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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.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

| August 5, 2021

Beasley Broadcast Group Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 96%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent company of Beasley Media Group) indicates net revenue was $59.6 million, an increase of 96.1% over the same period in 2020. The company posts operating income of $5.8 million compared to the $17.6 million operating loss it reported in Q2 of 2020. Station operating income also rebounded to $11.1 million compared to the $11 million SOI loss it posted in the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong 2021 second quarter financial results reflect growing momentum across our media platform, as the continuing broad-based economic recovery accelerated demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and marketing and advertising services. With the significant rebound in the commercial advertising market, second quarter net revenue of $59.6 million increased 24% over first quarter 2021 levels and 96% over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant rebound in net income to $0.2 million and SOI to $11.1 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.0 million. Throughout the second quarter, the resumption of advertising in key categories combined with the success of our content monetization strategies resulted in year-over-year revenue growth across all fifteen of our markets, with healthy double-digit revenue increases in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Notably, our continued emphasis on strong local content and consumer engagement drove best-in-industry ratings performance for our station clusters, according to Nielsen. Our cumulative on-air audience share approached pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter, having grown consistently since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While second quarter non-traditional revenue (NTR) and events revenue was minimal, we made the strategic decision to fully re-open our events business in the third quarter, given the continued strengthening of commerce and consumer activities in our markets, and expect incremental revenue from this source in the second half of 2021. As we work to return all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels of operation, we are closely tracking potential impacts from the Delta variant and the uncertainty it may bring to businesses we serve and our future operating results. Our ongoing focus on digital innovation and the strategic investments we are making in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities are delivering positive results and continue to highlight the value of our long-term revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 96% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for approximately 13.4% of total second quarter revenue, compared to 13.4% in the prior year period and 12% in the 2021 first quarter. With growing audience share and engagement, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions in the second quarter, with total digital impressions growing 29% over the prior year period.”

Salem Media Group Q2 2021 Total Revenue Rises 20.6%. The total revenue for Salem Media Group’s second quarter of 2021 was $63.8 million, an increase of 20.6% over the same period in 2020. Salem posted operating income of $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to the operating loss of $900,000 it reported during the second quarter of 2020. The company’s net income for Q2 of this year was $2.3 million compared to the net loss of $2.5 million it reported for the second quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports data for its three business segments and the Broadcast segment’s net revenue for this quarter was $46.8 million, up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Station operating income rose 66.6% to $10.6 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue rise 9.5% to $10.3 million and the Publishing segment revenue was $6.7, an increase of 68.3%. As of June 30, 2021, the Salem Media Group had $216.3 million outstanding on the 6.75% senior secured notes due 2024, no balance outstanding on the Asset Based Revolving Credit Facility, and $11.2 million outstanding on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans from the Small Business Administration.

Saga Communications Q2 Net Revenue Up 49.7%. Second quarter financial data from Saga Communications, Inc. reveals that the company’s net revenue was $28 million, an increase of 49.7% over the same period in 2020. The company posted operating income of $4.6 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million it reported in the second quarter of 2020.  Station operating expense increased $2.4 million to $21.0 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Station operating income was $8.4 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $181,000 for the second quarter of 2020. Free cash flow was $4.2 million for the quarter compared to a negative $1.8 million for the same period last year. Saga’s balance sheet reflects $59.4 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2021 and $59.6 million as of August 2, 2021.  The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the second quarter 2021.

Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Climbs 41.6%. Today’s second quarter 2021 financial report from Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, indicates the company’s net revenue was approximately $107.6 million, an increase of 41.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.6 million, an increase of 64.3% from the same period in 2020. Urban One reports operating income of approximately $37.9 million for Q2 of 2021, compared to approximately $20.4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $17.9 million compared to approximately $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall we had an extremely strong second quarter; not only was Adjusted EBITDA up 82.4% year-over-year, but we also surpassed our Q2 2019 pre-pandemic Adjusted EBITDA. We are experiencing unprecedented advertiser interest in our audience across the entire Urban One platform. The radio advertising business saw a robust rebound from the worst impacts of the pandemic in Q2 2020, with segment revenues up by 73% and radio syndication revenues up 50.2%. We also benefitted from strong TV scatter markets, with TV advertising revenues up 21.3% in the quarter; furthermore, registered interest in our 2021-22 TV upfront sales presentations has also been extremely encouraging, which will help our fourth quarter revenue performance. Demand for our digital products remains high, with digital revenues up by 147.9% for the quarter and Adjusted EBITDA up by over $6 million; a significant help to our top and bottom-line growth. For Q3, our core radio business excluding political is currently pacing up by over 40%, and we are comfortable increasing our FY21 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to mid-$130 million, excluding casino chase costs. During the quarter we completed the second tranche of our Class A ATM share sale program, which yielded $21.2 million net of fees. This cash influx further strengthened our balance sheet, and we ended the quarter with $129.8 million of cash on hand, which is a healthy place to be ahead of the exciting new investment opportunity in the One Casino & Resort in Richmond, Virginia.”

Ralph Nader is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legendary consumer advocate, political activist, prolific author, Pacifica radio talk show host and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Nader engage in a fascinating discussion about “left/right political thinking” in America as well as social and business changes influenced by advancements in technology, plus more. Nader says working class Democrats and Republicans alike have far more in common than they have differences and that unbridled corporatism is the true enemy of the poor and working class regardless of race or political ideology. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

NAB Announces 2021 Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the 2021 Marconi Awards have been announced. The news/talk Station of the Year finalists are: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WTOP-FM, Washington; KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and KNX-AM, Los Angeles. (NAB lumps all-news and news/talk stations into the same category.) WSB-AM, Atlanta is also up for Legendary Station of the Year. Talk radio hosts making the finals include, for Major Market Personality of the Year, George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith from sports talk KTCK-AM, Dallas “The Ticket.” In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: WFLA-AM, Tampa’s Jack Harris; WBAL-AM, Baltimore’s C4 and Bryan Nehman; WHPT-FM, Tampa’s Mike Calta; and WWTN-FM, Nashville’s Dan Mandis. Medium Market Personality of the Year category finalists include: KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter; KIDO-AM, Boise’s Kevin Miller; KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas’ Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob; and WHO-AM, Des Moines’ Simon Conway. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (8/10), McVay Media’s Mike McVay is joining Loyd Ford from Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works, LLC for “The Radio State Of The Union Live Event” on The Encouragers on Clubhouse. It’s being billed as “a frank discussion about employment, job search, career management, corporate & local radio and the future” and takes place at 7:00 pm ET. Ford says, “We have been discussing the people we love in this business, the talent. This is a unique time in our history. If you are on the talent side of the business, it takes some skill to navigate your way through what is happening. I reached out to Mike because he really does have such deep experience and knows radio as a talent, a consultant and someone who ran programming for one of the largest broadcasters in the country. Plus, he’s willing (like I am) to be candid. This will be a conversation with red meat and a lot of helpful hacks to get ahead, stay balanced and help others.”…..Legendary WGN-AM and WGN-TV sports producer Jack “Rosey” Rosenberg will be recognized by the City of Chicago with an honorary street sign. The southeast corner of E. Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive will double as “Jack Rosenberg Way.” Rosenberg’s career at WGN began in 1954 where he was a producer, news writer, and sports editor and worked with celebrated sports voices including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and others. WGN says, “Rosey was a pioneer in modern sports production and broadcasting and is credited with its development. While Rosey himself was rarely heard on-air, the sound of his typewriter clacking in the background was unmistakable.” Rosenberg died December 26, 2020 at the age of 94…..Futuri announces the launch of AdMatic, “a revolutionary system that helps podcast platforms and creators make their content more discoverable and monetizable using advanced metadata sorting and deployment.” Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig adds, “Two million podcasts all have the same problem: poor metadata sorting that leads to mismatched recommendations for listeners and ineffective advertising for businesses. AdMatic solves this by using Futuri’s AI-driven technology to individually categorize podcast episodes and align with the businesses and products that best match on a case-by-case basis, rather than the hopelessly broad one-size-fits-all approach we currently see in the market.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Outbreaks & Mask Policies, Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations-Impeachment Possibility, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, the Tokyo Olympic Games, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in numerous U.S. states, governors under fire and mask policies; President Joe Biden’s moratorium on evictions; the allegations of sexual impropriety against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the possibility of his being impeached; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the Tokyo Olympics; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, March 5, 2021

| March 5, 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, “Shots in the Arm,” looks back at this past week of March 1-5, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical physician; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Andy Caldwell, talk show host, K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN, Milwaukee; Dan Mandis, talk show host, WTN, Nashville; 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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 (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; WSAN, Allentown, PA;  KDSK, Albuquerque;  WLTM-FM, Erie, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

Salem Media Group Q4 2020 Net Revenue Flat; Full Year Revenue Declines 7.2%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the full year, Salem Media Group performs well compared to some of the other media companies that have released their financial data. Fourth quarter net revenue was $64.5 million – down just 0.2% over the same period in 2019. Full year net revenue was $236.2 million – a decline of 7.2% from 2019. Salem reports in segments and although the broadcast segment’s net revenue was down 4.8% on revenue of $48.1 million, its digital segment was up 13.5% on revenue of $11.2 million. For the full year of 2020, the broadcast segment’s net revenue was down 8.1% on revenue of $178.1 million and the digital segment’s net revenue was up 1% on revenue of $39.6 million. Salem reports a fourth quarter loss of $3.3 million compared to the $4.5 million loss it posted in 2019. For the full year the company’s reported loss was $54 million, up from the loss of $27.8 million it reported for 2019.

WFAN’s ‘Carton & Roberts’ to Be Simulcast on SNY. The WFAN, New York afternoon drive show “Carton & Roberts” – co-hosted by Craig Carton and Evan Roberts – will be simulcast on cable TV via SNY, beginning in May. The show airs on Entercom’s WFAN from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily and SNY will simulcast the show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “‘Carton & Roberts’ has quickly connected with audiences by providing a unique daily sports conversation experience. WFAN has a long and storied history of bringing sports radio to life visually and we’re honored to join with SNY to expand Craig and Evan’s reach onto more screens, more devices and, of course, still in your car.” SNY president Steve Raab adds, “We are excited to partner with WFAN to bring ‘Carton and Roberts’ to SNY. Craig and Evan are engaging, insightful and know their New York sports. The addition of this simulcast not only enhances our daily television line up, but it elevates New York sports news and entertainment programming for a very passionate fan base.”

New Rich Eisen Podcast Launches Via Westwood One. Sports media personality Rich Eisen’s new podcast, “Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen,” is launching via Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network. Eisen’s new podcast features interviews with the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, who discuss their career origins and mines their stories on how they got started in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors. The first guest is actor Matthew McConaughey, with Daymond John, Soledad O’Brien, and Gary Vaynerchuk sitting down with Eisen in upcoming weeks. “Just Getting Started” is Eisen’s first step into the world of personal fulfillment podcasting and the first original podcast produced in a partnership between Rich Eisen and Westwood One Podcast Network announced in December. In the partnership, Westwood One monetizes, markets, and distributes all Eisen’s existing and forthcoming podcasts.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is commemorating International Women’s Day on Monday (3/8) in a special showcase called, “Ladies That Make Us Laugh.” The program will feature the women of The BOB & TOM Show, in addition to some of the show’s favorite female guests. Kristi Lee, BOB & Tom Show news director, will be joined live by BOB & TOM “relationship expert,” comedienne Alli Breen and guest comedienne Nikki Glaser. Also joining the show Monday will be BOB & TOM regulars, correspondents Jessica Alsman and Jess Hooker. All morning, the program will feature past guest appearances from female comedians, including Maria Bamford, Rene Hicks, Miss Pat, and Amy Schumer. Show host Tom Griswold says, “Some of the funniest moments on our show have come from our many female guests. It’ll be fun hearing those highlights Monday morning. Also, we’ve been so fortunate to have Kristi Lee as a part of the show for over 35 years. Kristi is a savvy broadcaster who is open and honest about her life, and very funny. We will add to the mix, show staff members Jessica Alsman and Jess Hooker, along with comedienne Alli Breen… we feel the distaff portion of our show is well-represented.”…..To honor International Women’s Day the popular true crime podcast, “Forgotten: Women of Juáre‪z,” is being released simultaneously and globally in three new languages – believed to be a world first in the podcasting business. The translation into Spanish, German, and Danish allows “Forgotten” to shed more light on the hundreds of Mexican women who have been abducted in the world’s most dangerous city, and on the misogyny and systemic sexual femicide in Mexico and around the world. This is the first in a planned pipeline of locally adapted content initiated by iHeartMedia and Podimo to expand the reach of powerful stories to bigger and more relevant audiences…..GBH News in Boston is marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic by presenting “A Year Apart: How COVID Changed Us,” featuring a full day of special programming across radio, television, digital and social media platforms on Wednesday, March 10. GBH general manager of news Pam Johnston says, “We’re inviting our audience to join our journalists in reflecting on what we’ve learned and experienced during this historic year. We aim to rise above the intensity of the daily news cycle and consider where we are now, what we have lived through, and what is yet to come as it relates to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 1-5. The rollout of vaccines, concerns about variants, and the latest COVID stats combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the nation’s education crisis. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the #MeToo movement. 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.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

| November 8, 2018

Craig Carton Found Guilty of Fraud Charges.  Former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton was convicted on three fraud charges – securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud – on the second day of deliberations in his trial by a Manhattan jury.  Federal prosecutors charged that Carton had used almost $7 million from investors in a concert tickets re-sale scheme for personal expenses and to pay off gambling debts.  Prosecutors even called a loan shark named Desmond Finger to the stand testify he gave Carton loans totaling as much as $500,000 that Carton failed to repay.  They called a hedge fund executive who testified he gave Carton more than $5 million to invest in tickets in 2016.  The feds also say Carton doctored emails to make it appear to investors that he had a tickets contract with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, owner of the Barclays Center and the Nassau Coliseum.  Carton’s defense claimed he was a victim of partner Michael Wright, who pleaded guilty, and associate Joseph Meli, who is serving time for bilking investors in his own concert tickets scheme.  The New York Post reports that Carton could get as much as 45 years in federal prison when he’s sentenced on February 27 of next year, though he’s likely to get far less.  Carton’s attorney Robert Gottlieb says they will appeal the verdict.  Carton was half of the highly rated morning show with Boomer Esiason on WFAN before his arrest in September of 2017. Prior to that, he’d been a successful talk show host on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.”

Cumulus Names Lee Hammer PD for KGO and KSFO in San Francisco. It was just last month – October 5 – that Cumulus Media announced programmer Jack Swanson would return to the Bay Area stations he programmed so successfully for so many years.  But Swanson has had a change of heart and now the company is naming San Francisco cluster operations manager Lee Hammer PD for KGO and KSFO.  Hammer served KGO and KSFO as interim program director in 2015 during which he was also PD for sports talkers KNBR and KTCT.  Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “Lee Hammer did an excellent job while handling the programming for KGO and KSFO.  It’s an easy choice to hand Lee the keys to these two legendary radio stations.”  As for Swanson, he’ll serve the station as a programming consultant.  He states, “I realize my decision to return to the beach is sudden.  I quickly fell in love all over again with these wonderful stations and their talented people, but ultimately, my change of heart comes from my desire to fully enjoy a future of unlimited fun, travel, and adventure.  And making this move complete, through the unbelievable graciousness of Doug Harvill, Lee Hammer, and the entire Cumulus corporate team, I’ll still have the opportunity to contribute my ideas for the future of these amazing radio stations.”

St. Louis Talk Host Jamie Allman and Emmis/Entercom Settle.  There are literally no details in the court filing in United States District Court in Missouri about the settlement and we’ll likely never know what they are, but the legal battle between former KFTK-FM, St. Louis Jamie Allman and Emmis Communications and Entercom is over.  The two sides were sent into “alternative dispute resolution” by the court and it worked in as much as a trial was avoided.  Allman was suing Emmis (seller of KFTK-FM) and Entercom (operating it under an LMA) on basically two complaints: that the companies owed him money after firing him for his Tweet about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg, and that his firing was a breach of contract.  Previously, the two sides settled the money issue (privately, of course) and now they’ve settled the termination matter.  Meanwhile, Marc Cox is now the host of the morning show on KFTK-FM and Allman is producing his own daily morning show via the digital Radio Free Allman Network.

RTDNA Demands the White House Restore CNN’s Jim Acosta’s Media Credentials.  One of the nation’s leading organizations supporting radio and TV journalists – the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) – condemns the revoking of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard pass a few hours after he attempted to ask questions of President Trump at yesterday’s (11/7) post-election press conference. The organization issued the following statement: “The RTDNA and its Voice of the First Amendment Task Force condemn this obvious punitive action of the administration and call on it to restore Mr. Acosta’s credentials immediately.  In the statement RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley says, “The leader of the free world has consistently ridiculed journalists who report the truth as purveyors of ‘fake news’ and the ‘[enemies] of the American people.’  To go a nearly unprecedented step further and revoke the credentials of a responsible journalist who was merely attempting to ask a question of the president is unconscionable.”  The statement continues: “Furthermore, the White House attempted to justify its decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials in part by alleging he had essentially assaulted a staffer who attempted to take a microphone from his hands.”  Shelley adds, “Any objective observer of the staffer’s attempt to confiscate the microphone Mr. Acosta was holding would surely conclude that he acted professionally and in a non-aggressive manner. He even said to her, ‘pardon me, ma’am.’”  The RTDNA formed the nonpartisan Voice of the First Amendment Task Force to defend against threats to the First Amendment and news media access and to help the public better understand why responsible journalism is essential to their daily lives. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison speaks about this development with Dan Shelley earlier this morning (11/8).  To listen to that conversation, please click here.

Salem Media Group Q3 Revenue Flat; Broadcast Division Posts Positive Numbers. Although the third quarter total revenue for Salem Media Group, Inc. was basically flat at $65.5 million (up 0.1%), and the broadcast division’s net revenue was up only 0.8% ($48.8 million from $48.4 million a year ago), same station figures were up.  Station Operating Income increased 2.4% to $11.7 million from $11.4 million in Q3 of 2017; Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 1.9% to $47.8 million from $46.9 million; and Same Station SOI increased 2.3% to $12.1 million from $11.8 million.  On another positive note, the company posts a net income of $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2018, compared to a loss of $46,000 in Q3 of 2017.  Salem’s digital division was consistent at $10.4 million and the publishing division dipped 3.7% to $6.3 million.

iHeartMedia Files Q3 Financial Data with SEC; Revenue Up 1.6%.  There are not a lot of detailed breakdowns in this 8-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission from iHeartMedia.  We do see that revenue for the third quarter of 2018 was $873 million – up 1.6% from $859 million a year ago.  iHeartMedia has been releasing monthly financial updates as is makes its way through Chapter 11 reorganization but releases this quarterly report today (11/8). It doesn’t contain any same station data valuable for analyzing the radio operations a bit deeper.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey, today focusing on Major League Baseball flagships.  This is the third and final review of MLB flagship outlets this year.  Interestingly, Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston – flagship for the World Champion Red Sox – lost weekly AQH share from October 2017 to October 2018 (5.9 to 5.1).  The Los Angeles Dodgers flagship iHeartMedia’s KLAC was up from a 1.0 share to a 1.7 share during the same period. Milwaukee Brewers flagship then-Scripps’ WTMJ was the big winner here, rising from a 7.3 share to a 10.4 share, year over year.  See the whole story here.

Midterm Election Results, Sessions Resigns AG Post/Future of Mueller Probe, Trump Suspends Acosta Press Credentials, Deadly California Bar Shooting, Antifa Threats Against Media Figures, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7). The results of Tuesday’s midterm elections that saw the Democrats take control of the House and Republicans add seats in the Senate; Attorney General Jeff Sessions agrees to resign post and the future of Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation; President Trump suspends CNN reporter Jake Acosta’s White House press credentials; a gunman kills 11 and himself in a country bar in Los Angeles; reports of conservative media figures getting threats from Antifa groups; and the week’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ Wraps ‘Voice Your Vote’ Tour.  Pictured above are WWTN-FM, Nashville personalities at the final stop of the “2018 Voice Your Vote Tour” at MAFIAoZA’s in Franklin, Tennessee on Tuesday evening. The “2018 Voice Your Vote Tour” launched in March in Franklin and has included stops featuring WTN hosts and voter registration opportunities throughout the year at venues in Nashville, Mt. Juliet, Bellevue, and Hendersonville, Tennessee.  From right to left are: Dave Zanotti, Michael DelGiorno, Phil Valentine, Dan Mandis, and Brian Wilson.

Lars Larson Featured in ‘KGW-TV Carpool’ Personality Segment.  Nationally and regionally syndicated, KXL-FM, Portland-based talk host Lars Larson was interviewed by KGW-TV, Portland news anchor Brenda Braxton for the station’s segment, “KGW Carpool.”  In the segment, Braxton interviews Larson as they drive around Portland, but there’s one catch – no talking politics.  Larson is syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks and regionally via the Radio Northwest Network.  See the five-minute video here.

AWMF Announces Call for Entries for 2019 Gracie Awards. The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, opens the call for entries for the 44th Annual Gracie Awards Gala, taking place May 21, 2019, at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills and the Gracie Awards Luncheon, taking place June 26, 2019, in New York City at Cipriani 42nd Street.  The AWMF says that each year attention is given to evaluating categories which included adding one for writers in television and creating more avenues for radio hosts/co-hosts, including adding in market size in various categories.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Each year, the Gracie Awards Gala and Luncheon celebrate and honor truly exceptional content by, for and about women.  It is our belief that recognizing expertise, courage and contributions across all segments of media is essential to ensuring continued growth for our industry.  AWM has been shining a spotlight on the individual and collective achievements of the best and brightest women in media for over 40 years.  As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracies enables the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media.”  The 2019 Gracie Awards entry eligibility air dates are from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018. Early bird rates for entries end on December 13, 2018, at 11:59 pm ET. The deadline for all entries is January 17, 2019, at 11:59 pm ET.  Entry details including pricing and updated categories can be viewed at https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/call-for-entries/.  To see more about the 2018 Gracie Awards, including the media release and past video, visit https://allwomeninmedia.org/gracies/gracies-coverage/.

Great Programming Opportunity at Atlanta’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM.  The Cox Media Group heritage news/talk outlet is seeking a senior operations and programming manager to assist the director of branding and programming.  The job summary says, “Assists the ‘Director of Branding and Programming’ as 2nd in command for the WSB Radio Brand in executing the WSB Programming Strategy, to include managing and developing Talk Talent, Hosts, Producers, the Operations team, Imaging Producers, as well as coordinating strategic goals and input with the News Director, Manager of Traffic Operations, and Director of Digital/Social. Also, handles assigned administrative duties, personnel management, coordination of schedules, and promotions (sales and marketing). Serves as member of the WSB Radio Strategic Team, and coordinates with CMG Research for Nielsen Ratings Reports, Analysis, and Market research.”  See more about this excellent opportunity here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Classic hits WIAD, Washington “94.7 The Drive” announces DC market pro Albie Dee is the new afternoon drive personality on the former hot AC outlet, effective November 12.  Entercom vice president of programming Steve Davis says, “Albie Dee is a radio legend in DC and I am beyond excited to have him return to the market as the first personality on ‘94.7 The Drive.’”…..The changes at iHeartMedia’s CHR KYLD, San Francisco “WiLD 94.9” include the departure of afternoon drive personality Julianontheradio from that role and the move of evening jock Gabby Diaz into the drive time slot.  Filling the evening show host position is current JV show cast member Crystal Rosas.  Julianontheradio will continue to serve with the company handling part-time and voice-tracking duties…..iHeartMedia’s “The Breakfast Club” morning drive show hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God is presenting this year’s #Change4Change – an all-day radiothon that will benefit PROJECT 375 – taking place on Thursday, November 15, 2018 during “The Breakfast Club” show across more than 77 syndicated markets. It will continue from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight on flagship WWPR, New York “Power 105.1,” with other participating markets to be announced…..Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis has been recognized by the Indiana Broadcasters Association as the Radio Station of the Year. The station received the same honor in 2008 and 2012.  Pictured below at the 2018 Spectrum Awards Luncheon are (from l-r): morning hosts Jim Denny and Kevin Freeman, assistant program director Kash, morning host Deb Honeycut, marketing director Jan Thoman, and VP/market manager Chuck Fredrick.