’s arrived and ready for your sales talent. Or, are you still stuck selling 60- or 30-second packages? Wake up, smell the coffee, and read on.

Last week Amazon and Group M opened the door to a next level opportunity for audio. You know where this all winds up, right?

Read More

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.