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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

| October 20, 2021

Liberty Media Sells All Shares of iHeartMedia Stock. The company is exiting the broadcast radio business after selling 5.94 million shares of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock – a trade that’s worth about $150 million. Variety has the story and reports that “between November 2017 and February 2018, Liberty Media purchased $600 million of iHeartMedia debt for a total of $490 million. After iHeartRadio reduced its debt load through a bankruptcy settlement, the bonds were converted into about 6.9 million shares.” iHeartMedia issued the following statement: “We appreciate Liberty’s support for iHeartMedia, originally as a holder of debt which then converted into a meaningful equity stake, and we are delighted that they received a good return on their investment.” The iHeartMedia stock was part of the company’s Liberty SiriusXM Group that owns 78.1% of SiriusXM stock, 32% of Live Nation stock, plus small percentages of Formula One Group and the Atlanta Braves.

Audacy Acquires WideOrbit. There are no financial details included in the Audacy press release as the company announces its acquisition of “an exclusive, perpetual license to WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming technology and the related assets and operations of WO Streaming. This acquisition gives Audacy control of its product roadmap to deliver enhanced consumer-facing streaming features for its 170 million monthly listeners.” At this time, it’s unclear if this deal is the “small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million” that Audacy referenced last week when it announced it was offering $45 million in senior secured second-lien notes to raise capital, but it appears likely. Audacy will operate WO Streaming under the name AmperWave. The entire WO Streaming team, led by John Morris, SVP streaming, joins Audacy. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field comments, “The WideOrbit digital audio tech business perfectly complements our organic investments to make Audacy’s digital platform the top choice for listeners, clients and partners.”

Boston Sports Talkers ‘Toucher & Rich’ Launch Syndication Effort. WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” morning drive duo “Toucher & Rich” Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right) – along with cast member Jon Wallach – begin a regional syndication effort on Monday (10/25). Beasley Media Group says the show recently celebrated 12 years on ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ as the dominant program for Male and Adult audiences 25-54. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring Toucher & Rich’s unique brand of content and humor to sports fans throughout New England through this syndication initiative. The T&R team is already a favorite with their passionate audience. We look forward to expanding that loyal audience through this new affiliation!” Toucher says, “Being syndicated has always been a career goal and I am very excited to start this new challenge.” Rich adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to launch ‘Toucher & Rich’ into syndication. Our listeners have always been the most loyal in radio, and I’m thrilled to introduce our show to a whole new audience of potential T&R lifers.”

Bob Kessler to Anchor Midday News at WGN-AM, Chicago. Longtime WGN Radio news reporter Bob Kessler is now anchoring midday news Tuesdays through Fridays. Kessler joined WGN in 1994 as a producer and became a weekend newsroom anchor in 1997. Kessler’s work has been recognized with an award from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association in 2019. WGN news director Ryan Burrow says, “Bob’s been an integral part of the WGN family for decades. He’s a great newsman and capably leads the anchor desk. A true teammate, he brings a positive energy and personality to the newsroom. I’m glad we’re able to expand his role on the news team.”

WWO: WARC Study on the Value of Audio to Marketers. In this week’s blog from CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group, a study from marketing advisory firm WARC and iHeartMedia is examined. Titled, “The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio,” it reveals “a major audio investment gap for marketers.” It notes that 1) Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet audio is only allocated 8.8% of media budgets. Other media represent 91.2% of ad spend and 69% of consumer media use; 2)  Marketers overspend on digital and TV, and underspend on audio: WARC’s analysis reveals brands are overspending on TV and digital by 32%, and underspending on audio by a factor of 3X; 3) AM/FM radio generates a +36% increase in monthly reach for the average brand: An incremental reach analysis of 15 P&G brands conducted via Nielsen Media Impact, the media optimization platform, reveals the average P&G brand experiences a +36% increase in reach to their TV plan through the use of AM/FM radio; 4) The younger the demographic, the greater the lift in reach: Across P&G’s 15 brands, the lift in reach generated by AM/FM radio keeps growing in younger demographics. Among persons 35-44, the average P&G brand realizes a +63% increase in reach due to AM/FM radio. Among persons 25-34, AM/FM radio doubles the TV reach. See the blog here.

Cumulus Podcast Network to Join Strata Platform. A new partnership between Comcast’s FreeWheel, Cumulus Media, and Triton Digital brings Cumulus Podcast Network’s premium podcast inventory into the Strata media stewardship platform. The FreeWheel’s Strata allows agencies to automate the podcast buying process within their existing platform workflow, including receiving electronic proposals and sending electronic orders. Through this partnership, Strata users will be able to find and buy impression-based premium podcast inventory from Cumulus Media that is validated by metrics including downloads, as measured by Triton Digital’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. FreeWheel says this will mark the first time a podcast publisher has surfaced titles and lineups, which are curated groups of podcasts designed to reach specific desired demographics and psychographics, with metrics measured by industry leader Triton Digital, in a media buying platform. Cumulus SVP, digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky says, “Cumulus Media is pleased to expand its partnerships with FreeWheel and Triton to provide current and future marketing partners efficient access to the Cumulus Podcast Network’s vast offering of premium podcasts spanning entertainment, news, sports, politics, business, money and technology as well as the voices from our 413 stations.” Triton president of marketing development John Rosso adds, “Triton is pleased to be partnering with FreeWheel and Cumulus Media to provide advertisers with streamlined access to trustworthy, aggregated podcast data within their media buying system for the first time. Our IAB-accredited Podcast Metrics lineups provide advertisers with consistent data across networks and publishers, making the process of discovering, planning, analyzing and ultimately buying podcasts at scale seamless and efficient.” Strata users will be able to access Cumulus Podcast Network’s premium podcast inventory in the Strata system beginning in the 4th quarter of 2021.

Stonecom Adds Sports Talker to Livingston, Tennessee Market. The Overton County News reports that Stonecom debuts a new sports talk radio station for the Livingston, Tennessee market. “Sports Radio 104.7 emanates from WKXD-HD3 and is heard on translator W282AG at 104.7 FM. Stonecom president and GM Larry Stone says, “We know sports fans in this area are passionate about our local teams. During all the years doing Titans Caravan stops in Cookeville and Crossville, I saw that first-hand. It’s Big Orange Country with a huge love of everything orange. We love our championship high school sports around the region, and support the hard work of Tech athletes. ‘Sports Radio 104.7’ will serve that passion.” Programming will include “Outkick 360” featuring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky, “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and more.

January 6 Investigation/Bannon Held in Contempt, COVID-19, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden Reconciliation Bill, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, Chinese Military Aggression, Southern Border Crisis, Kidnapped Missionaries, and Facebook Rebrand Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the committee’s vote to refer Stephen K. Bannon to the DOJ for criminal prosecution; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the effects of the supply chain breakdown on the availability of consumer goods and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden considers reducing his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to $1.9 trillion; the State Department inspector general’s investigation into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; China’s development of hypersonic weapons and its aggression against Taiwan; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; the 17 missionaries being held for $17 million ransom in Haiti; and rumors that Facebook is planning a rebrand were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Fresh Edition of ‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Veterans Day and the Holidays. There’s new programming from the Fisher House Foundation for this Veterans Day as well as for the holiday season. The Jeff Wyatt Group has produced a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 available for download. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The program is available in three-hour, one-hour, 25- and 30-minute radio special versions and is hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt. It features stories of America’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families. Host Jeff Wyatt’s love and respect for our military will only amplify these radio specials, scheduled to deliver Oct. 28 for potential airing Veterans Day weekend, during the holiday season, and for Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends as well. You can hear a demo and see the clock at: radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

| June 15, 2021

FAIR Announces 14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Set for September 29-30 in Washington, DC. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces it has set the dates for this year’s 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row broadcast in Washington, DC. The event will take place on Wednesday, September 29 and Thursday, September 30 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. As in the past, this event features talk hosts from across the nation broadcasting live both days debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR says the F2F hosts 70 stations and has become the largest annual radio row and the centerpiece of the immigration debate each year for the media. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “Last year we had to cancel this long-running annual radio event. Not this year. No way, no how. Not with the Biden border crisis underway. This September we’re right back at it discussing, debating, sorting truth from fiction, hearing first-hand accounts, offering reasonable solutions and making collective noise on Capitol Hill and across the country. Barriers have to be built, asylum loopholes closed, more resources brought to bear, the rule of law enforced, and the lies of the mainstream media refuted. Most importantly, Americans – not special interests – need to be heard from.” Reservations are required and hosts/producers should call FAIR now to reserve their spot. There is no cost to attend and all technical engineering and expenses are taken care of by FAIR. Congressional guests, activists, high profile media personalities, and immigration experts will be in attendance and available throughout the event for wall-to-wall interviews. Talk hosts interested in attending should contact Matthew Tragesser, event manager at 202-328-7004 or mtragesser@fairus.org.

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

FOX News Radio midday personality and stand-up comic Jimmy Failla presents his welcoming remarks to the the attendees at TALKERS 21 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

WPG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) presents $5,000 from his charity to the Broadcasters Foundation of America, accepted by BFoA representative Renee Cassis (right) at TALKERS 21 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

Appearing on the “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career” panel were (from l-r): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Grace Curley, talk host, Howie Carr Radio Network; Dom Giordano, talk host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Rob Carson, talk host, Newsmax TV; and Erick Erickson, talk host, WSB, Atlanta and in syndication at TALKERS 21 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. (Not pictured: Harry Hurley, WPG, Atlantic City; and moderator Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS magazine.)

Townsquare Media Names Mary Fork Market President and CRO for Southwest Michigan. Sales and management pro Mary Fork joins Townsquare Media as market president/chief revenue officer for Southwest Michigan. In this role she’ll lead the company’s “Digital First” strategy and drive strategic multi-platform sales and content initiatives across the region that includes Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Fork most recently served with Comcast. She will report to Townsquare SVP Todd Lawley, who says, “From the first time I spoke to Mary it was clear that the ability to coach, lead and execute a multi-platform strategy is in her DNA. She possesses a unique skill set that will allow her to bring our world class set of digital and local broadcast solutions to the market with the mission of making Townsquare Kalamazoo/Battle Creek the #1 local media company in Southwest Michigan.” Fork adds, “I am beyond excited to be returning home to Southwest Michigan and joining the Townsquare Media family. What compelled me to join Townsquare is not only the full-service digital marketing capabilities and incredible local media brands, but the way Townsquare goes to market and its Digital First strategy. I was completely impressed when I saw how Townsquare’s campaigns have full transparency, true optimization and industry leading attribution. With the unmatched product power and campaign management integrity of Townsquare, I knew I needed to join this winning team.”

Westwood One Blog: Network Radio is ‘Reach Accelerator.’ This week’s Westwood One blog features data that suggests “adding network radio into any media generates an outsized lift in incremental reach.” Addressing the fast-declining audience for linear TV and the rate of cord cutting, the blog “outlines how advertisers can use network radio to amplify their media plans and accelerate reach.” On the state of TV in 2021, MoffettNathanson says since 2011, non-live cable audiences are down 49%. Broadcast network non-live audiences are down 44%. MoffettNathanson adds that pay TV penetration has dropped from 89% of U.S. homes in 2009 to 60% today. Citing Nielsen Media Impact data, the blog says, “a 20% addition of CTV (connected TV) media weight to a linear TV buy results only in an 8% increase in reach.” Supporting the notion that “network radio is the media plan reach accelerator,” data from the Nielsen Commspoint media planning tool suggests a three-million-dollar investment in network radio generates a weekly national reach of 50%, 47% greater than the same investment in digital and TV (34%). Adding network radio into any media generates an outsized lift in incremental reach.

RAB Reveals Radio Mercury Awards Final Round Judging Panel. The Radio Mercury Awards 2021 Final Round Jury is being named. RAB says in a press release, “The incoming panel of top-level agency creative leaders represents radio’s top advertising categories, including automotive, consumer packaged goods (CPG), communications, community service, education, financial services, nonprofits, quick-serve restaurants, retail, spirits, technology, travel and utilities. The jury, curated with the help of 2021 Radio Mercury Awards chief judge Robin Fitzgerald, chief creative officer, BBDO Atlanta, comprises thought leaders from across the country and represents all size markets with diverse audiences and cutting-edge creative work for advertising’s biggest brands.” The 2021 Radio Mercury Awards Final Round Jury is: Adia Betts, associate creative director/copywriter, Dagger Atlanta; Nathalie Brown, executive creative director, VMLY&R NY; Bianca Guimaraes, partner and executive creative director, Mischief NY; Paul Johnson, freelance copywriter/creative director; Derrick Ogilvie, vice president/creative director, BBDO Atlanta; Andrés Ordóñez, executive vice president/chief creative officer, FCB Chicago; Alejandro Ortiz, executive creative director, Campbell Ewald Detroit/NY; Shannon Washington, senior vice president executive creative director, R/GALewis Williams, chief creative officer, Burrell Communications Group Chicago; and Sherman Winfield, executive creative director, VMLY&R Atlanta. Find out more about the judges here.

Biden European Trip/Putin Summit, Infrastructure Deal, COVID-19, McConnell SCOTUS Threat, Trump DOJ Investigation, and Israeli Politics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/14). President Joe Biden’s meeting with G7 leaders in Cornwall and his looming meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; the U.S. Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccinations, and the search for the origin of the coronavirus; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration he’ll refuse a Biden Supreme Court nominee if Republicans take back the Senate in 2022; the possible investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged use of the Department of Justice to settle political scores; and the ouster of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

| June 2, 2021

Superadio Networks, Bloomberg Radio, and Key Networks Partner to Present ‘Bloomberg Black Business Beat’. A collaborative effort between Key Networks, Bloomberg Radio, and Superadio Networks LLC results in the syndication of the specialty feature “The Bloomberg Black Business Beat” to radio stations across the U.S. The program is hosted by Renita Young and presents a daily look at the intersection of culture and commerce affecting Black American audiences. Topics range from the latest trends in Black-owned businesses and profiles of Black entrepreneurs, to a continuing look at diversity in the workplace and an inside look at the business of entertainment. Superadio president Eric Faison says, “We’re excited to partner with Key Networks to bring ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ to an audience that is looking for information on business trends, consumer news and finance and deliver it in a compelling and fast-paced format.” Key Networks’ chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Key Networks is proud to partner with Superadio to bring ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ to listeners and advertisers across the country. The feature provides a wealth of information related to business and finance that is important to Black audiences. ‘The Bloomberg Black Business Beat’ will inform and educate listeners and provide affiliates with high-quality iHeart content.”

New Execs Appointed at iHeartMedia Salt Lake City. At its Salt Lake City operations, iHeartMedia promotes Judy Copier to market president and Joyce Wirthlin rises to SVP of sales. Copier has served with iHeartMedia Salt Lake City for 10 years, most recently as SVP of sales. Copier takes over for Stu Stanek, who has been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years and is retiring as market president. Copier says, “I am very appreciative of the opportunity to take over the reins and lead this talented team in Salt Lake City. I feel very fortunate to have worked alongside Stu for several years and know his wisdom and insight have been invaluable in preparing me for this role. I’m also excited to promote Joyce to SVP of sales – the strength of her leadership will be a great asset. I’m proud to be part of the iHeartMedia family, one that recognizes that our organization is built on, and succeeds because of, the very talented people I get to work with every day.” In addition, to these changes, Jeff McCartney was appointed to the SVP of programming role in January of 2021, rounding out the market’s executive team.

‘LI News Radio’ Wins Eight Press Club Awards. Long Island news/talk WRCN, Riverhead “LI News Radio” took home eight Press Club of Long Island Media Awards at the organization’s May 28 ceremony. The JVC Media station’s “Breaking it Down with Frank MacKay” won in seven categories. JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “The Press Club of Long Island is a professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  ‘Breaking it Down’ airs Monday through Friday at 2:00 pm on ‘LI News Radio’ and it is one of the leading celebrity radio talk shows in the nation with thousands of daily listeners on many of our JVC stations, as well as other affiliates and partners. The entire team at JVC is so proud of Frank. He brings a passion to this medium and has a fantastic interview and storytelling style that just makes his show appointment listening for all. I am very excited about the future of Frank MacKay and the ‘Breaking it Down’ program.”

WWO Blog: Targeting ‘Ready to Go’ Customers. This week’s Westwood One blog analyzes a recent Nielsen study that investigates which media audiences have the greatest purchase propensity as the nation continues to emerge from the pandemic. The group of people that considers itself “ready to go” is one that “perceives less risk, feels safer, and indicates their cities are emerging from crisis. The study indicates that in the “ready-to-go” group “advertisers can find a desirable consumer group that over-indexes in having children aged 2-11 (117), having an annual income of $100K+ (113), and working outside of the home (114). Compared to the average, the “ready-to-go” consumers are 5% more likely to listen to AM/FM radio in a typical day.” Data from the study shows that in the automobile category, “podcast listeners (+43%) and AM/FM radio listeners (+18%) are more likely to make an auto purchase in the next 12 months versus the average consumer and heavy TV viewers.” In the restaurant category, “heavy AM/FM radio listeners and podcast listeners are more likely to dine out: 63% of heavy AM/FM radio listeners intend to dine out at either a quick serve or sit-down restaurant within a month. More than half of podcast listeners also intend to dine out after COVID-19 restrictions ease.”

Meredith Tiger Joins Audacy as Director of Corporate Communications. PR pro Meredith Tiger joins Audacy as director of corporate communications and PR. In this role, Tiger will help drive overall communications strategy for the company, including leading communications support for key business initiatives, crisis communications, event communications, and talent relations, and will serve as a key company spokesperson, reporting to Ashok Sinha, SVP, head of corporate communications & PR. Tiger – most recently serving with HBO Max – will lead strategic communications for Audacy’s digital, research, podcasting, corporate social responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion, and other divisions within Audacy’s portfolio, while also increasing industry awareness for the company through executive visibility and thought leadership programs, including key speaking engagements and press opportunities for Audacy’s executive leadership team. Additionally, she will spearhead consumer publicity for the company’s tentpole live events. In her role, Tiger will partner closely with employee communications, local market communications efforts and corporate social media.  Tiger says, “It’s an exciting time in our industry and I am thrilled to have joined the team at Audacy. It’s clear that based on the leadership, this is a first-class operation and I’m looking forward to collaborating with some of the top creative and communications professionals in the field.”

TALKERS News Notes. In recognition of Pride Month, Audacy unveils a month-long multiplatform campaign called, “Celebrations in Pride,” presented by Stella Rosa Wines, that includes a series of on-air content heard on CHANNEL Q, the award-winning LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network, and select Audacy stations. “Celebrations in Pride” will also be available digitally via station streams on the Audacy platform and Audacy.com/Pride. Audacy SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re delighted to leverage our national scale and local connection to celebrate Pride Month through this exciting and entertaining campaign. We look forward to connecting our audience to our industry’s biggest superstars and influential allies of the LGTBQ+ community and delivering powerful everyday content throughout the month.”…..The National Association of Broadcasters is hosting a special event on June 17 at 2:00 pm ET on NAB Amplify to announce and celebrate the 2021 recipients of the NAB Engineering Achievement Awards and Digital Leadership Award. The special session titled, “The Future of Media and NAB Technology Awards,” kicks off with a keynote conversation with Mike Chapman, a partner and Americas media lead at management consulting firm Kearney, who will discuss the future of media, including trends to watch, with Sam Matheny, executive vice president and chief technology officer of NAB…..In celebration of Black Music Month, Urban One announces the release of its new podcast series, “For the Culture, A History of Black Music.” The podcast features six episodes focused on the impact of several Black music genres on popular music today, including Gospel, Funk, Philly Soul, Trap and Hip Hop, Go Go, and Chopped and Screwed and present interviews with music makers from each genre. Reach Media syndicated radio host Angie Ange hosts the podcast and presents content designed to entertain and enlighten Reach Media’s national audience with real discussions and insights from pioneers and celebrities who have contributed to the national/global rise of locally originated sounds in hotbed music markets…..audiochuck network announces that the popular true-crime podcast, “Park Predators” is dropping a second season. Hosted by investigative journalist and accomplished podcaster Delia D’Ambra, “Park Predators” explores the evil hiding among the beautiful landscapes of the national parks and forests within North and Central America.” AdLarge handles ad sales for the podcast.

COVID-19, Worker Shortage, Tulsa Massacre Anniversary, Voting Rights, Vote Audits/Sydney Powell Claim, and JBS Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and the simmering Wuhan lab leak theory; employers in the U.S. are complaining about the lack of available workers as the country fully re-opens; the anniversary of the Tulsa “Black Wall Street” massacre; President Joe Biden appeals to Americans to support voting rights and appoints Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to defend voting rights; the 2020 vote audits taking place in Arizona and New Hampshire and former Trump lawyer Sydney Powell’s claim Donald Trump could be “reinstated”; and the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

| April 13, 2021

Report: Sebastian Gorka’s ‘America First’ YouTube Channel Terminated. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, the Sebastian Gorka’s “America First” YouTube channel has been terminated for its “presidential election integrity policy.” Gorka’s “America First” program is syndicated nationally via Salem Radio Network live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart. He served as a one-time aide to President Donald Trump. The Examiner reports that YouTube spokesperson Ivey Choi told it, “In accordance with our long-standing strikes system, we terminated the channel ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka’ for repeated violations of our presidential election integrity policy. As we’ve publicly shared, our presidential election integrity policy prohibits content uploaded after last year’s safe harbor deadline that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Any channel that violates this policy will receive a strike and channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period are permanently removed from YouTube, as in the case of ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka.’”

Grace Curley Show Continues to Add New Affiliate Stations. The Boston-based early afternoon talk radio program “The Grace Curley Show” adds new affiliate stations – including Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts and Sugar River Media’s news/talk duo WNTK-FM and WUVR-FM in New London, New Hampshire.  The Grace Curley Show is produced and syndicated by the Howie Carr Radio Network. Howie Carr says, “Grace Curley continues to expand as she has put together an excellent modern talk show with daily compelling, fresh content.” Curley’s program launched in January of this year on WRKO, Boston and recent affiliates adding the program include: Saga’s WGAN, Portland; WFEA, Manchester, New Hampshire; and WKBK, Keene, New Hampshire; plus Harrison Irrevocable Trust’s trio of news/talkers WTPL, Hillsboro; WTSN, Dover; and WEMJ, Laconia in New Hampshire. Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr comments, “It is exciting to see such a young talent grow so rapidly.”

Cox Media Group Adds Mark Kaye Show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. As it did at O&O WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, Cox Media Group fills the early afternoon daypart occupied for so many years by Rush Limbaugh with WOKV-based talk show host Mark Kaye on its Tulsa news/talker KRMG-AM/FM. Kaye was a longtime morning drive personality on CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville who left that role last year to focus on his talk show on sister WOKV-FM. Kaye says, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG along with 102.3 KRMG for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.” CMG Radio EVP Rob Babin adds, “Our stations across the country will greatly miss Rush. We’re pleased to have our own CMG talent to take over that show time in the Tulsa market who has a long successful track record of great ratings and building large audiences, and is very compatible with the brand of entertaining and engaging programming that our listeners expect from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.”

Woofy Appointed OM for JVC Media’s Emerald Coast Cluster. Radio pro Woofy Ramone is joining JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach/Destin station group as operations manager overseeing talk WZLB “Florida Man Radio 103.1,” CHR WECQ, country WHWY, and classic hits WWAV, effective in early June.  JVC executive Shane Reeve states, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Woofy as our operations manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is great for everyone in the market. Woofy is synonymous with the Emerald Coast, having been involved in many local charities, broadcasting and helping listeners through our area’s big hurricanes, and having a top-rated show for almost 30 years. I’m thrilled to work with Woofy again and to have someone of Woofy’s experience and stature on board with the JVC family.” JVC Florida director of programming Stevie DeMann adds, “I’m excited Woofy is joining the JVC team! It is going to be fun to watch him lend his knowledge and expertise of the Emerald Coast to our brands and staff. He’s a natural to continue our culture of FUN radio that works for the community, clients, and our loyal listeners!”

Stanberry Named VP of Government Relations at NAB. The National Association of Broadcasters announces Charlyn Stanberry joins the organization as vice president of government relations, effective today. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Charlyn has exceled on Capitol Hill, in the private sector and in the legal community, and commands expert knowledge of the legislative process. America’s local broadcasters will greatly benefit from Charlyn’s work on their behalf and we are delighted to welcome her to NAB.” Stanberry was most recently chief of staff for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09). She is also an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia where she teaches Foundation Civics and Ethics & Values.

Westwood One Blog Takes Aim at Myths About Radio. In this week’s Westwood One blog by chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, he addresses “the perception of media audiences” that is “skewed by prevalent myths in the ad community.” In the column, he sets out to disprove “eight of the biggest perceptions brands hold about AM/FM radio.” Perception #1: “Due to the pandemic, no one is listening to AM/FM radio.” Reality: According to the latest Nielsen Fall 2020 Nationwide Report, AM/FM radio has retained 95% of its persons 18+ reach from the Fall 2019 survey. Perception #2: “Due to the pandemic, everyone’s working at home and no one is commuting.” Reality: According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, 60% of Americans are commuting every day, a sharp contrast to the perception. Perception #3: “AM/FM radio has very low reach.” Reality: 88% of all Americans are reached by AM/FM radio on a weekly basis, according to Nielsen’s Q3 2020 Total Audience Report. See the rest of the blog here.

CMG Names Kim Dallow Tulsa Director of Radio Operations. Programming pro Kim Dallow officially rises to director of radio operations for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster. Dallow has served with CMG Tulsa for 14 years, most recently as director of branding & programming of classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” a position she will continue to hold. She’s been acting OM for the cluster for the past year. She says, “It’s such a privilege to work with this team of outstanding broadcasters. I’m so proud of the local programming and community support that CMG Tulsa consistently provides, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to help ensure that its legacy of excellence continues.”

Minneapolis Police Shooting Protests/Derek Chauvin Trial, COVID-19, Border Crisis, China’s Taiwan Exercises, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Iran Nuclear Site Attack, and BLM Founder’s Growing Real Estate Portfolio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Clashes erupt between police and protestors in Minneapolis after police kill a Black man during a traffic stop and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the spikes of COVID-19 cases in some states, the recommended pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and the rollout of the other vaccines; the large number of unaccompanied children amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; China’s aggressive military policy regarding Taiwan; the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with a minor; the attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility and the state of the Iran nuclear deal; and criticism of Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors’ growing real estate portfolio were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 16, 2020

| October 16, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Hugging and Slugging!” looks back at this past week of October 12 – October 16, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Alan Stock, talk show host/commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 “Freedom 93.7”; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer 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.

Jack Heath Exits WGIR-AM, Manchester, NH. A brief story in the New Hampshire Union Leader indicates that radio talk show host Jack Heath has exited iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire and his daily “NH Today” morning program. Heath said goodbye to his listeners at the end of his show and posted the following message to his Facebook page: “I have been honored and humbled to host the show for nearly 7 plus years there. I am especially grateful to the listeners for being there and proud of the work I was able to do to help NH’s great nonprofits and advocate for our veterans — a mission I will continue. This is not a goodbye but a thank you for now. Until we talk again, thanks…Stay tuned. JH.”

KFGO, Fargo’s Joel Heitkamp Positive for COVID-19. A report from the Associated Press indicates that KFGO-AM, Fargo “The Mighty 790” talk show host Joel Heitkamp has tested positive for COVID-19. The story notes that Heitkamp says he began experiencing symptoms last weekend and says he’s “lost his sense of taste and smell and is experiencing body aches.” He’s self-quarantining and still doing his radio program remotely. He told listeners, “I am in a part of the process where it’s certainly after talking with people in the medical field, it certainly looks as though I’m going to be one of the lucky ones in terms of how this has infected me, in terms of how I’m going to feel throughout this process, not going to feel good, not going to feel great.”

SRN’s Sebastian Gorka Has Twitter Account Locked After Biden Post. According to a story published at Breitbart, Salem Radio Network talk show host Sebastian Gorka has been locked out of his Twitter account after posting a photo of Hunter Biden in the bathtub smoking a cigarette and the text, “Why did @FBI take the Biden laptop and do nothing?” Gorka received a message from Twitter saying he’d been locked out for violating the rules and said he must delete the tweets that violate the rules. It’s not clear what rules were broken in the tweet. While appearing on SiriusXM with Breitbart’s Alex Marlow, Gorka said to listeners, “This is America in 2020. The FBI did nothing when they had evidence of crimes, and when I want to talk about it as an American citizen to you and the Breitbart listeners, my account was locked. We are here. We have arrived. 1984 wasn’t fiction, and they want to steal an election again, and I just don’t mean social media, I mean authorities that can burst through your front door at 4:00 am with a warrant like they did to Roger Stone.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Promises to ‘Clarify Ambiguity’ in Section 230. Saying that he’s moving in response to concerns from members of all three branches of the federal government, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says he’ll proceed with a rulemaking to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Act that explains the immunity from legal responsibility that digital platforms enjoy with regard to their content. Pai says, “The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’  And earlier this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision. As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean? Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230.  The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning. Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression.  Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 12-16. The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a four-way tie between the presidential race, Thursday night’s dueling town halls, balloting issues, and scandals & accusations. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections plus high-profile COVID patients, followed by health care, meds, and protective measures at #4. 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.

ASU Student Rae’Lee Klein Sues School on Free Speech Grounds. In September, Rae’Lee Klein was removed from her position as manager of Arizona State University’s student radio station Blaze Radio. This came in the aftermath of Klein’s tweet related to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the tweet, Klein said, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Her attorney, Jack Wilenchik, tells Downtown Devil, “We’re suing because she’s not the station manager. She’s been constructively terminated (and) they’re not letting her do her job. They are discriminating against her based on her exercise of free speech by taking that away.” Klein has been effectively removed from her position but she’s still being paid by the school. According to media and constitutional law specialist David J. Bodney, whom Downtown Devil communicated with for the story, “There was no First Amendment violation here, and Ms. Klein’s claims are meritless. ASU and the Cronkite School have deep and abiding commitments to free speech and excellence in journalism, and this lawsuit disregards an array of facts that show just how baseless these claims really are.” Bodney added that Klein’s conduct post-Tweet is evidence she’s is no longer able to lead Blaze Radio and that the university did not terminate her employment. Bodney also says that Klein was offered other opportunities, such as starting her own radio station with support from the university, all of which she rejected.

TALKERS News Notes. The most recent Westwood One Blog post reveals data from Nielsen Audio’s national consumer study of 1,000 respondents (conducted October 1-5) that tracks the pandemic’s impact on consumer movement, spending, attitudes, and media usage. Some of the conclusions drawn include: 1) There is a 56% increase in the number of Americans working outside the home. Nielsen reports 61% of U.S. workers are now commuting to their workplace, up from 39% in early May; 2) Half of American schoolchildren are driven to school with AM/FM radio playing in the car. 50% say their children are driven to school (3% carpool, 47% parent/family member). 44% of American schoolchildren are taking the bus. 62% indicate that AM/FM radio is always on, and 35% say AM/FM radio is sometimes on in the car; and 3) The economy will affect holiday shopping, but AM/FM radio listeners will spend more than the average. A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will spend more this holiday (14%) versus heavy TV viewers (10%) and the overall market (10%). Read the full post  here…..Podcast producer Lipstick & Vinyl announces the third season of “The Double Shift,” that explores the challenges working moms face every day. The new season focuses on the disruptive impact of the coronavirus on families, how that disproportionally disrupts moms’ careers, and how to navigate that. Creator and host Katherine Goldstein says, “We’re in an acute crisis at this moment. 865,000 women have left or been forced to leave the workforce between August and September. Many of those women are moms. The lack of structured family and childcare programs that we’ve talked about on ‘The Double Shift’ are more glaringly missing than ever before.”…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that its national travel radio show “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” has successfully surpassed another affiliation milestone and is now heard on more than 440 radio stations across the USA and Canada.  The Careys say, “Since the pandemic has disrupted our nation and the world back in March, ‘RMWorldTravel’ has added about 30 new affiliates and additional new sponsors, underscoring the importance of all aspects of the travel world in our daily lives.”

Outstanding Sales Opportunities. New York’s next media star is wanted at two power-packed stations. Salem Media New York, part of a nationwide media conglomerate, wants to hire two fabulous sellers who can rise to the top! Opportunity is limitless. We are looking for quality, regardless of current time in selling. Respond by dropping a note to Jerry.Crowley@Salem.cc.