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Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 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, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. 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; 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; 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.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP 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.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

| January 14, 2021

Key Networks Names Deidra Hoye to Lead Expanded Sales Team. Syndication firm Key Networks appoints network advertising sales executive Deidra Hoye to the senior vice president, ad sales position in which she’ll lead the company’s newly expanded sales team. Los Angeles-based Hoye will supervise the enhanced sales team of veteran network radio sales professionals that includes recent hires Maggie Sisco, vice president, Eastern sales; Brian Pollina, vice president, Midwest sales; and Michelle McLynn, supervisor of sales support & operations. Hoye previously served as vice president, network sales, for Premiere Networks. Sisco joins Key Networks from PodcastOne, where she was vice president/director of sales, Eastern region. Pollina comes to Key Networks from United Stations Radio Networks, where he was vice president of digital assets and Midwest sales. McLynn joins Key from Westwood One, where she was affiliate services manager. Key Networks and Sun & Fun Media CEO Rob Koblasz says, “We are delighted to welcome Deidra to the Key Networks team. Her wealth of experience in the network ad sales arena will allow us to serve our partners now and as we grow our network. Deidra’s leadership along with the breadth of experience of our team is a winning combination for our customers.” Key Networks syndicates “The O’Reilly Update,” starring Bill O’Reilly to almost 250 radio stations. It also manages all network advertising sales, affiliate sales, and marketing for Bloomberg Radio and distributes “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country,” as well as news/talk program “The Jesse Kelly Show,” alt rock morning program, “The Billy Madison Show,” and Virtual Jock programming services.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh News Anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas to Retire. Pittsburgh news anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas is retiring from her PM drive anchor post at Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM after 45years in the broadcasting business. Ryan-Douglas has been with KDKA-AM since 2002. She joined KDKA-AM after anchoring the morning news at crosstown (current classic hits outlet) WWSW “3WS” for almost 20 years. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Rose has been the ultimate news professional. Not only will we miss her on the air but her calming influence in the newsroom is irreplaceable. On behalf of all of us at KDKA Radio and our listeners we thank her for the tremendous work she has done over the years.” Her last shift will be Friday, February 26.

Seth Goldberg Exits ‘ESPN Syracuse’ for Gig with the NBA. Syracuse.com reports that WTLA-AM, Syracuse “ESPN Radio Syracuse” host and producer Seth Goldberg is leaving the radio station to take a position with the NBA. Goldberg began working at WTLA in 2015 producing “Upon Further Review” with hosts Chris McManus and Steve Neikam while still a student at Syracuse University. Joining WTLA full time after graduating in 2016, Goldberg has been co-host and producer for “Orange Nation” (co-hosted with Steve Infanti), and produces “On the Block,” a program with Syracuse.com’s Brent Axe. Both programs also are featured on the WTLA-SU Twitch streaming channel ‘Cuse Sports Talk.’ Galaxy Media CEO Ed Levine says Goldberg’s on-air role on “Orange Nation” will be filled in the interim by Paulie Scibilia.

Beasley Media Group’s Preliminary Q4 Net Revenue Down 5.8%-6.5%. Releasing preliminary financial data from the fourth quarter of 20201, Beasley Media Group says it expects net revenue for the period to be approximately $67.4 million to $67.9 million. Compared to the same period in 2019, the figures represent a decrease of between 5.8% and 6.5%. The company says the change reflects a year-over-year decrease in commercial advertising revenue due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by growth in digital, esports, and political revenue. Other data points include: fourth quarter 2020 Station Operating Income increased by approximately 23.1% to 28.8% year-over-year to approximately $19.2 million to $20.1 million; and fourth quarter 2020 EBITDA increased by approximately 25.0% to 33.8% year-over-year to approximately $17.0 million to $18.2 million. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “We expect to report top-line revenue improvement in the second half of the year, with sequential quarter-over-quarter growth in both the third and fourth quarters of 2020. Our preliminary fourth quarter performance also demonstrates the significant operating benefits from the actions we took earlier this year to address the pandemic, including reducing station operating expenses and negotiating discounts with landlords, service providers, and partners. Although it is difficult to predict what the impact of COVID-19 will be in the coming months, we remain optimistic that the commercial advertising market will return to more normalized revenue levels as we move further into the year, following broad vaccine distribution.”

CES2021: Technology Is Merely the Plumbing. As the (virtual) convention that reporters are scolded for calling “the Consumer Electronics Show” wraps today, consultant Holland Cooke urges broadcasters to focus on product, not package. Read his analysis here.

First Detroit Sports Talk Show Hosted by Frank Beckmann? Not So Fast… Former longtime Detroit Free Press writer John Smyntek reaches out to TALKERS magazine to let us know that legendary Detroit radio personality Frank Beckmann – who announced his retirement from Cumulus Media’s WJR-AM on Wednesday (it takes effect at the end of March) – was not the first to host a sports talk program on Detroit radio as the press release from WJR claims. Smyntek says, “WXYZ-AM (1270, now WXYT-AM) had the late Dave Diles hosting a daily sports talk and caller dial-in show from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm weeknights starting, I think, in 1967 and running through 1969 or 1970. Then Ron Cameron had a sports call-in format on WXYT-AM under the Chuck Fritz regime for several years in the 1970s, long before Beckmann’s show started.” Smyntek – who retired from the Free Press in 2008 – says Beckmann’s “Sportstalk” program, launched in 1981, was indeed the first sports show to air on WJR-AM.

WSB, Atlanta Talk Star Erick Erickson Is This Week’s Guest on the Harrison Podcast.  One of the rising stars of talk radio, Erick Erickson of WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” He’s one of the most important talk radio figures in the Peach State where, for the past eight years, he’s been hosting “Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson,” a 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on the Cox Media Group heritage station. He also hosts a recently launched, daily three-hour show airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on his own independent network of almost 20 stations stretching across Georgia that many industry observers say is ready to expand nationally. His background is fascinating. Born 45 years ago in Jackson, Louisiana, he was raised between the ages of five and 15 in Dubai where his father worked for Conoco Oil as a production foreman. Returning to the U.S., he received a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and a J.D. degree from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. He practiced law for six years at a major legal firm in Georgia. He served four years as an elected city councilman in Macon. He was one of the founders of RedState.com which he managed as editor-in-chief for 10 years. He’s been a regular contributor to CNN and FOX News Channel over the years. He’s currently attending a seminary where he is working on earning a theological degree and he’s one of the talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh turns to when he needs someone to fill in. Erickson is a conservative who has not been reluctant to tell his audience the truths he thinks they need to know as opposed to engaging in the daily dance of affirmation and only telling them what they want to hear – especially when it comes to his opinions about President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this extremely timely conversation about the state of talk radio and politics in America today recorded the day after the Capitol insurrection. 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.

Report: Dan Le Batard and Former ESPN Boss John Skipper to Form New Sports Media Company. According to a report by Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, former ESPN radio and TV personality Dan Le Batard and former ESPN chief John Skipper are partnering for a new “politically progressive sports media company” that is “described as the strategic opposite of Clay TravisOutkick.” The Le Batard-Skipper partnership was first reported by the Miami Herald. McCarthy’s piece says that Le Batard and Skipper are seeking talent including former ESPN talent Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, and Kate Fagan. Hill tells FOS, “We’re trying to figure out the most productive way to work together. Both John and Dan know I have such a deep level of respect for them. So, me working with them again always felt like it was inevitable.” Skipper is currently executive chairman of sports streaming platform DAZN. Hill, in the aftermath of her departure from ESPN, formed her own production company that produces the Vice TV show “Stick to Sports,” and the “Jemele Hill is Unbothered” Spotify podcast.

TALKERS News Notes. Detroit talk station WFDF “910 AM Superstation” announces that former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who served as mayor during the city’s water scandal, joins the station as a talk host. She’ll appear Monday-Friday in the 8:00 am to 9:00 am hour. Adell Radio Group CEO Kevin Adell says that with former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder being criminally charged with willful neglect in conjunction with the Flint water crisis, bringing Weaver aboard is timely. “Mayor Karen Weaver watched this disgraceful water episode unfold firsthand and will have much to talk about as Rick Snyder works his way through our legal system”…..The Armstrong & Getty Show – starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces that QBS Broadcasting’s talk WBQO-FM, Brunswick, Georgia adds the program to its lineup. WBQO program director Paul Andresen says, “There’s a reason Armstrong & Getty’s reputation precedes them. So, when tasked with finding a replacement for Clark Howard, it was a no-brainer. A&G brings a much-needed change of perspective and influx of personality to not only 93.7 WBQO, but our market as a whole. The listeners’ response, from the first show onward, has been nothing short of fantastic and I couldn’t be prouder to have Armstrong & Getty in our on-air lineup.”…..The “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” announces that it has added 23 new affiliate stations in 2021 so far, bringing its affiliate roster to more than 460 stations!

U.S. House Votes to Impeach Trump, Capitol Attack Investigation, States Prep for More Attacks, Social Media and Free Speech, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, WHO Investigating COVID Origin in China, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13). The U.S. House of Representatives votes to impeach Donald Trump; the investigation into last week’s attack on the Capitol; states across the nation move to protect their capitals from potential future attacks; the removal of Donald Trump and others from social media platforms and questions about free speech; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the WHO enters China to investigate the origin of the coronavirus; and the record Powerball jackpot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, July 31, 2020

| July 31, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “Postpone, Opt Out, and Cancel!” looks back at this past week of July 27-31, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSLarry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network / executive producer, “Uncle Tom”; Herman Cain (deceased) / talk show host, Newsmax TVShadoe Stevens, host / producer, “Mental Radio”; Steve Trevelise, talk show host, “New Jersey 101.5” / WIP, Philadelphia; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Remembering Herman Cain. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a piece on Herman Cain – the radio talk host and business executive who died yesterday (7/30) at the age of 74 — that was originally run in Inside Radio in 2008 when Kinosian served there as special features editor. It ran three years before Cain would begin his campaign for president for the 2012 election and in addition to revealing facts about his personal history, it provides insight into his political philosophy at the time.  Read it here.

Legal Battle Between Jackson, Tennessee News/Talk Stations Resolved. According to a story in the Jackson Sun, a legal dispute between Grace Broadcasting and Wireless Group over a non-compete issue has been settled, with one company buying the other’s news/talk station. Wireless Group – owner of news/talk WNWS-FM – was suing Grace Broadcasting – owner of news/talk WTJS-FM – after former WNWS host Dan Reaves left and began working for WTJS. Wireless Group claimed Reaves was in violation of his contract while Reaves argued the deal was never a legal contract. The Sun reports that as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll on the Jackson, Tennessee advertising market, the two sides became more amenable to a settlement that culminated with Grace acquiring WNWS for an undisclosed sum. The future of WNWS’ programming is reportedly uncertain at this time.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Down; Business Has Been ‘Resilient.’ Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2020, SiriusXM says revenue was $1.9 billion, down 5% compared to the same period a year ago. Net income was reported to be $243 million in Q2 of 2020, down 7.9% from Q2 2019 net income of $263 million. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter remained roughly unchanged at $615 million. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “Sirius XM’s business during this challenging period has been resilient, and with improving results and visibility into the remainder of the year, I’m pleased to resume offering subscriber and financial guidance.  Despite the incredible economic stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, our self-pay net subscriber additions grew by nearly 200,000 over the first quarter of the year, and we reported improved churn of just 1.6% per month with rising ARPU. Although advertising revenue fell 34% in the quarter, substantial expense savings in SAC and other areas provided a complete offset, and we generated over half a billion dollars of free cash flow.  We are investing in our business, our people, and external opportunities to position ourselves for future growth.”

Jim Meyer on Howard Stern’s Future. During yesterday’s earnings call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer addressed the negotiations underway with Howard Stern and he said, in part, “Howard is performing at the top of his game right now. And he has been for pretty consistently some time. I couldn’t be happier with the status of Howard’s show. In particular, given the transition he’s made from doing everything at our studio at 1221 in New York to now doing it remotely and doing it flawlessly. I’ve been clear. I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM for as long as Howard Stern wants to work. And I’ve engaged with Howard’s team… I know what Howard wants and we’re trying to figure out a way to make all those things work together.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Subscribers can read the whole earnings call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. WDBJ-TV, Lynchburg, Virginia reports that news/talk WLNI-AM, Lynchburg morning drive talk host Larry Dowdy is retiring from his role with the station after a 47-year career in radio. Dowdy is not retiring completely; he plans to do some commercial voiceover work and some podcasting. WLNI PD Kenny Shelton says of Dowdy, “When I started working with him, I just realized what a great talent he is, what a great person he is. The way he goes about doing this job is a great lesson to anybody in the business as far as show prep that he does and just his knowledge of things.”…..Beginning with tonight’s Oakland A’s game against the Mariners in Seattle, Oakland fans will be able to hear their team play on iHeartMedia’s business news KNEW-AM, Oakland. Back in February, the team announced that it had no local radio deal and the way to hear games would be via streaming. Yesterday (7/30), the team announced the deal to air the remainder of this season on KNEW…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive traffic reporter Mary VanDeVelde is moving to the afternoon drive daypart, working from 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm on air. Traffic reports in the mornings and late mornings are being provided by Nexstar’s WGN-TV…..The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s releases the latest episode of the AWM Gracie Interview Series titled, “Medicine and The Media – Leadership in Historic Times,” with American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D.. The session is moderated by Entercom media personality Kelly Ford.  AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Dr. Bailey shared meaningful insight into the important partnership between media and the medical community. This is a critical time for media to understand its role and for all of us to know our roles as individuals. We look forward to hosting more virtual gatherings to share the wisdom of experienced leaders.” Listen here.

The Presidential Race, Politics, and the Federal Agents Debate Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 27-31. The November presidential election, politics, and the debate over the Trump administration’s dispatching of federal troops to cities where Black Lives Matter protests are taking place tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the rising cases of COVID-19 in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was health care, medications for treating COVID-19 and the race to create a vaccine, followed by the debate over opening schools this fall at #4. 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.

Salem Seeks Chief Engineer for NYC. This chief engineer position is in Salem Media Group’s New York City operations for news/talk WNYM “AM 570 The Answer” and Christian teaching WMCA (plus translator W272DX). See the list of position duties and qualifications necessary to be considered – and how to apply – here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at Entercom’s Los Angeles CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP” is “The Morning Mess,” featuring Joey Boy, Aneesh Ratan, Jeana Shepard, and Karla Hernandez. The company says, “The show, currently on sister station “Live 101.5” (KALV-FM) in Phoenix, will feature curated local content for Los Angeles listeners, including lifestyle, news, daily traffic and weather updates, as well as city-specific COVID updates. Listeners in L.A. will also hear popular segments like “Nachoo’s Revenge,” featuring Joey Boy’s alter ego prank calling unsuspecting listeners. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Joey Boy and ‘The Morning Mess’ are a true reflection of Southern California. They are diverse, dynamic, socially responsible and completely transparent.”…..Radio pro Frank Ski returns to Howard University’s urban contemporary WHUR-FM, Washington, DC for afternoon drive hosting “The Frank Ski Show with Nina Brown,” beginning Monday (8/3). This comes after Ski’s exit from Entercom’s WVEE, Atlanta “V103” late last month.  WHUR program director Al Payne says, “Frank Ski has dominated ratings and has an incredible legacy of community enrichment wherever he is on the air. He is a media icon and adding his name to WHUR once again completes our DMV Dream Team.”.….Salem Media Group announces that radio pro Amanda Carroll joins the Nashville-based Salem Music Network to produce a five-hour show for daily syndication, effective Monday (8/3). The company says, “Throughout her career, she has worked at major market Christian radio stations, including 89.3 KSBJ-FM in Houston, 91.9 WGTS in Washington, D.C. and K-LOVE national network. Most recently, Carroll worked at Sacramento’s adult contemporary station, KYMX-FM Mix 96.1.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

| November 12, 2019

Cumulus Media Q3 Net Revenue Dips Slightly; Up on Same Station Basis. The third quarter financial report for Cumulus Media Inc. shows net revenue was $280.8 million, a decrease of 0.5% over the same period in 2018.  Adjusted EBITDA decreased 5.5%.  However, on a Same Station basis, net revenue was up 3.9% (excluding political).  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “In the third quarter, the Company turned in another strong performance with same station revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 3.9% and 2.2%, respectively, on an ex-political basis.  Our operating plan has continued to deliver industry-leading digital revenue growth and continuing growth in our national and network channels.  We also made great progress in the quarter on our balance sheet as our free cash flow generation allowed us to fund a voluntary debt prepayment of approximately $29 million, which reduced net leverage to 4.5x.  Additionally, we completed a $525 million term loan refinancing that extended our debt maturity and reduced future interest expense.”  Breaking down the company’s report a little bit shows spot revenue for the third quarter of 2019 was $161 million, down 4.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Network revenue was $78.4 million – up 3.6% over the same period a year ago.  Looking at digital revenue, Cumulus tallied almost $20 million, an increase of more than 48%.

Key Networks Offers O’Reilly Thanksgiving Weekend Special Interview with President Trump.  A one-hour, Thanksgiving week special is being made available to affiliates of Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update”, hosted by Bill O’ Reilly.  The program is an exclusive one-on-one interview with President Donald Trump that Key Networks says will provide listeners with insights from the president on the latest issues impacting the country as 2020 quickly approaches.  It comes on the heels of the release of O’Reilly’s new book, The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America (2019, Henry Holt and Co.).  O’Reilly’s 15-minute daily radio program, “The O’Reilly Update,” is currently syndicated to nearly 200 radio stations across the U.S.  This special is the first in a series of specials and exclusive content to be created especially for affiliates of “The O’Reilly Update” throughout the 2020 election season.  The program can air beginning Wednesday, November 27 and throughout Thanksgiving weekend.  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Key Networks is honored to provide Bill O’Reilly’s one-on-one interview with President Trump to stations around the country.  The affiliates of ‘The O’Reilly Update’ continue to get the best news and commentary for their listeners and access to O’Reilly’s no-spin analysis.  If your station wants to win in 2020, they need to make O’Reilly a part of their lineup!”

TALKERS News Notes. Holiday programming for the Thanksgiving weekend is available from FOX News Radio.  FNR is providing to affiliates two, one-hour specials, available for download on the affiliate website on Friday, November 22.  The shows are: “The Dean’s List Thanksgiving Special” with FOX’s senior meteorologist and Mostly Sunny author Janice Dean, in which she shares stories of ordinary people taking time to be kind spreading sunshine to others; and “The Campaign” with host Bret Baier, in which he discusses the state of the democratic presidential race, highlights the candidates who are making headlines, and debates with a selection of political guests, who will ultimately rise to challenge President Trump for the presidency next November…..Tomorrow (11/13), ABC News Radio begins providing extensive coverage of the impeachment inquiry hearings with live, anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky in Washington with reporting by multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara at the Capitol.  It will also provide four one-minute Status Reports each hour.  Also, tomorrow ABC News Radio will debut a new feature called “Impeachment in a Minute,” hosted by correspondent Kyra Phillips.  Finally, on Wednesday evening Katersky will anchor an hour-long special at 7:06 pm ET looking back at the first day of public hearings…..Similarly, CBS News Radio is covering the impeachment inquiry hearings.  CBS will provide gavel-to-gavel coverage on Wednesday, beginning at 10:00 am with correspondents Bill Rehkopf, Steve Dorsey, and Steven Portnoy from the Hill.  Also, CBS will provide coverage of the TrumpErdogan presidential news conference beginning at 3:10 pm…..Yesterday (11/11), WABC, New York midday hosts Bernard McGuirk (right) and Sid Rosenberg (left) are pictured below, broadcasting live from 27th Street and 5thAvenue on the route of the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

SiriusXM’s Karen Hunter Hosts Race Discussion Before Town Hall Audience. Talk show host, journalist, and college professor Karen Hunter recently presented a town hall discussion at SiriusXM’s New York studios before a live audience.  Hunter hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel.  The program centered on race in America, including the wealth gap between African Americans and Caucasians, The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a powerful initiative that explores the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery and its ongoing impact on our society.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Hunter, New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, MSNBC Correspondent Trymaine Lee, and OneUnited Bank president Teri Williams. Photo: Maro Hagopian for SiriusXM

Nominees Announced for 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. The second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17 at 8:00 pm PT.  The iHeartMedia event will honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.  Podcasts nominated for Best Podcast of the Year include: “The Daily,” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “My Favorite Murder,” “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” “Revisionist History,” “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” “The Dropout,” “The Shrink Next Door,” and “The Read.”  See all the nominations in all the categories here.

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race/Biden on CNN Town Hall, DACA Before SCOTUS, Cold and Snow Hit Northern U.S., and Hong Kong Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). The impeachment process against President Trump and the investigation into the Ukraine affair; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in the 2020 election and Joe Biden’s appearance on CNN’s “Town Hall” on Monday evening; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of the Trump administration’s desire to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the cold and snow affecting much of the northern U.S. this week and the related issue of climate change; and the ongoing violence in Hong Kong 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. The morning drive team of Roula Christie, Ryan Chase, Eric Rowe, and Kevin England – “The Roula and Ryan Show” – at Cumulus Media’s CHR KRBE-FM, Houston inks a multi-year agreement to continue its role there.   Station PD Leslie Whittle comments, “Each day our listeners wake up to laughter, will learn something, and could shed a tear or two, but one thing you can count on is that Roula, Ryan, Eric and Special K are never boring.  They have experienced many personal milestones the past 13 years, which I’ve been proud to witness.  ‘The Roula and Ryan Show’ has also celebrated our beloved city’s accomplishments and milestones and has gotten Houston through some tragedies as well.  I’m honored to be able to work with this great team for another five years!”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities Charlamagne Tha God, Delilah, and Elvis Duran appeared together on the Dr. Oz TV show (pictured at left) on Friday (11/8) to discuss their use of their national platforms to change the conversation surrounding mental health.  The radio hosts shared their personal stories and tips for handling challenging mental health issues, including dealing with social media; finding self-love within, not online; and why it’s important to discuss difficult subjects like depression, anxiety, and suicide…..The Premiere Networks syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show” is giving away thousands of turkeys as part of the show’s Annual Turkey Give.  Affiliates of the show will provide 8,000 turkeys to help those less fortunate celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  Since the Turkey Give was launched in 2009, nearly 80,000 turkeys have been given to those in need.  Harvey recently told his listeners, “We consider it an honor and a privilege to help those who are less fortunate during the holiday season.  On behalf of the entire Steve Harvey Morning Show, Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”…..TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of Emmons “Skip” Woolwine, a founding member of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, who passed away on November 7 from a heart-related illness.  The TRHoF says, “He was passionate about our group and even though he wasn’t a board member, he continually mentored those of us who are on the board.  He was always willing to help, to lend advice and just offer friendship.”