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Friday, October 8, 2021

| October 8, 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, “Floors and Ceilings,” looks back at this past week of 10/4 – 10/8. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, professor of Law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Ken Coleman, talk show host, Ramsey Solutions; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; 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.

WPHT, Philadelphia Promotes Greg Stocker to Brand Manager. Executive producer and assistant brand manager Greg Stocker is promoted to brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210,” effective immediately. In this role, Stocker will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station. Stocker assumes the brand manager role for the station previously held by Spike Eskin, who left the Audacy Philadelphia operations to become program director for the company’s WFAN, New York. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m so pleased to see Greg earn this well-deserved recognition for his hard work and commitment to WPHT. Greg brings a passion for talk radio to his role and is the perfect manager to lead WPHT and our newly expanded local lineup along with some of the biggest names on the national stage.” Stocker joined the company as an intern in 2003 after obtaining a degree in TV/radio from Northampton County Community College. From 2005 through 2013, he was producer of “The Michael Smerconish Show” and since 2014, he has been executive producer of “The Rich Zeoli Show.” In 2019, he was named assistant brand manager in addition to his producing role. He comments, “It’s truly an honor to be leading this legendary radio station. I have an amazing team and I’m excited to guide us all into the next phase of WPHT’s evolution.”

Round Four of September PPMs Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds 1.6 shares to finish with a 6.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rises from #7 to #4 while Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF-AM declines 1.2 shares for a 2.4 share finish and falls to the #14 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee is at #1 after adding nine-tenths for a 9.1 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN is close behind at #2 after adding 1.7 shares for an 8.9 share finish. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM “Super Talk 99.7” is steady with a 7.8 share but rises to the #1 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WLAC is up eight-tenths for a 2.9 share and wraps the survey at #14. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

WABC, New York to Celebrate 100 Years of Broadcasting. New York City news/talk WABC is celebrating 100 years of continuous broadcasting. John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media, announces that WABC will celebrate its “rich history and the cultural impact that the iconic station has had on the lives of its listeners” throughout the next year, kicking off this month. The celebration will feature guests, interviews, milestones, remembrances, and more. You can visit the 77 WABC Celebrates 100 Years webpage here. The special retrospective series airs every Sunday in October, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Last Sunday featured Rush Limbaugh’s first show on 77 WABC and talk radio pioneer Bob Grant. This Sunday spotlights Dan Ingram, the thinking man’s DJ. Catsimatidis states, “With 50,000 watts of clear channel power, 77 WABC represents the many and diverse communities in New York and America with a common sense approach to the issues that confront our world, along with music and entertainment on the weekends. Looking forward to the next 100 years, we’re reaching our listeners on every available platform – broadcast, podcast, streaming, and mobile – and we’re thinking beyond radio. We’ve built a state-of-the-art audio/visual facility, which we call Studio 77. Our morning show is available for our fans to watch, as well as listen, and we’ve hosted live broadcast events such as a mayoral primary debate and special 9/11 programming that included the leaders of New York then and now. We’re developing new talent and exploring new ideas.” WABC launched in 1921 as WJZ. On May 1, 1953, the station changed its calls to WABC.

KIDO, Boise’s Kevin Miller Talks Idaho Politics on CNN. Pictured above is KIDO-AM, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) appearing on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time” with host Chris Cuomo (left) discussing the recent political theatre involving the state’s Republican Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Karina Farias joins Edison Research as project coordinator. Farias was most recently program director and morning co-host at KUFX-FM, San Jose. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “Karina’s experience in audio combined with her passion for research will be a great fit, and we’re excited to have her join the team.” In her new role with Edison, Farias will be directing an array of market research projects with a focus on audio and media clients. She will also take a role in Edison Research’s election research…..Focus 360 adds of two national personal finance shows to its roster. “Real Money Pros” and the “Jared Dillian Money Minute” are now being repped by Focus 360 for network advertising and affiliation sales. Focus360 founder and CEO Phil Brown says, “As the country continues its climb out of the employment and economic disasters of last year, we wanted to expand our network to help listeners where they need it most – their bank accounts! Jared Dillian and the ‘Real Money Pros’ have been helping people through tough money issues for years and I am extremely excited to have them join the Focus 360 financial lineup!”…..ESPN releases VOL 1 of “Shots of Hype,” a new digital spoken-word audio series of motivational speeches. The three-part series is comprised of 15 tracks written and performed by well-known ESPN on-air personalities, including former athletes, coaches, and analysts. VOL 1 is now available via Hollywood Records across all major digital music platforms globally…..Sports USA reaches an agreement with the NHL to be the league’s exclusive live national radio play-by-play partner through the 2024-2025 season. The broadcasts will include select regular season games and continue through the Stanley Cup Final each year. Sports USA founder and CEO Larry Kahn says, “We look forward to building on the success we had during our coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and are thrilled to expand upon this partnership. The NHL has a loyal and passionate fan base and we couldn’t be more excited about the next four years.”…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway interviewed former President Donald Trump this week ahead of Trump’s planned rally in Iowa this weekend. During the 15-minute conversation, they discussed the Durham investigation, the border, the economy, inflation, Afghanistan, Iowa and it’s first in the nation status, crime and much more. Conway’s show is also heard on WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC-AM, Quad Cities.

The Budget Debate, Debt Ceiling Negotiations, and Infrastructure & Reconciliation Bills Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 4-8. The negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling and the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about COVID-19 boosters and mask & vaccine mandates, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack tied with former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud 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.

 

 

Audacy Seeks Co-Host for Boston Red Sox Podcast. A podcast co-host is being sought for a yet-to-be-titled Boston Red Sox show that will launch as a result of Audacy’s partnership with Major League Baseball and the launch of Audacy’s third podcast studio 2400Sports. The co-host will be paired alongside newly hired host Steven Perrault, who joins Audacy from Barstool Sports, and will be counted on to provide their unique, engaged, and passionate perspective during each show. The show will break down some of the top storylines, rumors, and subplots happening in and around the team. Additionally, with access to current and former Red Sox personnel, the show will look to reach fans with unparalleled affection and vigor. See more about the position and apply here.

Alpha Media Portland Seeks Content Director. There’s an excellent opportunity for an experienced content director at Alpha Media Portland. The company is looking for a content director for news/talk 101.1 KXL, sports talk 750 KXTG – “The Game” and talk 970 AM KUFO – “Freedom” and for a corporate executive with involvement of key talk talent and stations. Alpha says, “We’re looking for someone with experience programming winning news/talk, talk and sports stations that thrive with content and entertainment in the digital world. The ideal candidate must possess an extremely good work ethic, be a self-starter who is highly organized with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and have strong leadership skills. Alpha Media owns or operates 207 radio stations in 44 markets across the United States and is a diverse, multimedia company sharing music, sports and news across a variety of platforms. We believe in creating progressive products, world-class events and building strong relationships in our communities. See more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

| September 14, 2021

WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Rod Lakin Program Director. Philadelphia sports talk WIP-FM goes outside the Philly area for its new program director naming KMVP, Phoenix “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” PD Rod Lakin as its new brand manager. Lakin will take over for Spike Eskin, who recently joined Audacy’s WFAN, New York as program director on October 4. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station. Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.” Lakin has spent nearly two decades in the spoken-word format in Phoenix, first joining “ESPN Radio 860″ and “Newsradio 620” KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620 KTAR” upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.” In 2018, Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620 AM” and was named program director of “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” in 2019.

iHeartMedia Denver Announces Programming Changes at KOA and KHOW. A number of changes at iHeartMedia Denver’s news/talk stations take place, effective September 20. First, Ross Kaminsky moves from KHOW where he’s been hosting the morning drive show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on sister KOA. He displaces the “Logan & Lewis” show but both Dave Logan and Rick Lewis move to the afternoon drive daypart for the all-new “The KOA Sports Zoo” that will also feature current PM drive personalities Alfred “Big Al” Williams and JoJo Turnbeaugh. At KHOW, Michael Brown moves from his early afternoon show to the morning drive daypart where he’ll host “The Situation with Michael Brown.” Filling the 2:00 pm to 4:00 slot on KHOW is regular KOA and KHOW fill-in host Leland Conway, who joins the ranks of the full-time personalities. Regarding Kaminsky, iHeartMedia notes that he’s been named “Best Talk News/Talk Show” by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and “Best Radio Talk Show Host” by Westword. “The KOA Sports Zoo” – in addition to its four main personalities – will feature Denver Broncos players and coaches, and other celebrities and will cover the MLB’s Colorado Rockies and University of Colorado Buffaloes. Michael Brown is “a fan-favorite and described by many as smart, funny and connected. As the Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, Brown provides provocative insight into culture, current events and politics.” New full-time host Leland Conway is known as “a ‘happy libertarian,’ and has an uncanny ability to interview news makers, putting them at ease while cutting to the heart of the issue.” iHeartMedia Denver president Brenda Egger says, “Both KOA and KHOW have been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for close to a century. These enhancements further cement our position as the leading destination for unmatched news, talk and sports programming.”

Round Four of August 2021 PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for the group of markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM dips two-tenths to an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slides from the #2 to the #3 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee loses seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish but remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN tacks on four-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and rises to the #3 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, “SuperTalk 99.7” rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.5 share jump to a 7.8 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the previous three rounds) here.

‘104-9 FOX Sports Upstate’ Launches in Greenville, SC. Gone from the 104.9 FM signal of WROO-FM, Greenville, South Carolina is the rock format and in is sports talk. iHeartMedia unveils “104-9 FOX Sports Upstate” that is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national programming lineup with the addition of the two-hour afternoon drive show hosted by longtime South Carolina sports broadcaster Phil Kornblut. His program, “Sports Talk with Phil Kornblut,” airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly in addition to “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia Asheville/Greenville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We’re excited to bring back the FOX Sports Radio brand to the Upstate. Our listeners will have access to the best names in sports talk, plus regional coverage. It’s also a natural pairing with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Game on Upstate!”

Cumulus Media Studies NFL Fans’ Use of Radio vs. TV. This study from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts and reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners. Cumulus Media chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience. The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.” Other key findings from the study indicated that: sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience; in the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the ‘best available screen’ for employed and upscale sports fans and according to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale; compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more. See the study results here.

Salem Media Group Closes Refinancing of 2024 Senior Secured Notes. In a statement released on Monday (9/13), Salem Media Group announces it has closed the refinancing of $112.8 million of its senior secured notes due 2024 by way of exchange and/or sale and purchase of $112.8 of such 2024 Notes into $114.7 (reflecting a call premium of 1.688%) of newly issued 7.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. After the refinancing, only $103.5 million of the 2024 Notes remain outstanding. At the same time, Salem has obtained commitments from the holders of the 2028 Notes to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, contingent upon Salem satisfying certain performance benchmarks, the proceeds of which are to be used exclusively to repurchase or repay 2024 Notes. Salem believes that the extended maturity of the 2028 Notes, the ability under the indenture governing the 2028 Notes to use certain asset sale proceeds and casualty loss proceeds to repurchase or repay the 2024 Notes, and the commitments to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, as well as certain other features of the refinancing, all contribute to the ability of Salem to pay the remaining 2024 Notes in full prior to or at maturity. Salem CEO Edward G, Atsinger III says, “With this refinancing and our expected future free cash flow generation, we believe Salem has a clear path to ultimately push out all of the rest of our outstanding debt maturities. It also provides flexibility to opportunistically invest in our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago-born stand-up comic Brian Babylon, a.k.a., “Prince of Bronzeville,” is named the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on Tavis Smiley’s talk outlet KBLA, Los Angeles. Feder notes that Babylon hosted “The Morning AMp” from 2011 to 2015 on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform…..ABC Audio announces that Derricke Dennis is promoted to staff correspondent. In this role, he’ll report for all ABC Audio platforms, continue to anchor newscasts – as well as coverage of breaking news and special events – and he’ll be instrumental in the company’s efforts to build new products and reach new audiences. Dennis has been serving the company as a freelancer and anchoring ABC’s flagship I-NET newscast…..VSiN announces that Stormy Buonantony joins the sports betting network as the new host of “My Guys in the Desert.” In addition to covering college football for ESPN, Buonantony joins VSiN from AT&T SportsNet, where she was the rinkside reporter for the Vegas Golden Knights over the past two seasons. She says, “I’m so excited to expand my role and join the incredibly talented and knowledgeable team at VSiN full time. I’ve always joked that I grew up in a household where it didn’t matter who won or lost the game but rather by how many points they won or lost. This represents a special opportunity for me to combine my personal and professional backgrounds in my hometown of Las Vegas on a network committed to providing the best sports betting analysis out there.”…..Pet behaviorist and humorist Warren Eckstein celebrates 40 years in radio hosting, “The Pet Show With Warren Eckstein,” that is syndicated internationally by Radio America in 150 additional markets, including Guam and Canada.

COVID-19, California Recall, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Met Gala, Prince Andrew Case, California Wildfires/Tropical Storm Nicholas Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the battle over vaccine mandates, and school mask requirements; today’s recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the looming Justice for J6 rally in Washington; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wears a dress that says “tax the rich” to the Met Gala; Prince Andrew’s attorneys claim Jeffrey Epstein-related complaint is improper; and the wildfires in California and the threat of heavy rain in the Gulf south from Tropical Storm Nicholas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

| November 12, 2020

WGY, Albany’s Chuck Custer to Retire Next Month. Albany radio personality Chuck Custer is retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGY-AM/FM on December 18. He currently hosts the morning drive program with Kelly Lynch. Before taking on that role in 2011, he served as news anchor on Don Weeks’ radio show. Custer also previously served as news director and program director for “News Radio 810 & 103.1.” Custer began his WGY career as evening news anchor in 1984. iHeartMedia Albany SVP and market manager John Cooper says, “For over 36 years, Chuck Custer has been synonymous with WGY. From his time as the leader of the award-winning WGY news department, his outstanding work with ‘Don Weeks in the Mornings’, his current co-host position with Kelly Lynch, and most importantly all the time he’s contributed to the people of the Capital District. Chuck has been the consummate professional. He’s a great broadcaster who will long be remembered.” Custer comments, “It was a lifelong dream to work at WGY, a powerful, influential station with a great history and heritage. I’ve been very fortunate to have such a great run here. I’ve worked with many tremendous and talented people, made many friends, and I have had an opportunity to take on many different challenges. For 36-plus-years, I’ve loved what I was doing and loved coming to work. Not many people can say that.”

Urban One Posts Third Quarter Net Revenue Decrease of 17.2%. Reporting results from the third quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc says net revenue was approximately $91.9 million, a decrease of 17.2% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $44.2 million, an increase of 1.3% from the same period in 2019. Urban One posted a net loss of approximately $12.8 million in Q3 of 2020 compared to a net income of approximately $5.4 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “During the third quarter, we saw continued sequential improvements in radio revenues: compared to Q2 2020, our radio segment revenues were up 54.3%. This improvement will continue into fourth quarter where same station radio division revenues are currently pacing down only mid-single digits compared to Q4 2019, including political advertising. Most remarkably, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to grow our Q3 2020 Adjusted EBITDA by 2.3% compared to Q3 2019 and by 61.3% compared to Q2 2020. This was largely driven by impressive performance in our TV, Digital and Reach Media divisions, all of which grew their Adjusted EBITDA by double digit percentages, or better, year-over-year. During this 2020 election cycle we have seen record-breaking political advertising revenues, in excess of $20 million across our entire platform of radio, digital and TV assets. I believe this reflects the increasing recognition of the importance of our audience, and the trusted platform we provide our clients to reach Black America… Our cash and liquidity position remains robust, with approximately $102.2 million of cash on hand at September 30. We received strong support from lenders for our recent bond exchange offer, which extends the maturity of both our secured notes and unsecured term loan, thereby giving the Company more flexibility to opportunistically access capital markets during the course of 2021. As part of the exchange agreement we will also reduce our outstanding debt by $25 million.”

KKAT, Salt Lake City Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey is joining the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City in the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot, effective November 16. Cumulus Salt Lake City VP and market manager Patrick Reedy says, “Now, more than ever, Dave Ramsey’s insights and solutions for life and money bring clarity and straight talk to improving listeners’ financial lives. We are incredibly excited to welcome ‘The Dave Ramsey Show’ to the powerful 860AM lineup.” KKAT program director Chris Hoffman adds, “I’ve personally seen the power of Dave’s message change people’s lives. I can’t wait for our audience to experience it for themselves. I look forward to hearing their debt-free screams!”

KYW, Philadelphia Announces New On-Air Lineup. The retirement of morning drive co-anchor Brandon Brooks sets in motion a series of changes at Entercom’s all-news outlet KYW, Philadelphia that take effect November 23. Current afternoon drive co-anchor Ian Bush is moving to mornings to serve as co-anchor alongside Carol MacKenzie. Jay Scott Smith rises from his part-time anchor position to co-anchor afternoons with co-anchor Michelle Durham. Also, fill-in anchor Denise Nakano is named midday anchor. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “As KYW Newsradio broadens its reach on crystal-clear 103.9 FM, we are happy to expand the roles of these outstanding journalists. Ian, Jay, and Denise bring invaluable experience and insight that will help Philadelphia’s most-trusted news team serve our region at this critical time and beyond.” Bush, Smith, and Nakano will all contribute to KYW Newsradio’s growing array of digital offerings, including original podcasts.

Jim Bohannon Goes Back to College. Pictured above on the campus of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia is Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon (second from right) along with a group of students from the school’s student-run radio station “Z87.7.” Bohannon visited the school to conduct a radio seminar and speak to individual audio production classes about his industry experience as a talk show host. Bohannon also appeared as a guest on the station’s “1:35” program. Pictured with Bohannon are (from l-r) students Christopher Barker, Cameron Verona,Savannah Richards, Zach Swindell, Brett Loftis, Bohannon, and faculty member Dale Van Cantfort.

Harrison Podcast Presents a Special Salute to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Taking a brief departure from its usual format of spotlighting a single individual, the Broadcasters Foundation of America is the subject of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “This past week’s election and its aftermath continued the drama, intensity and anxiety that have made 2020 one of the most challenging years in modern history – and thus, one of the most difficult in the lifetimes of those of us born after World War II. The economic crisis sparked by COVID-19 has certainly added to the problems facing millions of people in our country who have either lost their jobs or their businesses and many more who are living with the uncertainty of whether they will still have their jobs and businesses in 2021.” Harrison continues, “All that aside, the radio industry has been hard hit by economic challenges for years leading up to 2020 – through good times and bad – due to a variety of reasons… some unavoidable and some, unfortunately, of its own making… none of which can be blamed on its day-to-day working people. Escalating cutbacks in the radio business are nothing new in the 21st century. The COVID-19 era has only made difficult matters even worse. Firings have primarily targeted the working folks in the trenches, including engineers, producers, programmers, news reporters, DJs, talk show hosts, salespeople, programmers, and mid-level managers.” Harrison adds, “It is important to note radio is always on the front lines of supporting charities and initiatives that rush to the aid of victims suffering from just about every hardship inflicted by disease, natural disasters, and economic calamity. But the only humanitarian organization that I know of that for decades has consistently been standing up for broadcasters facing personal disasters is the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” The Broadcasters Foundation of America derives most, if not all, of its revenues from individuals and companies, large and small, in the radio and television industries creating a process by which broadcasters can support broadcasters in their time of need. 2020 has proven to be a difficult year for the organization due to the economic impact of the corona virus upon its individual donors – and especially with COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of many of the organization’s annual fund-raising events. Harrison concludes, “Keeping in mind that a significant portion of this podcast’s audience are members of the professional broadcasting community, and to personally take a momentary break from the stresses of today’s political turmoil, this installment of our podcast will diverge from its usual path and be devoted to raising awareness of the Broadcasters Foundation of America.” The podcast’s guests this week are WPG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley, Broadcasters Foundation of America president Jim Thompson and Foundation board member and longtime host of TV’s “Inside Edition,” Deborah Norville. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Trump Refuses to Concede/Biden Transition Process, Georgia Recount/Senate Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Trump Media Ambitions, Veterans Day, and Tropical Storm Eta to Hit Florida Again Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The refusal on the part of Donald Trump and a fair number of Republican members of Congress to admit that Joe Biden won the election and the transition process to President-Elect Biden; the state of Georgia’s intent to do a hand recount of the ballots and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for winter cases, and Pfizer’s statement its vaccine appears to be 90% effective; speculation about Donald Trump’s post-White House media ambitions; the Veterans Day holiday; and Tropical Storm Eta to hit Florida again were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Condolences to the family and friends of classic rock WIMZ-FM, Knoxville afternoon drive personality Billy Kidd, a.k.a. William Winningham, who died unexpectedly yesterday (11/11). No details of his passing are available but the station posted the following to its website: “It is with the very heaviest of hearts that we here at 103.5 WIMZ bring you the terrible news of the passing of our friend and colleague, William Winningham, also lovingly known as Billy Kidd. We know you have many questions, as do we. Just remember how much Billy loved this community and the people who made it so great! We will be posting and airing tributes to Billy in the days to follow. We appreciate the many friends and listeners who have expressed their concern and love for Billy. Thank you all from the depths of our hearts. We love you Billy!”…..Alpha Media and Superadio, LLC announce an affiliation agreement to bring the “Ebro in the Morning with Laura Stylez and Rosenberg” to its hip hop-formatted stations in Portland, Oregon; San Antonio; and Amarillo, Texas. Alpha Media VP of content Phil Becker says, “I admire and appreciate the talent and perspectives of Ebro, Laura, and Rosenberg and I’m proud of Alpha for continuing to be trendsetters in the media space by becoming the flagship affiliate. The radio industry has become too reliant on phony phone calls and the assumption that listeners want characters over authenticity. ‘Ebro in the Morning’ understands that and will be a wonderful addition to our portfolio of stations, and I look forward to working closely with them.”…..Team Jubal Productions announces its formation to independently launch “The Jubal Show” in national syndication. The program debuts today on iHeartMedia stations KXJM-FM, Portland “JAM’N 107.5”; KSLZ-FM, St. Louis “Z107.7” and WMKS-FM, Greensboro “100.3 KISS FM.” Team Jubal Productions is led by Alex Fresh, Jubal Fresh and Eric Weiss. Craig Whetstine is handling affiliate sales for the show.