Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.
Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.
Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.
KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”
KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”
Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”
Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Galaxy Media Promotes Carrie Wojtaszek to COO. The chief operating officer position is a new one at Galaxy Media and the company promotes Carrie J. Wojtaszek, adding COO to her existing role as general manager of Galaxy events. Now, Wojtaszek will be responsible for the company’s 13 radio stations, digital division, and sports marketing organization. Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine says, “It’s hard to quantify the impact that Carrie has had on Galaxy. Carrie and Pam Levine have built Galaxy Events from nothing to a nationally known brand. I’m excited to watch the impact that she will have in all of our divisions in the coming years.” Wojtaszek’s appointment comes as Galaxy has completed a near-$10 million refinancing of the company. Levine adds, “Our balance sheet has never been stronger and with the buying out of our former private equity partners, Galaxy is truly poised to become the pinnacle of a locally owned modern media company.”
ESPN Reports ‘Record-Setting’ Podcast Listening in September. Saying that downloads of its podcasts have risen 50% in a year and that its unique audience is up 36%, ESPN calls September a record-setting month for its podcasts. The company says, “ESPN podcasts set a record for any month in September with 39.3 million IAB compliant downloads, breaking the record of 36 million set in May of this year, as measured by RawVoice. ESPN podcasts tallied a total of 5.47 million US Unique Audience, as measured by Podtrac.” ESPN’s top podcast performers also include many ESPN radio and television shows. The Dan LeBatard show led the way with 8.2 million downloads, followed by “Fantasy Focus Football,” then “First Take” and “538: Politics” at 2.8 million, “Pardon the Interruption” with a new monthly record of 2.7 million, “Golic & Wingo” at 2.2 million, “Jalen & Jacoby” at 1.3 and the Stephen A. Smith show at 1.2 million.
iHeartRadio Now Heard South of the Border. Through a deal with Mexican broadcaster Grupo ACIR, iHeartMedia is now making the iHeartRadio platform
available throughout Mexico. iHeartRadio Mexico is available now in beta with the official launch November 3 at the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina. iHeartRadio Mexico will include all 56 Grupo ACIR and 850 iHeartMedia live broadcast radio stations from across Mexico and the U.S., iHeartRadio’s digital only programming and Grupo ACIR’s own offer of digital-only stations featuring the most popular genres in Mexico.
An Interview with George Noory. Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host George Noory is the subject of an interview with public relations executive Ryan McCormick, who also hosts his own radio program titled, “The Outer Limits of Inner Truth.” In this interview McCormick and Noory talk about Noory’s succeeding Art Bell, the phenomenal success of “Coast to Coast AM,” and more. Read it here.
TALKERS News Notes. On Election Day – Tuesday, November 6 – FOX News Radio is presenting special election night coverage for affiliates beginning at 6:00 pm ET anchored by Jared Halpern, along with analysis and the latest on key races. Guy Benson and Marie Harf – co-hosts of “Benson & Harf” (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) – are hosting a three-hour, live midterm election special in addition to participating in FOX News Channel’s “AEHQ: 2018 Midterms.” Additionally, FOX News Headlines 24/7 will provide updates every 15 minutes on SiriusXM with correspondents reporting live from around the country.….The murder trial of Steven Avery in Wisconsin in 2007 was the subject of the popular podcast “Rebutting a Murderer.” Now, iHeartRadio announces that part two of that investigative crime podcast “Rebutting a Murderer” premiered on Friday with new episodes. The podcast is hosted by reporter Dan O’Donnell, who covered the trial, and continues to explore the controversial case that was chronicled in a Netflix show that gained a massive cult following…..Entercom’s Philadelphia radio stations – including sports talk WIP-FM, news/talk WPHT, and all-news KYW – have partnered with the Travis Manion Foundation’s Operation Legacy Service Project in Abington, Pennsylvania to renovate the home of Iraqi War veteran Matthew Renner. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “As a partner with the Travis Manion Foundation since 2011, Entercom is proud to support and empower veterans to get back on their feet and achieve their goals. Supporting Iraqi War veteran Matthew Renner and the Operation Legacy Service Project is something we are honored to be a part of.”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold of the syndicated “Bob & Tom Show” made up for his role as the Haunted Sportscaster at The Children’s Museum Guild’s 55th Annual Haunted House in Indianapolis. As a celebrity haunter, Griswold will greet about 60,000 haunted house visitors to help raise funds for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Last year, The Children’s Museum Guild raised $722,000 through its haunted house, which has been an Indianapolis tradition since 1964 and has raised a total of $12.7 million over the years.
The Production and Distribution of Food in the 21st Century Is Topic of Harrison Podcast. One of the nation’s leading experts on the production and distribution of food in the 21st century, Michael Olson, is a guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” In addition to his current position as GM of news/talk outlets KSCO and KOMY in Santa Cruz, California, Olson is the host/producer of a long-running, nationally syndicated talk radio show titled, “Food Chain Radio.” He’s written feature stories about the subject in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner, participated in producing network television documentaries for NBC Magazine with David Brinkley, authored several award-winning books, including MetroFarm and Tales From A Tin Can. He has spoken and consulted about food domestically and internationally. Olson joins Harrison in an informative discussion about the growing food crisis. Our food is increasingly being produced on farms and in factories, far from our home communities and the transportation infrastructure by which we receive it is indeed fragile. We don’t know what’s in the food in terms of chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, and other toxic substances. Then again, many of us do know the scary truth and often feel powerless to do anything about it. Then, there’s the GMO issue which most of us don’t fully comprehend. Are we being poisoned by a short sighted, greedy system? Are we poisoning ourselves through ignorance and distraction? To listen to this timely podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.
Pittsburgh Synagogue Slayings, Democrat-Targeted Mail Bombs, Midterm Elections, Migrant Caravan, Hillary in 2020?, NFL Action, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The deadly assault on a Pittsburgh synagogue that took the lives of 11; the case of mail bomber Cesar Sayoc; the November midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and Senate; the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border; speculation about whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2020; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Boston Red Sox triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World series were some of the stories discussed on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Rochester, Entercom promotes Chris Debbins to assistant program director at CHR WPXY. He will continue his current roles as music director and afternoon drive personality. Speaking about his new role, Debbins says,“I am honored to be able to grow my career with this new role at ‘98 PXY.’ I look forward to working closely with program director Mike Danger as we continue presenting our listeners with fresh top 40 programming each and every day.” Debbins joined ‘98 PXY’ in April 2014 as producer for the station’s morning show…..At Southern California hip hop duo KDAY/KDEY, Paulina is named host of the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm program. She began with Meruelo Media working on the “Power 106/KDAY” street team. Meruelo vice president of programming Jimmy Steal says, “Paulina has been filling in middays and has done an awesome job both on air and on site. She will be a great asset to both KDAY sales and programming. This is another great example of great in-house talent at Meruelo Media being promoted from within. Paulina has worked hard on her skillset, focused on building her equity, and moved up within our KDAY/Power 106 ecosystem.”…..At Alpha Media’s WHBC-FM, Canton, Ohio, Gabe Carrillo is named program director and afternoon drive host, effective November 1. Carrillo comes to WHBC from his most recent position with Saga Communications CHR WNRG, Milwaukee “Energy 106.9.” Carrillo says, “I’m very excited to be joining a true hall of fame station like ‘Mix 94.1.’ The dream of any broadcaster is to work with a station that is a cornerstone in its community and I’m beyond thankful to Alpha Media, Bo Matthews, Larry Gawthrop, and Phil Becker for giving me the opportunity to join this great team.”
2016 Marconi Award Finalists Announced; News/Talkers Dominate Legendary Station of the Year Category. The finalists for this year’s Marconi Radio Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters have been announced. The winners will be announced September 22 at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the 2016 Radio Show in Nashville. News/talk stations dominate the Legendary Station of the Year category. The finalists are: KRLD-AM, Dallas; WBAL-AM, Baltimore; WBT-AM, Charlotte; WDBO-FM, Orlando; and all-news WINS-AM, New York. Two Premiere Networks sports talk hosts are finalists in the Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year – Jay Mohr and Dan Patrick – along with Premiere’s Delilah and Elvis Duran plus Entravision’s Erazno y la Chokolata. CBS RADIO’s Mike Francesa (WFAN, New York) and Toucher and Rich (WBZ-FM, Boston) are finalists in the Major Market Personality of the Year category along with KFI, Los Angeles’ Tim Conway Jr. and music radio personalities Mark Curry of KBLX, San Francisco and Woody from KYSR, Los Angeles. See the rest of the finalists here.
Brian Beasley Promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Beasley Media Group. The company announces Brian Beasley is promoted to chief operating officer of Beasley Media Group, Inc. from his EVP of operations post. He comments, “This COO position is a great honor, considering my entire life has been dedicated to the radio business. I’ve benefitted greatly from my hands-on experience at all levels of this business and I’ll be continuing to contribute to the successful operations of our stations for many years to come.”
George Noory Interviewed by Michael Harrison. The nation’s leading late-night talk show host, George Noory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (7/26). The multi-talented Noory, who has hosted Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” for the past 14 years, talks about how the show has evolved and expanded from primarily covering the paranormal (UFOs, ESP, time travel, astral projection, etc.) to now include the paranoid (conspiracy theory, the Illuminati, special interest groups, etc.). Harrison and Noory discuss the impact of digital age technology and modern communications on the human nervous system and society. The podcast is coordinated with today’s release of prolific author Noory’s first novel, Night Talk (Forge 2016) – a thriller that tells the story of a late night talk show host (“Greg Nowell”) who gets himself entangled in a web of intrigue that involves the same elements as the subject matter covered by its real life author. To listen to this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Progressive Talker Nicole Sandler Battling Lung Cancer. A YouCaring fundraising account has been set up to help defray the cost of the medical bills that she says will not be paid by insurance. Radio pro and progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler recently relaunched her Internet radio show in a partnership with fellow talk host Randi Rhodes, whose show follows Sandler’s on the stream. But now she’s facing a diagnosis of adenocarcinoma – Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. Sandler is blogging about her experience – and keeping followers well-informed about her struggles with her insurance company – and she says the cancer does not appear to have spread beyond the one lung but that other tests are pending to determine if that’s the case. You can visit Sandler’s YouCaring page here.
Entercom Launches Late-Night, Syndicated Paranormal Show ‘Beyond Reality Radio.’ The program – Entercom’s first syndication effort – launches on August 1 on 10 company-owned news/talk stations live from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET. It stars Jason Hawes, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) and creator and star of Syfy’s blockbuster hit “Ghost Hunters,” and JV Johnson, a longtime paranormal investigator and current publisher and editor of TAPS paraMagazine. Entercom stations airing the program are: KJCE, Austin; WRKO, Boston; WBEN, Buffalo; KEZW, Denver; WSKY, Gainesville; WYRD, Greenville; KMBZ, Kansas City; WWL, New Orleans; KNSS, Wichita; and WILK, Wilkes-Barre. JV Johnson says, “Radio has a long history of programs about the paranormal, dating back to the 1920s, so it’s very exciting to bring ‘BRR’ to the airwaves with Entercom and continue this tradition, but with a contemporary twist. We’ll be engaging with our listeners not only through call-in, but through our digital platforms. So while we’re reaching a larger audience, we’re also creating a community with which we’re intimately connected.”
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, Verizon-Yahoo! Deal, Rio Troubles/Russian Doping Scandal, Cuomo NC Ads Controversy, SoCal Wildfires, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25). The aftermath of the Republican National Convention, day one of the Democratic National Convention, and the activities of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the acquisition of most of Internet pioneering firm Yahoo! by Verizon; the troubles facing Rio De Janeiro as it prepares to host the Olympics and the related Russian doping scandal; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state-paid ads aired in North Carolina that critics say violate the Hatch Act; the wildfires affecting Southern California; 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.
Odds & Sods. The regular CBS RADIO Pittsburgh promotion “eat.drink.SUMMER” is taking place on August 12 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Lodge at North Park. Attendees can enjoy samples from some of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants along with new products, spirits, beers and more. On-air personalities from the CBS Pittsburgh stations will be in attendance throughout the evening…..In the Greenville, South Carolina market, Entercom Upstate – with seven radio stations in the market – is being honored by the Greenville Health System for Entercom’s support and promotion of the Children’s Hospital over the last 10 years. The GHS Children’s Hospital is dedicating its fifth floor Family Room to Entercom Upstate to recognize how the stations have helped the hospital through the Children’s Hospital Radiothon, an annual fundraising event that has raised more than $2.6 million to date and supported thousands of children. The 9th Annual Radiothon will take place on August 4…..The RAB announces the retirement of SVP, research Andy Rainey. Rainey has led the research team at the RAB for the last 23 years. At the same time, Annette Malave, vice president of business development is promoted to SVP, insights, effective August 1.