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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

| February 2, 2022

Lotus Communications’ Seattle All-News Officially Announces New Calls and Slogan. Last Friday (1/28), TALKERS magazine reported the changes included in a Seattle Times piece about the former KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Now, Lotus Communications makes it official. The all-news outlet takes on the new call letters KNWN-AM/FM and adopts the slogan “Northwest Newsradio.” The company says that the change was a condition of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s sale of the station – and sister AC KPLZ-FM “STAR 101.5” and talk KVI-AM – to Lotus. Sinclair continues to own and operate KOMO-TV. Lotus says, “Our commitment as the market’s leader in local and global news will not change. The same voices and outstanding news coverage that the Northwest has depended on will remain, as well as the station’s news and weather content sharing partnership with KOMO television.” Station general manager Gary Greenberg adds, “We honor the 95-year history of KOMO radio and its importance to our region. Lotus is fully committed to growing KNWN as the Northwest’s news and information leader by further engaging our community, advertisers and listeners.”

FOX News Channel Marks 20 Years as Top Cable News Channel. Citing data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Media says that its FOX News Channel “has accomplished another historic feat, marking its 20th consecutive year as the number one cable news network in total day and primetime. Since January 2002, FNC has remained the most-watched cable news network across both dayparts with total viewers and in the 25-54 demographic. FNC continued its ratings dominance for the month of January and was the only cable news network to show year-over-year growth in total day viewers, while MSNBC and CNN are experiencing massive declines, both shedding nearly three quarters of their audience.” FOX says that FNC continued to grow its audience share, occupying more than half the audience in total day viewers (55%) and the 25-54 demo (56%) and in primetime across both categories (56% P2+ and 56% A25-54). FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott comments, “I am immensely proud of this landmark achievement as it is a testament to the dedicated teams across FOX News Channel, who are the backbone in making us number one for 20 consecutive years with the most loyal and politically diverse audience in cable news.”

SiriusXM Reports Q 2021 Net Revenue Up 4%. Reporting its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results, SiriusXM says its Q4 revenue was $2.28 billion – an increase of 4% over the same period in 2020 – and its full-year revenue was $8.7 billion – up 8% over all of 2020. Net income for the fourth quarter was $318 million, compared to Q4 2020’s net loss of $677 million. Net income for the full-year of 2021 was $1.31 billion compared to 2020’s net income of $131 million. (The fourth quarter and full year 2020 was impacted by a $976 million non-cash impairment charge associated with Pandora.) SirtiusXM CEO Jennifer Witz says, “2021 was an outstanding year across the board. We added more than one million net new SiriusXM self-pay subscribers for the 10th time in the past 11 years; this growth continues to be sustained by a fifth straight year of improving churn. Once again, we outperformed all of 2021’s public guidance, and now our strong financial position enables us to declare a special cash dividend to our stockholders. Our performance last year is a testament to our strong execution – and staying true to our vision of connecting listeners to the content they love. We collaborated with renowned and emerging creators across our platforms to deliver curated premium content both in- and out-of-car; and delivered value to our advertisers with effective solutions to reach a massive audience of more than 150 million listeners.” The company reports data for two segments – the SiriusXM segment and the Pandora segment that includes podcast platform Stitcher. SiriusXM says that in 2021, Stitcher and the company’s off-platform advertising businesses contributed $348 million of revenue, representing nearly 23% of the Pandora segment’s total revenue. Off-platform revenue, excluding Stitcher, increased approximately $60 million or 36% compared to 2020.

Good Karma Brands and WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee Giving Officer Shot in Line of Duty Trip to Super Bowl XVI. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ-AM and parent company Good Karma Brands are sending Milwaukee police officer Herbert Davis III, a Cincinnati Bengals fan who was shot multiple times while on duty on January 27, to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Davis was doing a welfare check on a person reportedly slumped over in their car. That person got into a struggle with Davis and shot him before stealing his cruiser and driving away. Davis says he’s taking his father with him to the game since his father instilled his love for the Bengals in him. WTMJ vice president Steve Wexler said on the WTMJ afternoon program, “It’s just a token of our appreciation for your service, your commitment, and your inspiration that you’ve brought to all of us.” Good Karma is giving Davis two tickets to the game, airfare to LA, a hotel room and several thousand dollars in spending money.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM late night talk host Nick Digilio launches a new podcast called “The Nick D Podcast” on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network. Digilio tells Rick Kaempfer of Illinois Entertainer, “The podcast will be a lot like the WGN show. Tons of guests that were regulars on my show on WGN, and we cover the world of pop culture. We’ll do all the regular features that we did on the show. I’ll do movie reviews. And I get to swear a little. If you were a fan of the radio show, you’ll like this podcast.”…..Comic Byron Kennedy launches the podcast, “Hot Chicken & Cage-Free Conversation,” the first three episodes of which feature country artists Jimmie Allen, Brett Eldredge, and Lainey Wilson. The podcast is a production of Benztown and McVay Media Podcast Networks and is billed as a “wildly unscripted podcast that will feature special guests ranging from musical artists to industry power players, professional athletes, actors, fellow comedians and more.”…..FOX Sports Radio says it will begin its 22nd annual Super Week coverage on Monday (2/7). Twenty-three hours a day of FSR’s weekday lineup will originate from Los Angeles, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “The Dan Patrick Show”; “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker”; “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon”; and “The Ben Maller Show.” The network will also present a special live, remote broadcast from Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on Saturday (2/12) featuring “Up On Game with LaVar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress”; “The Joy Taylor Show”; and “Steve Hartman & Geoff Schwartz.”

January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, Ukraine Tensions, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Deadly Violence Against Cops, Beijing Olympics, Spotify Case, and Whoopi Goldberg Suspended Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The House Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s statement he may pardon those convicted if elected; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, mandates, and school policies; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the battle for control over Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rash of deadly attacks on police in numerous U.S. cities; the political sideshow accompanying the Beijing Winter Olympics; Spotify’s handling of musicians pulling their music from the service over podcaster Joe Rogan’s program; and Whoopi Goldberg is suspended from ABC’s “The View” after Holocaust remarks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

| November 25, 2020

Walter Sterling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The weekend nationally syndicated host of the “Sterling on Sunday” show, Walter Sterling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sterling, who launched the show as a Sunday night feature on WPHT, Philadelphia some six years ago at the suggestion of then-CBS Radio EVP Chris Oliviero, went into the project after a decades-long career as one of radio’s most creative and influential programming management and consultation figures. Working for five decades under his legal name Walter Sabo, this colorful veteran’s resume, jobs, clients, and accomplishments as both a talk and music radio innovator are on a rarified level too numerous to list here. Now as on-air talent “Walter Sterling,” Sabo is breaking new ground in news/talk radio specialty programming addressing the social, cultural, and political issues of the day from the perspective of a devoted family man –  husband and father – taking a real life, down-to-earth approach to the issues of coping with life in the 21st century. The three-hour show (Sunday nights 10:00 pm ET) is a smash and has already reached the 100-affiliate mark via Sabo’s independent syndication firm, Sterling Sabo. In this fascinating, informal conversation between two old friends, Harrison and Sterling talk about today’s crisis in education, the state of youth in general, and the evolution of radio as it achieves its 100-year milestone. This podcast is a must-listen for students of radio – young and old. Don’t miss it!  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.

Takeaways from Round Two of Nielsen’s November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the second round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that includes markets Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Some movements of note include iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston, which rose to a 6.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) to finish ranked #4 in the market. Cumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit also rises to the #4 rank on the strength of 5.4 share (+0.7). In Phoenix, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFYI-AM shoots up 1.7 shares to finish with a 7.5 share and takes over the #1 spot. And Cox Media Group’s WHPT, Tampa jumps into the #3 spot after posting a 6.2 share (+1.1). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Newsmax TV Says It’s Now the 4th Largest U.S. Cable News Channel. Citing election week and post-election data, Newsmax TV says that it has risen to become the fourth-largest cable news channel in the U.S., noting that for the week of November 11, its Adults 35-64 audience increased 132%. It says the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program averaged “nearly 1 million viewers” from November 9-19, beating FOX Business Network and CNBC. Newsmax TV adds that its OTT viewing has increased from 4.5 million to 18.8 million from July 2020 through October 2020.

Stacy Washington Upped to Nights on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Talk host and commentator Stacy Washington is promoted to host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel. Washington has been hosting her “Stacy on the Right” show on Sunday mornings since she joined SiriusXM this past summer. SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab says, “When Stacy joined the Patriot family this summer with her new Sunday morning program, it didn’t take long to take off with our audience. In addition to her weekly program, Stacy played a vital role in SiriusXM Patriot’s campaign coverage and was a regular contributor to programs across the channel. The expansion to a daily show comes as well-deserved recognition for Stacy’s contributions, and we know our audience will be excited to hear ‘Stacy on the Right’ five nights a week.” Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran who serves as an advisory board member of Vets for Trump and co-chair of Black Voices for Trump. She has appeared on FOX News, FOX Business, CNN, TheBlaze, and PBS, and has written for publications including FOX News Opinion and Townhall.com.

WHAM, Rochester Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Relates COVID-19 Battles. Talk radio host Bob Lonsberry – heard on iHeartMedia’s WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse – recently spoke with WHEC-TV, Rochester about his family’s ordeal with COVID-19. Lonsberry says he, his wife and all five of his kids became infected with the disease but to varying degrees. He tells WHEC-TV, “That was one of the things that was so interesting about this that it affected everybody differently. I think a couple of our young sons were truly asymptomatic and we all sort of went our own way, about half the people had a fever, half didn’t, half had coughs and sore throats, half didn’t. It manifests itself very differently in each of us and lasted over a different course of time for each of us.”

Cumulus Media Cincinnati RVP and Market Manager Dave Crowl to Retire. Radio management pro Dave Crowl is retiring from Cumulus Media at the end of this year after a 44-year career in the radio business. Crowl has been serving as regional vice president and market manager for Cumulus’ Cincinnati station group. Crowl began his career as an account executive at WLVQ-FM, Columbus. Over the years he’s worked in the Portland, Oregon and Milwaukee markets before landing in Cincinnati to become president of Jacor Communications’ radio division. In 2000, he was appointed SVP of then-Clear Channel Communications and joined Cumulus Media in 2012. He says, “A 44-year career in radio would have been challenging to achieve without the support of my family, mentors, colleagues and friends who constantly inspired me. More importantly, I could not have arrived at this moment without the foundation of all the many dynamic general managers and their market teams who delivered compelling audio content to their listeners, communities, and advertisers every day 24/7.” Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Dave Crowl has distinguished himself as one of the most respected leaders in radio, dedicating the last 44 years to making radio the best it could be for the many communities he has served so well. In the process, he has lifted up our industry and the people in it, always treating others with respect, dignity and understanding. He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all good things in his retirement.”

iHeartMedia Partners with Podimo to Present Translated Podcasts. This collaboration between iHeartMedia and European podcast platform Podimo creates a strategic partnership to translate and adapt popular podcasts across the globe in different languages. The partnership kicks off with the widely popular true crime podcast “Forgotten: Women of Juárez” (Olvidadas: Muertes de Juárez) about femicides in Mexico’s most dangerous city in three languages: Spanish, German, and Danish. The adapted podcast series will be released in early 2021 in 20 countries in Latin America, as well as in Spain and in the USA, followed by Podimo’s German and Danish markets at a later date. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We’re excited to partner with a podcast innovator like Podimo and use iHeartMedia’s unparalleled ability to introduce podcast listening at scale to bring some of the most fascinating local podcasts to millions of listeners worldwide. Podcast listening continues to see tremendous growth as more and more listeners seek out layered storytelling, and we believe this venture with Podimo will help us to introduce great podcasts to new fans around the world.”

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Traveling, Biden Transition/Trump Still Fighting, Record Dow/The Economy, OANN YouTube Ban, and Utah Monolith Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and warnings about gathering in groups for the Thanksgiving holiday; the Joe Biden administration officially begins the transition process while Donald Trump continues to challenge the election results; the Dow hits a record 30,000 though some economists warn a correction is due this winter; conservative news outlet One America News Network is banned from posting on YouTube for a week for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policy; and the discovery of a mysterious metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah 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. The alternative format known as WWCD and operated by Randy Malloy has found a new home in Columbus after losing its lease on the 102.1 FM frequency and going briefly to an online-only model. The station is leasing the WMYC-AM/W255CS duo from ICS Communications with the intent to buy the signals, according to a piece at WOSU.org. This is the third frequency shift for the alternative station. It originated on 101.1 FM, then moved to Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting System’s 102.5, and now to the current simulcast operation…..Programming pro Jason Taylor joins Adams Radio Tallahassee as operations manager and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.” Taylor takes over for Casey Daniels who is returning to Indiana for personal reasons. Taylor spent the past 16 years at iHeartMedia’s crosstown station group. Adams Tallahassee VP/GM Jason Lamp says, “We are ecstatic about this announcement. Jason Taylor is a brand that Tallahassee country listeners have adored for many years. Having Jason join our live and local team in afternoon drive alongside ‘Cash & Woody in the Morning’ on ‘The Wolf’ is a dream come true for us. His management style is 100% of what we need in our building!”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is offering four holiday specials designed for adult contemporary and hot AC stations designed for air on Saturdays or Sundays from November 28 through December 20. The Christmas specials include: On November 28-29, Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls featuring the new Goo Goo Dolls Christmas album, It’s Christmas All Over; on December 5-6, Carrie Underwood featuring her new Christmas album, My Gift; on December 12-13, Meghan Trainor featuring her new Christmas album, A Very Trainor Christmas; and on December 19-20, Taylor Swift featuring her favorite Christmas playlist.