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Monday, August 15, 2022

| August 15, 2022

Monday Memo: News = Dog, Talk = Tail. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “events now unfolding around us can be ratings GOLD,” if news/talk stations “re-balance both aspects of the format franchise.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Worst Cold Call Ever. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about an absurd cold call that happened to him and reminded him that every now and then it’s a good idea for radio sellers to revisit some of the cold call basics. He has seven thoughts on the subject to share with readers here.

Cumulus Names Casey Bartholomew Host at WBAP, Dallas/Fort Worth. Talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew is joining Cumulus Media’s Dallas/Fort Worth news/talk WBAP as host of the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program. He takes over for Ernie Brown who was recently promoted to co-host of the station’s morning drive show. Bartholomew joins Cumulus DFW from Cumulus Columbia, Missouri, where he’s been serving as program director for news/talk station KFRU-AM/FM. WBAP and KLIF program director Bruce Collins says, “Casey is the ultimate pro and understands the top stories of the day that affect our listeners. We are excited to have him on the News Talk 820 WBAP team.” Bartholomew comments, “WBAP is a legendary station and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. Looking forward to the challenge – This is going to be fun.”

iHeartMedia and ASU Agree to Hockey Broadcasts Deal. The new broadcast agreement between iHeartMedia Phoenix and Arizona State University puts play-by-play of the school’s men’s hockey games on sports talk KGME-AM “FOX Sports 910,” beginning October 11. The deal also includes a weekly coach’s show featuring head coach Greg Powers. Sun Devil for Life Tyler Paley returns to his roots as the first-ever play-by-play voice of Sun Devil Hockey Radio. A three-time ASU grad, Paley covered the ASU men’s ice hockey team extensively during his tenure at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2014-18. His experience spans years of various communications roles including multimedia journalist, anchor and reporter, social media strategist, commentator for Pac-12 Network and freelancer for CBS, FOX Sports and ESPN. iHeartMedia market president Linda Little says, “‘FOX Sports 910’ and iHeartMedia Phoenix are proud to partner with Arizona State University as they launch their inaugural radio broadcast for hockey play-by-play.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Mourns Passing of Jim Thompson. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces the passing of its longtime president Jim Thompson. The BFOA says Thompson, who fought a valiant struggle against throat cancer for nearly a year, passed away last night (8/14) in Summit, New Jersey, at the age of 75, surrounded by his family.  The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, which has been established by the Broadcasters Foundation in honor of Thompson’s dedication and service to the broadcasting industry and to the Foundation’s charitable cause of providing financial aid to radio and TV professionals in acute need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “I am very proud to have known Jim for nearly 40 years as a colleague and a friend. Jim believed deeply in helping others and his passion and enthusiasm for life always lit up a room. Broadcasting has lost a great man, who always saw the positive in every person and every situation. He will be sorely missed.” Thompson took over the reins of the Broadcasters Foundation in 2009, guiding the charitable organization to more than quadruple the amount of financial aid it distributes to radio and TV professionals from $400,000 to nearly $2 million last year. BFoA chairman emeritus Phil Lombardo says, “When the board of directors was searching for a president, Jim’s reputation as a leader combined with his compassion for others and his ability to rally people together made him the perfect choice. His accomplishments over the past 13 years helped the many TV and Radio professionals who found themselves in unthinkable circumstances and in need of aid. Our sincere sympathies go out to his family.” Last October, Thompson announced he would be retiring at the end of 2022. Thompson had been president and CEO of Group W Radio, the second largest radio company in the country during his leadership, and along with Mike Craven was co-owner of Liberty Broadcasting, a nineteen-station radio group concentrated on the east coast. He began his broadcasting career as an account executive at KYW-TV, Philadelphia in 1971, where he rose to vice president and general manager. Thompson is survived by his wife Cindy, his five children, Meghan Cima, Shannon Gardiner and her husband James, Katie McElwee and her husband Tommy, James Thompson and his wife Madison, Molly Thompson, seven grandchildren, and his brothers John and Thomas. To make a donation to the Jim Thompson Memorial Fund, please click here: https://bfoa.app.neoncrm.com/forms/jimthompsonfund.

FSR’s Doug Gottlieb Broadcasts from LA Football Training Camps. Pictured above (right) is FOX Sports Radio personality Doug Gottlieb chatting with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (left) during Gottlieb’s broadcast from the team’s training camp on August 9. Gottlieb broadcast from the Rams’ and the Los Angeles Chargers’ camps as part of the network’s annual NFL Training Camp Tour.

PodcastOne Strikes Deal with ActionPark Media. This new relationship between PodcastOne and Kevin Connolly’s boutique media network ActionPark Media gives PodcastOne exclusive distribution and advertising sales rights for APM’s current slate of podcast and vodcast programming. In addition, it allows for the two media companies to co-develop future podcast/vodcast based intellectual property, produce advertiser-sponsored live streaming and touring opportunities for host/talent and create exclusive licensing for podcast specific branded merchandise. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “Kevin and APM clearly have a knack for producing quality podcast content with ‘Victory the Podcast’ being one of the first shows giving a behind the scenes look at a hit television series and ‘The Morning After with Kelly Stafford’ consistently charting as one of the top shows for parents and families. This joint venture now gives us the ability to work together to grow the audience for a slate of incredible existing shows. Additionally, with LiveOne’s streaming partnerships, live event capabilities and merchandising division, we are excited to further enhance branding opportunities for the star-studded roster of hosts.”

Gunhill Road Spoken Word Music Video on Display as “Work of Art” in Show at Florida Gallery. The internet hit, “I Know You’re Real,” by talk-radio-friendly pop music band Gunhill Road, featuring TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as lead spoken word vocalist, has broken new ground in the genre of music video being recognized as fine art. The official video of the song which appears on Gunhill Road’s 2021 album, What Year Is This! addresses the subject of animal welfare celebrating all aspects of the deep relationship between human beings and other precious life forms on Planet Earth. The art show, being presented at the prestigious Martin Arts Court House Cultural Center Gallery in Stuart, FL, is cleverly titled, “Dog Days of Summer (and other pets too!).” The show centers on animal-related fine art (paintings and sculpture). It runs through October 1 and features a virtual gallery as well as a live presentation and includes charitable community outreach initiatives such as animal rescue and pet adoption. Martin Arts spokesperson Rickie Leiter tells TALKERS, “I grew up in the Northeast listening to Gunhill Road on the radio and was delighted to hear about this beautiful video with its sweet music, moving words and stunning images. It is indeed a work of visual, not to mention audio and poetic, art.” Gunhill Road co-founder (and devoted cat lover), Steve Goldrich tells TALKERS, “We are beyond honored to have our video on display among paintings at a fine art show of this caliber.” In addition to Goldrich and Harrison, Gunhill Road’s current lineup includes longtime member Paul Reich and famed Broadway instrumentalist Brian Koonin. An advance single (and video) titled, “Idiots,” from the group’s forthcoming album, spotlighting the danger of societal ignorance and also featuring Harrison on lead vocals, is scheduled to drop later this week. Both videos are produced by TALKERS VP/associate publisher Matthew B. Harrison. For more information about the show and Martin Arts please click here. To view the video, please click here

FBI Raid/Bureau Threats, Inflation Reduction Act/The Economy, Salman Rushdie Attack, Immigration/Baja Violence, Midterms/2024 Race, Afghanistan Situation, and Anne Heche Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago and the subsequent threats against FBI offices; the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act spending, the falling price of oil, and the still climbing price of food; the attempted assassination of author Salman Rushdie; the migrant issues at the U.S.-Mexico border and the weekend’s cartel violence in Baja cities near the border; the primary elections for the November midterms and speculation about the nominees in the 2024 presidential race; the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan a year after the U.S. military’s exit from the nation; and actress Anne Heche dies a week after a fiery car wreck were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

| July 20, 2022

Michael La Crosse to Lead Programming at iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group that includes news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE and five music outlets. La Crosse will continue to oversee the iHeartMedia Portland market as vice president of programming and will serve as program director for adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.” iHeartMedia National Programming Group EVP Maynard says, “Michael is an outstanding programmer and human. He has worked closely with Sacramento and many other iHeartMedia markets over the past few years and I couldn’t be more excited to formally expand his leadership responsibilities and influence.” La Crosse comments, “I’m very humbled to get the chance to work with the amazing team in Sacramento. With a brand-new station like ‘KISS 107.9’ and a station like NewsRadio KFBK, that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, our stations are as diverse as Sacramento itself.”

Ernie Brown Moves to Morning Drive on WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. News and talk radio pro Ernie Brown moves from his late morning daypart to morning drive on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. Brown joins Hal Jay as co-host of “WBAP’s Morning News” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. WBAP program director Bruce Collins says, “Ernie is exactly what we were looking for. He’s the ultimate professional broadcaster that knows how to relate to the audience and understands the biggest stories of the day that resonate with our target audience. We’re excited to have him as our new morning show leader.” Brown comments, “We’ll talk about the issues that matter to WBAP listeners: inflation, gas prices, grocery prices, supply chain shortages, your money, covid, and of course the Cowboys! I’ve worked at great stations and organizations all over the country including KOGO in San Diego, ‘America’s Radio News’ in Washington, D.C., Western Journal – Phoenix, and KOMO in Seattle and hosted a national late night talk show called ‘America at Night.’ This is an incredible opportunity to get to work with Hal Jay and the talented WBAP morning team. I want to thank Cumulus DFW RVP/market manager Dan Bennett and PD Bruce Collins.”

Podtrac Announces Top Podcast Publishers for June 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers for June of this year from Podtrac based on unique monthly audience (UMA) has been released and iHeartRadio holds down the top spot with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 30.3 million. At #2 is Wondery with a UMA of 23.8 million. NPR follows at #3 (UMA 18 million), The New York Times is #4 (UMA 11 million), and NBC News is #5 (UMA 9.1 million). You can see the complete ranking of the top 20 here.

Audacy Unveils Updates to App and Website. The company announces that it has begun to make updates to its digital platform in the form of new features on the Audacy app and website. The company says, “We’ll be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks and months, with each release focused on positively impacting Audacy’s digital, podcasting, data, analytics, and ad tech capabilities. At the heart of these updates lives truly interactive radio. We’re giving our listeners even more control over streaming radio with additional interactivity to both live and on-demand content. We’re also improving the discovery and curation of our radio and podcast content, presented seamlessly together within an evolved interface and user experience.” Initial updates include: 1) enhanced rewind in which listeners can rewind live news, sports, and news/talk stations and hear it all again; 2) curated discovery of content in which listeners are immersed into a personalized, interactive experience that is customizable, based not just on their favorite stations or podcasts, but also on their topical interests across news, sports and music; and 3) enriched podcast listening giving listeners access to nearly 3 million podcasts plus exclusive binging of Audacy Originals. The app also now presents radio and podcast content together, allowing listeners to consume the latest content from the shows they love along with the topics they’re interested in.

NAB Reveals 2022 Marconi Award Finalists. The finalists for the NAB’s 2022 Marconi Awards in numerous categories have been revealed. In the category of Legendary Station of the Year, three spoken-word stations made the cut: Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; Audacy’s all-news KRLD-AM, Dallas; and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year nominees include: Ramsey Media’s Dave Ramsey, Premiere NetworksGeorge Noory, and Premiere’s Dan Patrick. News/talk and sports talk personalities making the finalist round include, in the Major Market Personallity of the Year category: Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston; and Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago. In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore and Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. In the Medium Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas and Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho. The five finalists in the News/Talk Station of the Year category are: Audacy’s KNX-AM, Los Angeles; Hubbard Radio’s KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton; iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. And the five finalists in the Sports Station of the Year category are: Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM, San Francisco; Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Audacy’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Mike Missanelli to Co-Host Eagles Postgame Show. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime Philadelphia sports media personality Mike Missanelli, who exited Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in May of this year, is working with JAKIB Media Partners to co-host a Philadelphia Eagles post-game show beginning this fall. The paper says that Missanelli and former NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Seth Joyner are joining Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney on JAKIB’s YouTube channel. The program will stream after each Eagles game this fall. As the Inquirer notes in its story, JAKIB Sports streams three daily live programs including “Birds 365,” hosted by John McMullen and WIP host Jody McDonald; “Sports Take,” hosted by Gunn, Barrett Brooks, and Rob Ellis; and “The National Football Show” hosted by Dan Sileo.

Audacy: Study Confirms Ad Engagement Increases with Each Audio Exposure. The results of an audio study conducted by independent market research consultancy Alter Agents in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, show that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. Audacy says that this distinctive content peak study shows that “exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign.” Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services and QSR industries. Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times. The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix. Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”

Squad SCOTUS Protest, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Probe/Bannon Trial, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/2024 Race, The Economy, House Same-Sex Marriage Bill, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Heatwave/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest at which U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others were arrested; the ongoing January 6 hearings, the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 election results, and the contempt of congress trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2024 presidential nominees; the state of the U.S. economy as inflation and falling financial markets affect Americans; the U.S. House passes a bill protecting same-sex marriages; the rising rate of BA.5 subvariant COVID-19 cases; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the record-setting European heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 2, 2022

| May 2, 2022

Monday Memo: R.I.P. Bill Balls. “He’s the Central Casting baritone, shouting or growling-through whatever promo copy the station sends.” And consultant Holland Cooke warns that “because radio ratings – and your advertisers’ results – are a memory test, conformity is detrimental to station imaging.” In this week’s column – and now that we’re a Month into the MLB season – HC points to baseball’s unlikeliest success story as a template for freshening station imaging. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Drop These Excuses to Earn More. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column about two tired old excuses that no seller should be uttering in today’s media landscape. When negotiating rates, are you still arguing with your client using the phrases, “We don’t give it away” and “We have hard costs?” If so, Steve explains why this is dated and is only harming your potential commission. Read more here.

 

Sarah van Mosel Named EVP of iHeart Audience Network. Digital audio revenue pro Sarah van Mosel is named executive vice president for iHeartMedia’s iHeart Audience Network. She was most recently chief revenue officer at Stitcher, where she led podcast revenue strategy across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher. The iHeart Audience Network is iHM’s new audience-based buying service that provides advertisers with inventory “sourced from the expansive iHeartRadio database and other premium publishers across streaming and podcasting.” In her new role, van Mosel will assist with iAN sales operations, publisher development and podcast slate partnerships and will report to Conal Byrne, CEO of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. Byrne says, “The iHeart Audience Network is the first and only audio marketplace that seamlessly unifies all forms of audio with one common set of audiences, and we’re thrilled Sarah is bringing her expertise, vision and talent to take these unique capabilities to their full potential for advertisers and publishers. She’s been at the forefront of innovation in podcasting from the very beginning and her unique perspective on the rapidly growing medium will ensure this venture becomes the premier service for all brands. The team is looking forward to seeing where she takes iAN next.”

 

Cumulus Media Ups Brian Philips to Chief Content Officer. Rising to chief content officer for Cumulus Media is Brian Philips, who has been serving the company as EVP of content and audience since 2019. Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Brian Philips is an exceptional executive and the perfect choice to lead our programming efforts as we continue to execute our audio-first strategy, which is transforming the company from a traditional radio broadcaster into a multi-dimensional audio media company. This promotion reflects Brian’s tremendous contributions, and I have full confidence in his creative vision, operational expertise, and savvy leadership to guide us through this critical evolution.”

 

TALKERS TIP.  Excellent Correspondent Available for Interviews from War. News directors and talk show hosts take note. Gregg Stebben, who spent years being interviewed every month by talk stations all over the country as an editor for Men’s Health magazine, is now in Poland and Ukraine as a volunteer doing radio interviews about the Ukraine situation. He’s available to be “Your-Man-in-Poland/Ukraine.” In an interview, he can talk about the situation with refugees in Poland and all over Europe, his personal experiences with Ukrainian refugees, and the mood in Poland and Western Ukraine. Are the Polish overwhelmed by absorbing almost 3 million refugees and/or terrified they might be next on Putin’s list? He can also talk about his trip to the Ukraine border, and what he’s seen and heard in Poland that makes him fear this Russian invasion will turn into a global conflict if Putin is successful in Ukraine. To schedule an interview with him: Gregg@Stebben.com, 843.722.3100 (cell or text).

 

WBAP, Fort Worth/Dallas Celebrates 100 Years of Service. Fort Worth/Dallas news/talk station WBAP-AM begins celebrating its 100th year of service to the market today (5/2) from its Victory Park studios. Station program director Bruce Collins says, “We begin the celebration today and have exciting things planned throughout the year to celebrate. WBAP has meant so much to the DFW community. It is going to be a fun year.” The celebration was kicked off this morning as the “WBAP Morning News” team featuring Hal Jay and Brian Estridge welcomed back notable contributors, including former on-air talent and executives that “helped WBAP become a trusted leader in Dallas-Fort Worth.” The station plans to continue its centennial celebration with historical audio clips played on the station daily, the launch of a podcast series highlighting the key figures in the station’s 100 years, and a celebration in the fall. WBAP signed on for the first time under the direction of famed Fort Worth businessman Amon G. Carter on Tuesday, May 2, 1922, operating at 10 watts of power. Within the first six months, WBAP established itself as a service to the community, becoming the first station to air livestock market reports and weekly church services. As the station continued to evolve, WBAP would become the first to broadcast a rodeo, air remote broadcasts, and send a war correspondent to Europe in the early days of World War II. Additionally, WBAP was the first station with regularly scheduled newscasts. Today, WBAP operates as a 50,000-watt, clear-channel station operated by Cumulus Media.

 

Tom Webster to Leave EVP Role with Edison Research. Announced in his “I Hear Things” blog on Friday (4/29), Edison Research SVP Tom Webster will be stepping away from his role with the company next month. He outlines his new professional goals, saying, “…I want to continue to work to establish a podcast industry: a place where established networks and independent podcasters alike have fair access to information, revenue, and opportunity. I think there are some structural issues in podcasting, and some information arbitrage, as well. I want to work on both of these issues, and help to create the sandbox I wish to continue to play in for years to come.” You can read it here.

 

The Economy, White House Correspondents Dinner, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War/Pelosi Visit, Elon Musk & Twitter, COVID-19, NFL Draft, and Naomi Judd Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The state of the U.S. economy, high gas & food prices, and threats of a recession; Saturday evening’s White House Correspondents Dinner; the primary races leading up to the November mid-term elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Nancy Pelosi’s visit with Volodymyr Zelensky; the controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter; the rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S., the debate over masks, and China’s zero-COVID policy; the weekend’s 2022 NFL Draft; and the death of country legend Naomi Judd after a long battle with mental illness were some of the most-talked-about stars on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

| August 31, 2021

Bruce Collins Joins WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas as PD. Programming pro Bruce Collins is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM. Collins joins Cumulus from Alpha Media’s Portland, Oregon cluster where he was spoken word content director and operations manager for news/talk KXL “FM News 101,” talk KUFO-AM “Freedom 970,” sports talk KXTG-AM “The Game” and the Radio Northwest Network. Cumulus regional VP Dan Bennett says, “After a nationwide search, Bruce Collins’ history of winning in news/talk in Portland made him the obvious choice to lead our talented team in Dallas. His perceptions and analysis of our brands convinced me he should be our next programming leader.” Collins comments, “I cannot thank Dan Bennett enough for the opportunity to program two heritage stations like WBAP and KLIF. I look forward to working with the entire Cumulus Dallas/Fort Worth staff and producing stimulating, thought provoking, informative, entertaining content each and every day.”

Beasley Media Group and Three Partners Collaborate to Launch New Detroit Sports Talker. The new Motor City sports talk outlet dubbed “The ROAR, Motor City Sports Talk 93.5 FM and 99.1 FM” can be heard via Beasley Media Group’s WCSX-HD2 and two translators – W228CJ at 93.5 FM and W248CC at 99.1 FM. For this station, Beasley is partnering with Woodward Sports, the Michigan Sports Network, and SportsMap Radio Network for the content. Morning drive features “X’s & BrO’s with Anthony Bellino” from the Michigan Sports Network. The midday show (10:00 am to 3:00 pm) is “Morning Woodward & Big D Energy” from Woodward Sports and features former Red Wing Darren McCarty, former Lion Joique Bell, with host Neal Ruhl and Detroit sports personalities Braylon Edwards and former WXYT-FM personality Terry Foster. The afternoon drive show is “The HUGE Show with Bill Simonson” and the evenings and overnight dayparts are filled with programming from SportsMap Radio including: Kevin Dziepak, Anthony Pepe, and Bill Schmid. Beasley Detroit VP and market manager Mac Edwards says, “There’s a new sports animal in the Motor City – The ROAR! We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Chad Johnson from Woodward Sports Network as well as Marty Booher at MSN and the crew at SportsMap Radio to deliver some of the most compelling sports content Motor City fans have ever experienced!”

WABC, New York Ups Matthew Meany to Assistant Program Director. Rising from his position as executive producer for the “Bernie & Sid” show to his new role as assistant program director is Matthew Meany. Red Apple Media SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi announces the promotion and says Meany will step into his new position immediately and play an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the radio station, working alongside the programming team. He adds, “Matt’s hand in the impressive growth of the morning show ratings and his desire to grow make this appointment an ideal match for him and the station.” Meany began his radio career at 77 WABC in 2014 as a part-time board operator and quickly rose through the ranks. Red Apple says he took over as executive producer of the “Bernie & Sid” show over a year ago and has piloted the show to its best ratings in years.

Bill Michaels Show Returns to Milwaukee Airwaves. After eight months not being heard in the Milwaukee market, Wisconsin sports talk host Bill Michaels is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WOKY-AM in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Michaels, who was ousted from Audacy’s WSSP-AM “The Fan” as part of the station’s programming changes back in January, is bumping FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart and consequently moves the Doug Gottlieb show out of afternoon drive on WOKY. Since exiting WSSP, Michaels’ show has been based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison.

WWO Blog: Podcast Listeners Are Young, Educated and Employed. This week’s Westwood One blog reveals findings from the Westwood One 2021 Audioscape, a report that includes data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s annual Podcast Download release, and Nielsen’s Scarborough USA+ studies that delves into the question of who is listening to podcasts? The report concludes that the podcast audience is young, employed, educated, and upscale. “At 34, the median age of the podcast audience is 14 years younger than AM/FM radio and much younger than broadcast television network audiences (54). 53% of persons who have listened to an audio podcast in the past 30 days are employed in a white-collar occupation. 39% hold management positions and 55% have a household income of $75,000-plus, making this group an audience advertisers want to reach.

WRVA, Richmond Talk Host Jeff Katz Honored with 2021 Father Figure Award. Talk radio host Jeff Katz is being honored by The Relationship Foundation of Virginia with its 2021 Father Figure of The Year award. Katz is one of 11 men nominated as “Funding Fathers” for their work raising funds for The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. Katz personally raised the most money in the history of the Funding Fathers program. The Relationship Foundation of Virginia is a regional, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and educating men on fatherhood, and presents the award to Katz who, along with his wife Heidi, have three children ranging in age from 16 to 20 years. The Father Figure Award also recognizes Katz’s career as Central Virginia’s leading talk radio personality at WRVA, Richmond and his active role in serving the community. He serves on the board of directors of The Friendship Circle of Virginia, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Advisory Board and represents the Beaverdam Magisterial District on the Hanover County Community Services Board. He is also completing his term as Mayor of Beaverdam, Virginia. Katz volunteers with The Relationship Foundation of Virginia as teacher and mentor, helping men to be better fathers. He happily works with new dads with special concentrations in the areas of fathers to special needs children, fathers in recovery, and fathers who are incarcerated. Chris Beach, executive director of The Relationship Foundation of Virginia, says, “This was the biggest event yet. It wasn’t just an event it was really a celebration of amazing men. These eleven dads raised more than $77,000 collectively for fatherhood and marriage programs in our area. Jeff Katz, the dad who was crowned The Father Figure, raised more money than any dad in the history of this event by bringing in more than $18,000! To say that I am blown away by the hard work of these dads is an understatement.”

NAB Names Anna Chauvet VP of Public Policy. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Anna Chauvet joins the organization as vice president of public policy. Chauvet reports to Shawn Donilon, executive vice president of government relations. She joins NAB from the U.S. Copyright Office, where she was most recently associate general counsel. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Anna enjoys sterling credentials as an expert in copyright law, including deep knowledge of the music licensing regime. Broadcasters will benefit from her experience as the industry navigates a range of critical policy issues affecting radio and television. We are excited to welcome her to the NAB team.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Houston operations of iHeartMedia – along with their listeners – are working to assist the people of New Orleans as they struggle through the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. Staffers from all seven radio stations are loading and deploying dozens of 18-wheeler trucks filled with critically needed items for the communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. KTRH-AM-based, syndicated talk host Michael Berry comments, “The people of Houston are very close to the New Orleans community. They came to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and they came and helped us after our last horrible Hurricane Harvey.”…..ABC News Radio is providing an hour-long special anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 titled, “9/11 Twenty Years Later – America Remembers” which will be available mid-week for affiliates to air on-demand. The special will also be available later as an episode of the “ABC News Radio Specials” podcast, available on major listening platforms. ABC News’ flagship daily podcas, “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will feature special coverage in the days leading up to the anniversary.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Aftermath, End of Unemployment Benefits, China Limits Online Gaming, Global Supply-Shipping Woes, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/30). Criticism of President Joe Biden’s quick withdrawal from Afghanistan and the recent deaths of U.S. military personnel; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Southern states dealing with full ICUs, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the aftermath of Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana without power; the looming end of federal jobless benefits from COVID aid packages; China announces limits on the time children can spend gaming online; retailers and manufacturers are suffering from lack of inventory and building components due to the broken global supply chain and shipping troubles; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

| May 1, 2019

iHeartMedia Announces Completion of Restructuring. Almost 14 months after entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, iHeartMedia announces it has “successfully completed its restructuring process.  As a result of the comprehensive balance sheet restructuring, iHeartMedia’s debt has been significantly reduced – from $16.1 billion to $5.75 billion.”  With the balance sheet reorganization comes the separation of iHeartMedia and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings into two independent, publicly traded companies.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that iHeartMedia now has a capital structure that matches our exciting operating business.  The focused dedication of our employees and the unwavering support of our new owners and advertising partners enabled iHeartMedia to seamlessly complete the restructuring process and reach this final milestone.  iHeartMedia enters this next phase of growth as a multi-platform audio company with a vastly improved financial profile. We are well-positioned to continue to innovate and offer cutting-edge technologies, products, and services to our audiences and advertisers.”  Pittman continues to serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the new iHeartMedia, Inc.  Rich Bressler continues to serve as president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.  A new board of directors has been appointed, including Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, and the following members: Jay Rasulo, Gary Barber, Brad Gerstner, Sean Mahoney, and Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan.

David Field on Spoken-Word Radio and Sports Gambling.  During the first quarter earnings call with analysts yesterday (4/30), Entercom president and CEO David Field talked about the value of his spoken-word formatted radio stations, saying the group – all-news, news/talk, and sports talk – account for “roughly about 40% of our revenue mix across our stations.”  The company operates 235 stations and, by TALKERS‘ count, approximately 30% of its stations are spoken-word.  Separately and responding to a question about the gambling category and the trend towards legal sports gambling across the country, Field expressed hopes for the future of the sports gambling advertising category, saying the company’s large group of sports talk stations should be able to capitalize on that.  He stated, “We have seen estimates that the sports gambling advertising market could be in the neighborhood of $2 billion.  If you think about radio getting a chunk of that, a reasonable chunk of it and Entercom’s prowess in the sports market, we think this could become a $1 million or $2 million category for Entercom over time.  That is certainly a reasonable aspirational goal.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Subscribers can see the rest of the transcript here.

‘The O’Reilly Update’ Show Launches. This is the week “The O’Reilly Update” – the new, 15-minute daily radio program featuring Bill O’Reilly – debuts on more than 100 stations.  Key Networks is syndicating the program and reports that inaugural affiliates include: WBAL, Baltimore; WDTK, Detroit; WHK, Cleveland; KUFO, Portland; and KTSA, San Antonio.  Key Networks says the program is airing in four of the top 10 DMAs, nine of the top 20 DMAs and 18 of the top 50 DMAs.  It is also being rolled out on 21 non-news/talk stations, including on country and classic hits outlets.  The show – with all network spots included within the show and two minutes of local avails – is delivered daily at 11:30 am ET.  WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian says, “Bill O’Reilly has a track record of insightful and unfiltered commentary on vital topics and issues.  His familiar voice and dynamic point of view augments our lineup of outspoken hosts and commentators.”  Alpha Media news/talk/sports content director Bruce Collins says, “Bill is a true natural storyteller.  I’m extremely excited to have him on-air in Portland on ‘Freedom 970.’” Meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Storywhere he will be delivering a special keynote address.  The convention is rapidly nearing a sellout.  For registration information, please click here.

 

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Overcoming the Public’s Distrust of the Media Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention.   The highly polarized nature of today’s political climate has created a widespread public distrust of the media in general.  Dealing with this complex issue has become one of the fundamental challenges facing news/talk hosts of all political stripes.  It also creates new opportunities.  Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, is featuring a panel discussion addressing this concern and all matters of credibility titled “Overcoming Distrust of the Media.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Thom Hartmann, host, WYD MediaJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, host, “The Joe Pags Show;” Doug Stephan, CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Rick Ungar, host, “The Rick Ungar Program”/editor-in-chief, TheDailyCentrist.com.  Don’t miss this session!  The discussion will be moderated by Jim Bohannon, host, Westwood One.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

Midwest Closes on Alpha Media Acquisitions. The $21.6 million deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications that gives Midwest six Peoria market radio stations closes.  The station group includes news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY and five music-formatted signals.  The Duke Wright-led Midwest Communications owns 75 other radio stations in states including: Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  This is its first Illinois acquisition.  At the time the sale was announced, Wright stated, “The first time my wife and I visited Peoria was to visit son Michael enrolled at Bradley University.  We were most impressed with the city and its radio stations.  My thought was that here was a market that would probably nicely fit into the Midwest Communications radio group.”  KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Indiana’s Legendary WHBU-AM Relaunches as Talk-Music Hybrid.  The Anderson, Indiana-licensed station is owned by Woof Boom Radio and the company is re-launching the “oldest commercial station” in the state to more intensely serve the Muncie-Marion market.  The station will feature talk shows to focus on Anderson and Madison counties plus classic hits from the 60s and 70s.  New morning host (and Hoosier native) Mitch Henck handles the 7:00 am to 9:00 am show.  He says, “I am really excited to help launch a new morning news/talk show on WHBU. We really put Anderson and Madison county first. We want to capture stories about the special people who live here as they pursue their hopes and dreams every day.”

Dan Mason Named Chairman of VSiN.  Longtime radio executive Dan Mason is named chairman of VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network) the media network dedicated to sports betting information.  In this role, Mason will “work closely with VSiN’s management team to capitalize on the emerging growth and partnership opportunities in the sports betting and media space.”  VSiN founder and CEO Brian Musburger says, “There are few media executives with both the experience and reputation that Dan brings to the table.  He’s already brought invaluable guidance to our team as a senior adviser and investor, and we look forward to having even greater access to his unmatched depth of knowledge and relationships in this industry.  We’re thrilled to work even more closely with this consummate leader and better leverage his C-level expertise to build on and accelerate the recent growth we are experiencing at VSiN.”  Mason adds, “Brian and his team have caught lightning in a bottle here. Besides establishing itself on the satellite platform, recently extending its agreement with SiriusXM, VSiN has made tremendous inroads into the OTT space with Sling TV and fuboTV, as well as growing its own subscription offerings.  We will now look to further expand our reach across video and audio channels, including terrestrial radio where sports have thrived for decades.”

TALKERS News Notes. The National Association of Broadcasters is announcing it is accepting nominations for the 2019 NAB Marconi Radio Awards through May 31.  The NAB’s Marconi Radio Awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Finalists will be announced in July and winners will be honored at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Radio Show in Dallas on September 26.  Stations and on-air personalities may nominate themselves in the categories of “Station of the Year by Market Size,” “Station of the Year by Format,” “Personality of the Year by Market Size,” “Legendary Station,” and “Best College Radio Station of the Year,” which has been renamed from “Noncommercial Station of the Year.”  Nominations will also be accepted for new awards categories of “Legendary Manager of the Year” and “Best Radio Station Podcast.”  Syndicators and affiliates may also submit nominations for the category of “Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.”  Nominations must be submitted online here…..Radio America‘s nationally syndicated  “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations WJJF-FM, Nassau (Long Island); WSIC-AM/FM Charlotte; WFTW-AM Ft. Walton Beach, Florida; and KPNW-AM/FM Eugene, Oregon all add the program to their daily lineups…..Bustos Media’s news/talk KVOI, Tucson announces that two of its programs – “Eye on the Ball” with Steve Rivera and “Around the Table” with Dawn and Jennifer English – are swapping dayparts.  Rivera moves to the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the English’s move to the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot.  Also, the station adds the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show to the program schedule, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm…..This month is being declared the Second Annual Maryland Podcast Month.  Brian Griffiths founded Maryland Podcast Month last May in order to “bring together podcasts of all stripes and cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.”  It’s non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced content, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows.  Being featured in Maryland Podcast Month are a couple of shows from WBAL, Baltimore personalities…..Team Broadcasting‘s sports talk KQTM, Albuquerque “ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team” is partnering with local soccer club New Mexico United to bring 15 of the team’s matches to the station’s airwaves.  New Mexico United is in its inaugural season in the USL Championship, a professional soccer league that has a partnership with Major League Soccer…..Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” recently hosted The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, on the “Felger & Massarotti” show.  Pictured below in the “Sports Hub” studio in Boston are (From l-r): host Mike Felger985thesportshub.com hockey writer Ty Anderson, WBZ-FM personality Big Jim Murray, and host Tony Massarotti.

Mueller Report Release/Barr Testimony Request, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump Tax Returns/Business Earnings Issues, Venezuela Unrest, Deadly UNCC Shooting, Southern Border Crisis, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The release of the Mueller report, Robert Mueller’s disagreement with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report and Barr’s requested testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Democrats vying to run against President Trump in 2020; the request by New York State for Trump’s tax returns and the investigation into Trump business deals with foreign governments; the political unrest in Venezuela; the shooting at University of North Carolina Charlotte that took the lives of two and injured others; the migrant influx status at the U.S.-Mexico border; the NBA playoffs; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, midday personality and music director Tom Peake is leaving his on-air role with Entercom’s classic hits KOOL-FM.  He’ll continue to serve as music director.  Peake tells the Arizona Republic that it was not his idea to give up his air shift, but he understands the reasons and has no ill feelings.  Peake started at the station as a part-time jock in 1979.  He became the full-time evening personality in 1981…..Beasley Media Group’s hot AC WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware “The New Mix 99.5” names John Baublis, a.k.a.Johnny B, program director.   Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase says, “Johnny’s a programming veteran with years of proven success and past experience in the Wilmington market.  Plus, he shares our values of great local radio with an emphasis on serving the community.  We’re proud to have someone like Johnny on our team at JBR.”…..Two programming announcements from Midwest Communications.  First, Ryan Fantozzi is named brand manager for rock WOZZ, Wausau, Wisconsin “Rock 94.7,” effective May 13.  Fantozzi comes to Midwest from NRG Media where he was PD at rock WBWB, Bloomington, Illinois.  Fantozzi replaces Terry Stevens, who is promoted to operations manager for the company’s Lansing, Michigan cluster.  Stevens will oversee the operations of rock WJXQ, CHR WLMI, country WWDK and adult hits WQTX.