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Salem Rises to Prominence in Conservative Media

| July 18, 2022

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Executive Editor

 

IRVING, Tex. — The last few years have brought enormous change to the media landscape and one of the bright lights in the sea of change is what’s been happening at Salem Media Group. Officials at the company say its rise to prominence in the conservative media arena has been building for more than 10 years. In fact, in April 2019, The Hollywood Reporter published an article titled, “How Salem has Quietly Become a Giant in Conservative Media.” In the three-plus years since, the Irving, Texas-based company has continued that trajectory and in many eyes verifies the claims in that piece. When it comes to conservative media, it’s impossible not to see Salem’s giant footprint.  

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

| April 5, 2022

Key Networks and Bill O’Reilly Launch Nightly ‘No Spin News’ Program. A new, nightly one-hour program hosted by Bill O’Reilly and syndicated by Key Networks is launching in May. Dubbed “No Spin News,” the program is the next step for the one-hour show that has been airing weeknights at 9:00 on WABC, New York for over a year as “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” Key Networks says the show is the number one show (Persons 12+) among talk-formatted radio stations in the New York DMA, MF 7PM-12Midnight, according to Nielsen. Key Networks syndicates O’Reilly’s radio shows “The O’Reilly Update,” “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” and “The O’Reilly Update – Weekend Edition” on more than 250 radio stations. O’Reilly says, “The incredible success of our nightly news analysis hour on WABC took me by surprise. I knew the product was strong, but the ratings are overwhelming. The folks caught up with us on the radio very quickly.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “Stations have asked for more O’Reilly content and we are delivering! We are delighted to offer his ‘No Spin News’ program to radio stations every weeknight to get the latest news and information you won’t get anywhere else.”

 

 

Amber Athey Explains Exit from WMAL-FM’s ‘O’Connor & Company’ Show in Spectator Column. The Spectator Washington editor Amber Athey says in her column that her critics on the left have tried “every trick in the book” to drive her out of the industry but her exit from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington finally came as the company bowed “to the mob.” Athey was one of three rotating women co-hosts on the “O’Connor & Company” morning show led by Larry O’Connor. In early March she posted a tweet critical of Kamala Harris’ brown pant suit worn at the State of the Union address, comparing her to a UPS employee. After a period of time, she was informed by the company that the perception of the tweet was racist, and she was being let go for violating the company’s social media policy. In her piece she says, “This incident has destroyed the integrity and reputation of WMAL and Cumulus as hosts of conservative content. We spoke frequently about the dangers of censorship and cancel culture on our program, and yet here they are bowing to the mob. If I can be fired for making fun of the vice president’s outfit, every single host on a Cumulus station is in danger of losing their job at a moment’s notice. Political commentary is worthless if it can’t be used to speak truth to those in power without fear of professional consequences.”

 

 

Salem GM Mike Shields to Retire; Segar Kannan to Lead San Francisco Stations. Radio executive Mike Shields is retiring from his position as general manager for Salem Media Group’s San Francisco stations in June. The company is appointing current Portland cluster general sales manager Segar Kannan to lead the San Francisco operations. Salem CEO David Santrella says of Shields, “Mike has been leading Salem’s San Francisco cluster for 11 years and has built a solid team, terrific culture, and delivered growth in both revenue and operating income yearly. Mike has had a great run than includes nearly 50 years in media and he has been a pleasure to work with. We wish them a multitude of blessings!” Segar Kannan has served for 23 years with Salem. Santrella says, “He is a leader who has worked hard, driven his team to excellence in digital revenue and earned this opportunity at the next level of leadership.” The San Francisco cluster includes news/talk KTRB “860 AM The Answer,” business talk KDOW-AM “Wall Street Business Network,” and three Christian-formatted stations.

 

 

TALKERS News Notes. During this year’s MLB season, New York Yankees manager, Aaron Boone will appear regularly on Good Karma Brands’ sports talk station “ESPN New York.” Boone will join “The Michael Kay Show” each week on Thursdays during the 4:00 pm hour. Kay says, “We are thrilled that Aaron will join us every week on the show. Aaron is honest, self-effacing and will be able to answer the questions that rabid baseball fans have about the games. This will be a must listen for fans of any team.”…..iHeartRadio and Propagate Content announce a new podcast titled, “Return to the Shadows with Katherine McNamara and Dominic Sherwood.” The podcast will revisit “Shadowhunters,” the hit television fantasy series that launched the Freeform network and ran for three seasons, and whose premature ending sparked a worldwide #SaveShadowhunters campaign. Returning to their time as leading duo Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, McNamara and Sherwood will delve into the Shadow World, highlighting stories from the set, favorite plotlines, and the show’s legacy – kept alive by millions across the globe. The series debuts on April 11.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, Hunter Biden Investigation, IPCC Report, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Jackson Confirmation, and Sacramento Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the growing evidence of Russian war crimes; the American economy, high gas and food prices; the DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities; the UN’s IPCC issues dire climate change report; November’s midterm battle for control of Congress and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and the search for the shooters in Sunday’s deadly Sacramento attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

| January 4, 2022

Good Karma Brands to Sell Wisconsin Signals. Two Southeastern Wisconsin radio signals will change hands, pending FCC approval, and will air a news/talk format. Wisbusiness.com reports that Good Karma Brands is selling WAUK-AM, Waukesha and FM translator W266DR  at 101.1 FM to New WTTN, LLC, led by Wisconsin broadcaster and company CEO Michael Crute. The terms have not been announced. The signals are currently airing sports talk but will flip to news/talk when New WTTN takes control. Crute is co-host of the Madison-based “Devil’s Advocates” program heard on the company’s WTTN-AM/W224EG, Madison “Devil Radio 92.7.” WAUK will be branded “The ‘SHA” and will “broadcast Waukesha-first news, sports, traffic, and weather in 2022 and beyond.” Initially, the station will simulcast the Madison programming that includes: “Matt Flynn Direct” from 6:00 am to 8:00 am; WYD Media’s “Thom Hartmann Program” from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; “Dueling Tangents with Luke Mathers and Bryan Kelly” from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm; “The Devil’s Advocates” from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Earl Ingram Show” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It intends to add locally hosted programming in the spring. Bryan Kelly will serve as operations manager for the station. WAUK has leased an office space and will immediately build a studio location in downtown Waukesha. Crute says, “We are excited to serve Waukesha, a community lacking a locally focused news/talk commercial radio station. WAUK Radio will immediately offer $50,000 total in ‘Good Neighbor’ small business or non-profit grants to help serve the Waukesha community from day one. The grants are for advertising on WAUK. They will be awarded throughout January to locally owned, Waukesha businesses. We will begin accepting applications for our Good Neighbor grants on January 3, 2022.”

Westwood One Blog: Strategies for Successfully Advertising in Local Radio. This week’s CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog outlines what it calls “five strategies to help build a successful local audio plan.” Stating that due to the “shift of TV audiences to advertising-free video platforms, local advertisers are turning to audio to build their brands and drive sales,” the Audio Active Group proposes the following: 1) Allocate the budget to align with how people use audio: A well-balanced audio campaign puts 63% of the budget into over-the-air AM/FM radio and 11% into AM/FM radio streaming. 26% of the budget goes to a combination of pureplay streaming and podcasts; 2) Determine the monthly campaign objective (minimum, maintenance, high impact, or launch/grand opening) and budget accordingly: To determine the monthly budget, multiply the market cost per point against the GRP levels. In a market with a $10 cost per point, the minimum monthly campaign would be $2,000. The grand opening campaign would be $5,000 per month; 3) Align impressions and media weight with listening by time period to get the largest possible campaign reach: Per Nielsen, 60% of AM/FM radio listening occurs outside of morning and afternoon drive. Spread media weight across all days and dayparts. About a quarter of media weight should run in middays. Place 20% of the budget respectively into weekends, mornings, and afternoons. 8% goes to nights and 5% to overnights; 4) Find the right audience with AM/FM radio programming formats: While the audience composition of TV shows can vary widely, AM/FM radio station programming formats are very cohesive, appealing to the same audience around the clock. Find the AM/FM radio programming formats that match your target using either median age, total reach, gender skew, presence of children, or household size; and 5) Based on the marketing objective, determine the weekly number of ads to run on a station from four types of schedules (very light, light, medium, or heavy): A very light station schedule reaches one-third of a station’s audience an average of 1.4 times. A light schedule reaches half of a station’s audience two times. A medium schedule reaches two-thirds of a station’s audience three times. A heavy schedule reaches 78% of a station’s audience 4.3 times. See more here.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Unveils ‘Leaving a Legacy’ Podcast. A new podcast from Bonneville’s KIRO, Seattle “News Radio 97.3 FM” launches today (1/4). KIRO-FM late morning personality Gee Scott hosts the “Leaving a Legacy Podcast” in which he “takes listeners on a journey to discover how some of our most influential public figures want to leave their legacy on this world, and how his own experience can be contributed to the shoulders of giants that came before him.” Scott says, “My father always talked about legacy, and this podcast connects me to him now that he’s gone. I’m so excited to learn from these powerful influencers to see what they’re passionate about and what they want their legacy to be. It’s a powerful question, and one that truly puts into perspective our why during the short time we’re all here on Earth.” The inaugural program features former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and current “CBS Mornings” host Nate Burleson. Other guests include author, activist and journalist Amanda Knox, the ‘King of Twitter’ Josiah Johnson, and Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who famously decided to pay all his employees a $70,000 minimum salary.

CES 2022: 5G, 4 Wheels, 3Days. This year’s show wraps a day early, on Thursday, “as an additional safety measure” and COVID concern has scared-off major exhibitors and what TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke estimates is “less than half of 2020’s 170,000-some.” But he says “there’s still lots to see (if not touch)” and that he is “among longtime attendees who appreciate the elbow room.” Read more here.

Audacy Announces Deal with Samsung for Podcast Distribution. A new content partnership between Audacy and Samsung will make Audacy’s entire podcast library available on Samsung platforms, including the Samsung Free platform that comes on Galaxy smartphones. Users will have access to content from Audacy’s Cadence13, Pineapple Street Studios and 2400Sports podcast studios, along with hundreds of other Audacy podcast titles. Audacy EVP of strategy and corporate business development Tim Murphy says, “We’re delighted to expand the reach of our robust podcast library to Samsung Free users across the country and put our award-winning titles on more devices for more consumers.”

TALKERS News Notes. After 12 years of leadership under Gordon Smith, the National Association of Broadcasters has a new president and CEO as Curtis LeGeyt assumed the role on January 1. NAB Joint Board of Directors chairman David Santrella (CEO of Salem Media Group) says, “The broadcasting community is extremely grateful to Gordon for his many years of service as an influential advocate for our industry. We are excited to now have Curtis at the helm to guide the organization into its next chapter. He is a proven leader and skilled fighter on behalf of broadcasters, and we are thrilled to have him serve as our voice in Washington and around the world.”…..Later this month, Newsweek will build on its in-depth coverage of the British Royal Family with a new podcast. “Royal Report” will be hosted by Newsweek’s British royal correspondent Jack Royston and American culture critic, royal watcher and author Kristen Meinzer. New episodes will appear every two weeks and will provide American royal watchers with fresh reporting and analysis of the House of Windsor…..The board of directors of New England Public Media announces that Matt Abramovitz is named the new president of NEPM.  “In his role as president, Abramovitz will be responsible for leading NEPM’s efforts across radio, television, and digital media platforms, furthering its mission of serving the people of western New England by providing trustworthy journalism, cultural content, events and initiatives, educational services, and community engagement.” Abramovitz has been serving as vice president of programming for New York Public Radio‘s classical station WQXR-FM.

USA Radio’s Brad Bernards Passes. Sad news from USA Radio Networks as the organization reports that USA Radio night and weekend anchorman Brad Bernards has died.  USA Radio COO Janet Porter Bro says Bernards was a key component of USA’s quality broadcast team. He was a school teacher in the Valentine, Texas school district who launched an internet radio station to cover local news in Presidio County, teaching the broadcast business to student interns. Bro adds, “It has been a very trying four months for the USA Radio Networks family. We lost CEO Fred Weinberg in September and long-term Christian interest news anchor John Clemens last month.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Trump Family Subpoenas, Filibuster-Voting Rights Battle, Epstein Fallout, Holmes Verdict, and Southeastern Snow Storm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3). The fast-spreading Omicron variant and battles over school attendance policies; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the New York attorney general subpoenas Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump in the investigation into the Trump Organization; Senate Democrats threaten to change floor rules regarding the filibuster if it doesn’t take up voting rights legislation; Prince Andrew’s battle with U.S. courts over his relationship with Jeffery Epstein and Virginia Giuffre; Elizabeth Holmes is found guilty of three of 11 charges in the Theranos case; and the Southeastern U.S. is pounded by rare snow storms were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

| December 21, 2021

Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.

WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.

KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”

WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.

COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

| October 14, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Borrowed Future Premieres Today; Teachers Given Free Access to Share with Students. The student load documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions is being released today (10/14) and the company is offering every teacher in the U.S. free access to the film. Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream is produced by Dave Ramsey and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play. Ramsey Solutions says the film uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry and exposes how it’s built to work against borrowers. Dave Ramsey – CEO of Ramsey Solutions, host of “The Ramsey Show,” and executive producer of the film – comments, “It’s ironic to me that the dumbest decisions we make as a society are related to education, of all things. Student loans are not the only way to get a degree. Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.” The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a debt-free college graduate, and high school students who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans – until now. Borrowed Future is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. See more about Borrowed Future here.

Audacy Offers $45 Million in New Notes to Fund ‘Small Digital Acquisition.’ A subsidiary of AudacyAudacy Capital Corp – plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $45 million in aggregate principal amount of the Issuer’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Audacy says it is in the process of completing a small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million and expects to fund this acquisition through a draw on the Issuer’s revolving credit facility. This acquisition is expected to close in October 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Audacy intends to use the net proceeds from this offering (after deducting discounts and commissions and paying offering-related expenses) to repay outstanding amounts under the Issuer’s term loan to offset the impact of the revolver draw. This offering is not conditioned upon the consummation of the acquisition, nor is the acquisition conditioned on the consummation of this offering. The Additional Notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $425 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. The Additional Notes will have identical terms (other than issue date and offering price) as the Existing Notes. The Additional Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. The Additional Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

NAB’s Marconi Awards to Happen Virtually; Radio Show to Merge with NAB Show Permanently. With the cancellation of the in-person NAB Show this fall, the
National Association of Broadcasters announces the presentation of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and the State of the Industry Address by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will take place virtually on November 10 at 2:00 pm ET via NAB.org/watch. At the same time, NAB announces that going forward, the annual Radio Show will be integrated into the NAB Show beginning in April 2022 in Las Vegas. NAB says, “This change provides more opportunities in one location for radio professionals and elevates radio in the larger media ecosystem represented at NAB Show.” NAB adds that the integrated event in Las Vegas will feature signature awards, networking events and a comprehensive conference program, including popular sales and marketing sessions presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “It’s important that we continue to bring radio professionals together to network, celebrate audio and engage in meaningful discussions around the future of our industry.” Salem Media Group president of broadcast media and NAB joint board chair David Santrella states, “In today’s world where radio companies are essentially multimedia companies, the value in attending NAB Show cannot be overstated. We are now streaming and podcasting and even producing video. NAB Show provides unparalleled access to the critical tools, knowledge and connections we need to grow and thrive in today’s media business.”

Nielsen: AM/FM Radio Listening Near its Highest Point in a Year. Results from Nielsen’s ongoing Audio Consumer Sentiment survey that addresses current American feelings about the COVID pandemic and how it impacts their lives have been released and they indicate that nearly nine in 10 (86%) say they are spending the same amount or more since the Delta variant emerged. Despite the Delta variant and increasing COVID cases in the summer, more than eight in 10 (82%) don’t think their own financial situation will change in the coming months. Also, radio’s average quarter-hour (AQH) audience trend is up 4% year over year, with 7.5 million people age 12+ listening during an average quarter-hour in PPM Markets in September 2021. Radio’s reach trend is stable. Radio reached 121.5 million consumers in PPM markets during an average week in September 2021. In Continuous Diary Measurement markets, Radio’s reach and AQH audience have been remarkably stable during the past year. The study finds that seven in 10 working Americans now work outside the home – an 80% jump since April 2020. The gain in those who work outside the home is a key statistic for audio since consumers spend more time with radio when they travel in vehicles to get to work or shop. There were also big gains in the area of transportation. Overall, nearly a third (31%) are spending more than an hour in their vehicles yesterday compared with 14% in April of last year. That’s a two-fold increase, and heavy radio listeners are far more likely to spend more time in their vehicles. In September, 55% of heavy radio listeners spent more than an hour in their vehicle yesterday.

Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show’ to Celebrate 40 Years on Air. In November, Warren Eckstein will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his radio program “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein.” His program is syndicated nationally via Radio America. In addition to his work as a pet behaviorist and TV-radio personality, Eskstein founded the Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund – a  not-for-profit organization in memory of his late wife, Fay. Its mission is to fund hundreds of small animal organizations across the U.S. The Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund aims to be the outsourced fundraising arm for small animal rescues when other financial resources are unavailable. Speaking about his show, Eskstein says, “Unlike most talk radio shows, my focus is on the listeners and callers. I rarely do interviews, because for 40 years, pet guardians are calling with questions they need answers to. My show has listeners with four generations of pets. We’ve laughed together and cried together. There is a level of trust the show has built with my audience – they know I will never endorse a product unless I personally use it for my pets. My reputation is on the line with every show.”

CBS News Honored with Four Honors from New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards. The winners of the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards have been announced and CBS News earned four honors in this year’s competition. “The Debrief with Major Garrett” took home the Gold Award in the News Podcast category; “Mobituaries with Mo Rocca” earned a Silver Award in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; “My Life of Crime” from “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty was a finalist in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; and “Century of Sound” was a finalist in the Best Nonfiction Series category.

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown promotes Thomas Green to director of custom imaging and appoints Royce Stevenson to the custom imaging manager role that Green held prior to his promotion. With Benztown since 2019, Brooklyn, New York-based Green is the audio producer for National Geographic’s FYC Podcast “The Making Of.” Stevenson joins Benztown from Audacy’s KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” where he was most recently assistant brand manager and music director…..KMG Utopia Studios, TalkShoe, and Mark Krantz Productions announce that award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano and his daughter Daniella Pantoliano are kicking off season two of their popular podcast, “No Kidding? Me Too!” at Advertising Week NY 2021 with a live Q&A on Monday, October 18 at 4:30 pm ET and a virtual session on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:00 pm ET. The two will conduct an intimate interview with Kelly Carlin – author, performer, and life coach – the only child of comic legend George Carlin. She’ll share her family’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and healing. Joe Pantoliano says, “We are thrilled to bring this important conversation to Advertising Week. It is important for us to collaborate with brands and advertisers on the increasing intensity of brain Dis-Ease, the co-occurring nature of addiction, and how to discover a recovery process. This is a perfect opportunity to raise the volume on recovery.”…..Stitcher announces its acquisition of “The Bellas Podcast” hosted by sisters, WWE Hall of Fame Inductees, TV personalities, and best-selling authors Brie and Nikki Bella. Before going on hiatus in spring 2021, “The Bellas Podcast” was part of the Endeavor Audio network. As it relaunches, hosts Brie and Nikki will produce the show with support from Stitcher.

Former Baltimore Talk Host Alan Christian Dies at 81. The Baltimore Sun has the obituary for Alvin Eugene Christian Jr., a.k.a. Alan Christian, who hosted talk radio programs on Baltimore radio stations during the 1970s and 1980s.  Christian died on October 5 at age 81 after suffering from heart complications. During his career, Christian hosted talk shows on WBAL-AM, WERQ-AM, and WFBR-AM. His radio career launched in 1967 when he joined Metromedia Radio News to cover the Pentagon and the 1968 presidential campaign before being promoted to Washington bureau chief. He joined WCBM-AM in 1971 and moved to WBAL in 1974 to host “The Alan Christian Show.” At the end of his radio career, he hosted a weekly show on WERQ from 1992 to 1993 before retiring.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, SS COLA, COVID-19, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Jon Gruden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; Social Security announces cost-of-living increases for monthly recipients; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; China’s continuing military aggression against Taiwan; and NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.