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Thursday, June 24, 2021

| June 24, 2021

Bill O’Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio and TV commentator, as well as prolific author, Bill O’Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The conversation took place during a “fireside chat” at the recent TALKERS 2021 conference held June 11 at Long Island’s Hofstra University. The conference was presented in association with Hofstra’s renowned student-run radio station, WRHU. Harrison and O’Reilly discuss topics geared to an audience of professional broadcasters and serious students of communication that include the state of the book publishing industry and its relationship to broadcasters; the shrinking attention span of the younger generations induced by digital technology; maintaining credibility with the core audience without compromising your values or the truth; the state of corporate media in America; and details about his forthcoming limited engagement arena “History Tour” with former President Donald Trump. Don’t miss this! To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.

WVNN, Huntsville Announces New Program Lineup. Huntsville, Alabama news/talk WVNN-AM/FM announces the new program schedule that will take effect on July 5. Morning personality and station PD Dale Jackson will get a bit of a break as his program will air from 5:00 am to 9:00 am instead of ending at 11:00 am as it does right now. Moving from afternoons to the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot is Michael Yaffee. Westwood One’s Dan Bongino will air from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Cumulus Media station and former Alabama State Senator Phil Williams will host the news 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Rightside Radio” show.

Video Coverage of TALKERS 2021 Begins Next Monday June 28. Every keynote speech, fireside chat, special presentation and panel discussion that took place at the recent 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running, largest and most important national convention – TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University – was recorded under the direction of renowned industry videographer and chronicler Art Vuolo. These videos will be posted one per business day beginning next Monday June 28, right here on Talkers.com. If you were unable to attend the event in person, you will not want to miss the opportunity to take in some of the most pertinent industry conversation about the state of radio, talk programming, and related media to take place since the start of the pandemic.

RTDNA Local News Diversity Report Released. The latest segment of the RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey has been released and it focuses on local news diversity in television and radio. The study concludes that “radio newsrooms now include the highest percentage of people of color in radio since 1998 – and the second highest percentage ever – but nearly 85% of the radio news workforce is still white. The local radio news workforce is 15.8% Black, Indigenous or people of color overall, up just under half a percent. Public radio is significantly more representative, for both women and people of color, than commercial radio news. Public radio newsrooms are 78.8% white compared to commercial newsrooms which are 91.7% white. Representation in radio news improved over the last year for news staff identifying as Native American or Hispanic/Latino, but slipped slightly for African American and Asian American radio staff.” When it comes to radio news management, the study finds that “representation of people of color increased marginally among radio news directors, from 7.1% to 7.2%. This year saw higher percentages of radio news directors who are African American or Hispanic/Latino, but fewer who are Native American.” Looking at women in radio news management, the study concludes that “there are fewer women radio news directors this year, down 3.5 percentage points from close to a third to just over a quarter. The public-commercial gap in representation grew, with women better represented than last year at public stations, but worse at commercial ones. Public radio women news directors now outpace commercial women radio news directors by 18 points.” See the study here.

Audacy Study: Optimizing Audio Increases Return on Ad Spend. The results of a recent study conducted in partnership between Audacy and Neustar titled, “The Audio Amplification: The Return on Ad Spend,” indicates that “a slight shift of advertiser dollars to optimize audio brings significant returns across various industries.” The study assessed the impact of optimizing audio elements, both over-the-air (OTA) and digital audio, of more than 40 national advertisers’ media mix performance. The analysis reveales that a 1.2% shift of media investment to audio would surge brands’ return on audio ad spend by as much as 23%. Across multiple industries, Audio is a high-performance player, having a direct and significant impact on results while boosting other media’s performance – primarily propelling TV, paid search, and online video. Audacy SVP, research and insights Idil Cakim says, “In today’s cluttered landscape, reach alone is not enough to break through, engage and convert. Brands need meaningful connections with their audiences through all the moments that matter and we know that audio powers up media plans. This study shows optimizing OTA and digital audio in the media mix catapults sales to new heights.” Neustar consultant Kayla Coutts adds, “Our findings revealed that there are still untapped ad opportunities in audio media, across key verticals that can be leveraged to drive marketing performance. As consumer needs continue to shift, it’s become increasingly critical that marketers ensure they are constantly evaluating their media spend in relation to these consumer trends so as to ensure they are maximizing the value of their media investments.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago sports talker WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” announces that the station is available to listeners via a new HD2 channel at 100.3 FM. ESPN Chicago market manager Mike Thomas says, “HD Radio has been around since 2002, and today over 50% of new cars have HD Radio as standard equipment. Our partnership with Hubbard Chicago will allow fans to hear our ESPN 1000 shows and White Sox baseball in crystal clear, digital FM. As of today, you can listen to Chicago’s Home for Sports on ESPN 1000, 100.3 HD2 and on your phone from anywhere on the ESPN Chicago app!” The deal with Hubbard Radio allows “ESPN 1000” to broadcast on adult contemporary WSHE-FM’s HD2 channel…..Audacy and the NFL’s New England Patriots announce a multi-year extension to their broadcast partnership. The agreement includes the exclusive continuation of “Patriots Monday” and “Patriots Friday” programming, headlined by New England Patriots six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick and Patriots players on WEEI, Boston. The partnership between WEEI and the Patriots began in 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke says, “We’re delighted to extend our longstanding partnership with the New England Patriots and continue giving Patriots fans exclusive access to their favorite team every week. We look forward to Coach Belichick and multiple veteran leaders providing perspective and game analysis that only they can share every week on WEEI.”…..Boston public media outlet WBUR reveals Scott Tong is the new co-host of NPR and WBUR’s midday news program “Here & Now.” The program is syndicated to 477 NPR stations nationwide. Tong, who starts his new gig on July 12, has served with “Marketplace” for the past 16 years. “Here & Now” executive producer Carline Watson says, “I am thrilled and excited that Scott is joining our host lineup. The depth of his journalism, his extensive reporting experience and his willingness to be a guide for the listener will complete our already outstanding team comprised of Tonya Mosley and Robin Young.”…..PodcastOne announces that it is teaming up with writer/director Barbara Schroeder (Netflix’s “Evil Genius”) to produce and distribute another true crime podcast titled, “Bad, Bad Thing.”  The six-episode podcast, written and hosted by Schroeder, tells the story of a loving wife, Jennair Gerardot, who spirals into darkness when she suspects that her husband of 24 years, Mark, is having an affair with his dynamic, younger and beautiful boss…..2021 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves sits down for a one-on-one interview with former Indianapolis Colts All-Pro punter Pat McAfee for a special “virtual” SiriusXM Town Hall event with an audience of SiriusXM listeners and race fans. The hour-long broadcast event airs on tonight (6/24) at 6:00 pm ET.

Infrastructure Deal, COVID-19, Urban Crime Spike, Big Tech Censorship-Monopolies, Border Crisis-Harris Criticism, SCOTUS Cheerleader Ruling, Afghanistan Pullout, Britney Spears Guardianship Case, and Western Drought/Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/23). The Senate and the White House agree on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill compromise; the rate of vaccinations in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and worries about vaccine side effects; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s urban areas; claims of bias against conservatives by big tech and the drafting of the Ending Platform Monopolies Act; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ failure to visit the border; the Supreme Court rule in favor of the high school cheerleader who was suspended for swearing in an off-campus social media post; the Taliban’s resurgence as the U.S. exits Afghanistan; the Britney Spears guardianship case; and the Western drought and heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

| July 2, 2020

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Independence Day Weekend Edition 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, will be posted tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:00 pm ET.  This new episode titled “Self-Evident!” will look back at this past week of June 29-July 3, 2020 in addition to paying tribute to the founding of America.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk RadioMatthew B. Harrison, law professor, Western New England University / VP Goodphone CommunicationsLincoln Ware, talk show host WDBZ, Cincinnati; Dan Yorke, talk show host, WPRO, Providence; Doug Stephan, talk show host, “DJV Show” / talk show host, “American Family Farmer.” 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (posted Friday 7/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  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.

LiveXLive Closes on PodcastOne Acquisition. The live stream and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media, Inc announces it has closed on its acquisition of PodcastOne. LiveXLive says in a press release, “PodcastOne, which recorded revenue of $27.5 million in calendar 2019, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LiveXLive. The acquisition is expected to be accretive and will strengthen LiveXLive’s balance sheet as well as diversifying its business model with a significant advertising component.” PodcastOne’s library includes more than 300 podcasts, including: “The Adam Carolla Show”, “The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal,” A&E’s “Cold Case Files,” “Hotboxin with Mike Tyson,” and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz joins LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains executive chairman. Under the terms of the acquisition, LiveXLive acquired 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne, and issued to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.36 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which are subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter.

TALKERS News Notes. Baton Rouge alt-weekly The Advocate reports that Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk KNXX-FM “104.5 ESPN” shuffles its programming lineup. Writer Kyle Whitfield says the station breaks up the “Sports Today” duo of Charles Hanagriff and Jimmy Ott with Hanagriff being partnered with former LSU running back Jacob Hester for the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm “Hangin’ with Hester and Hanny” show and Ott starting his own “Gametime” program airing from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..FOX News announces that after an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has fired “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Ed Henry. The company sent a memo to staffers written by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace explaining Henry’s departure. Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a public statement that Henry denies the allegations and “is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio producer Carl Amari’s golden age of radio programming is moving from Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown WIND-AM. WGN recently announced it is dropping the weekend overnight “WGN Radio Theatre” program. Now, the syndicated “Hollywood 360” – co-hosted by Amari and Lisa Wolf – will air from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on WIND-AM. Salem Chicago RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “We are excited to have ‘Hollywood 360’ and Carl Amari back on AM 560. Carl expertly weaves together a unique mix of content that has continued to attract and entertain listeners for years, and we look forward to welcoming them back.”…..This might fall into the “at least they spelled our name right” category. Daily Herald columnist Jim O’Donnell writes about the state and future of ESPN’s WMPV, Chicago “ESPN 1000” – being operated by Good Karma Brands under the leadership of general manager Mike Thomas. O’Donnell is clearly not impressed with sports talk in Chicago but gives Thomas – who arrived in his home state back in January after leading the programming at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – the opportunity to talk up the changes taking place at WMVP.

‘Mightier 1090’ in San Diego to Use SportsGrid Tech Platform. When the new iteration of talk programming takes to the airwaves of San Diego on XEPRS as “The Mightier 1090” sometime this summer, SportsGrid’s cloud-based automation and live production tools will be used by the station. SportsGrid says its production services will stream the “Mightier 1090” audio feed through a low-latency IP connection from the cloud to the station’s transmitter. Marketing executive Bill Hagen is leading operations of the soon-to-debut station. He says, “I’ve listened to the people and the dream of bringing ‘The Mighty 1090 AM’ back to Southern California has now become a reality. The legendary tradition is back in a Mightier fashion, allowing for carefully thought out, desired programming to once again serve the Southern California region.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Controversy, Seattle CHOP Ends, Policing in America, Confederate & Colonial-Era Monuments Issue, Russia-Taliban Bounty Report, Facebook Advertiser Boycott, Court Strikes Trump Asylum Order and Vacate Mary Trump Book Restraint, and Status of Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future outbreaks tied with the controversy over the wearing of masks to diminish transmission; the Seattle police clear the CHOP in the aftermath of two killings in the area; the criticism of policing in the U.S.; the movement to remove Confederate and Colonial-era monuments; the report that Russia has been offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. servicemen; Facebook deals with an advertiser boycott over its handling of “hate speech” and “misinformation”; a court strikes down the Trump administration’s order denying asylum requests from people from Latin American nations and a court vacates the restraint on Mary Trump’s book; and the status of American sports leagues 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. New York hip hop outlet WWPR “Power 105.1” is presenting “A Celebration of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Album Release” starting at midnight tonight (7/3). iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” will celebrate the life and works of Pop Smoke by playing songs from Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon at the top of every hour, plus exclusive Pop Smoke interviews with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, behind-the-scene photos and performances from Power 105.1’s POWERHOUSE available at Power1051’s website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as check-ins from 50 Cent, Steven Victor, Lil Tjay, Fivio Foreign, The Breakfast Club and more…..The weekend country radio show “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” debuts Saturday (7/4) in partnership with its syndication development partner, Skyview Networks. Host Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is throwing a Fourth of July party featuring country radio’s superstar duo LoCash as a special guest to celebrate the show’s re-launch with listeners across the country. The show has added new affiliate stations, including iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5,” whose PD Lance Houston says, “B-Dub has added such a great energy to ‘BIG 95.5’ on Saturday nights! If you want your station to sound fun again on Saturday night, while staying true to the format and the sound of country music, then this is the show for you.”…..Programming pro Mike McCoy is named operations manager at Stephens Media Group’s Rochester, New York that includes adult contemporary WRMM-FM “Warm 101.3,” alternative WZNE-FM “94.1 The Zone,” and adult hits WFKL-FM “Fickle 93.3.” He will also program “Warm 101.3” and “Fickle 93.3” SVP of programming Bob Thornton says, “Mike is exactly the kind of person we need in the Rochester market. His relentless pursuit of excellence, leadership qualities and vast experience will take this cluster to new heights.”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

| October 8, 2019

Mike Thomas Exits Boston’s ‘Sports Hub’ for WMVP, Chicago Market Manager Role. This move means a program director role at one of the top-performing sports talk radio stations in America is open.  Beasley Media Group announces that it is “looking for the Bill Belichick of sports radio” as it seeks a PD for WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Mike Thomas, who also serves as Beasley Media Group’s national spoken word and podcast brand manager, announces he’s leaving Boston to accept a new position in Chicago – market manager for Good Karma-operated WMVP “ESPN 1000” – in order to be closer to his family and fulfill a career goal of becoming a market manager.   Beasley says he will continue to remain as a consultant to the station and actively participate in the search process.  Thomas says, “This was an incredibly difficult decision.  This radio station is a once-in-a-career station, with a once-in-a-career staff.  I would like to thank Caroline and Brian Beasley and the entire corporate team for everything. Locally, Mary Menna, Cadillac Jack, and Buzz Knight have been fantastic to work with!  I also want to thank every single ‘Sports Hub’ employee for 10 years of winning!  I know our relationships won’t end here.”  Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack says, “I want to thank Mike for the instrumental part he has played in leading our award-winning brand throughout its first decade and wish him continued success in his next chapter.  They’re big shoes to fill and we look forward to meeting a lot of great talent in the process as the coming days and weeks unfold.”

Ex-FOX News Radio Personality Todd Starnes Launches Syndicated Commentary.  Former FOX News Radio personality Todd Starnes – who exited the company last week – announces he’s unveiling a syndicated commentary that “more than 750 radio stations have signed on to carry.”  The “Todd Starnes News & Commentary” short-form program is produced by his Starnes Media Group and syndicated by Hamilton Strategies.  Additionally, a three-hour, caller-driven radio talk show will debut on November 4.  Starnes says that program will feature major newsmakers, entertainers, artists, and Christian leaders.  He says, “I am first and foremost a radio guy.  I love the format and I believe that radio will continue to have a lasting impact on the nation.  We are also deeply committed to super-serving our radio affiliates with first class service.”  The commentaries are broadcasting on Bott Radio Network, American Family Radio, CSN Network, and a number of commercial radio stations.  For information about broadcasting Starnes’ commentaries or his talk show, contact Deborah Hamilton at Media@HamiltonStrategies.com.

Tammy O’Dell Assumes VP/Market Manager Role at Cumulus Columbia. Sales and management pro Tammy O’Dell is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Columbia, South Carolina cluster.  This is a return to Cumulus after serving most recently as local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Cary, North Carolina.  She was formerly Cumulus’ VP/MM in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Columbia cluster includes sports talk duo WNKT-FM “107.5 The Game” and WISW-AM “1320 The Fan” and three music brands.    Cumulus Media EVP of operations Bob Walker says, “We are excited to welcome Tammy back to the Cumulus family in Columbia.  Her passion for the Carolina region and her success in building a winning sales culture make her a great addition to the team in Columbia.”

SiriusXM Woos Denise Karkos from TD Ameritrade. Marketing pro Denise Karkos is joining SiriusXM as the new chief marketing officer, a position in which she’ll be responsible for brand and digital marketing of both the SiriusXM and Pandora brands and helping support and drive the growth of SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners.   Karkos was most recently CMO at TD Ameritrade where she was named 2019 CMO of the Year by Ad Age.  SiriusXM president, sales, marketing and operations Jennifer Witz says, “Denise is exceptionally innovative and forward thinking and we are very pleased and excited that she will be leading our marketing efforts as we continue to grow the SiriusXM and Pandora brands.  She and her team will execute a cohesive marketing strategy to drive brand relevance and consideration through to customer conversion, with a deep focus on digital, social, and mobile marketing.”

FOX Sports Radio Reports Digital Audience Gains. Citing data from August and September of this year, FOX Sports Radio – a division of Premiere Networks – is announcing audience growth “across several digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming and www.FOXSportsRadio.com.”  FOX Sports Radio says it set a new record for total monthly podcast listens in September, reaching more than 11 million monthly listens.  It also notes total podcast listens have grown nearly 60% since January.  FSR says it experienced its third-highest streaming audience in the history of the network with the streaming numbers growing 8% from August of 2018 to August 2019 and a 25% increase over August 2017.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner to Receive Gracies Leadership Award. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation is honoring Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner with a 2019 Gracies Leadership Award.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are presented annually to women executives who have made a significant impact on the media industry, while also spurring to action and emboldening other female leaders.  The award will be presented to Berner and five other female media executives at the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on Thursday, November 21, 2019.  AFWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media is proud to showcase female executives for their extraordinary accomplishments and deep contributions across the media landscape.  The Gracies Leadership Awards are one way AWM recognizes and connects women who serve in all areas of the media and entertainment industry.  By honoring these outstanding women, including Mary Berner, we are empowering all women, at every level, to take that next step in elevating their careers and their contributions.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Denver, Bonneville brings former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus aboard as co-host of “The Drive” on sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.”  Polumbus joins hosts Darren “DMac” McKee and Nick Ferguson on the afternoon drive show.  He takes over for Tom Nalen who exits the station for personal reasons…..A “Free Talk Live” co-host is making news as he takes on two other candidates for mayor of Keene, New Hampshire.  But there’s more to the story.  In August, Rich Paul filed in New Hampshire probate court to change his name to Nobody.  Today’s ballot gives voters three choices for mayor: Mitchell “Mitch” Greenwald, George S. Hansel, and Nobody.  “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine Nobody’s mayoral campaign is just the beginning.  He’s already announced his 2020 campaign to take on New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and is even considering a presidential run in a few more years.  Check out his campaign website: ElectNobody.com…..Edison Research is making three of its presentations originally delivered at the recent NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas available to the industry at its website. Available for your perusal are: “The Top 10 Findings from Edison Research in 2019 (so far)”; “The Secret to Longer TSL”; and “What Does it Mean for Radio to Be Local.” Check them out here…..In Northern Michigan, an application is filed with the FCC to transfer the licenses of eight stations from Sovereign Communications, LLC to AMC Partners Escanaba, LLC.  The stations are: news/talk WMIQ-AM, classic rock WIMK-FM, and hot AC WZNL-FM in the Iron Mountain/Escanaba area and news/talk WDMJ-AM and WIAN-AM, country WJPD-FM, classic rock WUPK-FM, and oldies WNGE-FM in the Marquette area.  Sovereign Communications is headed by Bill Gleich.  AMC Partners Escanaba is a Wisconsin-based company headed by Terry Shockley and Chris BernierKALIL & CO., INC. is the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The University of San Francisco and Cumulus Media San Francisco announce a multi-year agreement for KTCT-AM “KNBR 1050 The Sports Leader” to serve as flagship station for the school’s men’s basketball games.  Pat Olson will serve as play-by-play voice for broadcasts of the USF Dons games.

Impeachment Inquiry, Bidens Investigation, Trump’s Syria Decision, 2020 Presidential Race, Omar Files for Divorce, NBA-China Rift, and Joker Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). The impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the report of a second whistleblower; the reported activities of Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to business in foreign countries; President Trump’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Northern Syria in deference to Turkey; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce amidst rumors of an affair with a Democratic operative; the rift between the NBA and China over the Houston Rockets’ general manager’s comments; and the Joker film 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. Bay Area sales pro David Drutz is named vice president and market manager for Alpha Media’s San Jose duo KBAY-FM and KEZR-FM.  Drutz was most recently vice president of sales for Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco.  Drutz says, “I’m incredibly excited to be part of a company as visionary as Alpha Media and lead classic hits KBAY and hot AC KEZR.  Both brands not only dominate Silicon Valley but also have tremendous reach throughout the Bay Area.  It’s going to be great fun in managing these stations to even more success!”…..Programming pro JT Bosch is promoted to senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Greensboro station group, effective October 14.  Bosch will also serve as program director for rock WVBZ-FM “105.7 MAN UP!”  Bosch has been with iHeartMedia since 2001 and most recently served as the assistant program director, music director and afternoon show host for country WKKT, Charlotte “96.9 The Kat.”  He says, “The opportunity to lead our programming efforts in Greensboro is so incredible.  We are ushering in a new era and I’m honored to be a part of it.  Thanks to the entire iHeartMedia senior leadership team for their continued support.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it has appointed Mike Moore program director for country WKHX-FM, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5.”  Moore comes to Atlanta from his most recent position as VP of programming for Entercom’s Portland cluster where he also programmed country KWJJ “99.5 The Wolf.”  Cumulus EVP of content and audience Brian Philips states, “As we met a strong field of senior candidates for WKHX, Mike Moore pushed his way to the front with thoughtful ideas and hard-driving enthusiasm.  His wartime country radio leadership experience will enable him to build the team that changes the Atlanta landscape.”