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Monday, July 25, 2022

| July 25, 2022

Monday Memo: Save Those Benjamins. Even with gas prices now inching down, almost everything else is “SO expensive that listeners (and we) are coping.” Wrapping-up his month-long series – “Inflation Hacks” – Holland Cooke presents 9 money-saving tips, “AND a fabulous radio prize!” Read it here.

Pending Business: The Great Resignation. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says “The Great Resignation” is having an effect on the radio/audio sales business, too. He writes, “The Pew survey says the top three reasons for ‘The Great Resignation’ are: low pay, lack of advancement opportunity, and feeling disrespected at work. Does it sound like the grumbling before the Monday morning sales meeting? My marketing work puts me in direct contact with sales reps across the country and ‘The Great Resignation’ did extend into our radio/audio sales community. On the radio side more so in the larger market stations.” He offers some suggestions for navigating this era of economic uncertainty. Read it here.

Radio HOF Welcomes Nine Inductees. A voting participant panel comprised of more than 800 industry professionals honorees determined six honorees; the other three were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee. Radio Hall of Fame co-chair Kraig Kitchin comments, “Our forthcoming inductees have made a wonderful impact on the lives of their listeners and our industry. We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate their respective careers and honor them with an induction to the Radio Hall of Fame.” According to co-chair Dennis Green, “This was our highest voter participation ever. The radio industry picked an amazing, diverse class of broadcasters and executives that we are proud to call Hall of Famers. These individuals have made a lasting impact on this amazing industry, cementing their place as part of the legacy that makes radio special.” In alphabetical order, the nine inductees are: radio executive Marv Dyson; “Country USA” host Lon Helton; iHeartMedia Los Angeles adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103” morning personality Ellen K; Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM “New York’s Greatest Hits” afternoon drive talent Broadway Bill Lee; “Gospel Traxx” host Reverend Walt “Baby” Love; iHeartMedia New York classic rock WAXQ “Q 103.4” talent Carol Miller; Sirius XM sports talk host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo; Emmis Communications president/chief executive officer Jeff Smulyan; and New York Yankees Radio Network announcer Suzyn Waldman. The 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be honored in-person  November 1 at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The Radio Hall of Fame was founded by the Emerson Radio Corporation in 1988; The Museum of Broadcast Communications took over operations in 1991. This year’s confidential ballot was conducted by Votem.com and overseen by Miller Kaplan’s Andrew Rosen.

Radio Resources Unit Debuts Today. Tailored for medium to small market owners and operators, Radio Resources was launched today (Monday, 7/25) by parent company Gen Media Partners. Director of products and services Alex Quintero notes, “Until now, radio station owners and operators had to deal with multiple providers and retrofit the pieces together. The Radio Resources toolkit offers broadcasters one central point of contact and stewardship for a wide array of products and services, streamlined across critical departments to deliver a more efficient, productive, and seamless experience. We’re the only company that can aggregate such a broad range of radio products and services and provide this level of multi-resource support. Our independent standing gives us the freedom to seek out the best providers to service our radio clients.” Among other things the Radio Resources suite includes: Programming and Content; Workflow Solutions; IT and Cyber Security; 24/7 Formats; Sales Strategy; Imaging and Production; Research; Online and Digital Integrations; and Back-Office Operations. Radio Resources products and services are available for cash, barter or a combination of both.

Pickup Truck Slams Into Cumulus Media Indy Building. Two vehicles were involved in a crash last Thursday (7/21) at approximately 5:45 pm with one, a pickup truck (pictured above), striking the Cumulus Media Indianapolis building on North Shadeland Avenue. No one in that structure was hurt, although the building received extensive damage. According to a Facebook posting, Cumulus Indianapolis continued from its backup studio. The driver of one vehicle in the accident was taken to a hospital and is listed in serious condition. In addition to sports talk WXNT “CBS Sports 1430 AM,” Cumulus Indianapolis consists of WFMS “95.5 The Country Station”; classic hits-oldies WJJK “Classic Hits 104.5”; WNDX “93.9 X – Indy’s Rock Station”; hot AC WNTR “107.9 The Mix”; and CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL.”

Windy City Readying For Rock Radio Revisited. Longtime “The Larry King Radio Show” executive producer Pat Piper is producing The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ “Rock Radio Revisited,” which will be held August 14 at 3:00 pm at The Des Plaines Theatre. Museum of Broadcast Communications board chair David Plier notes, “The heyday of rock radio in the 60’s and 70s’ was centered around the booming personalities of [Chicago on-air talents such as] Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, Yvonne Daniels, Bob Sirott and Steve King. Every city had their favorite local radio station and the voices behind them. This will be an incredible celebration of the personalities and music that made that era of rock and roll so memorable.” Landecker, Tommy Edwards, Bob Stroud and Dyana Williams will reminisce about “the golden age of rock radio.” In addition, there will be vintage airchecks, as well as stories about the on-air personalities, fans, and gimmicks. Those making special appearances include: Gary Burbank; “Cousin BrucieMorrow; Kris Erik Stevens; and Connie Szerszen. Among the “presenters” of the Wendy Snyder-hosted event is Nexstar Media Group Chicago news/talk WGN “Radio 720”; cross-town Cumulus Media-owned news/talk WLS-AM “890 AM” is one of the “sponsors.”

TALKERS News Notes. Most recently working as ABC Audio’s manager of digital audio, Josh Cohan is promoted to director of podcast programming for ABC News. His first venture into podcasting was as part of the team that launched “10% Happier with Dan Harris” in 2016. He also helped create ABC’s flagship daily news podcast, “Start Here,” which won the 2022 Webby Award for “Best News and Politics” podcast. Cohan joined ABC News Radio in 2007 as an intern and served as a producer and coordinating producer before transitioning to podcasting … As a result of signing a multi-year contract, WHPT “102.5 The Bone” 6:00 am – 10:00 am talent Mike Calta continues his role at the Cox Media Group Tampa news/talk outlet. Regional vice president/general manager Keith Lawless remarks, “Mike is arguably one of the most successful and talented broadcasters on the air in America today.” WHPT’s director of branding & programming, John Brennan, comments, “Mike Calta is simply the best radio talent in Tampa. I couldn’t be more excited that he will continue to call ‘102.5 The Bone’ home for many years to come.” Calta – who joined WHPT in 2007 – adds, “I’m grateful and proud to be continuing my radio career with CMG in my home of  Tampa Bay. At 50 years old, my window to being a male dancer has surely closed, so this contract is extra special to me and my family.” … Two-year Max Media Norfolk vice president/operations and programming Eddie Haskell exits the five-station cluster, which includes sports talk WVSP “94.1 ESPN” and business talk WGH-AM “Money Talk 1310 and 100.9.” He formerly was senior vice president/programming for nine iHeartMedia stations in Ft. Collins (Colorado).

 

 

Salem Media Group Seeks Producers. Attention producers! Salem Media Group is looking for producers. Salem has great radio stations, the Salem Radio Network, the Salem Podcast Network, and the Salem News Channel, and we always need producers to help us create our great products. If you have experience producing radio or TV shows, please send your resume and keep ‘em coming to: Phil Boyce, Senior VP of Spoken Word Formats, Salem Media Group Philip.boyce@salemmedia.com. Salem is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Monday, April 18, 2022

| April 18, 2022

Monday Memo: Spring Cleaning. “You’re expecting a metaphor,” Holland Cooke reckons. “When a consultant says, ‘Spring Cleaning,’ you brace for a checklist of tough choices when Spring ratings come in.” But HC says, “Take me literally,” as he wistfully chronicles procrastination you can likely relate to. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: The Anecdote. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about the value of a relatable anecdote in the talk radio sales process. He compares the focus a golfer has when playing the game to the connection hosts have with listeners. “Think about the engagement level of your listener with their favorite talk show host. The outside world shuts down for a brief moment as that listener is focused on what your host is saying. The host presents the content in a way that helps the listener shut out their daily distractions and engage with the host, guest and callers.” Read more here.

 

Key Networks and Beasley Partner to Offer Features for Sports Talk and Music Stations. This partnership between Key Networks and Beasley Media Group will make the features “Esports Quick Hits” and “Game Pop” available to sports talk stations and music stations, respectively. The 30-second segments are produced by Benztown and “deliver high energy, entertaining video gaming and pop culture content that ties esports to the traditional sports world by keeping listeners up to date on the latest esports and pro-gaming news.” The two companies announce that SportsMap Radio will be airing the feature on more that 100 U.S. stations on the SportsMap network four times a day every Monday through Friday. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Beasley Media Group and our Beasley Esports division couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership! Key Networks is very aligned with us on developing and distributing next-generation content that reflects the growing popularity of digital sports.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green adds, “Key Networks continues to partner with best-in-class brands, and we are delighted to bring the esports features ‘Quick Hits’ and ‘Game Pop’ to stations across the country. Our partners at Beasley Media Group discovered early on that esports appeals to a young audience that continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Now is the time to get on board, as the future for esports is NOW!”

 

Report: Alex Jones’ Infowars Files for Chapter 11 Protection. According to a story by Bloomberg, Alex JonesInfowars is seeking Chapter 11 protection in Southern Texas, “with liabilities of as much as $10 million, according to a court filing.” The story notes that Alex Jones and his companies were found liable in a defamation lawsuit in Connecticut that was brought by families of some of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre. The families testified that they were harassed by fans of Jones’ program after Jones claimed that the families were paid crisis actors and that no children actually died. Jones has since stated publicly that he knows the massacre actually took place. Jones is awaiting the next phase of the case as the trial will determine the damages. Jones was also found liable in a similar case filed in Texas.

 

Devon Doers Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Twin Cities. Radio sales pro Devon Doers joins iHeartMedia as vice president of sales for the Minneapolis station group that includes news/talk KTLK-AM and sports talk KFXN “KFAN,” plus five music brands. Doers comes to iHeartMedia from Townsquare Media’s Bozeman, Montana operations where he’s been serving for the past eight years. iHeartMedia Minneapolis SVP of sales Bekki Yang says, “Devon’s extensive career in media, which has evolved over the years to include multi-channel marketing and digital, is what we’re most excited about.” Doers comments, “I am excited to help and be part of such a talented, experienced and great group of professionals with everyone at iHeartMedia Minneapolis.”

 

Dan Sileo and JAKIB Media Partners Extend and Expand ‘The National Football Show.’ A new deal between JAKIB Media Partners and sports talk personality Dan Sileo is announced. The new pact expands Sileo’s “The National Football Show” program by one hour to stream from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily. JAKIB Media Partners president Joe Krause says, “Dan Sileo knows football and knows the stars of the game. In his expanded role, sports fans will find themselves wanting more and more from Dan Sileo.” In addition, Sileo will host, “The College Football Show” every Saturday and team up with Barrett Brooks for a bi-weekly, one-hour show called, “In the Trenches.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, Weekend Gun Violence, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, and Easter & Passover Holidays Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the pressure on NATO, and the economic effects of the war; the state of the U.S. economy and the high price of gas and food; the shootings in Pittsburgh and South Carolina; the low approval ratings for President Joe Biden; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the return to mask mandates at some U.S. colleges, concerns about the BA.2 variant, and the lockdowns in Shanghai and Hong Kong; and the Easter and Passover holidays were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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, February 22, 2022

| February 22, 2022

Cumulus to Shutter Arkansas Radio Network. Arkansas Business reports that Cumulus Media is letting the 18 affiliates of its Arkansas Radio Network know that the network that has provided news, sports, and farm market reports for the last 50 years will end that service on March 20. The network is based at Cumulus’ news/talk KARN-FM, Little Rock and the notification was signed by KARN program director Toby Howell. The Arkansas Business piece by Kyle Massey reports that the 30-day notice does not offer a reason for the cessation of the news network but says “insiders and regular listeners said paid advertising has been sparse lately, with public service announcements prominent in ad spots.” The piece says the network had as many as 70 affiliate stations during its zenith in the late 1980s and affiliate count was around 50 stations as recently as a couple of years ago.

 

Radio Hall of Fame Accepting Nominations Through March 31. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee is accepting suggestions for 2022 nominees today through Thursday, March 31, 2022. You can submit your nominations here. The HoF is accepting nominations in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more); Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Networks/Syndication (10 years or more); Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Music Format On-Air Personality; and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We desire the input and suggestions of both industry members and longtime radio listeners, both who have front row seats to radio programs hosted by very deserving air personalities the 2022 nominating committee members should give consideration to.” Nominating committee chair Dennis Green adds, “It is important to hear from those within the industry as well as the listening public to arrive at a deserving list of nominees for the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame Class. We welcome suggestions from around the country as we begin the process that will culminate with the induction of this year’s honorees later this year.” The annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place in Chicago on Thursday, October 27, 2022.

 

 

‘Radio Night Live’ Presents ‘Broadcast for Broadway.’ The WNYM-AM, New York program “Radio Night LIVE with Kevin McCullough” recently presented “Broadcast For Broadway,” a follow-up to the September broadcast aimed at raising awareness of the 15 new shows opening in March and April. In September, the broadcast heralded 12 shows and the reopening of Broadway since the start of the pandemic. The two-hour, special broadcast emanated from longtime Broadway establishment Sardis in the heart of Times Square. The broadcast featured sneak previews of upcoming shows, conversations with Broadway critics and cast and producers from current hits like Come From Away and brand-new shows already receiving nomination rumors, such as Paradise Square. Pictured above are (from l-r): McCullough, original Come From Away cast member Tony LePage, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani assistant Cristyne Nicholas,  and Come From Away producer Randy Adams.

 

‘New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall’ Presents ‘College Alternatives.’ This Thursday (2/24) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in its series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents navigate life in the Garden State. Hosted by senior political director Eric Scott, this edition examines alternatives to the traditional four-year degree. Scott says, “New Jersey is facing a real crisis in terms of a skilled labor shortage. These are solid careers, with excellent pay, and don’t come with the debt of a four-year degree. Not everyone needs a four-year degree to have a successful and rewarding career. New Jersey desperately needs workers in skilled trades.” The program’s expert panel will feature: John Tillman, founder of Ecliptic Financial Advisors; Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges; Chrissy Buteas, chief government affairs officer with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; and Amy Lombardo, with the New Jersey School Counselor Association. The program will also feature representatives from New Jersey trade unions that run their own certification schools for members.

 

WMVP-AM, Chicago Adds CDGA Golf Show to Lineup. Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” adds the “CDGA Golf Show” to its Sunday lineup in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. The program, hosted by “ESPN 1000” personality Tyler Aki and Chicago District Golfer magazine editor Barry Cronin, allows fans to hear from their favorite golfers throughout the region, as well as news about the professional tours, other major golf events, and more. WMVP director of content Danny Zederman states, “We are excited to partner with The Chicago District Golf Association to create an entertaining and informational show every Sunday morning.”

 

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Urban Crime, Trump Social Media App, Arbery Hate Crime Trial, and China’s Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21). Western condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine incursion after his recognition of separatist provinces; the slowing rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Canada’s prosecution of trucker protesters; November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the politics surrounding the spike in urban crime and homelessness in America’s large cities; the Trump social media app launches amid technical glitches; the jury deliberates in the federal hate crime trial of the three men found guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery; and the post-mortem on China’s Winter Olympic Games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

| February 8, 2022

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 3.3%. Reporting its financial data from the fourth quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group reveals net revenue was $70.7 million, an increase of 3.3% over the same period in 2020 that the company says primarily reflects “a year-over-year increase in audio and digital advertising revenue and other revenue due to the continued recovery of the commercial advertising market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by a decrease in political revenue.” For the whole of 2021, Beasley reports net revenue of $241.4 million compared to net revenue of $206.1 million for all of 2020. The company reports operating income of $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to operating income of $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease largely reflects higher operating expenses related to its digital agency build out, and the return of certain expenses that had been reduced in 2020 due to temporary measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Beasley delivered a strong finish to a solid year of operating and financial performance, as the strength of our content and continuing improvement in advertising trends, combined with the ongoing success of our digital transformation and revenue diversification strategies, continue to fuel our recovery. Throughout the year, we made significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as reflected by the 17% increase in full-year net revenues to $241 million. Top-line growth was the primary factor contributing to a 75% year-over-year increase in Station Operating Income to $42 million. Overall, we believe these results demonstrate the strength and relevance of our industry-leading audio content and our teams’ extraordinary efforts to serve our listeners, customers and communities through challenging circumstances. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 47.3% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 15% of total fourth quarter revenue. Notably, our digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the third consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 20% over third quarter 2021 levels and 39% over the prior year period. Total outstanding debt as of December 31, 2021 was $300 million and we had $51.4 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth or provide synergies and increased free cash flow.”

Melissa Rapp Named SVP of Affiliate Sales for Key Networks. Media sales pro Melissa Rapp is named senior vice president, affiliate sales for Key Networks. Rapp was most recently with SDS as vice president of sales. During her career she’s also served with vCreative and MediaSpan Online Services and has held sales positions at several radio stations. Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “As we continue to build a best-in-class organization at Key Networks, we are delighted to welcome Melissa Rapp to lead our affiliation efforts. Melissa has extensive contacts in the industry, understands broadcasters’ needs and has the confidence from affiliates that she will deliver best-in-class products and services for their stations.” Rapp comments, “I’ve known Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz and COO Dennis Green for many years, and I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with them. My passion has always been to help stations be more efficient and serve their communities with the best possible product. It’s a great time to be in radio and a grand time to represent the premium talent and programming at Key Networks!”

Carl Jackson Podcast Joins Salem Podcast Network. The host who filled in for Larry Elder during his hiatus from radio to run for governor of California in September’s recall election is getting his podcast added to Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network. Carl Jackson’s eponymous podcast launched yesterday (2/7) with new episodes dropping each weekday. In addition to subbing for Elder, Jackson has also been regularly heard on WORL-AM, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer.” Salem VP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Carl Jackson has an amazing story, and every day on this podcast he will be telling it. When Larry Elder took his leave of absence to run for California governor, Carl took over and never missed a beat. He is smart, articulate, and fearless.” Jackson comments, “I’m absolutely humbled and excited to be a part of the team on the Salem Podcast Network. This opportunity is proof that the American Dream is alive and well when you work hard. I look forward to reaching a new audience with this podcast that will help me fight to save America as we know it.”

NRG Media Promotes Jim Smith to COO. Media executive Jim Smith is promoted to chief operating officer at NRG Media, LLC. Smith has served the company as chief financial officer for the past 14 years. NRG says Smith will continue to oversee the financial component of NRG Media as the company’s CFO but will add leading the operational oversight of NRG’s nine markets and 38 radio stations throughout the Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin to his duties. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “Jim understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio and plays an instrumental role in leading the company through operational challenges created by the pandemic over the last two years.”

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ Tops Edison Research’s Podcast Chart. This chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. from Edison Research is based on Edison’s Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, which Edison says is the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks and is also the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads. For the fourth quarter of 2021, Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” ranked #1, followed by The New York Times’ “The Daily” at #2 and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. Edison says its podcast chart “is derived from data collected continuously Q1 2021 – Q4 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information.” Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Spotify, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more. You can see the complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM news anchor Mariam Sobh is launching a new podcast titled, “News with a Bite,” in collaboration with former WGN-AM programmer Todd Manley of EarSight Studios. Feder writes, “In addition to highlighting news headlines with Sobh’s commentary, the podcast features sketches, comedy songs and in-depth interviews with a variety of guests.”…..AdLarge announces the addition of the “Late Night Drive with Ellie Schnitt” podcast to its ad sales portfolio. The podcast expands on health and wellness content, specifically focusing on mental health, love, and navigating adult life. Schnitt is the former host of the popular Barstool Sports podcast, “Schnitt Talk.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association will enshrine Rick Alloway, Gary Kerr and Neil Nelkin into its Hall of Fame at a celebration scheduled for August 9 in Lincoln, during the 87th Annual NBA Convention. Rick Alloway worked for KFOR, Lincoln from 1972-1984 as an announcer, producer, promotions director and operations manager. Nelkin’s career includes work as an announcer, talk show host, program director, operations manager, station manager and co-owner. He continues to stay active in Omaha radio, at both NRG Media and at Walnut Media.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, SCOTUS Redistricting Decision, Spotify-Joe Rogan Controversy, January 6 Investigation/Trump Documents Question, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The diplomatic tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the loosening of mask mandates, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the Supreme Court sides with the Alabama GOP over its new congressional map; the ongoing controversy over Spotify’s PR maneuvers with podcaster Joe Rogan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and allegations that former President Donald Trump tore up documents related to the day’s events; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.