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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

| September 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

| April 28, 2021

Meadowlark Media and DraftKings Ink Big Deal for Content Distribution. The Miami Herald has the story about the new $40 million deal that Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN chief John Skipper and former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard – and DraftKings have entered into. According to the Herald, DraftKings is getting into the content distribution business and by June or early July will be responsible for getting Meadowlark’s flagship program “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” onto radio, television, podcast platforms, and social media. It will also serve as title sponsor. The paper reports that Meadowlark negotiated with several other companies including SiriusXM, NBC’s Peacock and iHeartMedia.  Le Batard told the Herald that didn’t want fans to have to climb a paywall for his show. “We didn’t want to do that to our listeners. The thing that I chose was freedom. Every time I’ve negotiated anywhere was for freedom, not money. This allows Meadowlark to be profitable from the start and have total freedom to do what we want. We can go forward and appear everywhere. We can make partnerships anywhere we want. We don’t have any corporate overlord. Our partner is our sponsor and what they are sponsoring is our freedom. The media landscape is changing very rapidly, and this shows how much power and value individuals can exert in breaking free from the corporate machine.” By summertime, Le Batard’s show – currently only available in podcast form – will be found in video formant on YouTube, Twitch, and DraftKings’ own nascent channel. The Herald adds that “the partnership will include DraftKings commissioning content projects and original programming that Meadowlark will develop and produce, including sports documentaries, as DraftKings broadens its sports entertainment footprint.”

Alpha Media Files Opposition to Larry Wilson’s Petition to Deny with FCC. As Alpha Media works to emerge from bankruptcy – approval for which it has received from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia – it also needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission. But minority interest holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed Petitions to Deny with the FCC, claiming that Alpha has failed to comply with FCC regulations regarding licensing of some of its stations and that the matter requires further review of foreign ownership interests, respectively. Alpha recently filed its opposition to the Petitions to Deny. In that filing’s summary, it says, “In short, when one peels away the bombast of Wilson’s Petition, it is clear that Wilson is inappropriately using the agency as a platform for rehashing his differences with certain members of the Company’s Board of Directors and management, and vainly attempting to shoehorn assessment of his personal grievances into the Commission’s processes under the guise of spurious claims that Alpha is unfit to hold its broadcast licenses. Moreover, his assertions are false. For Stone’s part, he simply criticizes the FCC’s well-established policy of promoting companies’ ability to promptly emerge from bankruptcy where further regulatory review of foreign ownership interests is required, a policy that is grounded in public interest considerations and comity with the bankruptcy laws. Neither Wilson nor Stone has standing as a party-in-interest. Any claims they had as holders of minority interests in Alpha pertaining to the Plan or to Alpha’s governance could and should have been presented to the Bankruptcy Court or the Delaware courts. While they inexplicably chose not to avail themselves of these alternative forums, they cannot now seek redress before the Commission. It has been black-letter law that the FCC does not adjudicate private contractual matters for far longer than the ‘more than 40 years’ that Wilson’s counsel has been ‘practic[ing] before the Commission,’ and the FCC has no reason to do so here.”

Westwood One Announces Executive Promotions. Three Westwood One staffers are promoted to new positions within the syndicator and sales firm’s programming and operations divisions. Twenty-eight-year Westwood One employee Susan Stephens is promoted to SVP and general manager, Westwood One programming. In this expanded role, Stephens will work to optimize programming and content opportunities and collaborations between news, talk, music, and entertainment. Tim Seymour rises to SVP, head of operations in which the 20-year WWO staffer assumes responsibility for the operations, partner relations, affiliate & sales operations, traffic & continuity, and research operations teams. Becky Bennett is elevated to VP, partner relations. Stephens and Seymour both report to Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes. Bennett will report to Seymour. Grimes says, “We have an enviable depth of talent within Westwood One with the unique experience to lead us forward. It is a privilege and a pleasure to announce these well-deserved promotions that will position us to succeed in 2021 and beyond.”

Edison’s Annual ‘Moms and Media’ Study Unveiled May 6. The results of the annual “Moms and Media” study from Edison Research will be revealed at a webinar being presented next Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says, “This year’s ‘Moms and Media’ study provides insight on media usage, social media habits, and current outlook on tech by U.S. moms. Findings incorporate data from The Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, as well as data from Edison Research’s new ongoing syndicated measurement of social media, The Social Habit. The 2021 report features data trends on devices, media engagement, and technology usage of U.S. moms. Highlights from this year’s study include: smart speaker ownership, podcast adoption, online audio listening, and social media engagement. In addition, the report will showcase brand new research centered on social media usage by U.S. moms and their children. You can register for the webinar here.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Harry Hamm Sentenced in Child Porn Case. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that former longtime KMOX, St. Louis air personality Harry Hamm was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The 79-year-old former entertainment editor for the radio station admitted that FBI investigators found child porn on two of his cell phones and his laptop. Hamm is also facing charges of second-degree statutory sodomy, incest and possession of child pornography in St. Louis County. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. The Post-Dispatch story says the St. Louis County charges stem from allegations of sexual contact with a 16-year-old. Hamm began his career with the station in 1975.

TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is bringing two of the Navy SEALS who were on the mission that killed al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to Des Moines for a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation that provides service dogs for combat-wounded veterans. Rob O’Neill – the SEAL who fired the shots that killed Bin Laden – and SEAL dog handler Will Chesney will take part in the June 18 event…..ABC News Radio is providing coverage of President Joe Biden’s address this evening and will begin with a one-hour special, “The Biden Presidency: The First 100 Days,” looking back at the start of the Biden administration. The program will air live on the radio network from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. ABC News Radio will also provide live anchored coverage of President Biden’s speech, with reporting and analysis from ABC News’ team of correspondents and experts…..Public radio outlet WPLN, Nashville announces it has hired Caroline Eggers as the newsroom’s first environmental reporter. She starts her new position in June and will cover environmental issues with a focus on equity for WPLN News as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms across the U.S. to report on under-covered topics and communities. She comments, “WPLN News delivers essential stories with incredible intellect and empathy. I can’t wait to reflect these values while investigating Nashville’s climate action plan, air quality and infrastructure challenges.”

COVID-19, Biden’s 100 Days Address to Congress/$1.8 Trillion American Families Plan, Andrew Brown, Jr Protests/Police Violence, 2020 Census-House Seats, Critical Race Theory Controversy, John Kerry Iran Allegation, and Southern Border Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The CDC’s new directives on mask wearing, the rollout of vaccines, and the high rate of cases in places like India and Brazil; this evening’s 100-day address to Congress by President Joe Biden and his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the protests of the police shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. and other cases of police violence; the results of the 2020 census and its impact on U.S. Rep seats; the controversy over “critical race theory” and its use in public schools curricula; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Israeli air strikes with Iran’s foreign minister; and the overwhelming number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.