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Thursday, September 16, 2021

| September 16, 2021

Nielsen Podcasting Today Report: Lighter Listeners Fueling Audience Growth. According to the most recent Podcasting Today Report from Nielsen, the broadening of the audience for podcasts is being attributed to “light users” who make up 49% of U.S. podcast listeners. Those “light users” are defined as people who listen anywhere from one to three times a month. Nielsen says, “That’s a notable contrast to a typical podcast listener five or 10 years ago when most listening came from people who were more likely to listen to each and every episode from their favorite titles – episodes that are oftentimes released once a week.” Nielsen says the evolution of podcasting engagement over the past few years highlights two important storylines: Consumer interest in new, engaging content from across the media landscape continues to grow, and podcast content has proven to be an attractive option among the media diets of millions of Americans, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The study also concludes that “the pandemic has not had a negative impact on overall podcast engagement. While listener growth flattened somewhat during the second half of last year, it has ramped up notably in 2021, largely due to an increase in at-home listening, which is attributable to light listeners checking out the medium. The rise in at-home listening is also somewhat counter to historical podcast engagement, and again, speaks to the transformation of industry to a broader audience.” You can see the complete report here.

New York Festivals to Honor Molly Solomon with Lifetime Achievement Award. The New York Festivals Television & Film Awards announces it will honor Molly Solomon, executive producer & president of NBC Olympics production and executive producer for the Golf Channel with the eleventh annual New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award. A 13-time Emmy Award-winner, Solomon won a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio & Television for her Beijing Olympics work. She was also a producer on NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, which won a Peabody Award. Solomon was named “Woman of the Year” by WISE (Women in Sports Events) in 2008, was named to the Sports Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” list, honoring the best young talent in the business, among other industry honors. Solomon comments, “Thank you to the New York Festivals for the Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s an honor to be recognized among pioneers in our industry. It’s a dream job working at NBC Sports and Olympics covering the biggest sporting events across the world, working alongside the most talented team of announcers and production colleagues. I wouldn’t be here without each and every one of them.” The 2021 New York Festivals Storyteller’s gala celebrates the eleventh year of NYF’s strategic partnership with the annual NAB Show. For 2021, New York Festivals will celebrate global storytellers and honor world-class content from prominent television and radio stations, networks, international independent producers, and presenters in a virtual ceremony on October 12 at 6:00 pm ET.

John Catsimatidis, Chad Lopez and Rudy Giuliani are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. Three major players in the WABC, New York galaxy of radio luminaries are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The four-way conversation took place Monday (9/13) shortly after the station’s extensive live two-day memorial tribute, “9/11 – 20 Years Later,” honoring the victims, first responders and families of the history-changing event. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani now hosts a daily 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm show on WABC. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis, who acquired the heritage station in the spring of 2020, hosts a daily program, “Cats at Night,” heard 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm as well as a syndicated weekend program titled, “Cats Roundtable.” Chad Lopez, a longtime Big Apple radio management and marketing star, is president of Red Apple Media. The result is a remarkably candid, wide-ranging conversation covering Red Apple’s changes and ambitious plans for WABC going forward as well as the group’s observations of the social and political challenges facing New York City brought on by the pandemic. THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem’s WNYM, New York to Present ‘Broadcast for Broadway.’ Tomorrow (9/17), Salem Media Group’s news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” will present a live event in conjunction with Nicholas & Lence Communications, The Broadway Association, and The Actors Fund titled “Broadcast For Broadway” from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at The Hunt & Fish Club on W 44th Street in the heart of the Theater District. The station will produce a live broadcast of “Radio Night Live with Kevin McCullough” along with Cristyne Nicholas featuring Tony Award Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and Brad Oscar from the Broadway cast of “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Additional scheduled guests include Joe Benincasa from The Actors Fund, Tom Harris from Times Square Alliance, and former NYPD chief of department & NYC Recovery Czar, Terence Monahan. Special VIP guests will also be in attendance for this event.

TALKERS News Notes. KJEL-FM, Lebanon, Missouri sports director Kevin Stubblefield is being enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Stubblefield is in his 25th year broadcasting at the Alpha Media country station. He’s called more than 4,000 games during his career…..Green Roll Media, LLC – a company founded by sports broadcasting pro and former KNBR, San Francisco program director Jeremiah Crowe – is partnering with SuperBook Sports to create multiple podcasts for Green Roll Media’s sports betting podcast network. Green Roll Media will produce “SuperBook Sports Podcast” and “Betting With The Barbers” podcasts each week during football season, focusing specifically on the NFL and college football betting strategy and insights from experienced industry professionals…..Bonneville Seattle and the MLB’s Seattle Mariners agree to a multi-year extension to keep KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as the flagship radio station for Mariners baseball. The 2022 season will be the 32nd year that KIRO-AM has been the Mariners radio home. The Mariners have been broadcasting on “710 ESPN Seattle” since the station’s transition to an all-sports format in 2009, and KIRO-AM was the team’s home from 1985-2002…..After nearly two years of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA members at public radio news/talk WHYY-FM, Philadelphia have overwhelmingly approved their first-ever union contract. It sets a salary floor, creates a first ever parental leave benefit and establishes mechanisms for career growth. The unit won its union election 70 to 1 on October 30, 2019 and has been bargaining for a contract ever since, aside from a brief pause due to the pandemic. Frustrated by drawn-out negotiations, union members held a rally in July of this year in order to bring attention to their cause. SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland says, “After a long negotiation process, SAG-AFTRA members finally have a solid first agreement with WHYY that implements vital benefits and pay increases. I congratulate our negotiating team as well as our amazing WHYY members on their new contract.”…..Virtual News Center has adds Eternity Media Group’s Gospel WLNO-AM, New Orleans to its list of affiliate radio stations.

COVID-19, Woodward-Costa Peril Book, California Recall, Gymnasts’ Testimony, Debt Ceiling Debate, Australia Sub Deal, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask & vaccine mandates, and the debate over booster shots; the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa book Peril that details former President Donald Trump’s actions after the 2020 election; the aftermath of the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the testimony of former U.S. Olympic gymnasts about the FBI’s handling of their complaints about now-imprisoned doctor Larry Nasser; the debate in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid default; the U.S. and UK enter into a deal to provide nuclear subs to Australia to keep China in check; and the wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

| August 19, 2021

California Political Expert Wayne Avrashow is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted Los Angeles-based, attorney, law professor, author, columnist and political insider Wayne Avrashow is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Avrashow is a regular contributor to RealClearPolics.com and is described by Harrison as “a wonderful ‘go-to’ resource for solid, non-partisan insights about what’s happening in Los Angeles and the entire Golden State.” Harrison and Avrashow take a deep dive into the state’s gubernatorial recall special election, explaining how it works and assessing talk show host Larry Elder’s prospects of becoming California’s next governor. They also discuss the issues of crime, homelessness and exodus of businesses and workers to Arizona, Nevada, Texas and even Florida that are challenging the nation’s most populous state addressing the question, is California losing its mojo? According to Harrison, “Elder’s role in this key recall is of major interest to the talk radio industry because it illustrates the importance and influence of the platform as a staging ground for a political career of consequence – similar to what we witnessed years ago with the rise of Mike Pence.” To listen to this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here.

The Radio Agency Points to TALKERS Heavy Hundred as ‘Goldmine’ for Brands Seeking Marketing Leverage. A blog post by The Radio Agency CEO Mark Lipsky highlights an advertising strategy for businesses that he says can be leveraged to dramatic effect with the recent shift in the talk radio landscape. Lipsky points to TALKERS magazine’s 2021 “Heavy Hundred” list as a “potential goldmine for brands looking to get valuable marketing leverage from some of talk radio’s brightest luminaries.” Lipsky goes on to say, “The death of Rush Limbaugh left a vacuum in conservative talk radio with no shortage of would-be successors to entertain Rush’s audience. That creates opportunity for new talk radio advertisers to buy primetime airtime for less than the premium rates that Limbaugh once commanded.” While noting that securing a talk host’s endorsement is not a simple task and requires professional representation, Lipsky explains, “Every market has influential talk show hosts able to present the benefits of your product or service with the earnest credibility of a trusted next-door neighbor. The challenge is securing their endorsements at a fair price that will deliver incremental sales to cover or exceed the incremental cost of their services as spokesperson.” Read Lipsky’s complete blog post here.

WBAL, Baltimore Traffic Reporter Jim Russ Dies Unexpectedly at 57. Longtime Washington, DC and Baltimore radio traffic reporter Jim Russ died suddenly yesterday morning (8/18) at the age of 57. WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM VP and general manager Cary Pahigian writes in a memo to the Hearst Television staff: “Jim is the unquestioned Dean of Baltimore traffic reporting, keeping watch on the roads in the WBAL/98 Rock listening area for the past decade, with many more years of experience at WTOP in Washington and later the service we know today as the Total Traffic & Weather Network.  Along the way he helped mentor a generation of traffic reporters in the DC/Baltimore area… NO ONE loved the job of reporting traffic more than Jim did. He saw it as his duty to keep people in Baltimore moving to their destinations as quickly as possible and attacked that responsibility with passion and dedication. The sterling reputation of WBAL as a news and information leader was strengthened throughout Jim’s tenure, and his departure leaves a void both professionally and personally for his colleagues who enjoyed his company and commitment to excellence.”

Cumulus/Westwood One’s Suzanne Grimes Talks About the Value of Radio to Advertisers with Forbes. In a piece by Brad Adgate for Forbes, Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes answers six questions about the radio industry – from how the hosts who’ve filled the midday slot formerly occupied by Rush Limbaugh to how shifting a portion of media buys to radio provides a lift in return on investment. Addressing the latter, Grimes says, “The acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen made the introduction of ROI and sales-effect studies possible for brands and marketers. For the first time, Nielsen’s credit card and grocery shopper card data can be matched to Portable People Meters to prove the impact of radio advertising. Across a large variety of categories, Nielsen found that for every dollar of radio advertising, ten dollars of incremental sales are generated. CPG and QSR return three to one. Retail sixteen to one.”

iHeartMedia Selling Portsmouth, New Hampshire Broadcast Facility. According to a story at InDepthNH.org, iHeartMedia is putting its Portsmouth, New Hampshire studios at 815 Lafayette Road on the market with a current asking price of $3.67 million. A number of the company’s Portsmouth stations are located in the building, including news/talk WQSO-FM “Newstalk 96.7.” The piece cites a “reliable source” indicating that the live and local broadcasts will emanate from the company’s Manchester, New Hampshire studios by the fall. The two cities are about 40 miles apart.

Report: Max Kellerman to Move to ESPN Radio Mornings. According to a story by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Max Kellerman will be leaving the ESPN television show “First Take” that he currently co-hosts with Stephen A. Smith and is expected to join the ESPN Radio morning drive show with Keyshawn Johnson. He would replace Zubin Mehenti. The report also indicates that Kellerman could also get a one-hour show on the TV side in the 2:00 pm ET hour.

NAB Show to Require Proof of Vaccination. The National Association of Broadcasters EVP of global connections and events Chris Brown announces the organization’s policy regarding attending the 2021 NAB Show taking place in October in Las Vegas. He says, “While the enthusiasm is building, we are keenly aware of health and safety concerns tied to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and want to assure you that we are putting in place a comprehensive, data-driven plan that prioritizes safety and creates a productive environment at these events. We have worked for the past several weeks to finalize protocols that will maximize the experience and safety of all members of the NAB Show community. This process has involved extensive consultation with health and safety experts, gathering feedback from a range of exhibitors and attendees, and review of the safety measures recommended by national and local health authorities, including Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s important announcement this week regarding large events. Taking this all into account, we will require all attendees and participants to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. We think this is a positive step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and will provide further details on implementation as well as other safety measures under consideration.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Newsweek launches titled, “The Diplomat,” hosted by former Middle East envoy for the Trump administration, Jason Greenblatt. The show is inspired by Greenblatt’s work in foreign affairs with the intent of fostering candid conversations on a wide set of global and domestic issues. “The Diplomat” will release one or two new episodes every week, featuring one or more guests with first-hand experience in a specific arena sharing their stories and insights. The show’s first guests will be former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the SXM original podcast “Huuuge Fan,” hosted by LaChina Robinson. The program features in-depth conversations with some of today’s biggest stars of stage and screen – famous actors, musicians and other celebs who are big sports fans – about their favorite team. Joining rabid sports fans Tracy Morgan, Ashley Judd, Nelly, Michael Bublé and Tim McGraw as guests on the show are Drew Carey, Monica, Adam Duritz, Michelle Williams, Anthony Ramos and many others…..Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “Jax Sports Radio” inks a deal with VSiN, The Sports Betting Network to bring more than 50 hours of sports betting news, analysis and insights to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida each week. Station president and GM Steven Griffin says, “It’s important for us to be on the cutting edge of the sports betting media revolution and to serve our audience with this new focus on sports betting content. We’re excited to collaborate with VSiN to bring the best programming in the business to Jacksonville’s sports fans and betting enthusiasts. In addition, we’ll feature VSiN’s industry-leading on-air talent on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, August through January, to offer insight and opinion on the biggest sporting events.”…..Good Karma Brands announces that it has struck a deal with Milwaukee Panther Sports Properties to broadcast University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball on WAUK-AM/W266DR “540 ESPN” beginning this fall. Scott Warras will continue to serve as play-by-play voice for the broadcasts.

Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Russia-Taliban Relationship, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, Southern Border Crisis, Newsom Recall, Tropical Storms & Flooding, Western Drought & Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s execution of the withdrawal; Russia’s relationship with Taliban leaders; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and full ICU beds in several U.S. states and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the migrant crisis at the U.S. Mexico border and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey extends the National Guard border patrol for another year; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom and talk host Larry Elder’s chances of winning; the tropical storms dumping rain on the Eastern U.S. and causing flooding; and the drought and wildfires affecting the Western U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

| August 11, 2021

Phil Valentine Update: Doctors Focusing on Lungs. The latest update on the status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive host Phil Valentine published by Newsweek indicates that doctors “are focusing on treating the lungs of conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, in what his family has described as a ‘critical issue.’” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and as the viral infection got worse, he was hospitalized and eventually put on a ventilator. Dan Mandis is the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host on the station and has been communicating with Valentine’s listeners on behalf of his family. He wrote on Monday, “They are working on his lungs, that’s the critical issue right now. Other problems will come along but right now the focus is on his lungs. I’m hoping to have another update soon. #PrayForPhil.” The day before, Mandis posted, “Phil remains in critical condition this morning. There isn’t much new to report, but your continued prayers and support are appreciated. #PrayforPhil,” and later added that Valentine’s atrial fibrillation had improved, as well as his blood pressure. “The hope now is that his dependence on the vent will decrease and his lungs will improve.” The Newsweek piece also quotes Valentine’s longtime producer Johnny B saying, “I know I’d be emotional about this, but not to the point that I have. It’s been a very dark period, actually. I’ve really had to talk to myself, and my wife has helped me tremendously, my family’s helped me, and it’s not been easy. And my co-workers too have been very wonderful,” adding that Valentine is “just the nicest guy and loves to help people out.”

Round Two of July 2021 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 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 July 2021 survey period covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM remains ranked #11 after tacking on one-tenth for a 3.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to #1 on the strength of a 1.1 share uptick and an 8.8 share finish. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 position after dropping two-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 3.5 share. Sister all-news WBZ-AM is also steady at #5 after adding two-tenths for a 5.9 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM takes over the #1 rank after climbing 1.9 shares to a 7.8 share while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM drops from #1 to #4 after falling two-tenths to a 6.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the first round) here.

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2021 Study Says AM/FM Listening Hits Highest Level in Over a Year. The just released Audio Today 2021 study from Nielsen Audio – from June 2021 online survey data based on a weighted sample of 1,000 among persons 18-plus – indicates “nine in 10 now feel life is becoming more normal, and they’re resuming pre-pandemic activities, spending and listening.” The study also finds that, “among the employed, two thirds are now working outside the home, up more than 70% since the height of lock-down in the spring of 2020. As a result, the AM/FM radio audience just recorded its highest levels in over a year across Nielsen’s PPM markets.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly adds, “Listening may have migrated into the home during the past year via smart speaker or mobile device, but now we’re tracking the audience shift back to pre-pandemic habits with in-car and out-of-home consumption increasing. All the while, radio’s value proposition for marketers hasn’t budged: it specializes in reaching consumers who are ready to spend right now, while they’re in the marketplace, and does so in a controlled environment which protects the advertiser’s reputation… Elsewhere in the audio universe, podcast usage — which flat-lined last year — is also growing again as millions of new listeners are engaging with the hottest new audio marketing opportunity. We’re approaching one million available podcasts, with something literally for everyone including radio broadcasters who are nimbly using on-demand audio as an extension of their on-air brands. The question now is how can advertisers reach the right audience in the right podcast?”

Gow Media’s SportsMap Radio Network Adds Three New Shows. The SportsMap Radio Network announces the launch of three new programs to its weekday lineup. They are: “Just Sayin It with Cole Thompson” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET), “In My Opinion with Denton Day” (9:00 am to 11:00 am ET), and “High Frequency with Kevin Dziepak” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET). Thompson, who covers the NFL and college football for Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation, says, “This is the start of something special. I just can’t thank the staff here at SportsMap enough for giving me the chance. Not everyone is lucky enough for this opportunity, but I will certainly make the most of it.” Day states, “I’m extremely thankful for the chance to host a weekday show. I started at the company nearly three years ago doing one live hour on Sunday mornings. Craig Larson and David Gow allowed me the creative freedom to grow and it’s very rewarding to have all that hard work lead to this exciting opportunity.” Dziepak, who spent the last eight years with WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score,” comments, “My goal is really simple: just have fun and try to provide an entertaining and enjoyable product for those listening. I want to widen the scope of the show beyond sports as well, integrating pop culture, TV, music and whatever else can spark conversation; sort of a cosmic gumbo.” Gow Media CEO David Gow states, “We have a number of partners who produce fabulous content for our network. I’m very excited about each of these new shows. The opportunity to produce original, informative and entertaining programs will always be an indispensable part of our core business model.”

Paul Mason to Lead Titans Radio for Cumulus Nashville. Programming pro Paul Mason is appointed to lead programming operations for Titans Radio for Cumulus Media Nashville. The company says that Mason will continue to serve as program director for sports talk WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” and Middle Tennessee sports audio. The appointment comes after Cumulus and the NFL club extended their multi-year partnership for WGFX to serve as the official radio broadcasting home of the Tennessee Titans and Titans Radio. Longtime executive producer Rhett Bryan remains in his role with Titans Radio. Cumulus Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “From the beginning, we were seeking a creative visionary with a passion for sports entertainment to lead ‘104.5 The Zone,’ the dominant sports destination in Middle Tennessee. Clearly, Paul has stepped into that role and done exceptional work. Adding programming operations oversight to Titans Radio is a natural next step for Paul and we are confident he’ll continue to deliver the best live and local sports content to fans on both WGFX and Titans Radio.” Mason states, “I am excited to work with this amazing group of broadcasters. Mike Keith, coach Dave McGinnis, executive producer Rhett Bryan, and the entire Titans Radio team are among the best in sports, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I also want to thank Allison Warren and [VP of programming operations] Charlie Cook for their confidence in me.”

TALKERS News Notes. Electronic voting firm Dominion Voting Systems is suing conservative video platforms OAN and Newsmax for defamation, alleging that they “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” about the company, relative to the presidential election of 2020. The complaint says they did so despite knowing the claims were false. Newsmax has issued the following statement regarding the suit: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”…..Focus360 announces that Forever Media is now a client as 29 Forever Media brands will be included in Focus360’s exclusive Jelli Plus networks including Jelli Male Plus, Jelli Female Plus and Jelli Music Plus. Focus360 CEO Phil Brown comments, “I’m elated to welcome such a storied media company to our Jelli Plus lineups. Forever Media covers some of the largest markets on the East Coast with incredible brands that super-serve their local audience. I’m honored that they have given us the opportunity to share that relationship with our advertising partners.”…..Edison Research unveils the results of its U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 of 2021. The list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report (which Edison says is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads). The top three shows based on measurement from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021 are: “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “The Daily,” and “Crime Junkie.” You can see the rest of this Top 50 report here…..Public radio outlet WVXU, Cincinnati – operated by Cincinnati Public Radio – is dropping its music programming and will go all news/talk as of August 14, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization says its goal is to “bring a wider diversity of voices to Cincinnati airwaves.” It will use NPR, American Public Media, and other programming to fill its schedule.

Longtime Public Radio Broadcaster Neal Conan Dies at 71. The NPR website has Neal Conan’s obituary here. Conan passed away in Hawaii after a battle with glioblastoma. He was host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” for 11 years, until NPR cancelled the show in 2013. During his lifelong public radio career, he served with WBAI, New York and with NPR in numerous capacities, including as executive producer of “All Things Considered” and as news director.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Controversy, Cuomo Resigns, Infrastructure Bill/Dems’ Budget Resolution, Senate GOP Blocks Voting Bill, Social Media Suspensions, Dominion Lawsuit, and Prince Andrew Sued Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/10). The rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and the hotly debated mask policies for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns yet maintains innocence; the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; Republicans in the Senate block Democrats’ attempts to revive the For the People voting act; Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene and YouTube suspends Rand Paul for “pandemic misinformation”; electronic voting firm Dominion sues OAN and Newsmax over “stolen election” broadcasts; and Britain’s Prince Andrew is sued by Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”

WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”

Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.”  WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.

Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”

Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”

Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

| May 20, 2021

Round Three of April PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s April 2021 sweep covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM dips four-tenths for a 5.3 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but hangs on to the #4 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM adds eight-tenths to finish with a 3.5 share and rises to the #12 rank. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds six-tenths for a 4.4 share and drops to the #8 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK tacks on five-tenths for an 8.7 share finish good enough to climb to the #1 rank. Similarly, in Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s KSL-FM jumps by 1.5 shares for an 8.3 share finish and leaps from #3 to #1. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds of markets) here.

Nielsen: Radio Listening Continues to Rebound. Fourteen months after the coronavirus pandemic began and dramatically affected the amount of time people were spending in their vehicles commuting to work, the country is steadily reopening and Nielsen Audio reports that radio listening is growing again. Nielsen says, “The April 2021 PPM survey revealed new gains in radio listening across the aggregate of markets for the second month in a row. As America continues to reopen, consumers are returning to radio in numbers not seen in over half a year. Radio’s weekly reach is now at its highest levels (121 million weekly consumers) since March 2020 when COVID-19’s impact began to take hold. Since the beginning of 2021, radio has added more than 5 million new weekly listeners. Radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience in April 2021 hit its highest levels since the fourth quarter of 2020, prior to this winter’s virus surges and associated restrictions. What’s more, AQH audience levels have jumped 10% in the past two months as vaccinations and a gradual return to pre-pandemic routines have proliferated.”

Rudy Giuliani Visits News/Talk WEEO-FM. Pictured above is former New York City Mayor, former Donald Trump attorney, and current WABC, New York personality Rudy Giuliani (center) at Magnum Broadcasting’s WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, PA/Hagerstown, MD “News Talk 1037FM.” Giuliani was the guest of PA State Senator Colonel Doug Mastriano and spent about 45 minutes on the radio sharing stories and answering questions about topics from the FBI to NYC. He’s pictured with station GM Patrick Ryan (left) and political analyst Michele Jansen (right).

Report: Audacy in Negotiations to Fill Rush Daypart with Dana Loesch Across Company News/Talkers. According to Bobby Burack’s report at Outkick, Audacy is in negotiations with Radio America to have “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart formerly occupied by Rush Limbaugh on many of its news/talk stations. Burack says his sources say it’s in the “advanced stages” but not a done deal just yet. The story also says that video platform The First – which simulcasts video of Loesch’s radio program as well as that of other talk hosts such as Buck Sexton, Bill O’Reilly, and Jesse Kelly – is launching a daily TV-only, one-hour show hosted by Dana Loesch that will air at 6:00 pm ET.

Bonneville’s KTTH-AM, Seattle Adds Dan Bongino Show. Seattle news/talk KTTH-AM is adding Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” to its program lineup, airing in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart. The Bonneville station is programmed by Jason Antebi who says, “We’re excited to welcome Dan to the KTTH family. I can’t think of many people better suited to carry the torch in this daypart. This isn’t a ‘Rush replacement show’ because no one can replace Rush. He will always be the greatest broadcaster in history. KTTH, in part, has become what it is because of him. We’re now looking to grow on that with the help of Dan and we’re confident he can help us do that.” Bongino comments, “I’m honored KTTH decided to go with the show. All I can do is bring a high-quality product, put a ton of work into it and I promise, I will never waste the audience’s time. I don’t just tell you stories to tell you stories. People don’t want their time wasted. They want to know why the news matters.”

CBS Audio Offers Memorial Day Special. This year’s Memorial Day Holiday special from CBS Audio is being made available to non-affiliate stations on a market availability basis. The three-hour program is hosted by Gil Gross and guests and topics include author Malcom Gladwell about the longest night of World War II, Pulitzer nominee Max Boot looks at the forgotten wars of American History, the announced end of America’s longest war—Afghanistan, and the forgotten heroes of the war in Vietnam. It’s available via FTP on May 25 for airing Friday, May 28 through Memorial Day (May 31). Reach out to Melek Demir at: Demirm@cbsnews.com for availability in your market.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (5/25), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the first GOP gubernatorial primary debate between candidates Jack Ciattarelli and Hirsh Singh at 7:00 pm. The two will face off in the June 8 primary to determine which candidate will take on incumbent Governor Phil Murphy in November. “New Jersey 101.5” senior political director Eric Scott will moderate the one-hour live program and will take questions from on-air and online listeners. Scott says, “This format allows ordinary citizens a chance to talk directly to the candidates about what is important to them and you never know what they are going to ask.”…..Radio ad pros Jim and Dan Price – founders of Oink Ink – are launching a digital audio creative agency called Price Brothers. Dan Price says, “Digital audio technology exploded so quickly that it outpaced creative. That’s where we saw an opportunity. While the tech guys are developing new platforms and vehicles to support ads, we wanted to get out in front and put energy into making great creative to make the most of that technology.” He adds that “with digital, the consumption is different than with ‘traditional’ radio; the patterns are different, the usage is different… so the creative should be different.”

January 6 Commission, COVID-19, AZ 2020 Vote Audit, Israel-Hamas Violence, Texas Abortion Law, Trump Org Investigation, and U.S.-Russia Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/19). The U.S. House moves to create January 6 Commission to investigate Capitol invasion and Mitch McConnell’s opposition to it; the declining rate of COVID cases in much of the U.S. and concerns about vaccine hesitancy; the 2020 election vote audit taking place in Arizona and Republicans’ desire to audit Georgia’s election results; the ongoing rocket attacks between Israel and Hamas; Texas passes a new law banning abortions after six weeks; the New York attorney general’s expansion of the Trump Organization into a criminal probe; and U.S. and Russian officials meet in Iceland were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.