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Thursday, October 1, 2020

| October 1, 2020

Round Two of September PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. Also, today TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Rating Takeaways from this second round of markets. In the Washington, DC market, Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds one-tenth to finish with an 8.0 share but slides back to the #3 rank as Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM powers into the #2 rank. Across town, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM remains in the #1 spot on the strength of a one-share gain and a 9.5 share finish. iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston jumps a full share to finish the September survey with a 4.9 share and the #8 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM falls five-tenths to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank. After six consecutive months at #1, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle falls into the #2 spot after losing eight-tenths and finishing with a 6.4 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Newsmax TV Reaches 9.6 Million Cable Viewers. According to Newsmax TV, the cable channel’s “total household reach jumped to 9.6 million, up from 2.9 million in August 2019, according to Comscore data.” Newsmax Media Inc CEO Christopher Ruddy says that viewership has increased steadily all year and he credits viewer interest in Newsmax’s election coverage coupled with its new shows like “Greg Kelly Reports,” “Sean Spicer’s Spicer & Co.”, and “The Chris Salcedo Show.” Ruddy says, “Viewers are clearly voting for Newsmax TV with their remotes. The growth is even more remarkable when one considers we just launched our first prime-time show in July.” The company says Newsmax TV has live or original news shows airing from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm ET and has launched significant daytime coverage on weekends. The network is also planning a daily morning show to debut in the next 60 days, with more prime-time show launches expected soon.

iHeartMedia Expands Board of Directors; Appoints Cheryl Mills to Board. The board of directors of iHeartMedia, Inc. is expanded to eight and Cheryl Mills is named to the new seat. Mills is the founder and CEO of BlackIvy Group LLC, a firm that builds and grows commercial enterprises in Sub- Saharan Africa to meet the needs of an expanding consumer population and growing business sector. Mills previously served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and counselor to the U.S. Department of State. She also was SVP for corporate policy and public programming at Oxygen Media and was deputy counsel to the President at the White House and served as an associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Hogan and Hartson. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Cheryl Mills is joining the iHeart board. Her depth and breadth of experience, her leadership in policy, business and entrepreneurship, education and media, and her deep commitment to public service, will provide strong and unique value to our board and our company, and we are looking forward to her contributions.”

Cumulus Media Completes Initial Closing on $208 Million Tower Deal. This news from Cumulus Media Inc is relative to the $213 million deal that transfers its tower assets to Vertical Bridge. This initial closing is for the $208 million tower portfolio monetization transaction. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “We are thrilled to have expeditiously completed the first closing of this significant transaction. Pro forma for its completion and based on our Q2 ending cash balance, we will have reduced net debt by nearly $325 million during 2020 and by nearly $580 million since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018. Our further improved liquidity position and covenant-lite, long-dated debt will continue to support our growth initiatives and allow us to take advantage of accretive opportunities as we navigate through near-term uncertainties to drive long-term shareholder value.” After transaction fees and expenses and related costs, Cumulus received approximately $202 million in net proceeds at the initial closing. The use of net proceeds from the transaction are governed by the company’s Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 and its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026. As defined in the debt agreements, net proceeds of approximately $64 million from assets being sold and not being leased back and net proceeds of approximately $96 million from assets being sold and leased back are required to pay down the Term Loan and be applied to a tender offer with respect to the 6.75% Notes on a pro rata basis. The paydown from the Sale-Leaseback Proceeds is required to be made at closing for the Term Loan portion and within thirty (30) days of closing for the 6.75% Notes. As such, at closing, the Company paid down approximately $49 million of its Term Loan at par, and it intends in the near future to launch a tender offer for up to approximately $47 million of the 6.75% Notes at par. Cumulus Media entered into a master lease agreement for the continued use of substantially all of the towers that were sold. That deal includes the 10-year initial term of the lease, followed by five option periods of five years each. The annual lease payment obligation for the assets leased back in the initial closing is approximately $13.2 million, subject to customary escalators, and will be accounted for as a reduction of the financial liability and interest expense. Cumulus anticipates that one or more subsequent closings will be held for the assets comprising the remainder of the previously announced $213 million purchase price, subject to adjustment based upon due diligence and the curing of outstanding site defects.

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is Starnes Media Group principal, nationally syndicated talk show host, and KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” owner Todd Starnes (right) at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference in Atlanta where he served as a keynote speaker. He’s pictured here with conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza (left)…..The “Margaritaville Podcast” joins the portfolio of cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales representation firm Crossover Media Group Sales. The recently launched podcast, hosted by Jimmy Buffett’s production coordinator Heikki Larsen features interviews with friends, colleagues, and fans of the Margaritaville global lifestyle brand inspired by the singer, songwriter and best-selling author. Recent guests have included Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt, Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and Jimmy Buffett video producer Stan Kellam. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund says, “Fans of the Margaritaville lifestyle constitute an extremely devoted, enduring, cohesive, socially conscientious and upscale fan base. Heikki and his show are a valuable addition to the CMGS portfolio, as it enables us to offer an even more diverse and versatile slate of inventory for marketing partners.”…..AdLarge Media announce its newest sports partnership with National Sports Network for exclusive ad sales representation of NCAA basketball play-by-play coverage on radio. AdLarge Media co-founder and co-CEO Gary Schonfeld says, “We’re very excited to offer our advertisers these NCAA basketball games on radio. With the addition of these top-tier college basketball games from National Sports Network, the AdLarge sports portfolio delivers continuous access to engaged sports fans.”…..PodcastOne acquires the exclusive distribution and sales rights for the health and wellness podcast “The Dr. Gundry Podcast.” The program is hosted by New York Times best-selling author of The Plant Paradox (Harper Wave 2017), Dr. Steven Gundry. He says, “I’m proud for ‘The Dr. Gundry Podcast’ to now be part of PodcastOne. Its robust podcasting network is a great platform to continue to empower listeners and share the knowledge and tools to help people live their best life.”

Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Parade. On Wednesday (9/30), a pro-police, pro-Trump parade of cars organized by KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root drove down the Las Vegas strip. Root, pictured here with supporters, tells TALKERS magazine he estimates there were more than 1,000 cars taking part in the parade. Root says he waited at the parade’s finish line – the Nevada Governor’s office building – and “shook hands, and high-fived, and took photos, and thanked every single car of my fans.” You can read the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s coverage here.

The Presidential Race/Debate Aftermath, Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, New Stimulus Deal, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, Down Financial Markets, BLM Movement/Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/30). The November presidential election and the aftermath of Tuesday night’s debate; the debate over the reliability of mail-in voting; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Midwest and talk about a fall/winter second wave; negotiations between congress and the Trump administration over a new stimulus package; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. financial markets suffer their worst month since last March; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various cities; and the deadly California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

DYNAMIC DUO EXCLUSIVE!  “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and John Catsimatidis Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Radio enthusiasts won’t want to miss this brand-new audio gem! Legendary music radio personality “Cousin” Bruce Morrow and WABC, New York owner John Catsimatidis are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Morrow (also known as “Cousin Brucie”) is one of the last of his generation still standing. He is the quintessential heritage disc jockey who has been a major on-the-air radio figure in New York City through several golden eras since 1959, performing on such storied stations as WINS, WABC, WNBC and WCBS-FM and, until recently, across the nation on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Just a few weeks ago, to the delight of his multi-generational legion of fans, he was hired to host a Saturday evening music show on WABC, the station where he played to millions back in the 1960s and early 1970s during the heyday of his magnificent career. The other member of this dynamic duo, Catsimatidis is a well-connected radio lover and big business heavyweight whose Red Apple Media purchased WABC – now a news/talk outlet – from Cumulus Media late last year. He’s a prominent New York City-based, self-made mogul and syndicated radio talk show host involved in an array of industries that, in addition to communications, includes supermarkets, energy, and real estate development. He’s also a former and potential future New York City mayoral candidate. The result is a free-wheeling conversation that covers radio, music, politics, several surprises and the New York state of mind – an instant classic.  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-Air pro Julie Guy signs a multiyear contract extension with Entercom’s adult contemporary WLYF-FM, Miami “101.5 LITE FM” to continue co-hosting the “Julie Guy & Tamara G” morning show. Entercom Miami SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “As a veteran of the station, Julie encapsulates the spirit of ‘101.5 LITE FM’ and sets the tone for our programming slate each morning. Her distinct energy and solid rapport with Tamara translate to a quality morning show and I’m happy to keep her in the fold for years to come.” Guy has served as a morning show host for “101.5 LITE FM” since 2013…..Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WALR-FM, Atlanta “KISS 104.1” adds the nationally syndicated program “The Sweat Hotel,” with host Keith Sweat to air in the 9:00 pm to 2:00 am slot. Station director of branding and programming Terri Avery comments, “Keith Sweat is an R&B legend and ‘KISS 104.1’ is excited about him joining our lineup. Keith brings just the right blend of slow jams and sensual sounds that will keep our listeners entertained throughout the night.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

| September 9, 2020

iHeartMedia and Charlamagne Tha God Launch ‘The Black Effect Podcast Network.’ A new podcast network from iHeartMedia and nationally syndicated radio personality Charlamagne Tha God is in the works. iHeartMedia says, “The Black Effect Podcast Network is positioned to become the world’s largest podcast publisher dedicated to Black listeners, bringing together the most influential and trusted voices in black culture for stimulating conversations around social justice, pop culture, sports, mental health, news, comedy and more.” Charlamagne says, “Blackness has an immediate, culture shifting effect on everything. Blackness controls the cool. Blackness is the culture, but Black Voices are not monolithic. The only way to appreciate the diversity of thought and experiences in Black culture is to build a platform for those voices to be heard. Unapologetically Black experiences, unapologetically Black thought, unapologetically Black ideas. Black, Black, Blackity Black, Black, Black, Black. Everything Black. Black Everything. The vision for The Black Effect is to amplify, elevate, and empower emerging and established talent. Our goal is to shift the narrative from Black creators signing transactional deals, to instead forming legacy partnerships that build generational wealth while allowing each creative to have an equitable stake in their future. As a longtime partner of iHeart, it’s an honor to make history with them.” The Black Effect Podcast Network creatives will include comedian/actress Jess Hilarious, social justice activist Tamika Mallory, American attorney and TV host Eboni K. Williams, and many more.

Fred Toucher Back on WBZ-FM, Boston. After seven weeks away from his role as co-host of the morning drive “Toucher and Rich” program on Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Fred Toucher re-joins Rich Shertenlieb and the cast today (9/9). As reported by the Boston Globe, Toucher took leave of the show on July 22 to enter rehab for alcohol addiction. He tweeted on Tuesday, “I’m back baby! It’s been a crazy few weeks but I survived. I want to thank all of you for the tremendous support. I have read all your messages and they helped me more than you could imagine. I will tell my story starting tomorrow at 6am on Toucher and Rich 98.5 the sports hub.”

New Afternoon Show Debuts at Cumulus’ KTIK-FM, Boise. The new afternoon show at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KTIK-FM, Boise includes the station’s current afternoon personality Mike Prater and new station voice Johnny “The Ballgame” Mallory.  The show is called “Idaho Sports Talk With Prater & The Ballgame” and airs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Mallory is a former Boise radio personality who’s been hosting his own show in LaGrande, Oregon for the past four years. KTIK program director John Patrick says, “Johnny will bring tremendous energy that will be infectious to our listeners. We’ve put together a strong team that will carry the Idaho Sports Talk tradition of smart and entertaining conversation with a focus on Boise State athletics.” The station says that Boise State University athletics voice Bob Behler will continue his appearances on “Idaho Sports Talk With Prater & The Ballgame,” doing daily segments on teams, student-athletes, news and trending issues at Boise State. Behler also continues as the play-by-play voice of the football and men’s basketball teams.

Ramon Foster Joins Morning Show at WGFX-FM, Nashville. Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman and Tennessee Volunteers player Ramon Foster is joining Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” as co-host of the morning drive program alongside Jason Martin, effective today (9/9). Station program director Paul Mason says, “From the moment I met Ramon Foster, I knew he was the right person for this role. Not only is he a ‘Vol For Life’ with many years in the NFL, but he is also very likable, a great storyteller, and is just flat out interesting to listen to. I’m extremely excited and happy for our listeners!”

Rob Schmitt to Host Prime-Time Show on Newsmax TV. News pro Rob Schmitt is joining Newsmax TV to host a prime-time program. Newsmax says that beginning weeknights this fall, “Schmitt’s new prime-time hour will include fast-paced news, analysis, and commentary covering the topics most important to Americans.” Schmitt most recently anchored the “FOX & Friends First” morning show and was a co-anchor for “FOX Nation.” Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Rob has the kind of journalistic credentials and positive reputation we look for here at Newsmax and our viewers will be well served by his honest reporting.”

Presidential Election/Mail-In Voting, DOJ-E. Jean Carroll Case, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine Trials, School Openings/College Outbreaks, California Wildfires, and Oscars Inclusion Standards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). The November presidential election, the controversy over mail-in voting, and President Trump’s request that supporters act as “poll watchers”; the Department of Justice seeks to defend Trump in the E. Jean Carroll sexual assault allegation; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases and the related quest for a vaccine; the challenges of opening U.S. schools to students and the COVID-19 outbreaks at numerous college campuses; the raging California wildfires; and the new inclusion standards for the Oscars were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Little Rock talk show host Dave Elswick celebrated 20 years on the air in the market on Tuesday (9/8). Elswick, has been a personality at Salem Media Group’s KXDE, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” for the past six years, previously handled afternoon drive at Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KARN-AM/FM. He’s been in the radio business for 50 years…..FOX Sports Radio launches a new iHeartRadio original podcast titled, “I Want Your Flex,” distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. The program is a fantasy football-themed podcast hosted by FSR personalities Mike Harmon and Dan Beyer. New episodes will drop on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Harmon has served as co-host of FSR’s “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon.” He also hosts a two-hour Sunday morning show on FSR from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with LaVar Arrington. Beyer is FSR’s managing news editor, and can be heard weekdays on “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Imperative Entertainment premiere “TRUE,” a weekly podcast that “features often weird, but always true stories of strange events and unforgettable moments.” New episodes include topics such as: ‘Balloon Boy’ in which the Heene family claimed their six-year-old son was trapped in a homemade helium-filled gas balloon shaped to resemble a flying saucer, and ‘Pigeon King’ – the story of how Arlan Galbraith used pigeons to scam millions of dollars from small town farmers, mostly Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites, across Canada and the US…..Entercom is partnering with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation to host the first annual Giving Week campaign in support of the foundation’s signature program, My Home Library. All this week, Entercom’s Houston stations are working to raise $100,000 to provide more than 3,500 home libraries to economically disadvantaged Houston children…..Vuolo Video’s Art Vuolo is making audio from the morning of September 11, 2001 available to stations for use in recognizing the anniversary of the terror attacks this Friday. The “mini-documentary” runs about 13 minutes and includes radio sound and clips from WABC, WCBS-AM, WCBS-FM, WOR, WINS, and WHTZ featuring air personalities Scott Shannon, Elvis Duran, Curtis Sliwa, Sean Hannity, Lee Harris, Ed Walsh, John Gambling, Joe Bartlett, and Joey Reynolds. The link to the YouTube video is here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New Orleans, Cumulus Media flips classic hits KKND-FM to hot AC as “106.7 The Krewe.” The station will feature core artists including: Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, and Maroon 5, among others. The weekday programming lineup includes “The Bert Show” 5:00 am to 9:00 am and “The Adam Bomb Show” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..Cumulus Media alternative rock WKQX-FM, Chicago is presenting the history of the alternative rock genre via its “The History of Alternative,” an exclusive five-week radio series that began on Tuesday (9/8). The program will air nine hours a day, every day, on WKQX through October 9. WKQX program director and Cumulus VP, corporate programming/rock formats Troy Hanson comments, “For 25-plus years, WKQX has had the good fortune of being Chicago’s amplifier to all things alternative. This labor of love will showcase the music since the dawn of the genre, as well as the pop culture happenings surrounding the movement. A credit to our incredible listeners who have helped shape the face of alternative. We’ve got you covered. All 23 minutes of Kraftwerk ‘Autobahn’? Check. Guyliner tips from The Cure? Check. Flannel meets punk meets Lilith Fair? Check. Zoot suit chain wallets? Check. Backwards red baseball cap? Yeah….even that phase, plus a couple more surprises along the way.” “The History of Alternative” was produced by WKQX’s Troy Hanson, Jon Manley, and James Van Osdol. The series was narrated by Brian Philips and hosted by Lauren O’Neal and Tim Virgin.

Newsmax TV Shows Impressive Audience Gains

| July 16, 2020

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

 

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Newsmax TV, a service of the influential Newsmax Media multi-platform news organization, has shown notable growth in the first half of 2020 in terms of audience increase and programming development in the highly competitive OTT arena.

OTT stands for “over-the-top,” the term used for the delivery of film and TV content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite provider.  Some OTT channels require a pay subscription (such as Netflix) and others (such as Newsmax TV) are free.

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Monday, June 8, 2020

| June 8, 2020

Monday Memo: New Normal HR? If you’ve been broadcasting remotely during the shutdown, and you’re daydreaming about getting back to what was left of radio station camaraderie, consultant Holland Cooke quotes Cher from “Moonstruck:” “SNAP OUT OF IT!” In this week’s column: Why telecommuting is GOOD news for you; and an HR expert explains how listeners’ lives are changed. Read it here.

George Floyd Protests, De-Funding Police, Re-Opening Across America, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, U.S.-China Relations, and Tropical Storm Cristobal Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The racism and police brutality protests that took place all over the world; the prospect of de-funding the police department in Minneapolis and in other cities; states across the nation continue to re-open their economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases; tense relations between China and the U.S. over the coronavirus pandemic; and tropical storm Cristobal hits the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Sales: Clients (As Well as Listeners) Seek Connection. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the on-air team at your news/talk station “is working hard to deliver the storylines driving the news cycle and talk the talk the listener expects every day… And THAT is the light in the darkness. That critical expectation of the listener attracted to the content of your news/talk programming is your start point. The reason your listener is engaged is your path to a cohesive sales flow that can resonate with potential sponsors.” Read his column here.

Emmis Suspends Sports Talker Joe Staysniak After Race Discussion. Former Indianapolis Colts player and current WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan” morning drive co-host Joe Staysniak is serving a one week, no-pay suspension from his show after management deemed his remarks about the police and racism in America were insensitive. The Indianapolis Star reports that during a discussion about the protests taking place in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, Staysniak said that Black people should say, “I’m going to stop being a victim,” and “Well, you know, get an education, you know, get a second job.” When co-host Jeff Rickards said that a Black driver is six times more likely to get pulled over than a white driver in some parts of Indiana, Staysniak responded, “OK and then you have to look at why. Is that racism or is that the time of day? Is that the car they’re driving? Are lights out? Are turn signals working?” He added, “It comes down to a cultural thing too. Are we putting ourselves in a situation where we don’t need to be? Again, when we have multiracial police officers…cell phones out…it just becomes harder and harder to believe you are being targeted like that.” Staysniak has apologized and Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement, “Emmis takes very seriously its commitment to the communities in which we proudly serve and reaffirms its dedication in rooting out injustices and oppression in any form.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Indianapolis, iHeartMedia debuts a new business talk outlet branded “Business News 97.5 FM” on translator W248AW, bumping the simulcast of alternative WOLT-FM. The station is airing almost exclusively content from Bloomberg Radio. iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Mike Killabrew says, “This is a unique format for a unique time. As the Indianapolis market continues pushing forward in a responsible fashion, we want to provide sound financial and business content to consumers looking to rebuild their personal and professional portfolios.” The company has not indicated what the feeder station is for the FM translator…..The Nevada Talk Network – consisting of KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks; KNNT-FM, Battle Mountain; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPKK-FM Amargosa Valley – adds Starnes Media Group’s “The Todd Starnes Show” to its programming lineup for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro received a “thank you” from Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Gary Dantzler as Dantzler took part in a press conference with Governor Gina Raimondo in which the governor announced a state partnership with Black Lives Matter to improve race relations. DePetro tells TALKERS magazine that he often had Brother Gary (as he’s called) on his radio show as a guest and treated him fairly. “The moment he chose to acknowledge it is incredible and positive for talk radio, since he was always shunned by local TV.”…..The radio edition of the “Cigar Dave Show” will end on June 27 after 25 years as host Dave Zeplowitz transitions the content to “more timely, daily short to medium-form, unrestricted podcasts aligned with related new e-commerce initiatives.”…..Dr. David Samadi, M.D. is named lead medical contributor for Newsmax TV. Dr. Samadi currently serves as director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Dr. Samadi is not only a brilliant surgeon, but also a great communicator who is able to explain complex medical issues clearly and concisely. During the coronavirus we have found him to be an invaluable resource for our viewers.”

Roger Neel Retiring from WNBF, Binghamton. After 42 years with the station, Roger Neel is retiring from his full-time position with Townsquare Media’s WNBF, Binghamton. Neel serves as morning show personality and brand manager for the news/talk station and for sister sports talker WYOS “CBS Sports Radio.” His last day will be June 19.  Neel joined the station in 1978 when he was hired as the play-by-play announcer for Binghamton’s minor league hockey franchise the Broome Dusters.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow (6/9), Cumulus Media’s urban-formatted radio stations, along with Westwood One urban brands, will air an 8 minute and 46 second audio tribute to George Floyd at 1:00 pm ET. The nationwide tribute, titled “8:46-Remembering George Floyd,” will align with Floyd’s burial Tuesday. Cumulus VP, urban formats Kenny Smoov says, “People are tired. They want Change now. They want Peace now. It is a beautiful thing to see people from outside of the African American community and from all over the world coming together to say ENOUGH! Let’s be the living generation that ends systemic racism!”…..Programming and on-air pro “Big Rick” Daniels is named program director for Gulf South Communications’ country WTVY, Dothan, Alabama “95.5 Your Country.” Daniels was most recently morning personality at country WGCC-FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky. At Gulf South, Daniels will also serve as digital brand manager for classic country WDJR-FM and CHR WKMX-FM…..Condolences to the family and friends of triple A WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD 102.5” program director and afternoon personality Mason “Mase” Brazelle who died on Saturday (6/6) after a sudden illness at the age of 53. The station’s website says, “Mase to all was known for his deep knowledge and passion for music, his ability to make anyone feel welcome, staff and listeners alike. Mase was a staunch supporter of shopping local from his vast collection of vinyl records from local stores and live music dating back to his time as a drummer in a rock band. Mase will be deeply missed.”

Thursday, May 7, 2020

| May 7, 2020

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Dead at 90. One of the founding fathers of the talk radio format, Barry Farber, died Wednesday evening (5/6). His daughter Celia Ingrid Farber announced via Twitter, “My father Barry Farber, beloved, died this evening, at 6:25 pm. He was home, in bed, and we were all with him. He turned 90 just yesterday. He told me recently that his concept of death was ‘going somewhere I’ve never been before, like Finland or Estonia.’ May God rest his soul.” Barry Farber began his talk radio career in 1960 on WINS, New York with his “Barry Farber’s WINS Open Mike” show, the only talk show on a rock ‘n’ roll station. He left for WOR, New York in 1962 to do the evening show, which eventually led to his becoming the all-night host in 1967. He left WOR in 1977 to delve into politics as the conservative party candidate for New York City mayor and when that didn’t pan out, he joined WMCA, New York and did afternoon drive for the next decade. Farber, with the help of Michael Castello and the late Alan Colmes, formed an independent network called Daynet. That proved to be one of the forerunners of today’s independent talk syndication scene. Since 2009, Farber had been hosting a nightly talk show on CRN Digital Talk – something he did until his last live program last week. In 2012, Farber was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine. Radio Pro Michelle Jerson interviewed Farber at the TALKERS conference in New York City that year.  You can see it hereNewsmax founder Christopher Ruddy tells TALKERS he met Farber when he was 16 years old and they’ve been friends for 40 years. “I grew up listening to Barry Farber, a favorite of my mother who made his WMCA, WOR and WABC shows a staple of our kitchen radio. He was a thinking conservative, not a bomb thrower, who loved America, his Jewish faith, and Israel, as well as the 26 languages he spoke, many in dialect.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Barry Farber was one of the founding fathers of talk radio whose influential career spanned both the modern and pre-modern eras of the format. He described his longevity in the business as ‘being big in the old days and old in the big days.’ He was among the finest public speakers of his time and a true wordsmith who served as an inspiration for generations of broadcasters who strived to be artists as well as communicators.”

iHeartMedia Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan. Also known in the financial business as the “poison pill,” the shareholder rights plan is designed to prevent a hostile takeover bid. iHeartMedia states that its board of directors is approving “the adoption of a short-term stockholder rights plan in order to protect the best interests of all iHeartMedia stockholders during the current period of high equity-market volatility and price disruption. The board adopted the rights plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations; the complex nature of the company’s capital structure; to enable all of iHeartMedia’s stockholders to realize the full potential of their investment in the company in light of the inherent resilience of the company’s cash flow model and patient capital structure; and to protect the interests of iHeartMedia and its stockholders by deterring any entity, person or group from attempting opportunistically to gain undue influence over or control of iHeartMedia through open market accumulation or other tactics without paying an appropriate control premium.” Specifically, under this plan “the board has declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock and warrant issued in connection with the Company’s plan of reorganization. The record date for such dividend distribution is May 18, 2020.”

Crossover Media Group Sales to Rep Quick Hits Media. The recently launched Quick Hits Media and Crossover Media Group Sales have struck a deal for the latter to provide ad sales for Quick Hits. Quick Hits was recently launched by veteran television journalist David Shuster and partners to “bring compelling conversations and expertise to news consumers via succinct, informative, 10-minute exchanges, covering the day’s top stories, that are polished, highly watchable and digestible on all screens.” Quick Hits says its team “boasts global journalism experience developed at news organizations including, among others, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, i24 News, NowThis News, Associated Press, and Investigative Journal, and informed by assignments and postings throughout the U.S., U.K., Germany, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and East Africa among other locales.” Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund states, “It’s a new world in which news consumption has skyrocketed and consumers more than ever are seeking information and insights that are presented clearly, comprehensibly and succinctly by globally experienced, big-picture journalists. David and his colleagues bring decades of experience and complementary backgrounds to the task of keeping viewers informed of the critical issues of the day from a worldwide perspective.”

iHeartMedia Unveils SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program. The “SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program” is a suite of three new SmartAudio products that iHeartMedia says enable businesses to utilize its “unparalleled data and scale to re-engage with their loyal customers, and find new ones, as the nation’s economy begins to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company says businesses will also be able to use the new products to deliver tailored advertising messages based on local market data to ensure businesses are reaching their customers with messaging that fits their circumstances. The three new products in the suite are: SmartAudio COVID Community Recovery Index, SmartAudio Brand Loyalists, and SmartAudio Unlimited.  iHeartMedia president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky says, “The massive disruption created by the pandemic has caused brand loyalties to shift as consumers adapted to limited supplies and financial constraints – making them rethink what is essential. The SmartAudio data platform uses iHeartMedia’s best-in-class audience data and real-time inputs to give brands the power to reconnect with their loyal customers and find switchers as they enter the market in a post COVID-19 world.”

TALKERS News Notes. Today (5/7), Entercom’s Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports Radio” is hosting “The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Radiothon” to support children and families who are experiencing hardships from the global health pandemic. As part of the daylong event, KCSP will welcome celebrity guests at the top of each hour to help raise funds and awareness, including Chiefs safety and foundation founder Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, former Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, and more…..iHeartMedia Denver’s KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” is extending its broadcast agreement with the University of Colorado Athletics Department and its exclusive multimedia rightsholder, Buffalo Sports Properties, for a 77th season. The deal means listeners will continue to hear all Buffs sports, including football as well as men’s and women’s game broadcasts. Mark Johnson will return this fall as the “Voice of the Buffs” for his 17th season of play-by-play reporting for Buffs football and men’s basketball…..AdLarge Media announces that with the return of NASCAR on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway, Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network are delivering the races to radio stations across America. AdLarge Media chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith says, “NASCAR is back! It couldn’t be at a better time as the country is starved for sports. Long time NASCAR fans are going to be glued to the radio broadcasts of these races and new NASCAR fans are going to find out what the excitement is all about. One of the special aspects of NASCAR is the relationship between the fans and the sponsors who support the sport. I can’t wait for the radio broadcasts to get going and for our advertisers to make that connection with fans, new and old.”…..Cadence13 partners with Headspace to create a slate of new and original podcasts dedicated to mindful living. The first, Radio Headspace, will launch later this month and will feature a daily, short-form meditation podcast hosted by Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe in an effort “to help listeners cope with the heightened stress of our changing world.” Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “As our daily routines are changing and the world we live in has brought on an unprecedented uncertainty, Headspace continues to offer a more mindful experience. There’s never been a better time to bring the Headspace experience into podcasting, and we’re thrilled to be their partner in this important venture, and at this important time.”

Newsmax TV Inks Carriage Deal with Mediacom Communications. Cable operator Mediacom Communications operates primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, reaching approximately 1.4 million households and businesses.  This deal will put Newsmax TV in the company’s expanded basic package it calls Variety TV.  Newsmax SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Mediacom is one of the most respected operators in the industry and we’re pleased to partner with them in delivering Newsmax TV across their heartland footprint.”  This pact means Newsmax now has distribution agreements with each of the top 10 pay TV operators in the U.S and Comscore reports Newsmax total household cume viewership is up over 200% from mid-2019, and viewership in the first quarter of 2020 outpaced the prior quarter by 74%.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Unemployment Figures/The Economy, States Re-Opening, Black Jogger Slaying, and Presidential Race/Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the expected release of the latest unemployment figures and the state of the U.S. economy; the numerous states planning to re-open their economies; the viral video revealing the shooting death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia; and the presidential race and the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the preeminent financial advisors on radio in America today, Ric Edelman – founder of Edelman Financial Services and Edelman Financial Engines – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Edelman has been a major talk radio professional for nearly 30 years, currently airing on 80 stations coast-to-coast, as well as a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s also produced several award-winning specials for public television and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 10 books on personal finance, including a best-selling children’s book on money. Harrison engages Edelman in a remarkably candid discussion about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intricacies of the “lives versus livelihood” debate dominating the national conversation.  In the process, they take a deep dive into the psychology of America’s consumer culture and the nature of personal debt as it applies to the nation’s emotional profile. Don’t miss this extraordinarily timely and informative conversation!  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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Dave Levora is back on the air in the Quad Cities after exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOC-AM during the “employee dislocation” that took place back in January.  He’s co-hosting mornings on Regional Media’s KQCJ-FM as the station flips from adult hits to alternative as “Planet 93.9.” He tells Regional’s Illinois News Now that he was finished with radio until the company’s Fletcher Ford offered him the chance to build a radio station on his terms…..The Toledo Blade reports that country WKKO “K-100” weekend personality Craig Snyder is recovering from COVID-19 at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. He tells the Blade that the doctors say he is getting better.  He’s been in the ICU for two weeks and was in a different facility for a week and a half prior…..Entercom Boston helped raise funds to provide 156,684 meals for people in need through the Greater Boston Food Bank. The “Feed New England Radiothon” took place on Tuesday (5/5) and was presented by local grocery chains Shaw’s and Star Market. Helping in the cause were celebs including pop star Joe Jonas, singer and songwriter Charlie Puth, singer and songwriter Noah Cyrus, legendary Boston comedian and actor Lenny Clarke, and New England Patriots safety and three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty.