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Dave Tepper to Program iHeartMedia’s KOA, Denver. Heritage talk outlet KOA-AM/K231BQ, Denver “Colorado’s News, Talk & Sports Station” has a new program director as iHeartMedia names Dave Tepper to the post. Tepper most recently served with KSE Radio’s crosstown sports talk KKSE-AM/FM “Altitude Sports Radio” as program director and operations manager for classic hits KXKL-FM and hot AC KIMN-FM. In his new role with iHeartMedia, Tepper will oversee KOA, the Rockies Radio Network and Broncos Radio Network and will lead and manage all aspects of the on-air experience, including talent, content, programming, and online presence. Tepper comments, “I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to take the legendary KOA brands to new heights, including the game-changing chance to work with the Broncos, Rockies and Colorado Buffaloes radio networks. My proud journey that includes working with a variety of sports and talk formats, talents and sports radio networks has prepared me for this unique and once-in-a-lifetime step.”
Salem Brings Haley Bianco Aboard for News on OTT TV Network. Television news pro Haley Bianco joins Salem Media Group as the company makes her the first news anchor on its OTT Salem News Channel. In this role, Bianco will do news capsules at the top and bottom of the hour, between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm weekdays. Salem says Bianco is the first of several anchors joining the network. Bianco joins Salem News Channel from WICZ-TV “FOX 40” in Binghamton, New York, where she served as managing editor and primetime anchor. Salem broadcasts shows hosted by Andrew Wilkow, Brandon Tatum, Dinesh D’Souza, and Eric Metaxas during the 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce states, “Haley brings a wealth of TV news experience to SNC and will give us the news credibility we are looking for as we continue to grow and expand our emerging TV network.”
Final TALKERS 2022 Convention Video Posted. The last of the videos documenting the panel discussions and presentations at the June 10 TALKERS 2022 convention at Hofstra University is now posted. The Closing Reception video includes the presentation of TALKERS magazine’s Freedom of Speech Award to “Free Talk Live” co-founder and co-host Ian Freeman (the award was accepted on his behalf by “Free Talk Live” co-founder Mark Edge). See the video, as well as video of all other sessions, here.
‘Talk Ville’ Joins Cumulus Podcast Network. A brand-new podcast hosted by Tom Welling, who starred as Clark Kent/Superman, and Michael Rosenbaum, who played Lex Luthor on the hit television show “Smallville,” titled, “Talk Ville,” is debuting on the Cumulus Podcast Network on July 13. The podcast series will revisit each episode of the television series show by show, as Welling and Rosenbaum re-watch “Smallville” and share information and anecdotes from behind the scenes. A new episode of “Talk Ville” will drop each subsequent Wednesday. The Cumulus Podcast Network will distribute, market, and monetize “Talk Ville.”
Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Election Probe, The Economy, 4th of July Shooting/Gun Control, Boris Johnson to Resign, Immigration, Russia-Ukraine War, and Monkeypox Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). The efforts by Republicans to retake the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the January 6 Committee hearings and Georgia’s investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results; the high price of gas & food, financial markets activity and concerns about a recession; the aftermath of the Fourth of July shooting in suburban Chicago and gun control efforts; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agrees to resign; the immigration issues at the U.S.-Mexico border; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the spread of monkeypox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Musky and Murky,” looks back at this past week of 5/9 to 5/13. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Derek Hunter, talk show host WCBM, Baltimore/Talk Media Network; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications Network; Claire Carter, talk show host/founder, Good For You Radio; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; and Dr. Murray Sabrin, emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College, NJ/libertarian scholar. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.
Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Killers Debuts at #1. This new book is the 11th in the “Killing” series and it’s the 11th to be a #1 New York Times bestseller. Sales in this series are roughly 19 million copies worldwide and have spent close to 340 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In the new book, Killing the Killers – The Secret War Against Terrorists (2022 St. Martin’s Press) Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard report on America’s intense global war and manhunt against terrorist extremists who both masterminded the horrific 9/11 attacks as well as executed hundreds of others on American and international soil. They trace America’s efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and ISIS worldwide. O’Reilly and Dugard gained access to top secret national security documents as well as interviewed the highest national security officials in the U.S. The publisher says that primed with deeply sourced information, detailed maps and revealing photographs, O’Reilly and Dugard have created a riveting account that has never been reported to this scope and depth. Bill O’Reilly’s radio programs – including the new, national daily one-hour “No Spin News,” show – are syndicated by Key Networks.
Salem: 2000 Mules is Most Successful Political Documentary in a Decade. The new film, 2000 Mules, from director Dinesh D’Souza and executive producer Salem Media Group is being billed by Salem as “the most successful political documentary in a decade.” Salem says that 1 million people have seen the movie – available for download and DVD purchase on SalemNOW.com – and has become a huge hit on Rumble and its Locals platform. D’Souza says, “The movie is a success financially for sure, but also it is successful in its political and cultural influence. It’s the most-talked-about movie out there right now, making headlines in multiple publications, and is trending extremely high on social media.” The film purports to provide proof of illegal ballot harvesting, both in geo-targeting of cell phone data, and in actual video surveillance of the many unmanned ballot boxes in the five key battleground states. The movie’s conclusion of illegal ballot harvesting is based on research by True The Vote. It features five Salem radio talk show hosts as they walk through the process of learning what the evidence shows, and then discussing what this means for the American belief in free and fair elections. Salem says those hosts, Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, Charlie Kirk, Eric Metaxas and Larry Elder, all came away disturbed at what they learned really happened to hand the election victory to Joe Biden.
iHeartMedia Names Jorge Lopez VP of Sales for Hispanic Brands in Tampa and Jacksonville. Sales and marketing pro Jorge Lopez is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Tampa and Jacksonville Hispanic brands that include broadcast and digital brands encompassing more than 10 music, talk, and news formats. iHeartMedia operates the Spanish news outlets WHNZ-AM/W290BJ, Tampa “Acción 1250 & 105.9” and WFXJ-AM/W247CF, Jacksonville “Acción 97.3.” Lopez says, “I am very grateful for this new role in my career. I’ve been with iHeartMedia for more than six years and I think it’s great to have this distinguished opportunity where I contribute with my experience and skills to the expansion and growth of the brand. With the continuing growth of the Hispanic population in Florida it is very important that we serve our community with an authentic voice and a compelling product.”
Abortion Rights Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 9-13. The fallout from the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v Wade, including the protests at justices’ residences, was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Russia-Ukraine war tied with the larger topic of U.S. foreign policy, followed by the economy, including inflation, supply chain woes, the financial markets and recession fears 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.
Urban One First Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 23%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One – says its net revenue was approximately $112.3 million, an increase of 23% from the same period in 2021. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $48.4 million, an increase of 33% from the same period in 2021. Net income was approximately $16.4 million or $0.32 per share (basic) compared to $7,000 or $0.00 per share (basic) for the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III, states, “We had extremely strong first quarter performance across the platform, with advertising revenues up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 49.5%, cable TV advertising revenues were up 46.9%, and radio advertising, excluding political and digital, was up 17.4%. This enabled us to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 38.9% year-over-year, and by $14.3 million or 51.6% vs. Q1 2019. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 11.5% compared to Q1 2019. Second quarter core radio advertising is pacing up mid-single digits, as we start to lap the tougher comps from 2021. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, with $166.4 million of cash and net leverage down to 4.07x.”
Cumulus Announces $25 Million Stock Buyback. On the heels of yesterday’s first quarter financial report and the board’s authorization of a $50 million buyback program, Cumulus Media Inc. announces its intention to commence a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase up to $25 million of shares of its Class A common stock, or such lesser number of shares of its Class A common stock as are properly tendered and not properly withdrawn, at a price not greater than $16.50 and not less than $14.50 per share of Class A common stock, to the tendering shareholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest (the “Offer”). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Following yesterday’s announcement of the board’s authorization of a $50 million share buyback program, we are launching this tender as a first step in our capital return plan. This action is underpinned by our strong financial and operating momentum, our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued and our desire to allow shareholders who seek it the ability to take advantage of the liquidity we can provide them. It is also our expectation that, even with this tender offer, we will be below our target of 3.5x net leverage by year end with significant continuing liquidity and financial flexibility for accretive M&A.” Cumulus will conduct the Offer by means of a procedure commonly called a “modified Dutch auction.” This procedure allows shareholders to select the price, within a price range specified by Cumulus, and the number of shares they are willing to sell at that price (or, should a higher price be determined as the “purchase price,” such higher price). The Offer is being made under Cumulus’s previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.
Saga Communications Net Revenue Increases 12% in Q1 of 2022. For the first three months of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc. net revenue increased 12% to $25 million compared to $22.3 million for the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 17.8% to $5.6 million and operating income was $1.7 million compared to $883,000 for same period a year ago. Saga reports net income of $1.2 million compared to net income of $758 thousand for Q1 of 2021. The company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on April 8, 2022. The aggregate amount of the quarterly dividend was approximately $970 thousand. Additionally, the company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share and a special dividend of $0.50 per share on January 14, 2022. To date Saga has paid over $78 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. Saga Communications reports that it had $55.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2022.
Russia-Ukraine War Correspondent Gregg Stebben is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran media editor/reporter Gregg Stebben is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Stebben is a former longtime editor of Men’s Health magazine who served 20 years as its radio spokesperson. He is currently reporting on a volunteer basis back to the U.S. via the beamz.live platform from Poland and Ukraine where he has been interviewing refugees and local citizens in both adjacent nations in addition to doing whatever he can to provide comfort and support to the frightened, displaced people in conjunction with international humanitarian groups. Harrison caught up with Stebben on the Ukrainian side of the border on May 2. They discuss the human element of the crisis and the catastrophic impact and escalating deadly potential of the war. Harrison states, “Not only is the information being gathered by Stebben of great value, he is a shining example of independent talk radio reporting in action serving as a one-man field unit reporting on the war while supporting Ukraine as a volunteer. I find his effort truly inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Premiere of 2,000 Mules Takes Place at Mar-a-Lago. The premiere of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film 2,000 Mules took place last night (5/4) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida as former president Donald J. Trump presided over the event. The film was executive produced by Salem Media Group and a number of its current and former talk hosts appear in the documentary. Pictured above are (from l-r): D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka, Eric Metaxas, Trump, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk, and Dennis Prager.
Triton Digital Streaming Metrics Ranker for March 2022 Released. The Streaming Metrics Ranker for the U.S. for March of this year has been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions and charts the top 25 performing digital audio publishers. For the daypart 6am-12am Mon-Sun, iHeartMedia leads the pack with 303,162 AAS. Some of the other radio-related companies appearing in the ranker include at #2 NPR Member Stations (81,035 AAS), #3 Audacy (69,281 AAS), #4 Cumulus Streaming Network (42,569 AAS), #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (19,203 AAS), #8 Hubbard Broadcasting (15,233 AAS), #11 Salem Communications (9,591 AAS), #12 Urban One (8,577 AAS), and #13 Bonneville International 7,612 AAS). See the complete ranker here.
WCKG-AM, Chicago Owner Buying Time on WLS-AM to Reach Voters for U.S. Senate Campaign. Chicagoland radio station owner Matt Dubiel – whose company DuPage Radio LLC owns and operates talk outlet WCKG-AM, Elmhurst – is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and is taking an interesting tack in his campaign. He says in a press release that “in the spirit of former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot, Illinois businessman Matt Dubiel has purchased airtime on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.” He will host a two-hour show every Saturday afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm until the primary election on June 28. Dubiel adds, “Nothing can replace the reach of radio. I’m consistently being shadow-banned on social media, corporate media refuses to cover my campaign, and the issues we need to discuss like CRT/SEL in schools, medical freedom, and other hot topics are virtually banned on social platforms that censor We the People, in America! The Illinois GOP even has me blocked on Twitter, and I’m running on their ticket! Hosting my own show on the radio home of Bongino, Shapiro, and Levin will allow Dubiel to speak directly to the people. The people in every county across Illinois need to know they have a guy who will actually represent them for a change. I am looking forward to talking to ALL Illinoisians about the issues that matter to them.” The 45-year-old Dubiel says he began his career in radio at 17, interning for the legendary Steve Dahl. He worked his way up through the radio ranks in Chicago, serving as a producer and talent, before transitioning into management.
Jeff Katz Show Honored by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left) as the governor recognizes the 6th anniversary of Katz’s “Lt. Jan McTernan Blue Friday Honors Program” that pays tribute to Central Virginia police officers by highlighting their positive contributions.
TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Jon Zaghloul is being promoted to sports director at DuPage Radio LLC’s WCKG-AM, Elmhurst, Illinois. In this new role, Zaghloul will continue to host his weekend program “Sports Talk Chicago” on the station. He says, “I am honored to be a part of this exciting new challenge with WCKG. Over the past two years with the station, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide Chicagoans with hard-hitting sports opinions and insightful interviews. Now, it is time to expand our iconic brand, and I am actively on the hunt for both fresh, and established local sports talent to bolster our daily lineup.”…..Los Angeles Comic Con, partners with iHeartRadio to produce the podcast, “Comic Con Meta*Pod.” The show launched on Wednesday (5/4) with a “May the 4th Star Wars” special featuring “Mandalorian” actor Giancarlo Esposito, “Clone Wars” and “Bad Batch” composer Kevin Kiner, and more. The podcast is hosted by Hector Navarro and art/culture critic Joelle Monique…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” afternoon drive host Shannon Burke (left) with former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik (right). Kerik appeared on Burke’s radio show on Wednesday (5/4) and the two discussed Kerik’s former police chief role in New York City, working with Donald Trump, the January 6 Committee, and more. “Florida Man Radio” is broadcast on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach.
Roe v Wade Leak/Protests, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Economy, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and Dave Chapelle Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade and the protests taking place around the country; the Fed raises interest rates a half percent and the effect of high gas and food prices; the primary elections for November’s midterm races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe and the global economy; Donald Trump Jr. sits for testimony before the January 6 committee; concerns about new Omicron variants causing a summer wave of infections; and Dave Chapelle is attacked while on stage at the Hollywood Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Townsquare Media Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 1.9%; Full Year Net Revenue Rises 12.6%. The 2021 fourth quarter and 2021 full year financial report from Townsquare Media reveals Q4 net revenue of $110.6 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. For the full year of 2021, net revenue was $418 million, up 12.6 % over the full year of 2020. Townsquare Media reports its financial information in three primary segments: 1) Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions, which includes the company’s subscription digital marketing solutions business called Townsquare Interactive. 2) Digital Advertising includes the digital advertising business sold as Townsquare Ignite, and 3) Broadcast Advertising includes the company’s local, regional, and national advertising products and solutions delivered via terrestrial radio broadcast, as well as other miscellaneous revenue that is associated with the broadcast advertising platform. Company CEO Bill Wilson says, “Beginning with our 2021 year-end reporting, we have re-segmented our business to provide greater visibility for our existing and prospective investors. Importantly, this re-segmentation will highlight the profit characteristics of our digital platform, which is essentially equal to those of our broadcast platform, each with profit margins of approximately 30%. Given this new and more detailed information, Townsquare should be viewed and valued as a Digital First Local Media Company, rather than being painted with a traditional broadcast radio brush. While we view local radio as an extremely valuable asset with significant and attractive cash flow properties, unparalleled consumer reach, and an important and trusted local connection to our audience, it is not our primary growth driver. Our growth engine is and will continue to be digital, which fueled our transformation into a Digital First Local Media Company. With nearly half of our total revenue and profit coming from digital today, we have a strong growth engine that will drive significant and consistent growth in the coming years. It is our hope and expectation that given this new more detailed information, Townsquare will be afforded a sum-of-the-parts valuation that gives credit to our digital assets, credit which to date we have not received.” For the full year of 2021, Townsquare reports net income of $18.8 million, compared to a net loss of $80.6 million reported for the full year 2020, which the company says was primarily driven by approximately $109.1 million of non-cash impairment charges, primarily related to its FCC licenses.
Saga Communications Q4 Net Revenue Flat; 2021 Full-Year Net Revenue Up 13.1%. The company reports 2021 fourth quarter net revenue of $29.2 million, basically flat compared to the $28.8 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2020. Net income for Q4 of 2021 was $3.7 million compared to $2.3 million reported for the same period in 2020. For the full year of 2021, Saga Communications reports net revenue increased 13.1% to $108.3 million compared to $95.8 million for the full year of 2020. The company reports net revenue for 2021 of $11.2 million compared to the net loss of $1.9 million reported for the full year of 2020. Saga says its balance sheet reflects $54.8 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2021 and $56.2 million as of March 7, 2022.
KOA, Denver Morning Personality April Zesbaugh Announces Retirement. “Colorado’s Morning News” co-host April Zesbaugh announces that she’s retiring from iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA, Denver in the coming months after a 30-year broadcast journalism career that includes 25 years with KOA. Zesbaugh has co-hosted “Colorado’s Morning News” since 1996 and is one of the longest running news personalities in Colorado. She comments, “Despite my 2:30 am wake-up call for the last 30 years, I feel very fortunate for every second in front of the KOA microphone. It’s time to hang-up my headphones to pursue more family time, play more tennis, travel in our RV and see what it feels like to sleep without an alarm clock.” Zesbaugh is the winner of one national and numerous regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for journalism excellence by the Radio Television Digital News Association, as well as countless awards for “Colorado’s Morning News” from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and the Associated Press. She has also been an influential member of the Denver community and has emceed numerous charity events, including those focused on mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, the challenges of single mothers and animal rescue. KOA program director Greg Foster says, “April is one of the most recognizable and popular voices in Colorado and has set a professional standard which has contributed to the success of KOA. While we will miss our friend and colleague, April has earned the opportunity to enjoy her retirement.” Zesbaugh adds, “I’m grateful to Jerry Bell, former news director of KOA, for hiring me – calling me during my honeymoon to offer me the job – and to the current news director, Kathy Walker, and the KOA news team who have been with me every step of the way in helping to make me a better broadcaster and journalist. I’m leaving our listeners in good hands with my co-host, Marty Lenz. He has great news chops and asks really smart questions.”
Chris Hansen is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform reporter and predator-hunter Chris Hansen is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For nearly four decades, Hansen has been on the front lines of crime, enterprise reporting, and breaking news all over the world. Most recently he was an executive producer and reporter for the “Onision: In Real Life” and “Unseamly…The Peter Nygard Investigation” series now on Discovery+ and the current top-rated podcast “Predators I Have Caught with Chris Hansen.” He has also been host and correspondent for the syndicated program “Crime Watch Daily” as well as “Killer Instinct on ID” and “Dateline NBC.” He created the groundbreaking investigations, “To Catch A Predator,” among others. These investigations are responsible for exposing some 400 men attempting to meet children online for sex. Hansen has been honored with 10 Emmys, five Edward R. Murrow awards as well as excellence in reporting by the Overseas Press Club. He also has a substantial digital presence including a YouTube channel, which has more than 375,000 subscribers and 25 million views. The deep-dive conversation between Harrison and Hansen covers two major areas – the rapid evolution of media (including the tenets of building a YouTube channel) to the scourge of crime on our city streets as well as the mean streets of cyberspace where sexual predators continue to prowl for children and young women. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
SRN’s Eric Metaxas Broadcasts from National Religious Broadcasters Conference. Pictured above (at right) is Salem Radio Network host Eric Metaxas broadcasting his program live from the National Religious Broadcasters conference from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Pictured with Metaxas are U.S. Congressman Allen West (left) and Rick Green, founder of Patriot Academy (center). NRB 2022 continues through this weekend.
PodcastOne Joins Top 10 Podcast Publishers. According to data from podcast metric company Podtrac, PodcastOne is ranked #8 on the list of Top Podcast Publishers. Podtrac ranks top publishers based on unique audience counts. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Being recognized by Podtrac with inclusion on the Top Publishers list is a testament to the hard work of the PodcastOne team both behind the mic and behind the scenes. Our hosts are delivering top-notch entertainment and providing content that is resonating with listeners as is evidenced by the growth in audience numbers across the board.” PodcastOne says its growth “comes on the heels of the successes and strengths of tentpole podcasts ‘Baby Mamas No Drama’, ‘Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe,’ ‘The Jordan Harbinger Show’, ‘LADYGANG’ and ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ as well as acquisitions of top-performing programs such as ‘Coffee Convos,’ ‘True Crime All the Time Unsolved,’ and ‘This Is MONSTERS,’ which all saw significant audience growth since joining PodcastOne.”
JVC Broadcasting: ‘Radio is Working and Radio Works!’ Long Island-based JVC Broadcasting is sending a message to the industry – and beyond – that its recent hiring spree shows that the radio market is a good place for job seekers. JVC says that this January, it began a massive recruitment campaign using its local radio stations and social media platforms and the response was overwhelming. JVC announces that is has hired or internally promoted 16 media and entertainment professionals companywide. JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “The current radio market is great for employment. There was a lot of trepidation for media companies in 2020 and 2021. People wanted to see how things would work out and if the radio business would bounce back, and it did stronger than ever. The most important and most rewarding investment an entrepreneur can make isn’t a new client or a cool piece of equipment, it’s your team of employees. I have built this business by surrounding myself with fantastic people who are visionaries and leaders. If all your employees become entrepreneurially minded or leaders in their own right, your organization will grow even faster. And the coolest thing about this entire recruitment campaign is we did all the outreach using only our local radio station assets! So yes, radio is working and radio works!”
Russia-Ukraine War, House Omnibus Bill, Gas Prices/Inflation, Biden Cryptocurrency Order, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and MLB Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). Russia’s ongoing invasion of the Ukraine and the West’s reaction; the U.S. House passes an omnibus bill that would include $14 billion in Ukraine aid; the soaring price of gas at the pump and high consumer retail prices; President Joe Biden signs executive order to investigate risks and opportunities of cryptocurrency; the falling rate of COVID-19 cases and the rolling back of mask mandates; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; and the failing negotiations between MLB owners and players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year. Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.
Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.
Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.
How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.
Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming. Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs. He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”
Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”
Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.
TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike Gallagher, Eric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: email@example.com.
WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.
COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.