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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

| September 15, 2021

NAB Pulls Back from In-Person NAB Show in Las Vegas. This year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas – planned for October 9-13 – is being cancelled. NAB executive vice president and managing director of global connections and events Chris Brown issued the following statement today (9/15): “For more than a year we have worked tirelessly to bring our industry together safely in Las Vegas at NAB Show. Unfortunately, the pandemic and surge of the Delta variant has presented unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community. As we have always kept the best interest and safety of the industry as our priority, it has become apparent in the face of these challenges that we can no longer effectively host NAB Show or our co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, in person. NAB Show is the premiere destination for the media and entertainment industry and we will not move forward with a show that delivers anything less than the excellence our community has come to expect and deserves from us. While we are disappointed that we will not be together again in person next month, we look forward to converging at the 2022 NAB Show, April 23-27, 2022, to reignite our passion for our business and focus on a bright future ahead. Stay tuned for details regarding virtual options for accessing select 2021 NAB Show content through NAB Amplify.” Reacting to the NAB announcement, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is an extremely unfortunate turn of events. As a convention-planning organization, TALKERS empathizes with the amount of forethought, coordination, and resources that are invested in presenting these industry gatherings. No doubt, this is a tough blow for the NAB and the industry.  At TALKERS we were very lucky to be able to squeeze our live conference in this year on June 11 which seemed to be a window of calm opportunity between two waves of the coronavirus. I strongly suggest those who have yet to view the video recordings of every session – many that dealt productively with radio’s existential issues and are still extremely pertinent – do so at their convenience.” To view the videos from Talkers 2021, please click here.

Audacy and Cumulus Media Strike Deal for Digital Distribution Partnership. This content distribution deal between Audacy and Cumulus Media puts streaming audio from Cumulus’s 413 radio stations and its portfolio of podcasts onto the Audacy digital platform. Cumulus SVP of digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky says, “We’re delighted with this opportunity to expand listeners’ ability to discover and connect with our stations and podcasts through the Audacy app. This partnership is in sync with our strategy of distributing our content through multiple platforms to make it available anywhere and anytime people want to enjoy it.” Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “The addition of Cumulus’s expansive portfolio of leading radio stations enhances and bolsters Audacy’s position as the fastest growing digital platform for radio listeners. Audacy looks forward to building on this initial partnership with Cumulus and will continue to develop new and innovative ways to super serve our listeners.”

Bret Gogoel Named Producer for WLS-AM, Chicago’s John Howell Show. The afternoon drive “John Howell Show” at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago has a new executive producer as Bret Gogoel is named to the position. Gogoel takes over the role vacated by Mallory Vor Broker who was recently promoted to the news department covering city hall and the political beat for the station. She fills the role held for years by Bill Cameron, who retired. Gogoel has been a technical producer, fill-in producer, and podcast manager for WLS-AM since 2017 and was former play-by-play announcer for the Windy City Bulls basketball team. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “I am delighted to announce that Bret Gogoel will be the new executive producer of ‘The John Howell Show.’ Bret has worked for Cumulus for over four years and during his tenure has worn many hats including producing the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, the PoPo Report, the Trip Sisters and more. Bret has also been an integral ‘pinch-hitter’ producer who has regularly filled in to produce drive time programs. He is the perfect fit for our afternoon drive team.” Gogoel comments, “I couldn’t be more excited to step into the big shoes left by Mallory and work with a consummate professional like John Howell. I hope to take everything I’ve learned from my time here at WLS and continue to put out a top-notch product.”

‘Chad & Nate’ New Late Morning Show on KKFN, Denver. The exit of Orlando “The Big O” Franklin from Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to join the staff of the San Francisco 49ers forced the station to make some programming changes. Now, KKFN program director Raj Sharan announces that Chad Brown (left) and Nate Jackson (right) will partner for the “Chad and Nate” show that will air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am beginning September 20. He says, “We’ve received incredible feedback from listeners on both Chad and Nate, hoping to hear them more regularly on the station. Chad and Nate’s contrasting personalities and insightful perspectives will create a unique and entertaining program every day.” As a result of the new schedule, the programs that follow will all begin one hour earlier. Additionally, Sandy Clough – who co-hosted with Franklin – moves to evenings where he’ll work with Shawn Drotar on the new night show, “Sandy and Shawn.” Bonneville Denver SVP and market manager Bob Call adds, “I’m excited we can bring Chad and Nate together. We’ve been looking for a way to get them both involved in our lineup on a daily basis. In addition, teaming Sandy with Shawn in the evening will give Denver sports fans an objective, unbiased and unaffiliated postgame show following Nuggets, Avalanche and Rockies games.”

iHeartMedia Albany’s Kristen Delaney to Retire. Radio sales and management pro Kristen Delaney is retiring from her position as area president for iHeartMedia Albany, effective December 31, 2021. Delaney began her broadcasting career in 1989 as an account executive in Utica. She’s been serving as area president for Albany and Poughkeepsie, New York and Sussex, New Jersey since 2011. iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins says, “Rarely do you see someone so inspiring and skilled at their profession as Kristen Delaney. After almost 23 years with iHeartMedia, she still treated every day as a new adventure and those of us in her orbit all benefited. I applaud her in taking one more adventurous step to retirement. Kristen’s presence will be missed beyond words.”

WJCW-AM, Johnson City Host Tim Cable Succumbs to COVID-19. The Johnson City Press reports the death of WJCW-AM, Johnson City, Tennessee morning drive co-host Tim Cable at age 60 after a battle with COVID-19. Cable co-hosted the “Thinking Out Loud” morning drive show with Carl Swan. He was a longtime media figure in the market and was well known for his WJHL-TV series “Cable Country.” In addition his morning show work, he served as play-by-play announcer for Daniel Boone High School and David Crockett High School sports. Cable was a graduate of Hampton High School and East Tennessee State University. He started his radio career at WBEJ in Elizabethton before venturing into television where he anchored news, weather and sports.

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow night (9/16), Nissan Stadium in Nashville – home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans – will be the site of a high school football game between the White House Blue Devils and Waverly Central Tigers. The latter school’s football facilities were destroyed by the recent flooding that hit the state. Titans Radio broadcaster Mike Keith approached Titans Radio and WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” operations manager Paul Mason about broadcasting the game and Mason says the result was a unanimous “yes.” Mason adds, “The entire Titans Radio team is humbled and looking forward to giving Waverly and White House an NFL broadcast experience. We can’t wait to hear ‘Tigers Radio’ Thursday night on ‘104-5 The Zone.’”…..Tom Griswold (pictured here in the studio) returned to his role as host of “The BOB & TOM Show” yesterday (9/14) after successful heart valve replacement surgery in mid-August and recovery at home in Indianapolis. Westwood One syndicates the program nationally (and on the American Forces Network worldwide) and says, “The comedic ringmaster of The BOB & TOM Show’s talent-packed ensemble cast was back in the studio in fine form this morning, entertaining the show’s loyal fans across the U.S.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000-plus at 2021 Golf Tourney. The Broadcasters Foundation of America raised more than $200,000 to help broadcasters in need during Monday’s 2021 Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out to help support broadcasters who have experienced terrible loss due to illness or unforeseen disaster. BFoA president Jim Thompson says, “The Celebrity Golf Tournament is one of our biggest annual fundraising events. We had to cancel last year’s tournament due to the pandemic, and we are grateful to return this year and to have strong support from our sponsors and players. The money comes at a time when we are helping more broadcasters and their families than ever before. Our thanks also go to everyone who has generously supported the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation with a donation.”

Gavin Newsom Recall Election, COVID-19, Peril Book Allegations, Afghanistan Exit, Texas Abortion Law, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Korean Tensions, Wildfires and Flooding, and Norm MacDonald Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). California Governor Gavin Newsom survives recall election; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the battle over vaccine & mask mandates, and the deaths of anti-vaxxers; the new Bob Woodward book Peril details steps General Mark Milley took to prevent former President Donald Trump from “going rogue”; the U.S. military’s exit from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s control of the nation; the legal moves being attempted to combat Texas’ restrictive abortion law; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the September 18 “Justice for J6” rally; tensions on the Korean peninsula as both North and South Korea launch test missiles; the wildfires plaguing the U.S. West and the drenching rains of tropical depression Nicholas; and comedian and former “SNL” star Norm MacDonald dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 3, 2021

| September 3, 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, “I Had a Cow,” looks back at this past week of 8/30 – 9/3. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Larry Elder, gubernatorial candidate, California; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; 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.

Salem to Debut ‘Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.’ On Tuesday (9/7), Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network will launch the “Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.”  Salem says the podcast is an audio companion to the Daybreak Insider Newsletter, which is currently distributed each weekday morning to more than 100,000 subscribers. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “It’s clear that podcast listeners are looking for informed reporting on what’s really happening in their world. Within Salem, we have a wealth of resources, both for newsgathering and for analysis. With the ‘Daybreak Insider Podcast,’ we’ll be pooling all of those resources into a single podcast to provide in-depth coverage from a conservative worldview. You’ll hear trusted voices from SRN News, Townhall.com, as well as the Salem Radio Network every day on this podcast, and it will all be pulled together by the experienced voice of Rich Thomason.” Thomason has served for more than 20 years with SRN News as an anchor, correspondent, and news producer.

‘710 ESPN Seattle’ Announces ‘The Matt Hasselbeck Show.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, “710 ESPN Seattle” announces “The Matt Hasselbeck Show” joins the programming lineup as a weekly program. The new, one-hour show will air each Wednesday at 9:00 am as Hasselbeck joins morning host Mike Salk, who says, “No one tells a story quite like Matt and he uses his incredible experiences to paint an extraordinary picture of what’s happening in the NFL. He’s as entertaining, knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in this business and his Seahawks credentials are second to none. I can’t wait to talk with him every week!” Kyle Brown is program director for the Bonneville station. He adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to add one of the most illustrious players in Seahawks franchise history to our team here at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Matt is among the premier football analysts in the country and his indelible ties to Seattle make him the perfect addition to our Seahawks coverage.” The inaugural show will air Wednesday, September 15 and it also be offered as a weekly podcast at 710Sports.com.

Erick Erickson Lays into Anti-Vaxxers. In a story published in Newsweek, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk host Erick Erickson lashed out at anti-vaxxers after a relative of his died from COVID-19. The piece says that during Erickson’s Wednesday broadcast, he referred to anti-vaccination activists as “idiots” after a healthy, unvaccinated relative of his died from COVID-19 after being influenced by anti-vaccine messaging. He’s quoted calling “organized efforts to undermine trust in the vaccines… a deeply evil thing” and “a sin.” He also chastised a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators who harassed health care workers and people waiting in line for vaccinations that led to the vaccination site being shut down. He said on his program, “Listen to this, you idiots. What I care deeply about though is that some of you are scared of getting [the vaccine] because you’ve heard people on the internet lie to you and you don’t know that they’re lying. I don’t care that you don’t want the vaccine, but if you’re out there spreading lies and misinformation and disinformation and willfully undermining people’s trust with a vaccine, I care about that a great deal.”

iHeartMedia Panama City Fills Three Trucks for Hurricane Ida Relief. Staffers at iHeartMedia Panama City and community volunteers worked together on the “iHeartMedia Operation Storm Relief” effort to collect enough items to fill three semi-truck trailers donated by Tarpon Dock Seafood owner Greg Abrams, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. The drive was held at a local Super Walmart on Wednesday (9/1). Two of the trucks are en route to south Louisiana, with the third going early next week. iHeartMedia general manager Darrell Johnson says, “Having been through a category 5 hurricane ourselves less than three years ago, we knew what the folks of South Louisiana needed. Even as our community is still recovering from that natural disaster while also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important for our community to step up and help our Gulf Coast neighbors.” In addition to the supplies, the drive also raised over $10,000 in monetary donations, which was used for purchasing additional critically needed items to fill the third truck for Hurricane Ida victims

NAB’s Gordon Smith to Be Honored with 2021 Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith is this year’s recipient of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award that is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Smith will be presented with the Award at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on October 12 during NAB Show. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Past recipients include: Ajit Pai, Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University Sign Five-Year Broadcast Extension. Chicago news/talk outlet WGN-AM and Northwestern Athletics agree to a five-year broadcast rightsholder extension to keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the station through the 2025-26 seasons. Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio has been the home of the Wildcats since 1996. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Athletics head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins will continue to make frequent appearances on the station’s shows. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “For the past 25 years, WGN Radio has broadcast Northwestern football and men’s basketball and I am thrilled to be extending our partnership for five more years, bringing Chicago’s Big Ten team play-by-play to our Chicago’s Very Own audience. WGN sports director Dave Eanet, who has handled play-by-play duties for Wildcats football since 1990, and basketball since 1996, says, “I’m excited to see our relationship with Northwestern Athletics continue. We’ve had so many great moments: Bowl games, two Big Ten Championship games, the NCAA Tournament, and I know many more thrilling moments are ahead. We look forward to bringing them to WGN Radio listeners for the years to come.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 30 – September 3. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the exit was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about the COVID-19 variants and the vaccines & mask mandates. Coming in at #3 was the greater topic of climate change along with the devastation from Hurricane Ida and the battle to stop the Caldor wildfire in California. 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.

Monday, June 28, 2021

| June 28, 2021

Monday Memo: Quoting Sgt. Hulka. Are you the soundtrack of The American Comeback? Or what consultant Holland Cooke calls “relentless negativity, even as polls demonstrate widespread optimism? The phrase ‘talk radio’ conjures a caricature. That seems not to be a problem for station owners and managers focused on FMs losing music consumers to streaming. Down the hall, legacy stations with once-proud call letters – now sadly referred to as ‘the AM’ – dispense daily discouragement. To the suits, that’s ‘talk radio.’” Get more of Cooke’s take on this by reading his column here.

Pending Business: Hunters and Farmers. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes today about a major university-based seminar he attended that identified two basic categories of sellers: “hunters” and “farmers.” The “hunter” personality enjoys the prospecting, contact, engagement, in essence the outright pursuit and negotiation of the deal. The “farmer” personality will be stronger at keeping current relationships fluid. Servicing current advertisers and easier legacy renewals are the farmer’s number one priority. Is you approach balanced or does it lean too much in one direction? Read his column here.

Video of First Session from TALKERS 2021 Conference Posted. The video of the first session from the TALKERS 2021 Conference held at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted above. In this opening session, TALKERS 2021 master of ceremonies and TALKERS general manager of broadcasting operations David Bernstein welcomes the attendees to the conference and introduces FOX News Radio talk host Jimmy Failla who provides opening remarks and performs his trademark stand-up comedy. Also, in this session is a greeting from Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, followed by the presentation by WPG, Atlantic City morning show host Harry Hurley of $5,000 from his charity to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Also included: San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo kicks off the event with his saxophone rendition of the “National Anthem.” TALKERS magazine will continue posting videos of the panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 this week and next at the rate of one session per day.

KPRC-AM, Houston Announces New Evening Programming. Houston news/talk KPRC-AM “AM 950, Real Texas, Real Talk” unveils new evening programming that begins today. Airing from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm is Sean Salisbury, who is venturing into the news/talk world in addition to his morning drive sports talk program that’s heard on iHeartMedia’s sister sports talker KBME, “Sportstalk 790 AM.” Also, KPRC is adding Premiere Networks’ “Jesse Kelly Show” in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daypart. iHeartMedia Houston director of programming Bryan Erickson says, “Kelly, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, brings an exciting new perspective on the day’s events. He’s a unique and fresh voice in the talk radio landscape and one of the most entertaining guys I’ve ever heard.” Regarding Salisbury’s new show, Erickson adds, “The self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ is anxious to talk about events outside the realm of sports. If he could, Salisbury would be on the air 24 hours a day. He loves what he does, and his passion is off the charts.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville ‘104.5 The Zone’ Unveils ‘3 The Pro Way’ Podcast. Nashville sports talk outlet WGFX-FM, “104.5 The Zone” announces the launch of a new podcast titled, “3 The Pro Way,” hosted by Nashville sports figures Kevin Dyson, a former Titans wide receiver; Joey Kent, a Vol For Life and former Titans wide receiver; and Todd Campbell, a former who Western Kentucky University football player. The podcast is the newest addition to the “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.” The debut episode features guest former Tennessee Titans great  and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, who currently serves as head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers. The Cumulus Media sports talk station says, “‘3 The Pro Way’ shares the stories of the three African American athletes and business professionals, who have each transformed their respective athletic careers into different careers, allowing them to learn, grow and become successful through those unique paths. Kent, Dyson, and Campbell will give advice and discuss concepts for how to successfully transition from one career to another. They will also welcome guests who have gone through similar career journeys to share their personal and professional perspectives and provide podcast listeners with helpful takeaways on how to transition from one career to an entirely new one.” WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “When Kevin, Joey, and Todd first shared their ‘3 The Pro Way’ podcast idea, I knew the 104.5 The Zone Podcast Network would be the perfect partner. I look forward to hearing a weekly conversation with different athletes and professionals on their career transitions. I am also excited to work with Todd, Joey, and Kevin in growing ‘3 The Pro Way’ within the ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’” The “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” was launched in April, when the Nashville sports station announced that it had entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports.

PodcastOne Inks Deals to Distribute Podcasts. The five podcasts that PodcastOne has just acquired the sales and distribution rights to are: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld,” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” – all of which will appear in the True Crime, Society & Culture and Documentary category. Podcast One president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne actively seeks unique and compelling content for our network and being able to add these shows: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” to our network is something we consider a real coup as we increase the varied genre content we make available to listeners, potential listeners and to advertisers.”

Dartmouth Puts Radio Station Up for Sale. The Valley News reports that Dartmouth College is putting its commercial radio station for up sale. A spokesperson for the school says that WFRD-FM “has not met revenue expectations and has been operating ‘in the red.’” The station has just one paid staffer Chris Fazio, a.k.a. Chris Garrett, who handles morning show duties as well as ad sales. The Class A FM is a 6,000-watt signal that serves the Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire towns.

Florida Condo Collapse, COVID-19, Infrastructure Deal, Trump Ohio Rally, U.S. Iran Strikes, Election Fraud Claims/Giuliani’s NY Law License Suspended, Big City Gun Violence, Kim Jong Un Weight Loss, and Northwest Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The search for survivors of Florida’s condo collapse and early reports of inspections and repair delays; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations; the compromise infrastructure deal; Donald Trump holds a rally in Ohio and continues claims of election fraud; Joe Biden orders strikes on Iran-backed militants on Syrian border; the issue of 2020 election fraud claims and Rudy Giuliani’s New York law license is suspended; the soaring rate of gun violence in America’s big cities; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weight loss; and the record-setting heat wave affecting the Pacific Northwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

| March 11, 2021

Andrew McLuhan, President of The McLuhan Institute and Grandson of Marshall McLuhan, Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. “Media freaks” will love this – Andrew McLuhan, the grandson of the late Marshall McLuhan, the legendary communications theorist and philosopher, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Andrew McLuhan is the president of the Toronto, Canada-based educational/historical organization, The McLuhan Institute, which he founded in 2018 to gather, preserve and archive the works and legacy of his famous grandfather, whose books and lectures about the impact of media and technology on human culture encompassing his groundbreaking “the medium is the message” meme profoundly influenced a generation of communication students and media practitioners. Harrison and McLuhan discuss a wide array of topics including details about the life of the iconic guru and implications of his complex and often controversial theories. Don’t miss this! 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.

Grace Curley Show Adds Three Affiliate Stations. The Howie Carr Radio Network announces that it has signed three new affiliates for the “Grace Curley Show.” The 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show joins Saga Communications to air on news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland, Maine and WKBK-AM Keene, New Hampshire leading into the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Howie Carr Show.” The “Grace Curley Show” will joins Saga’s WFEA-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire in early April.  Portland Radio Group president Phil Zachary says, “Grace Curley is no wannabe. Her approach to talk radio is fresh, female, and fearless. And because Grace learned at the right hand of Howie Carr, we know she’s more than ready to command her own daypart.”  Howie Carr adds, “Grace’s show is exceeding expectations which is why she has picked up so many new affiliates quickly.” For affiliate information, contact Kathy Carr at Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com.

Danielle Murr to Leave WEEI, Boston’s Greg Hill Morning Show. Morning drive personality Danielle Murr tells listeners to WEEI, Boston’s “The Greg Hill Show” that she will leave the program after tomorrow’s edition. The Boston Globe reports that Murr told listeners, “It was a very, very, very difficult decision for me. One that I have been wrestling with for months. But I’m at a time in my life where I need to take a chance on myself.” Murr has been with the program since 2005 when it aired on rock WAAF. The show moved to sports talk WEEI in July of 2019 after Entercom sold WAAF to religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation. Entercom regional president Mark Hannon comments, “I think it’s been a special connection having Danielle as a full-time female voice on the radio station. So that’s certainly not going unnoticed for us. And that will be a critical piece of how we think about going forward with the show. It was even alluded to today on the air. So, as we begin to open the search, you should expect that we’ll be talking to as many potential candidates as possible, men and women. But I think we’re very cognizant of that [situation].” Murr says she wants to pursue other business opportunities, including podcasting.

WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin to Shift Hayley Tenpas to Middays. With the May 28 retirement of longtime midday personality Kathy Keene looming, news/talk WHBY-AM, Appleton, Wisconsin announces it is moving Hayley Tenpas to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm time slot, effective June 1. Tenpas has hosted the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm “Focus Fox Valley” show since June of 2018. Tenpas says, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to begin this next chapter of my broadcast career. A five-year-old Hayley once called into the ‘Good Neighbor Show.’  I grew up listening to WHBY and now am so proud to be part of this team. I am honored to fill this part of the day with conversations highlighting the best of the Fox Valley. I can’t thank Kathy enough for her time and dedication to radio. It’s hard to imagine WHBY without Kathy’s voice, but I hope that ‘Focus Fox Valley’ can provide opportunities for all of us to be good neighbors to one another.” Tenpas came to WHBY from an on-air career in television news. In 2019 she was awarded the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Best Online Personality honor.

WTIC Local Weekend Computer Show Reaches Quarter Century Anniversary. When executed properly, discussion about computers, digital technology and consumer electronics does very well within the context of news/talk radio. An example of this is on display at heritage news/talk station, WTIC-AM, Hartford where “Computer Talk with TAB” has been on the air live each week since the mid-1990s providing an in-depth practical view of computers and their place in listeners’ everyday lives. Airing Saturday mornings between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, it is described as “a computer radio program for everyone!” Erik Semmel, VP of local firm, TAB Computer Systems hosts the show and provides real time answers to callers’ questions. To keep the topics fresh and informative, guests are brought in as a result of listener’s questions and suggestions. The extremely highly rated show (with a successful podcast spinoff) is geared towards the everyday computer user with questions about how their computer works and how to fix it when there is a problem. Semmel tells TALKERS, “We have been advising Connecticut’s computer users since Windows 95 through the big scare of Y2K to the scourge of today’s ransomware attacks. From PCs to laptops to smartphone to cutting the chord, ‘Computer Talk with TAB’ has been there to answer everyday peoples’ computer issues in an understandable way.”

Entercom to Offer $500 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a move announced today (3/11), Entercom Communications Corp announces its wholly owned subsidiary Entercom Media Corp plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $500 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured second-lien notes due 2029. The Issuer expects to use the net proceeds from the offering to redeem all of its 7.250% senior notes due 2024 and to partially repay existing indebtedness under their senior credit facilities. The Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. They will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

Kirby Joins Broadcasters Foundation of America as General Counsel. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Kathleen A. Kirby has been voted secretary and general counsel to the organization. Kirby, who is a Partner with Wiley Rein LLP Washington, DC and co-chair of the firm’s Telecom, Media & Technology group, takes over secretary and general counsel duties from Richard Bodorff, who will remain on the board of directors. Kirby’s practice involves advising some of the country’s largest media groups on regulatory and policy matters, representing radio and television stations in connection with the full realm of FCC compliance, and counseling clients on the sale and acquisition of broadcast properties. She says, “It’s an honor to follow Dick in the roles of secretary and general counsel for the Broadcasters Foundation. I’ve been a supporter of the Broadcasters Foundation, and I look forward to giving back even more by donating my time and energy to continuing the crucial mission of providing aid to those in our industry who need it most.” Kirby has long served as counsel to the Radio Television Digital News Association, advising electronic journalists on a variety of legal and legislative matters, including freedom of information, privacy, libel, content regulation, copyright, and other First Amendment issues. She is an inductee of the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame and recipient of RTDNA’s prestigious First Amendment Leadership Award. Kirby is regularly rated by Chambers USA as one of Washington, DC’s “Leading Lawyers” in her field and has been recognized by Law 360 as a Legal MVP. Before attending law school, Kirby worked for almost a decade as a radio broadcaster in her native New York and in Connecticut, where she gained extensive experience first as a reporter and news anchor, then in management positions in operations, sales, and marketing.

TALKERS News Notes. The Virtual News Center announces that its services are now being used by Legend Communications of Wyoming, LLC’s “The Basin Radio Network” that consists of the five Gillette, Wyoming signals KIML-AM, KAML-FM, KLED-FM, KDDV-FM and KGWY-FM. Virtual News Center will provide newscasts for the network anchored daily by Roxanne Stuart…..vCreative co-founder and CEO Jinny Laderer is transitioning to the president emerita role on April 1 and Susie Hedrick will rise from president/COO to the CEO position. John Laderer, co-founder and chief technical officer will continue to serve the company in a consulting role. Hedrick has more than 25 years of experience in media technology and prior to joining vCreative, held executive roles at Marketron and WideOrbit…..WABC, New York says the weekend program “Ladies, It’s Not Our Fault, It’s Our Hormones and High Heels!” – starring fashionista Julie Sagoskin, nutritionist Jacqui Justice, and fitness guru Lisa Avellino – changes its name to “Ladies, What the F?” The program airs Sundays from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..ESPN Podcasts debuts the “Daily Wager Podcast” on Monday, March 15, and the first of four “Daily Wager Tournament Preview” radio specials will air on ESPN Radio on Saturday, March 20. The four “Daily Wager Tournament Preview” radio specials are planned for the time of the NCAA Tournament and will air on ESPN Radio at 9:00 am ET. In addition to the debut special on March 20, editions will air on March 21, March 27 and April 3…..Entercom Pittsburgh hosts the second “Giant Eagle Feed the Need Radiothon” to benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Last year’s radiothon provided more than 1.5 million meals to the region and this year’s event will be broadcast live on news/talk KDKA-AM, sports talk KDKA-FM, as well as its two sister music stations.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Biden TV Address/Stimulus Package, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, U.S. Border Chaos, Newsom Recall, Iran Nuclear Talks, and Chinese Military Buildup Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the several states relaxing mask and occupancy mandates and the push for full school openings; Joe Biden’s planned Thursday national TV address and his $1.9 trillion stimulus package; the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the growing migrant chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the rapid military buildup in China were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.