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Friday, July 23, 2021

| July 23, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Breakthroughs and Setbacks,” looks back at this past week of July 19-23. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; James Golden, host/producer, Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WWTN-FM, Nashville Afternoon Host Phil Valentine Hospitalized with COVID-19. According to a report from WKRN-TV, Nashville, WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine is in the hospital and his family says he is “in very serious condition” and is suffering from “COVID Pneumonia,” as well as other side effects. The family adds that he is “in the critical care unit of a Nashville area hospital breathing with assistance, but is not on a ventilator, his family wrote.” Valentine had tested positive for COVID-19 around July 11 and posted to Facebook confirming that he had the illness but said he believed he was “on the other side of it” and expected to be back at work soon. It’s unclear when he took a turn for the worse but his family adds in their message, “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. Phil & his family would like for all of you to know that he loves y’all and appreciates your concern, thoughts & prayers more than you will ever know. Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”

WLS-AM, Chicago Political Reporter Bill Cameron to Retire. After a 51-year career, Chicago political reporter Bill Cameron will retire from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago on August 20. Cameron, who also hosts the Sunday evening program, “Connected to Chicago with Bill Cameron,” has spent the last 21 years of his career with WLS-AM. Cumulus says, “Cameron, who until the demise of WMAQ radio was its political editor, is considered the “dean” of radio political reporters in Chicago. He joined the Chicago City Hall beat in 1970. In addition to daily reporting of Chicago politics, he has hosted and produced weekly public affairs programs.” Cameron’s coverage of Chicago politics began with Mayor Richard J. Daley and includes the “revolving-door administration” of Mayor Jane Byrne, the “Council Wars” of the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and now Lori Lightfoot. Cameron has an audio archive of the news events that occurred during his career that includes humor and songs of Chicago politics. From this archive, Cameron reported and produced four albums, “Mayor Daley on the Record”, “Remembering Harold,” “Blago’s Greatest Hits,” and “Mayor Daley’s Greatest Hits.” WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “No matter what the news entailed, you could always count on Bill to bring it to you accurately and without bias. Never swayed by the political winds of the day, Bill’s interviewing and reporting skills will not only be missed by us here at the ‘Big 89’ but by Chicago as a whole. We wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Dan Bongino Show Passes 300 Affiliate Mark. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” has surpassed the 300-station milestone after two months on the air. Cumulus Media says, “‘The Dan Bongino Show’ has quickly become one of the most influential radio programs and appointment listening for conservative audiences.” The radio program counts stations including KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; KSEV-AM, Houston; WMAL-FM, Washington; KTTH-AM, Seattle; and WJR-AM, Detroit; as well as the company’s new, all-digital station WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York.

Telstar and Me: July 23, 1962. Voiceover artist and former talk radio host Mark Wainwright contributes a piece in the anniversary of the debut of the first communications satellite in 1962. He writes, “Instant worldwide audio/video communication is a routine, taken‐for‐granted aspect of our lives; we can hold the technology in our hands and access it anytime. Yet, it wasn’t so long ago that this was the stuff of science fiction. By the early 1960s, live worldwide radio had been around for decades. With a combination of shortwave transmission and some intricate international phone links, you could get a radio broadcast from just about anywhere to just about anyplace. There were limitations, and the audio quality wasn’t great, but it could be done.” Read the whole piece here.

COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccines Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 19-23. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and the vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Tied at #2 this week was the January 6 Committee, Donald Trump and the GOP, and the new books covering the Trump administration, followed by denial of the 2020 election results, voting legislation, and the teaching of critical race theory at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Salem Media Group Seeks Talk Host for Christian Talk KKLA-FM, Los Angeles. Salem Media Los Angeles is looking for the next host for its live daily talk show on Christian formatted 99.5 KKLA. The company says: “This is talk radio with a difference. It’s a Christian perspective on news of the day. The average length of time hosts have held this position is eight-plus years, and our current host is moving on to other ministry work. Affinity for and understanding of the target audience of Christians, or spiritual ‘seekers’ is necessary. Impacting the culture and lives can be deeply satisfying, so much more so than many typical ‘shows.’ If you are still reading this posting, tired of less meaningful hosting, if you are ready for a change, if you are intrigued by this opportunity, pray about it and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. This show can tend to be off the radar of ‘general market’ talk radio, so in case you are wondering, this is a legit afternoon drive talk show, topics, guests, listener calls. Salem is a public company, we are not a church, we are a commercial radio station. Most of us here have a background in competitive ‘general market’ radio. And we have been attracted to working for Salem because of the difference it makes in our own lives, and the lives of our audience base and communities. The show is heard in both Los Angeles and San Diego during afternoon drive each weekday. It’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We would enjoy speaking with you if you have any questions.” Contact KKLA program director Rodney Miller at: Rodney.miller@salemla.com.

KNBR, San Francisco Seeking Full-Time Writer/Web Producer. San Francisco sports talker KNBR is seeking a full-time writer and web producer. The station says: “As a member of the San Francisco Cumulus digital team, the writer and web producer will be responsible for covering Bay Area sports as a writer, reporter and content creator, while also supporting the KNBR digital team’s efforts in creating digital content related to the KNBR radio station. The job will include but is not limited to writing, on-site reporting, interviewing, editing, headline writing, social media skills, going on-air or on-camera, collaborating on digital content both within the department and with other departments such as programing, sales and promotions.” See more information about the position and apply here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

| July 13, 2021

Larry Elder to Run in California Gubernatorial Recall Election. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality, author, newspaper columnist and documentary filmmaker Larry Elder announces he is stepping down from his Salem Radio Network program to run against Democrat Gavin Newsom in the California gubernatorial recall election that will take place on September 14. Elder says, “I’m running for governor because the decline of California isn’t the fault of its people. Our government is what’s ruining the Golden State. Our schools are closed to both students and their parents. Our streets aren’t safe from rising violent crime or the disaster of rising homelessness. And the scandals of Sacramento aren’t going to stop on their own. It’s time to tell the truth. We’ve got a state to save.” In a news story from Salem Radio News, Elder adds that “he decided to enter his first campaign after witnessing California’s out-of-control homeless crisis, spiking crime rates, looming water and power shortages, and whipsaw coronavirus lockdowns. ‘I have common sense. I have good judgment. I’m born and raised here. I think understand the state. I know it’s a long shot’ he added, referring to Newsom’s ability to raise unlimited funds. But he said he was driven by a ‘fire in the belly to see if I can do something… to move the needle in the right direction.’” Salem Radio Network says that WORL, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer” talk host Carl Jackson will host Elder’s 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show during the campaign. In addition to hosting his own show on WORL, Jackson also serves as a regular substitute host for SRN’s Dennis Prager. Salem SVP spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Carl has a warm and engaging personality on the air, and because he had to fight his way out of hard circumstances, he is able to convince others of his correct lifestyle decisions.”

New Talk Station to Launch in St. Louis. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former Audacy programmer Jeff Allen and longtime St. Louis radio sales pro Joe Rusch have partnered to launch a new conservative talk station in the market using the handle “NewsTallkSTL” and airing on Gateway Creative Broadcasting’s KLJY-HD3/K270BW at 99.1 FM and 101.9 FM, respectively. The station will debut on Monday (7/19) and feature local and network talent. Allen programmed KFTK-FM for years but was let go as PD after Audacy acquired the station in 2018. Former KFTK host Tim Jones will host afternoon drive. Vic Porcelli is the 9:00 am to 11:00 am personality. Former “Dave Glover Show” co-host Tony Columbo will host the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour and Katie Fitzpatrick will co-host with Porceli and Columbo. Chris Arps will co-host Jones’ PM drive program. Morning drive will be handled by Mike Ferguson, who also hosts the afternoon drive show on KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. Also, the station will air Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” in middays. Jeff Allen tells the paper, “When people tune in they’ll hear voices that they know and trust talking about the issues that impact their city.”

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base.” The ninth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base.” Moderated by John T. Mullen, operations director, WRHU, Hofstra University and sponsored by Broadcasters General Store, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa Andrew, talk show host, Asa Rx; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, “Rock 102” WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA; Derek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; and Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville GA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Kevin LeGrett Named President of iHeartMedia Sports. Radio executive Kevin LeGrett is taking on the role of president of iHeartMedia Sports. LeGrett will leave his president of iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles Region role – to be filled by Alexis Ginas, see story below – but will continue as division president for the iHeartMedia Markets Group. In this new role, LeGrett will “work closely with all groups within the company to coordinate its sports assets across all iHeart audio platforms to maximize the impact for its listeners, partners and clients.” The portfolio includes the iHeartSports Network, the FOX Sports Network, and 80 dedicated sports stations nationwide. Additionally, it features the iHeartPodcast Network that contains more than 40 national and 100 local sports podcasts. iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group CEO Greg Ashlock comments, “We have assembled a one-of-a-kind, cross-platform sports portfolio that is best-in-class. We have scale. We have targetability. We have first party data. We have the best on-air talent in the business, and we have the right leader. Kevin’s experience in broadcast, digital, experiential, podcast and sports in both national and local roles have prepared him to excel in this position and build on the momentum and unique scale and assets of iHeart.”

Alexis Ginas Assumes President of iHeartMedia Los Angeles Post. Taking over the president role for iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles Region is Alexis Ginas. She assumes the role Kevin LeGrett is leaving and will report to him. Ginas joins iHeartMedia from Madison Valley, the media and technology consulting practice that she founded. Her background also includes serving as SVP of cross platform solutions at FOX Sports, VP and head of global brand solutions at The Match Group, and SVP of global brand partnerships at SFX Entertainment. iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins says, “Alexis is a fantastic new leader for our Los Angeles team and our entire company. The breadth of experience she brings from different sectors will be ideal as iHeartMedia, the multiple platform audio leader, continues to evolve to meet the needs of our listeners, clients and the LA community.” Ginas comments, “I am thrilled to join iHeartMedia’s respected Los Angeles team. iHeartMedia Los Angeles is home to some of the most influential brands, talent and events in music, news and entertainment, but what really drives its success are the talented people who work there. I am proud to now be one of them.”

Kevin Graham Appointed PD at Sports Talk KNBR, San Francisco. Programming pro Kevin Graham joins Cumulus Media as program director for KNBR, San Francisco “104.5FM / 680AM The Sports Leader.” Graham was most recently serving the company as program director news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas. Graham previously served as brand manager for Audacy’s WEEI-FM, Boston and was PD and afternoon sports talk host at Cumulus’ KFNZ-AM, Salt Lake City. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Larry Blumhagen says, “Kevin brings extensive experience and a history of successes in spoken word formats, from news to sports. I’m confident that his proven track record in programming along with his collaborative approach will be a winning combination for the San Francisco market.”

David Adams Rises to Operations Manager for NRG Media Omaha. Programmer David Adams is promoted to operations manager for NRG Media Omaha. Adams has been with NRG Media Omaha since November 2020, serving as program pirector for KQKQ-FM, KOPW-FM and KOOO-FM. In his new role, Adams will oversee the seven-station cluster while continuing the day-to-day programming of the FM stations as well as sports talk duo KOZN-AM and KZOT-AM. NRG Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle comments, “Since joining NRG Media in November of 2020, David has proven to be a strong leader who has been able to come in and gain the respect and trust of everyone in the building very quickly. He’s does a great job with our FMs, and I know he will do the same with all our AMs.”

Kim Komando to Be Named to ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business Alumni of Fame. Digital technology expert and media pro Kim Komando is being inducted into Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business Alumni of Fame for 2021. This prestigious honor is awarded to select business school alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and leadership in their profession along with a deep commitment for giving back to their communities. Established in 1977, Komando joins a long line of accomplished Hall of Fame inductees, which includes Chris Cookson, former president of Sony Pictures and Craig Weatherup, former CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. Komando graduated from ASU with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems in 1985. She says, “So much of what I have used to build and grow my business I learned at ASU. My father was the one who told me to go to ASU. I wish he were still alive to see me accept this prestigious honor.” The Hall of Fame induction event will take place on the ASU Tempe campus on October 28, 2021.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names Two to Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), and Hilton Howell, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, to its board of directors. The new directors were voted in during the recent Foundation’s Board of Directors’ meeting, which was held virtually. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “We are delighted to welcome Patrick and Hilton to our Board. They each bring a wealth of broadcast experience to our board, and their perspective will be valuable as we continue to advance our mission of helping broadcasters in acute need.”

COVID-19 Vaccinations and Delta Variant, Texas Voting Bill/Harris Rural American Comments, Cuban Protests, Haiti Assassination Aftermath, U.S.-China Tensions, Denver Hotel Arrests, Newsom Recall, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/12). Concerns about the falling rate of vaccinations in the U.S., outbreaks in five U.S. states, and the Delta variant; Democrats flee Texas to avoid a vote on what they term a “voter suppression bill,” and Vice President Kamala Harris’ comments on rural Americans’ access to photocopy machines; the crackdown on protests in Cuba and the Biden administration’s response; the investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise; the tensions between the U.S. and China over the latter’s military control of the South China Sea; the arrest of four people in Denver that authorities believe may have been planning a gun attack at the MLB All-Star Game; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the drought and wildfires affecting 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, June 24, 2021

| June 24, 2021

Bill O’Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio and TV commentator, as well as prolific author, Bill O’Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The conversation took place during a “fireside chat” at the recent TALKERS 2021 conference held June 11 at Long Island’s Hofstra University. The conference was presented in association with Hofstra’s renowned student-run radio station, WRHU. Harrison and O’Reilly discuss topics geared to an audience of professional broadcasters and serious students of communication that include the state of the book publishing industry and its relationship to broadcasters; the shrinking attention span of the younger generations induced by digital technology; maintaining credibility with the core audience without compromising your values or the truth; the state of corporate media in America; and details about his forthcoming limited engagement arena “History Tour” with former President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this! To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.

WVNN, Huntsville Announces New Program Lineup. Huntsville, Alabama news/talk WVNN-AM/FM announces the new program schedule that will take effect on July 5. Morning personality and station PD Dale Jackson will get a bit of a break as his program will air from 5:00 am to 9:00 am instead of ending at 11:00 am as it does right now. Moving from afternoons to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot is Michael Yaffee. Westwood One’s Dan Bongino will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Cumulus Media station and former Alabama State Senator Phil Williams will host the news 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Rightside Radio” show.

Video Coverage of TALKERS 2021 Begins Next Monday June 28. Every keynote speech, fireside chat, special presentation and panel discussion that took place at the recent 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running, largest and most important national convention – TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University – was recorded under the direction of renowned industry videographer and chronicler Art Vuolo. These videos will be posted one per business day beginning next Monday June 28, right here on Talkers.com. If you were unable to attend the event in person, you will not want to miss the opportunity to take in some of the most pertinent industry conversation about the state of radio, talk programming, and related media to take place since the start of the pandemic.

RTDNA Local News Diversity Report Released. The latest segment of the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey has been released and it focuses on local news diversity in television and radio. The study concludes that “radio newsrooms now include the highest percentage of people of color in radio since 1998 – and the second highest percentage ever – but nearly 85% of the radio news workforce is still white. The local radio news workforce is 15.8% Black, Indigenous or people of color overall, up just under half a percent. Public radio is significantly more representative, for both women and people of color, than commercial radio news. Public radio newsrooms are 78.8% white compared to commercial newsrooms which are 91.7% white. Representation in radio news improved over the last year for news staff identifying as Native American or Hispanic/Latino, but slipped slightly for African American and Asian American radio staff.” When it comes to radio news management, the study finds that “representation of people of color increased marginally among radio news directors, from 7.1% to 7.2%. This year saw higher percentages of radio news directors who are African American or Hispanic/Latino, but fewer who are Native American.” Looking at women in radio news management, the study concludes that “there are fewer women radio news directors this year, down 3.5 percentage points from close to a third to just over a quarter. The public-commercial gap in representation grew, with women better represented than last year at public stations, but worse at commercial ones. Public radio women news directors now outpace commercial women radio news directors by 18 points.” See the study here.

Audacy Study: Optimizing Audio Increases Return on Ad Spend. The results of a recent study conducted in partnership between Audacy and Neustar titled, “The Audio Amplification: The Return on Ad Spend,” indicates that “a slight shift of advertiser dollars to optimize audio brings significant returns across various industries.” The study assessed the impact of optimizing audio elements, both over-the-air (OTA) and digital audio, of more than 40 national advertisers’ media mix performance. The analysis reveales that a 1.2% shift of media investment to audio would surge brands’ return on audio ad spend by as much as 23%. Across multiple industries, Audio is a high-performance player, having a direct and significant impact on results while boosting other media’s performance – primarily propelling TV, paid search, and online video. Audacy SVP, research and insights Idil Cakim says, “In today’s cluttered landscape, reach alone is not enough to break through, engage and convert. Brands need meaningful connections with their audiences through all the moments that matter and we know that audio powers up media plans. This study shows optimizing OTA and digital audio in the media mix catapults sales to new heights.” Neustar consultant Kayla Coutts adds, “Our findings revealed that there are still untapped ad opportunities in audio media, across key verticals that can be leveraged to drive marketing performance. As consumer needs continue to shift, it’s become increasingly critical that marketers ensure they are constantly evaluating their media spend in relation to these consumer trends so as to ensure they are maximizing the value of their media investments.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” announces that the station is available to listeners via a new HD2 channel at 100.3 FM. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas says, “HD Radio has been around since 2002, and today over 50% of new cars have HD Radio as standard equipment. Our partnership with Hubbard Chicago will allow fans to hear our ESPN 1000 shows and White Sox baseball in crystal clear, digital FM. As of today, you can listen to Chicago’s Home for Sports on ESPN 1000, 100.3 HD2 and on your phone from anywhere on the ESPN Chicago app!” The deal with Hubbard Radio allows “ESPN 1000” to broadcast on adult contemporary WSHE-FM’s HD2 channel…..Audacy and the NFL’s New England Patriots announce a multi-year extension to their broadcast partnership. The agreement includes the exclusive continuation of “Patriots Monday” and “Patriots Friday” programming, headlined by New England Patriots six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots players on WEEI, Boston. The partnership between WEEI and the Patriots began in 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke says, “We’re delighted to extend our longstanding partnership with the New England Patriots and continue giving Patriots fans exclusive access to their favorite team every week. We look forward to Coach Belichick and multiple veteran leaders providing perspective and game analysis that only they can share every week on WEEI.”…..Boston public media outlet WBUR reveals Scott Tong is the new co-host of NPR and WBUR’s midday news program “Here & Now.” The program is syndicated to 477 NPR stations nationwide. Tong, who starts his new gig on July 12, has served with “Marketplace” for the past 16 years. “Here & Now” executive producer Carline Watson says, “I am thrilled and excited that Scott is joining our host lineup. The depth of his journalism, his extensive reporting experience and his willingness to be a guide for the listener will complete our already outstanding team comprised of Tonya Mosley and Robin Young.”…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming up with writer/director Barbara Schroeder (Netflix’s “Evil Genius”) to produce and distribute another true crime podcast titled, “Bad, Bad Thing.”  The six-episode podcast, written and hosted by Schroeder, tells the story of a loving wife, Jennair Gerardot, who spirals into darkness when she suspects that her husband of 24 years, Mark, is having an affair with his dynamic, younger and beautiful boss…..2021 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves sits down for a one-on-one interview with former Indianapolis Colts All-Pro punter Pat McAfee for a special “virtual” SiriusXM Town Hall event with an audience of SiriusXM listeners and race fans. The hour-long broadcast event airs on tonight (6/24) at 6:00 pm ET.

Infrastructure Deal, COVID-19, Urban Crime Spike, Big Tech Censorship-Monopolies, Border Crisis-Harris Criticism, SCOTUS Cheerleader Ruling, Afghanistan Pullout, Britney Spears Guardianship Case, and Western Drought/Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The Senate and the White House agree on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill compromise; the rate of vaccinations in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and worries about vaccine side effects; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s urban areas; claims of bias against conservatives by big tech and the drafting of the Ending Platform Monopolies Act; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ failure to visit the border; the Supreme Court rule in favor of the high school cheerleader who was suspended for swearing in an off-campus social media post; the Taliban’s resurgence as the U.S. exits Afghanistan; the Britney Spears guardianship case; and the Western drought and heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

| June 23, 2021

The Power of Talk Radio Has Never Been Stronger. Sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr writes in a column today that in order to make the title this piece a reality, talk radio sellers must use all the weapons in their arsenal. “We are radio, but we are most effective when we take advantage of all the new technology that is now available to us. As an industry, we need to keep up with all the advanced marketing vehicles and provide them to our clients to increase their business and stay current with the times. We need to supplement the live reads with text messages, social media, and eblasts. The live reads should be synchronized with the blasts and texts. Adding your clients’ ads to your podcasts gives them an added bang for their buck.” Read more here.

Rose Tennent Show Gone from WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a story at Patch.com, the Rose Tennent program has exited St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh after three months on the air. Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” is now airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Tennent. Both Tennent – a longtime Pittsburgh radio personality who worked alongside Jim Quinn on “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM – and Wendy Bell joined the station in March. Bell, a former KDKA-TV newscaster and former KDKA-AM talk host, exited the station in April and was replaced in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot by Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck. St. Barnabas Broadcasting has not issued a public statement about the change and it’s unclear what the reason was for the change.

iHeartMedia Pre-Pays $250 Million of Term Loan Facilities. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., is voluntarily prepaying a portion of both its $2.075 million Term Loan and its $447 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased to announce that we will voluntarily pay down $250 million of our Term Loan facilities, demonstrating the encouraging momentum we are seeing across all of our businesses. At iHeart, we are committed to deleveraging and strengthening our balance sheet, reducing interest expense and further increasing our free cash flow while still maintaining ample liquidity. We continue to evaluate all possible opportunities to reduce our cost of capital, and we have taken advantage of the current favorable market conditions to reprice our Incremental Term Loan as well.” The prepayment, which will be applied to the two Term Loan facilities on a pro-rata basis, and the repricing, are each expected to close in mid-July, subject to customary closing conditions.

Bill O’Reilly Programs Hit 250-Station Threshold. The Key Networks nationally syndicated programs featuring Bill O’Reilly hit the 250-station mark in just over two years with the addition of news affiliates including: WRNN-FM, Myrtle Beach; WDAY-AM, Fargo; KLJY-HD3, St. Louis; KDXE-FM, Little Rock; and WBOB-AM, Jacksonville. O’Reilly comments, “We are very pleased with our expanding radio lineup. In this time of political and societal chaos, ‘The O’Reilly Update’ brings clarity and honest reporting. We also have fun with the ‘something you might not know’ segment. Sometimes the good guys actually win and that’s what’s happening with the ‘Update.’” Key Networks offers three O’Reilly programs – “The O’Reilly Update” in middays, “The O’Reilly Update Morning Edition” and “The O’Reilly Update Weekend Edition.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Two Hundred fifty stations in two years shows that Bill O’Reilly’s popularity remains strong. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ provides commentary unlike anyone in media today. The information is timely, topical and most importantly, sellable as local stations are generating revenue from content that is second to none. For those stations that have not signed up for The O’Reilly Update, the time is now!”

Voting Rights Bill Killed, COVID-19/Delta Variant, Spike in Violent Crime, Critical Race Theory, Employer Woes, Iran Politics/Nuclear Deal, Russian War Games, and NYC Mayoral Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). Republicans use the filibuster to block Joe Biden’s For the People Act voting bill; the slowing rate of vaccinations and concerns about a fall/winter rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant; the spike in violent crime and gun violence in America’s urban areas; the pushback against the teaching of “critical race theory” by parents; hospitality industry employers’ desperate need for workers; the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president and his refusal to meet with Biden over Iran’s ballistic missile program; Russia’s largest military exercises program since the Cold War; and the New York City mayoral primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

| May 27, 2021

Premiere Networks to Syndicate “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” in Rush Limbaugh’s Old Daypart. A source at Premiere Networks confirms the story in today’s Wall Street Journal that reports Premiere will begin syndicating “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, beginning June 21. Sexton, a former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert currently hosts an eponymous 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show for Premiere Networks and Clay Travis – founder of Outkick (which he just sold to FOX) – hosts the morning drive “Outkick the Coverage” show on FOX Sports Radio. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott is quoted saying, “We’re not going to replace Rush Limbaugh, we’re going to have an evolution of the show with fresh voices — those that grew up on Rush and admired him.” Clay Travis writes a piece at Outkick today explaining that this has been in the works for months and he gives his rationale for leaving the morning sports show behind to work with Sexton on the new talk radio show.

‘News Talk 98.9 The Roar of Memphis’ to Debut on July 4. The launch of Cumulus Media’s new talk station is set for July 4 and the company announces that WKIM-FM, “News Talk 98.9 The Roar of Memphis” will be the official flagship radio station for the University of Memphis Tigers. As such, the deal with Tiger Sports Properties means the station will air every football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball game starting in August. The agreement also includes broadcasting of the weekly one-hour football and men’s basketball coaches’ shows with Ryan Silverfield and Penny Hardaway, respectively. Cumulus does not reveal the daily programming to be heard on the station outside of Westwood One’s newly launched “Dan Bongino Show.” Cumulus Memphis VP and market manager Morgan Bohannon says, “At Cumulus, we believe strongly that ‘what’s good for Memphis is good for us,’ and that commitment to our community drives all that we do. One of our most important priorities and responsibilities as a local broadcaster is to help make Memphis a better place. Becoming the flagship radio partner of Memphis Tiger Athletics, an entity that is so beloved by our city and its residents, is the opportunity of a lifetime. Cumulus Memphis has the largest live, local and homegrown team in the radio industry – all of whom are incredibly excited about becoming the radio home of the Memphis Tigers. We are thrilled to put the full power of four 100,000-watt stations behind the partnership. KIX-106, 98.1 The Max, 103.5 WRBO and the all-new ‘News Talk 98.9 The Roar of Memphis’ will work in concert to raise the level of awareness and celebrate all that is Memphis Tiger Athletics. Rebranding ‘98.9 The Bridge’ and changing the format of the station is just one more step to showcase Tiger Athletics and all that it means to Memphis. We are excited and eager to begin a new and long-lasting partnership with the University of Memphis, Learfield IMG College and Tiger Sports Properties.”

Real Estate Powerhouse/Radio Talk Show Host Dottie Herman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Douglas Elliman, one of the nation’s oldest and largest real estate brokerage firms, Dottie Herman, is this week’s guest on the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” She is also the host of a long-running talk show, “Eye On Real Estate” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” that has evolved into a weekend radio institution in the Big Apple. Herman has received numerous high-level honors for both her executive and entrepreneurial leadership in the field of real estate and is on just about every prestigious magazine list of the most powerful women in American business. Michael Harrison says, “Dottie Herman is at the potentially explosive junction where real estate and talk radio meet. The topic is hot and getting hotter tying into all aspects of American life – politics, economics, business, education, and the entire menu of news/talk radio staples. Not to mention, it can attract advertisers from a wide array of industries from banks to home maintenance. Dottie Herman brings the ‘wise woman’ persona reminiscent of some of radio’s greatest talk performers and on-air advisors into a modern context. We discuss everything from her dramatic childhood to her dynamic self-made career as a real estate giant to her role in talk radio including the economy, her perspective on Donald Trump based on her relationship with him in the real estate business, and entrepreneurism in America.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

WVHU, Huntington, West Virginia’s Tom Roten Celebrates 20 Years. Talk radio personality Tom Roten, known to his listeners as “The Straight Shooter,” celebrates his 20th year hosting the morning show on iHeartMedia’s WVHU, Huntington “NewsRadio 800.” Roten began his career with WVHU in 1991 when he began his 15-year stint as the station’s sports play-by-play announcer. In June of 2001, when the station switched to news/talk, Roten became the morning drive host. Roten recalls how he transitioned to the morning show. “I was wrapping up a high school basketball broadcast when I saw a recently elected first-time member of Congress waiting with other parents for her son to come out of the locker room. I asked Rep. Shelley Moore Capito to join me for the postgame report. We talked about the game of course, but I also asked her about being sworn into the U.S. House just a month prior. I didn’t realize it at the time, but members of management were listening to the interview and had been looking for a local morning talk host to fill out the lineup of the station’s new talk format. We had Rush Limbaugh, but the rest of the lineup was still up in the air.” He was offered the morning gig and agreed to try it for a year. About his 20-year morning talk career, he says, “It’s hard to believe really. I’m blessed to have had this opportunity and I’m thankful the listeners and advertisers have stuck with me in my quest to deliver truth, opinion, and, hopefully, some entertainment. Talking about what’s going on in our region and in the nation from a local perspective has helped me bond with my listeners.”

Cumulus Media Moves to Pay Down $175 Million in Debt. The company announces it is taking steps to pay down $175 million of debt using cash on hand. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “As I noted on our recent earnings call, the continuing improvement in economic and public health conditions is fueling very encouraging momentum across all our businesses. Against that backdrop, we are accelerating debt repayments, which will de-lever the balance sheet more quickly, reduce interest expense, and further increase our free cash flow. Since emerging from bankruptcy in 2018, we have reduced our net debt by almost $600 million, despite the impact of a global pandemic. Looking ahead, our better leverage profile and more than $200 million of available liquidity will provide us meaningful financial flexibility as we continue along our strong rebound trajectory. Cumulus Media’s strong competitive position, proven track record of solid execution, numerous revenue growth drivers, and ability to consistently generate significant free cash flow give us multiple pathways along which to grow shareholder value in the short- and long-term.” On May 17, Cumulus completed a $60 million repayment of its ABL Revolver due 2025, which represented the entirety of the amount outstanding under the facility. Following the paydown, the ABL Revolver due 2025 is undrawn and available as liquidity for general corporate purposes. Cumulus was required by the terms of its debt agreements to make mandatory debt prepayments from the proceeds of its previously announced sale of land in Bethesda, MD, in June 2020 and sale of towers and related assets in September 2020, after giving effect to a right of reinvestment. On May 25, the company paid down approximately $89 million of its Term Loan Credit Facility due 2026 related to this mandatory prepayment obligation. Approximately $65 million of the prepayment related to the Land Sale, and approximately $23 million of the prepayment related to the Tower Sale. Additionally, pursuant to the terms of its 6.75% Senior Secured First Lien Notes due 2026, the company launched a tender offer for the Notes at par for approximately $26 million, which represents the pro rata amount required to be offered from the proceeds of the Tower Sale. Following the expiration of the tender offer, any amounts that remain untendered will be directed toward an additional prepayment of the Term Loan.

TALKERS News Notes. Former President Donald J. Trump has been making appearances on talk radio programs recently, including a guest spot on the USA Radio Network-syndicated “Wayne Allyn Root: Raw and Unfiltered.”…..Audacy’s Cadence13 announces the launch of a new, weekly podcast titled, “That Thing I Do,” starring Grammy-nominated bassist Este Haim and Emmy Award-winning actor Darren Criss on which the close friends will share their mutual love of music, pop culture, and more with special guests. “That Thing I Do” will be a “raucous deep-dive into the funny and strange quirks of those successful people, and an investigation of what it is about ‘that thing they do’ that makes them who they are.”…..On Tuesday, June 1 ABC News kicks off Pride Month with the two-episode premiere of its first LGBTQ+ issue-focused podcast, “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” The ABC News contributor says, “We lost so many stories to the AIDS epidemic, violence, harassment and silence due to fear. I’m passionate about creating a space to capture these underreported stories and untold oral histories, while also celebrating the joys of living ‘life out loud’ and where we’re going as a community.”…..WGN-AM, Chicago host and contributor Dane Neal will broadcast live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday (5/30), 6:30 am to 10:00 am, leading up to WGN’s coverage of the 105th Indianapolis 500. IMS president J. Douglas Boles says, “We welcome Dane Neal and WGN back home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 105th Running of the Indy 500 for a live pre-race show followed by the live race broadcast. Chicago’s Very Own has such a rich tradition with the ‘500’ and the Speedway, as it was a broadcast pioneer by starting its coverage of the race nearly 100 years ago.”…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show is added to the program schedule at Ultimate Caps Inc’s KBFS-AM, Belle Fourche, South Dakota and KYDT-FM, Pine Haven, Wyoming.

San Jose Mass Shooting, COVID-19 Origin Controversy, January 6 Commission, Trump Org Grand Jury, Election Audits, Inflation Fears, Gaza Cease-Fire/Anti-Semitic Violence, Border Crisis, and Biden-Putin Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The shooting deaths of 8 people at a rail yard in San Jose; the growing call for investigation into the origin of the coronavirus and China’s pushback over the lab leak theory; the GOP’s hesitation over creating a January 6 Commission to investigate the Capitol invasion; Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. convenes a grand jury to consider indictments in the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization; the 2020 election audits taking place in New Hampshire and Arizona; soaring consumer prices and fears of inflation; the cease-fire in Gaza and instances of violence against Jews in the U.S. and abroad; the crush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; and the planned meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.