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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

| December 21, 2021

Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.

WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.

KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”

WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.

COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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, July 22, 2021

| July 22, 2021

Larry Elder Prevails in Suit to Get on California Recall Ballot. California-based Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder is on the official ballot for the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom after California Superior Court Judge Laurie Earl sided with Elder in his suit against Secretary of State Shirley Weber. Weber’s office said Elder’s five years of tax returns were improperly filed or redacted and he would not be allowed on the September 14 ballot. In his suit, Elder argued that the 2019 law requiring gubernatorial candidates to provide five years of tax returns applies to candidates in a “direct primary election,” and this recall is not a primary election and Judge Earl agreed, saying, “I don’t find that Mr. Elder was required to file tax returns at all.” Elder also argued that since Governor Newsom did not have to provide tax returns, Elder was not being afforded equal protection under the law. There will be 43 candidates on the September ballot.

Bob Philips Named President of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. In a memo to company employees, Audacy chief operating officer Susan Larkin announces that chief revenue officer Bob Philips is assuming the new role of president of Audacy Networks and Multi-Market Sales. She says, “We believe Bob will deliver significant revenue impact and client outcomes by focusing on growing our network and multi-market sales businesses as we continue to execute our market growth strategy. As chief revenue officer, Bob was a catalyst for innovation and growth. Under his leadership, we streamlined multiple revenue departments, launched the Audacy Network and our in-house traffic network while also revolutionizing our approach to national sales, bringing new brands and bigger opportunities onto our platform. And, as the economy rebounds and local and national advertising return to pre-pandemic levels, Bob will build exponential value for our clients and for Audacy.” Larkin says the company is beginning a search for a new chief revenue officer immediately.

Townsquare Media Names Peter Van Den Heuvel Market President for Cedar Rapids-Waterloo. Media executive Peter Van Den Heuvel is joining Townsquare Media as market president and chief revenue officer for the company’s Cedar Rapids/Waterloo station group. Van Den Heuvel was most recently with Spectrum Reach. Townsquare Media SVP Todd Lawley says, “Peter has extensive multi-platform management experience which makes him a perfect fit for this role. I could not be more excited to have someone with Peter’s leadership and depth of multi-platform knowledge to lead our two-time ‘Market of the Year’ team in Cedar Rapids/Waterloo.”

BIA: U.S. Local Ad Spend to Hit $142 Billion. The consultancy firm BIA Advisory Services is revising its 2021 forecasts for U.S. local advertising revenue to $142.4 billion, up $4.8 billion from its November 2020 estimate. The projection is split between traditional and digital media but shows that the divide is narrowing, with traditional advertising only 8 % ahead of digital media that includes: mobile, online, over-the-top, email, and traditional media’s online ventures. BIA predicts local radio advertising will rebound somewhat to $11.7 billion in 2021 and $12.3 billion in 2022, with $.94 billion and $1.04 billion, respectfully, coming from digital platforms. The revised forecast also sees a 5.6 % increase in overall compound annual growth in U.S. spending in local ad markets and expects the amount to reach $157.1 billion in 2022 and $162.1 billion in 2023. While the digital media share will first leapfrog to 51 % over traditional media by 2023.

Journalists Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz to Produce January 6 Podcast for Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios. Former WNYC reporters Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, co-hosts of the podcast “Trump, Inc.,” announce they will be working with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios on an investigative documentary podcast series “that will trace the multiple failures that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.” The yet-to-be-titled series will launch in early 2022. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “We couldn’t be prouder to be working with Andrea and Ilya. We’ve been tremendous fans of their unique, ambitious style of investigative narrative audio for years, and what they are uncovering about the insurrection on January 6 will provide the context about that day and what led to it that all of us are so desperate to understand.”

TALKERS News Notes. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG, Tulsa talk host Mark Kaye is giving away his new book to listeners for free. He says his anti-cancel culture book, The Woke Folk, is dedicated to his late on-air predecessor Rush Limbaugh. He says, “I just wanted to get this book out there. Cancel culture is already destroying important parts of our society. It must be stopped. I want everyone in my audience to have this book so we can continue to spread Rush’s legacy to as many people as possible. So, instead of selling it, I’m just giving them all a copy for free.”…..NuVoodoo Media Services announces the findings of a new study on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Americans, conducted on Tuesday (7/20) and supplementing its Ratings Prospect Study 18, fielded June 18-20, 2021. In Tuesday’s study of 1,318 respondents between 14 and 64 years of age, NuVoodoo found that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is highest among women and 25-54-year-old adults. On the flipside, the study further revealed that Hispanic Americans are the least vaccine hesitant of any population segment. NuVoodoo president Carolyn Gilbert comments, “Our June study was conducted about five weeks after the CDC gave the all-clear for vaccinated Americans to essentially return to a normal life, and feelings were most certainly running toward the optimistic side after 15 months of COVID-19 related restrictions. With this new variant of concern starting to impact case rates and hospitalizations, not to mention dominating the news cycle, we felt it important to provide the timeliest information, so our industry partners can make better informed decisions when planning the next few months.”…..Nexstar Media Group‘s WGN-AM, Chicago announces that Joe Brand is named the host of Chicago Blackhawks pregame and postgame shows and the weekly “Blackhawks Live” program, starting September 29. Brand takes over for Chris Boden, who was cut after four years. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says Brand is “one of the exciting sports broadcasters in Chicago. He’s been a key part of our Blackhawks broadcasts on WGN for several years, but mainly behind the scenes. Now, we’re thrilled that he can share his expertise, energy, and enthusiasm with Blackhawks fans on the air on a daily basis.” Brand has reported for the broadcast team and co-hosted both the “Blackhawks Crazy” and “Blackhawks 720” podcasts that originate from the WGN Radio studios.  Since joining WGN in 2013, Joe Brand has been a producer, reporter, anchor, and host.

COVID-19, Biden Town Hall, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill/Debt Ceiling Battle, Critical Race Theory, Extreme Weather and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/21). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the return of mask mandates; President Joe Biden’s Wednesday evening CNN town hall; Republicans and Democrats battle over the January 6 investigation committee; the fight in Washington over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill and the GOP’s refusal to raise the debt ceiling; the controversy over the teaching of critical race theory in public schools; and the extreme weather all over the world and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, March 19, 2021

| March 19, 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, “Arm Shots, Gun Shots, and Pot Shots,” looks back at this past week of March 15-19, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Duke Brooks, talk show host, WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; Howard Monroe, talk show host, WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; and McGraw Milhaven, talk show host, KTRS, St. Louis. 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 or call 616-884-8616.

Newsmax TV Adds Jason Miller and Andrew Giuliani. Two former Trump administration figures are joining Newsmax TV as contributors. Jason Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump and a principal at SHW Partners joins as a contributor to “provide commentary on a wide variety of issues facing the nation, such as immigration and trade.” Former White House aide Andrew Giuliani – a regular guest on Newsmax – also joins in a contributor role.  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jason and Andrew have been Washington insiders without becoming part of the problem. Both of these gentlemen have tremendous track records in media and government, making their analysis of news events even more insightful for our viewers.”

New Jersey 101.5’s Town Hall to Present ‘A Year with COVID.’ Next Thursday (3/25) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts designed to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. “A Year with COVID” will look back on the last year and ahead to what many hope will be a normal summer. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing medical, business and education experts together to talk about the road ahead. He says, “One-million residents are fully vaccinated and New Jersey appears to be on a pace to fully reopen this summer. This program will look at the lessons we learned over the last year, and what must still be done to return to some sense of normalcy.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature: Dr. Susan Boruchoff, infectious disease specialist at RWJBarnabas Health; Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; and Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey School Administrators Association.

KGMZ-FM, San Francisco’s Kate Scott to Join All-Female Warriors Broadcast. In celebration of Women’s Empowerment Month, KGMZ-FM “95.7 The Game” morning show personality Kate Scott will take part in an all-female broadcast of the Golden State Warriors vs Chicago Bulls game on Monday, March 29, as part of the station’s flagship coverage of the team. Scott will handle play-by-play duties alongside fellow broadcaster Mary Murphy, who will serve as color commentator. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke will host pre- and post-game coverage of the broadcast on “95.7 The Game.” Scott says, “I can’t thank the Warriors and ‘95.7 The Game’ enough for this incredible opportunity. As a play-by-play announcer, you dream of getting the chance to cover the teams you grew up cheering for, but more often than not those dreams never realize. So, as a lifelong Warriors fan, to be given the opportunity to call Bulls vs. Warriors and get to share this special night with two talented women who I’m lucky to call dear friends…it’s unimaginable.” In addition to her work with KGMZ, Scott serves as a play-by-play announcer, anchor, host and reporter for the Pac-12 Networks in addition to play-by-play assignments for NBC Sports Networks and Stadium.

TALKERS News Notes. Iconic singer and current WABC, New York weekend program host Tony Orlando releases a best-of album via Time Life titled, Timeless: The Big Hits. The album features re-recorded versions of his million-selling songs as well as a bonus track, “America Is My Hometown.” Orlando debuted the bonus track on 77 WABC during his weekly radio program, “Saturday Nights with Tony Orlando.” WABC was also the first station to play Orlando’s debut single, “Halfway to Paradise,” in 1961…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR “The Score” morning drive co-host David Haugh is adding co-host of the weekend baseball show “Inside the Clubhouse” with Bruce Levine from 9:00 am to 11:00 am Saturdays. Afternoon drive co-host Matt Spiegel is also doing summer baseball show duties as co-host of “Hit and Run,” that airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon Sundays…..CBS News Radio announces a new feature available to affiliates called, “SportsBrief” – one-minute reports available twice daily on weekdays that present the “stories behind the scores.”…..BIA Advisory Services is debuting its first podcast called “Leading Local Insights” that looks at the local media marketplace. The program is hosted by Rick Ducey and each episode will “feature its analyst team delivering insights and analysis for broadcast and digital media business professionals.”…..NRG Media’s Omaha sports talk radio duo KOZN and KZOT “The Zone” renew their deal with Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals to continue airing the team’s play-by-play through the 2022 season. NRG general manager Mark Shecterle says, “We are extremely excited to continue to be the Kansas City Royals broadcast home in Omaha.  The Royals have been a great partner and we look forward to another two years of carrying the Royals games.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 15-19. The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concerns about variants combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was immigration reform and the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, followed by the Atlanta spa murders tied with Asian Americans under siege and gun control 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.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

| June 25, 2020

BIA: Local Radio Advertising to Fall by 10.7% in 2020. Revising its beginning-of-the-year projection that U.S. local radio advertising revenue (consisting of AM/FM, digital, and streaming) would be $14.3 billion, BIA Advisory Services reports that projection to now be $12.8 billion – a decrease of 10.7%. BIA breaks it down this way: $11.4 billion is expected to come from over-the-air sales and $1.4 billion should come from digital sales. BIA says, “By comparison, in 2019 local radio stations generated $12.8 billion in over-the-air revenue and just over $1 billion in digital. This was a 1.6 % decrease in total revenue from 2018.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik comments, “In 2018, we projected that radio’s digital platforms would reach $1 billion by 2019 and last year the industry hit this mark. For 2020, our ad forecast shows that digital sales, including streaming, will stay steady. Then by 2021, Radio online revenue will start to climb back up again. On the over-the-air side, we see a bigger COVID hit, with a steep drop in 2020 and some recovery back by 2021.” What sectors will make up the bulk of radio’s revenue? BIA says the finance/insurance industry will make up $2 billion, retail will account for $1.97 billion, automotive will contribute $1.5 billion, and technology accounts for $1.3 billion. BIA explains, “These industries may benefit from the continuing shift in radio listening from the car to the home as at-home audio environment features give consumers multiple opportunities to consume promotions. Streaming has become a major growth opportunity for broadcasters to maintain existing audiences and attract new, younger listeners. BIA’s revenue estimate drops to $12.5 billion when streaming ad revenue is not included.”

Suit Challenges USAGM Exec Michael Pack’s Firing of Agency Organization Heads. In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Open Technology Fund and four individual members of its board of directors are asking the Court to declare null and void U.S. Agency for Global Media chief executive Michael Pack’s recent firing of Open Technology Fund and news outlet leaders. The complaint argues that “Although funded by Congress through grants administered by the Agency, the four organizations targeted by Mr. Pack are not part of the government. Their employees are not government employees. They are private, nonprofit organizations with their own leadership and independent boards of directors. That is by design. Their mission, collectively, is to promote the free flow of information worldwide, especially in countries where authorities restrict freedom of expression. They do this through global efforts to combat online censorship and news broadcasts in 61 different languages, reaching 400 million people each day. But they can only be effective in countering disinformation and censorship if they are rightly perceived as independent, professional, and fact-driven—not as official mouthpieces for some partisan agenda.” Open Technology Fund chief Libby Liu tendered her resignation to take effect at the end of July but was terminated immediately by Peck. Also fired were: Bay Fang of Radio Free Asia, Jamie Fly of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Alberto M. Fernandez of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and Emilio Vazquez of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

Cumulus Closes on $74.1 million Bethesda Land Sale. The deal to sell a 75-acre parcel of land in Bethesda, Maryland to developers Toll Brothers has been in the works for some time and yesterday (6/24) Cumulus Media was finally able to announce the $74.1 million deal has closed. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Given the difficult operating environment, our ability to continue to strengthen our balance sheet with the proceeds of this deal is particularly meaningful, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toll Brothers in working with us to bring this five-year effort to completion.” Net proceeds from the sale are expected to be $71.3 million after transaction fees and expenses. Cumulus anticipates achieving minor expense savings from the elimination of real estate taxes after the closing and does not expect any tax liability as it relates to the transaction. Net proceeds from the sale are required to be used to pay down debt, unless otherwise reinvested in the company’s business over the next 12 months.

PPM Analysis: Coronavirus Cume Factor (Part 2). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today presenting part two of his look at cume changes for news/talk stations. In this report, Kinosian presents charts showing news/talk stations ranked from highest cume to lowest, cume increases from the April 2020 PPM survey to the May 2020 PPM survey, decreases from April to May, and a chart displaying the cume for all stations on our panel in the all-news, sports talk, and news/talk radio formats. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Movement/Confederate & Colonial-Era Statues, Seattle CHOP Situation, Second Stimulus, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race, Flynn Charges Dismissed, Bubba Wallace Case, and MLB Season to Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The explosion of new COVID-19 cases in some states and projections of future cases and deaths; the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the related move to take down statues of Confederate and Colonial-era statues; Seattle asks CHOP protesters to leave the area and local business consider suing the city; the debate over a possible second COVID-19 federal stimulus package; the world’s financial markets react to COVID-19 data; Democrat Joe Biden enjoys positive poll news in his race against Donald Trump; the DOJ officially dismisses the charges against Michael Flynn; the FBI concludes the Bubba Wallace “noose” incident was not a hate crime; and the MLB prepares to open on July 1 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Today (6/25) at 2:00 pm ET, Cumulus Media | Westwood One is presenting a live webinar to release “brand new insights and studies on the state of the American consumer.” Covered in today’s event will be: Just-released J.D. Power automotive sales data for the week ending June 21 indicating it was one of the strongest auto sales performance weeks for new sales; new “Share of Ear” data from Edison Research on the audience duplication between AM/FM radio and Pandora and Spotify; how advertising can help businesses recover and reopen using a powerful new visual from marketing pro Les Binet; and more…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Program” – syndicated nationally via Talk Shows USA – announces the addition of Free Fire Media’s KCNR-AM, Shasta/K243CT, Redding, California and WCJU Incorporated’s WCJU-AM, Columbia, Mississippi to its roster of affiliates…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-FM, Tulsa and KOKI-TV “FOX23” are partnering with the American Red Cross in a two-day “Red, White and You” Blood Drive today and tomorrow (6-25/26). KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May comments, “This is one of our favorite events every year because it unifies our listeners in Green Country to work as a group to help people who live and work in their communities. Every pint donated to the American Red Cross can help save three lives. That’s a pretty impressive return on 30 minutes of your day.”

International Rock Musician/Impresario Leslie Mandoki Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Munich, Germany-based, Hungarian rocker Leslie Mandoki is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Mandoki is a seasoned professional forged by experience, passion and life, who is keeping the spirit and quality of the progressive, jazz rock era alive and well for generations old and new. His ensemble, MANDOKI SOULMATES, is a long-running loosely knit association of some of the greatest big-name musicians on the planet. Their brand-new release, “Living in the Gap & Hungarian Pictures,is a double album that expresses their ideals of socially aware lyrics and complex musical arrangements – basic tenets of the progressive and jazz rock era. In his youth, Mandoki escaped from communist Hungary to West Germany where he built one of the finest studio complexes in Europe, produced and performed on records, became friends with a wide network of great musicians including the legendary Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and launched a progressive rock juggernaut. Countless gold and platinum records decorate his walls. He also wrote, produced, and performed the superb charity song dedicated to the heroes of the coronavirus titled #WeSayThankYou with Ian Anderson that has garnered positive attention on international radio and on YouTube. Harrison and Mandoki discuss the music, social issues and politics that make Leslie Mandoki a fascinating individual – largely unknown to Americans. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Entercom Partners with Analytics Firm Deep Root. In what Entercom calls part of its “commitment to data-driven capabilities,” the company announces a partnership with audience-powered analytics company Deep Root that will allow Entercom to offer advertisers expanded targeting options. Entercom says, “This partnership will enable agencies, advocacy groups, and political campaigns to identify and reach Deep Root’s custom voter audience segments when advertising throughout Entercom’s robust portfolio of broadcast and digital assets. This includes access to Deep Root’s issue advocacy and political audience segments such as swing voters, blue collar voters, and environmentalists.” Entercom VP, data and analytics Dan McKinney adds, “Expansive reach and national scale allow radio and digital audio to serve as a reliable platform for brands and political campaigns to reach engaged consumers. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to support these advertising partners with increased targeting to accomplish their specific goals. Partnering with Deep Root will allow us to better serve our trusted partners and enhance their capabilities when leveraging our audio assets to reach voters nationally and locally.”

New RAB ‘Open for Business’ Series Announced. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, a new Open for Business live-video series titled, “Getting Your Billing Back On Track,” hosted by RAB SVP of professional development Jeff Schmidt takes place on July 14 at 11:00 am ET (a repeat viewing is available July 16 at 4:00 pm ET. RAB says, “As businesses across the country are reopening, it is time for sellers to rebuild their selling strategy. In this live-video presentation, Schmidt will share proven tools and resources account executives and managers can utilize to increase stations’ revenue and income at their stations and radio companies.” Registration is free to RAB members. To register, click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated urban contemporary “The Deja Vu Show” adds five new affiliates including: KBXT-FM, Bryan, Texas; KISX-FM, Tyler, Texas; KSSM-FM, Waco, Texas; KMJI-FM, Texarkana, Texas; and WRKA-FM, Louisville. The WBLS-FM, New York based afternoon drive show is syndicated via ABC Audio, whose executive director of business strategy Heidi Oringer says, “Throughout her career, Deja has drawn high ratings in every market where she’s heard. We’re thrilled that in syndication ‘The Deja Vu Show’ followed suit and is experiencing the same level of success and rapid growth. Deja’s insightful content and her standout personality draw large, diverse audiences. We’re excited that stations are adding ‘The Deja Vu Show’ to their lineups and equally excited that she is so favored by advertisers as well.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network announces new affiliation deals with more great radio stations. Adding Tom Kent’s “Ultimate Party” is Midwest Communications classic hits WBOW, Terre Haute, Indiana; Draper Communications classic hits WTDK, Salisbury, Maryland adds “My 70s Show” and “Super 60s with Steve Kent”; and Delta Media’s urban AC KFXZ, Opelousas, Louisiana adds “Sweet Soul Weekend with Jeff Foxx.”