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Friday, November 6, 2020

| November 6, 2020


NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, 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 “The Envelope Please!” looks back at this past week of November 2 – November 6, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, London, UK; Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Michael Zwerling, talk show host / owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling On Sunday.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Entercom and Urban One Announce Station Swap Involving Four Markets. A swap between Entercom and Urban One encompasses stations in three markets. Under the terms of this deal, Entercom acquires WPHI-FM, Philadelphia; WHHL-FM, St. Louis; and WTEM-AM, Washington, DC. Also, Entercom gets the format, brand and creative assets of Urban One’s WFUN-FM, St. Louis “The Lou” which will be moved to Entercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis. In return, Urban One acquires Entercom’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM, and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Both companies will begin operating their respective acquisitions under LMAs beginning November 23. The addition of WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” gives Entercom a second sports talk outlet in the DC market, complementing WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan.” Entercom DC SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “For years, WTEM has established itself as the go-to home for everything surrounding The Washington Football Team, and we’re proud to enhance our position as unrivaled leaders in sports radio by adding the station to our portfolio. The Washington Football Team is a pillar in the D.C. sports community, and we look forward to providing our listeners a home to tune in to all the action on game days and stay up-to-date throughout the year.”

Entercom-Urban One Deal Gives All-News KYW, Philadelphia an FM Presence. With Entercom’s acquisition of Philadelphia FM signal WPHI from Urban One, Entercom announces it will simulcast heritage all-news KYW-AM on the 103.9 FM signal. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “In this critical time for our community and country, simulcasting the iconic ‘KYW Newsradio’ on FM will greatly expand the reach of important, credible local journalism and enhance the listener experience on the crystal-clear FM dial. This station is the heartbeat of the community and we’re really excited about serving more listeners while providing additional access on top of 1060 AM, RADIO.COM, and smart speakers. The simulcast will begin on November 23.

Entercom’s 2020 Q3 Net Revenue Down 30%. On the positive side, Entercom Communications’ net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $268.5 million and that was up 53% from the second quarter of this year. However, that was 30% below the $386 million posted in the third quarter of 2019. The company notes that net revenues improved each month during the third quarter compared to the prior year: July was down 36%, August was down 32% and September was down 25%. Digital climbed 41% over the same period in 2019, posting revenue of $47.3 million. Entercom reports a third quarter operating loss of $259,000, compared to operating income of $79.5 million in Q3 of 2019. Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to make significant organizational improvements in the third quarter in the face of the deeply challenging pandemic. Third quarter net revenues were up 53% from the second quarter while our continuing work on enhancing our business model yielded an 18% reduction in operating expenses versus the prior year enabling us to rebound to positive Adjusted EBITDA of $31 million. We expect further improvement in both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter. We continue to suffer from the deep impact of the pandemic which has caused many of our advertisers in businesses such as concerts and live events, tourism, gyms, nightclubs, museums, movies, theme parks, public transportation, airlines, restaurants, and others to temporarily cease or significantly curtail their operations and advertising. We look forward to welcoming them back once we emerge from the pandemic. We continue to build and transform Entercom into a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach, robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, music, sports and news. Entercom is strategically well positioned for future performance as our enhanced capabilities enable us to expand our customer relationships and accelerate growth.”

Cumulus Promotes Ken Roberts to Market Manager for Washington, DC. Rising from his vice president, sales position with Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC duo to vice president and market manager is Ken Roberts. He takes over for Jake McCann, who exits to lead the Philadelphia-based real estate investment firm The HOW Group, LLC. Roberts will lead the duo of news/talk WMAL-FM and sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 The Sports Capital.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “Since joining the Cumulus team in 2016, Ken Roberts has done a terrific job leading our sales effort in Washington, D.C. His creativity, experience, leadership, and performance made Ken the ideal choice for this key role. Ken has earned this promotion and we are excited to have him lead this highly talented and effective D.C. team!”

Twitter Permanently Suspends Stephen K. Bannon’s Account. Former White House chief strategist, former Breitbart chief executive, current talk media host Stephen K. Bannon has had his Twitter account permanently suspended after he tweeted that President Trump should fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray and then went further, “I’d put the heads on pikes. Right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.” At the same time, Facebook shut down the page of the pro-Trump group Stop the Steal. A Facebook spokesperson commented to CNN, “In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events. The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

The Presidential Race, Electoral College, and Trump Lawsuits Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The 2020 presidential election, the Electoral College, and Donald Trump’s lawsuits combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was congressional races, local races, and propositions, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections and health care 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Based on Nielsen data, Newsmax TV broke its previous ratings records with Tuesday’s election night coverage. Newsmax Media says Newsmax TV reached 3 million viewers with the highest per minute viewership at 592,000 viewers. Moreover. Initial OTT reports indicate the network reached an additional 4 million viewers on Election Day and the day after on OTT services such as Roku, YouTube, Xumo, Pluto and others…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that the sale process of sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis is ongoing despite owner Randy Markel’s belief that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19. Markel is selling the station to a group led by current station manager John Hadley. Markel tells the paper that the process is in the hands of the lawyers now and that the deal “will get done.” Hadley is currently tweaking the station to be a true all-sports outlet. Several weeks ago it ended its deal with general issues talker Frank O. Pinion who’d been hosting the afternoon drive daypart…..iHeartMedia receives approval from the Federal Communications Commission for an increase in its authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100% (subject to certain conditions set forth in the Declaratory Ruling). The FCC concludes that the public interest would not be served by prohibiting foreign investment in iHeartMedia of up to 100%. The decision allows holders of iHeartMedia warrants to have those warrants exchanged into Class A or Class B shares of iHeartMedia common stock and affords iHeartMedia flexibility to accommodate increased foreign investment that may result from share purchases by the public…..Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s The Thing” podcast is joining iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcast Network in January. Baldwin says, “With the shift over to iHeartRadio, we’re breathing new life into a project I’ve been passionate about for nearly a decade. Hosting this show and speaking to so many remarkable people over the years has been such a joy, and I’m eager to see where we go from here.”…..Beasley Media Group unveils the Bravery Network in the Ft. Myers market.  The weekend public affairs radio program is hosted by CHR WXKB “B103.9” morning show personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones and is dedicated to shining a light on important issues ranging from PTSD and wellness to saluting Veterans who are making a difference in the local community. Jones says, “Florida has one of the largest veteran populations in the United States. As an Army veteran, I know first-hand the importance of finding resources after service can be both complicated and unique. The Bravery Network hopes to not only streamline these resources but bring awareness to those who don’t know about the struggle of reintegration into society.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation announces its 2020 Board of Directors. Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer at Beasley Media Group, is named co-chair, effective immediately. She joins Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris as co-chair of the organization. Pierre Bouvard, Gary Chapman, Erica Farber, David Kennedy, Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Heidi Raphael have been re-elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors. In addition, Ginny Morris, Gary Chapman, David Kennedy and Jack Goodman will continue to serve additional two-year terms on the Executive Committee.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A collaboration between Beasley Media Group and Broken Bow Records will result in their first-ever virtual “Country Christmas Concert.” The event will take place on Wednesday, December 16 at 8:00 pm on Beasley’s WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia; WKLB-FM, Boston; WSOC-FM, Charlotte; WKML-FM, Fayetteville; KCYE-FM, Las Vegas; WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; and WQYK-FM, Tampa. Beasley says the show will be hosted by local station personalities in an “up-close-and-personal setting.” Artists scheduled to perform include: Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Jimmie Allen, Runaway June, Elvie Shane, and Lainey Wilson…..Cox Media Group San Antonio names Craig Jones director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO-FM, rock KISS, country KKYX-AM/K285EU, hot AC KSMG, classic rock KTKX-FM, country KCYY, and oldies KONO-AM. CMG San Antonio VP and market manager David Able says, “Craig is an influential leader who has a long track record of success leading highly talented sales teams within our industry. I have no doubt that under Craig’s leadership our sales team will thrive and continue to deliver strong results for our clients.”

Thursday, October 22, 2020

| October 22, 2020

Rising Radio America Talk Star Chad Benson is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Described as “a new generation talker,” Radio America syndicated talk show host Chad Benson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Benson’s rapidly growing three-hour daily syndicated program heard live 6:00 am to 9:00 am MT (9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) emanates from KTAR, Phoenix where he also is co-host with Larry Gaydos of the station’s popular afternoon drive program. Both of these programs are proving to be very successful with the 25-54 adult demos. In addition to KTAR, Benson’s syndicated show is performing well on such stations as KXL-FM, Portland; WIBC-FM, Indianapolis; KSTE-AM, Sacramento; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville and KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa among others. One of the syndicated show’s unique features is it is updated throughout the day so that it is current regardless of when stations run the program. Benson’s radio career began in his native California in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH (K-EARTH), Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan Show and went on to be heard on several California music stations. Building upon his creativity developed on the music side of the business, he honed his talk skills at Talk Radio UK in London as one of the first commercial talk hosts to take on the mighty BBC, boasting over a quarter million listeners per week. With success and experience abroad, he returned to the US and hosted programs in Palm Springs at K-NEWS-FM and in San Antonio at KTSA before eventually joining KTAR. He also played professional soccer while in Europe and was talented enough to be signed onto the rosters of several teams including the Bristol Rovers, the Falkirk (Scotland) Football Club and the Portsmouth Football Club. Harrison and Benson talk about today’s media, politics and sports with an eye on the future. Check it out! 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.

SiriusXM Third Quarter Revenue Up 1%. Reporting on 2020 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue was $2.02 billion, up 1% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Net income increased 11% to $272 million in the third quarter from $246 million a year prior. While subscriber revenue rose from $1.55 billion in the third quarter of 2019 to $1.59 billion in Q3 2020, advertising revenue was down from $366 million in Q3 2019 to $345 million in the third quarter of 2020. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “SiriusXM maintains strong momentum heading into year end, and we are increasing all of our full-year subscriber and financial guidance today. Our talented people and our powerful business model have delivered stellar results during a challenging year for our company and country. Our commitment to having the best possible audio content from top talent, as well as leading media and sports brands, has never wavered. First, we are making significant progress in extending our relationship with Howard Stern. We reached a new agreement with Kevin Hart for more content, with LeBron James and Maverick Carter we launched UNINTERRUPTED Radio from the NBA bubble on Pandora, and we debuted our fulltime channel with the members of U2 on SiriusXM. Pat McAfee joined our sports lineup, and we returned to live sports across the MLB, NBA and NFL.  And we brought our listeners special moments like the recent interview between Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday on The Beatles Channel.”

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘Building Black Biz’ Initiative. The newly revealed “Building Black Biz” initiative from iHeartMedia New York is designed to “support, sustain and grow local Black-owned businesses in the New York metro area.” In this effort, iHeartMedia New York pledges to support the “Building Black Biz” initiative during the next three months with more than 100 million media impressions on hip hop WWPR “Power 105.1,”CHR WHTZ “Z100,” WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” hot AC WKTU, classic rock WAXQ “Q104.3,” and news/talk WOR as well as the stations’ websites and social media channels. iHeartMedia New York says that through the “Building Black Biz” initiative, listeners and aspiring business owners can hear from successful entrepreneurs within the tristate area on how they started their business and what advice they would give to new entrepreneurs. iHeartMedia New York president Bernie Weiss says, “I am so proud of our team for going above and beyond and creating this comprehensive campaign. New York needs more Black-owned businesses and I am thrilled we can use the power of all of our six radio stations to do our part in making a real impact.”

Jack Heath Joins Binnie Media to Host Talk Show. A week after exiting iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire where he hosted the “NH Today” morning drive program, Jack Heath is joining Binnie Media to host the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program that will be simulcast across New Hampshire outlets WTPL-FM, Hillsboro (Concord market); WEMJ-AM/W279BS, Laconia; and WTSN-AM/W251CF, Dover. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “Jack’s show will stay consistent with the content from his former show, while adding some new features, additional geography, and more FM coverage. Jack will be joining our other great on-air talent for a truly star studded cast of broadcasters on our news talk sports stations.” Bill Binnie adds, “We are thrilled to have a talent like Jack join Binnie Media. He brings a breadth of experience and professionalism in journalism along with a connection to politics that will be of interest to our listeners.”

WGN, Chicago Plans ‘Halloween Radio Theatre.’ This Halloween night (10/31) WGN, Chicago will air “Halloween Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am. The program will feature mystery, thriller, and terror-themed selections from 12 Golden Age of Radio dramas including “Suspense” starring Bela Lugosi, “Lights Out,” “Inner Sanctum Mystery,” “Escape,” “The Whistler,” and “The Sealed Book.” Amari, who has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. He says, “It’s going to be a ‘hair-raising’ seven hours, so stay up late, pop some popcorn, pull the covers up close, and be chilled by ‘theatre of the mind’ classic radio horror and mystery shows.” Last week (10/15), TALKERS magazine published a piece by University of St. Francis professor Tim Weldon titled, “The Scare On the Air” that is an homage to the radio horror genre. If you missed it you can read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. The October 19 interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci on Entercom’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles generated a lot of coverage in other media outlets – from CBSStephen Colbert to CNN to The Hill to The New York Post – after Dr. Fauci addressed the criticism he received from President Trump. While explaining that he knows Americans are fatigued by the pandemic but that he believes we’ll put it behind us after a vaccine becomes available, he then said, “That’s the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in The Godfather: nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country.” Hear the whole interview here…..ABC News Radio offering three hours of live, anchored coverage for tonight’s presidential debate. Programming includes a one-hour pre-show, followed by the debate and live post-debate analysis. Correspondent Aaron Katersky anchors coverage with reporting and analysis by correspondent Karen Travers, political analyst Steve Roberts, political director Rick Klein, deputy political director MaryAlice Parks, and others from ABC News’ and FiveThirtyEight’s political teams…..iHeartMedia and “Bobby Bones Show” co-host Amy Brown are partnering to launch The Amy Brown Podcast Network that will include a slate of health and wellness podcasts that will be co-produced by Brown and iHeartRadio. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne comments, “Our goal is to provide the highest quality programming across every podcast genre – and health and wellness is one of the most important categories in the medium right now, given the engagement of the listeners and the authenticity of the content. Amy is an incredible podcast talent – not just as the host of her own show, but someone who has a great eye for recruiting and developing new podcasts, too – and we want to support that however we can.”…..Entercom Podcast Network’s Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer Productions, the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries,” for a weekly podcast based on the long-running television show and Netflix streaming series. The podcast will present all new unsolved cases and each episode will take a deep dive into one specific story. The “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will be executive produced by Chris Corcoran, chief content officer of Cadence13, and Terry Dunn Meurer, the co-creator of “Unsolved Mysteries,” and will be co-directed and co-produced by Cadence13 and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions. Season One of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast will launch in early 2021.

The Presidential Election/Final Debate, Early/Mail-In Voting, Iran-Russia Election Interference, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Hunter Biden Hard Drive Case, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Vote, Pope Supports Same-Sex Unions, Purdue Pharma Pleads Guilty in Opioids Suit, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/21). The November presidential election and tonight’s final presidential debate; the issues of early voting and mail-in voting; the allegation that both Russia and Iran are practicing cyber interference in the U.S. presidential election; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for a fall-winter second wave; the allegations that a hard drive from Hunter Biden’s laptop indicates then-Vice President Joe Biden influenced the Ukraine; today’s Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; Pope Francis voices support for same-sex unions; OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma pleads guilty in the opioid epidemic case and will shut down; and pro sports during the time of COVID were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh. Programmer and talk show host Scott Ryfun was a college student in 1991 when he first heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio. At the time, Ryfun was a conservative college student when he stumbled across Limbaugh’s show while spinning across the radio dial. He became hooked and his love of Limbaugh’s show led him into the radio business. “My goal was to host an issues-oriented talk show and to be insightful and entertaining, but there was only one local political talk show in [my] town and no one seemed interested in letting me have it. So, I decided to learn how to do every job in radio I could so that I’d be a valuable employee while I awaited my opportunity to do the show I wanted to do. I also spent my time trying to deconstruct conservative talk radio and figuring out how it worked and how to make it work for me.” Today, Ryfun is vice president of programming at iHeartMedia’s Brunswick, Georgia operations and morning host at news/talk WGIG-AM/W245DO. He’s written a piece titled, “Nine Rules I Learned from Limbaugh,” that encapsulates much of what he’s learned about great talk radio from Rush Limbaugh. Read his insightful piece here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The 2020 “iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One” is streaming on LiveXLive.com and broadcast across iHeartMedia’s county radio stations tomorrow (10/23) at 8:00 pm ET. Bobby Bones is hosting the seventh edition of this event that will feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, and special performances by Morgan Evans and Gabby Barrett, recorded live on one stage in Nashville.