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Monday, August 9, 2021

| August 9, 2021

Pending Business: Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa says the great “disruptors” of our time have one thing in common: they break the rules but in doing so deliver a clear benefit. Lapa says he encounters rules in the radio sales business that appear to be there to benefit only the seller – not the advertiser. “Makes you wonder if those rules are impacting the two R’s that help guide sales management: Revenue and Recruitment. Where are the sales disruptors in those organizations? Maybe those organizations stopped listening to the customer and just went with convenient old-school thinking.” Read his column here.

Monday Memo: Play the Hits. “If the last year-and-a-half has taught us anything,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, “it’s that anything could happen, at any time, and disrupt the life routine of which we want our work to be the soundtrack.” So, barring the unforeseen, this week’s column recommends “four topics of extreme relevance.” Read it here.

COVID-19 Cases, Vaccinations & Mask Mandates/Obama Birthday Bash, Climate Change/Western Wildfires, Andrew Cuomo Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, 2020 Election Denial, and Taliban Surges in Afghanistan Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 cases in numerous places in the U.S., the issue of vaccine hesitancy, controversy over mask mandates for school kids, and former President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard; the UN’s IPCC issues a report indicating the planet is heating up at a rate that’s pushing us closer to a “point of no return” and the wildfires in the Western U.S. and in Greece; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo keep getting more intense as his top aide Melissa DeRosa resigns; the U.S. Senate shuts down debate and preps for a vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the continuing denial of the results of the 2020 presidential election by Donald Trump loyalists; and the Taliban seizes control of a number of cities in Afghanistan in the wake of the U.S. military’s exit were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Conservative Florida Media Personality Dick Farrel Dies of COVID at 65. According to a number of media reports, conservative media personality Dick Farrel – a native New Yorker who worked on air at WVIP-FM, Westchester, New York; WIOD-AM, Miami; WPBR, Palm Beach; WFLN-AM, Arcadia, Florida (now WCXS-AM); and as a fill-in host on Newsmax TV – has died at the age of 65 after contracting COVID-19. Farrel’s partner Kit Farley wrote on Farrel’s now-private Facebook page, “He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed.” Farrel was an unabashed critic of the vaccines. He called them “bogus,” referred to the pandemic as “scamdemic,” and spoke of Dr. Tony Fauci as a “lying freak.” His attitude changed after contracting the virus and he urged friends to get the vaccine.

Harrison Weighs in on Cumulus Studies Showing Radio Listeners More Likely to Be Interested in Sports Betting Saying They’re ‘More Serious Fans of the Sports.’ A piece written by Jeff Edelstein at Sports Handle addresses the recent studies commissioned by Cumulus Media that suggest radio listeners are more interested in sports betting than TV viewers. Released in synch with the news of Cumulus’ partnership with WynnBET, the studies find that “42% of radio listeners have placed an online sports bet, compared to 28% of TV viewers. Furthermore, 52% of radio listeners say they’re interested in online sports betting, compared to 28% of television watchers.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted extensively in the piece and says, “There’s probably a great overlap between the two, but the person that goes out of their way to listen to a game on the radio… well, you don’t see what’s going on. They are obviously, by nature, more interested in the information about the game than necessarily the pleasure of just watching it. And if you are more interested in information, you’re probably more prone to bet. A person who listens to sports is probably more prone to bet than a person who watches sports because they’re more interested in the data and the details than the eye candy of watching the game.” As the story notes, that fact that more than half of the people surveyed in states where betting is legal could not name a betting operator such as DraftKings or BetMGM means those operators need to promote themselves. Harrison adds, “I just think radio can do everything it possibly can to get in on the business of sports betting, using its influence over people as a communications medium as its leverage and its wedge to get into that business. Everybody who knows anything about human nature, the law, and business knows that this is going to continue to be a growth area. From a business standpoint, the legalization of sports betting is perfect for radio to be involved with, and radio is at a time now where it is seeking new streams of revenue to go beyond the standard advertising paradigm.”

Sports Talker Jeff Cameron Moves Down the Dial in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Democrat reports that “The Jeff Cameron Show” begins airing on Magic Broadcasting II’s news/talk WVFT-FM, Tallahassee “Real Talk 93.3” today (8/9) in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart after having been heard on crosstown WTSM-FM “ESPN Tallahassee” since 2012. Horizon Broadcasting recently agreed to sell WTSM to religious broadcaster Radio Training Network Inc, prompting the move.  Cameron tells the paper his program will also be heard at the Florida State University fan site Warchant.com. Continuing with the program will be producer/broadcaster Tom Lang and Matthew Hutchinson is resuming his co-production work with the show. Cameron says, “I’ve always wanted to do multi-media stuff where I can do a podcast, host the show, and do something on YouTube. Warchant and 93.3 agreed to take me on. We can take all of our advertisers to Warchant and 93.3.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media legend Garry Meier is hosting a weekly, Sunday night show on Cumulus Media’s KABC-AM, Los Angeles. His program airs at 10:00 pm and KABC program director Drew Hayes tells Feder, “Nobody tells a story — or views the world — like Garry. It’s great to be together again, now for a third time, on L.A.’s first talk station, KABC.”…..Today (8/9) at 9:00 am PT, KBLA, Los Angeles “Talk 1580” host and owner Tavis Smiley is scheduled to interview gubernatorial recall candidate (and Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host) Larry Elder, who is currently leading the polls to recall and replace California Governor Gavin Newsom…..Media personality Stephanie Miller announces she’s bringing her “Sexy Liberal Survivors’ Tour” back to the stage at the Barrymore Theater in Madison on October 23. Miller, along with John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela, will perform at the event. She’s also making the performance available to those who can’t make it in person via pay-per-view through Meathook.

Monday, July 26, 2021

| July 26, 2021

Monday Memo: Is Your On-Air Product Old-School? Podcasting delivers on consumers’ expectation for on-demand EVERYTHING and consultant Holland Cooke calls it “an opportunity to let retailers sponsor pertinent special interest topics.” But, in this week’s column, he cautions that “these are still digital dimes, compared to the analog dollars solid live programming and painstakingly-crafted commercials will earn us.” To read what makes your station special, please click here.

Pending Business: Going Up.  In this week’s “Pending Business” column, radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, discusses the state of your “elevator pitch.” Will it work in less than the 60 seconds it takes to go to the eighth floor? Try this: Create one sentence that describes what your station does better than any of your competitors. Ask yourself is there a payoff for the advertiser in that one sentence or is it all product information?  Are you connecting a #1 with an advertiser benefit?  Have you taken the time to update your elevator pitch to put a more contemporary feel to the language? Lapa discusses these important points and more in an article that touches on the very basics of cutting right to the chase in presenting your station in a clear and positive light to a potential advertiser when time is of the essence.  To read more, please click here.

Davis Sets Departure From iHeartMedia. Nashville-based iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group chief operating officer Darren Davis will exit at the end of this year, but will continue with the company as an advisor. In a memo to the staff, iHeartMedia chair/chief executive officer Bob Pittman and iHM president/chief operating officer/chief financial officer Rich Bressler write, “Darren has a deep love for iHeart and a true passion for our business and our success. [He] has grown up through our organization continually taking on new roles and more responsibility, becoming a critically important contributor as part of our senior team. After almost 30 years with iHeart, Darren is looking forward to spending more time on a variety of other projects he’s passionate about, including real estate development; local community projects; and traveling with his family. Although his day-to-day operating expertise will be missed, we appreciate all he’s done for our company and are very pleased that he will continue his association with us, albeit on a more limited basis. Darren will be working closely with Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne through the balance of 2021 to continue our momentum and to effectively organize the Digital Audio Group for the future.” Davis has been with iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) since 1992 when he joined adult contemporary WASH, Washington, DC as a programming intern.

iHM, Sports Illustrated, and SI Studios Partner For Multi-Year, Audio Content Deal. The agreement includes eight co-produced Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Studios, and iHeartRadio podcasts, as well as distribution of Sports Illustrated’s existing podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. Mutual marketing and promotion commitments will apply to all joint projects; two of the eight original podcasts are scheduled to launch by the first quarter of next year. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group chief executive officer Conal Byrne comments, “We are thrilled to partner with Sports Illustrated to introduce a brand-new slate of sports podcasts – limited series and ongoing shows alike. It’s an iconic brand that sports fans instantly trust, knowing that they will get the most credible and in-depth industry coverage. We look forward to expanding that footprint into the audio space where we uniquely have the reach and scale to bring Sports Illustrated the audience and monetization they deserve.” According to Sports Illustrated & Maven chief executive officer Ross Levinsohn, “Storytelling is at the core of what SI stands for. The opportunity to partner with iHeartMedia to create and distribute dynamic stories and shows featuring our incredible voices further expands our footprint.” Chief operating officer of 101 Studios, David Hutkin, adds, “While traditionally sports are very visually focused, this venture allows us to introduce audiences to the most memorable events in sports history in unexpected ways. With this new partnership, we have the unique opportunity to tell these historic, remarkable stories to audiences globally.” Set to debut later this year, “Sports Illustrated Weekly” will feature the best of Sports Illustrated’s journalism in an audio magazine. Each 45-minute episode will feature deep-dive segments on the biggest news of the week and the most compelling personalities, trends and themes in sports. Developed by SI Studios, “Lateral Damage” will offer an innovative take on the true-crime genre. Publishing early next year, the podcast tells the story of University of California, Berkeley football player Mariet Ford, who was convicted of viciously murdering his young son and pregnant wife; Ford has maintained his innocence for almost 25 years. The podcast will explore the indelible effect the murder has had on the core group of people in Ford’s sphere.

Local Journalism Sustainability Act Has NAB Support. Introduced by Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell (Washington State); Mark Kelly (Arizona); and Ron Wyden (Oregon), the Local Journalism Sustainability Act of 2021 would aid local news organizations through tax credits to incentivize hiring more journalists, subscriptions and advertising from local small businesses. In a prepared statement, National Association of Broadcasters president/chief executive officer Gordon Smith notes, “At a time when misinformation and disinformation plague online platforms, broadcast radio and television continue to serve as reliable beacons of news that keep local communities informed and connected. We urge congressional passage of this legislation.” According to Senator Cantwell, “The COVID-19 pandemic made it crystal clear that local reporters and newsrooms are essential to keeping the public informed and safe, but their importance spans well beyond health emergencies. At its core, local news is about holding the powerful accountable. The strength of our democracy is based in truth and transparency. Local newsrooms are on the ground in our communities asking the critical questions, countering misinformation, and telling our stories. We have to protect these vital parts of our communities – once they’re gone, they’re gone.” Senator Kelly comments, “Local newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations are pillars of our community, bringing trusted local news [and] information about community events and the latest on public health updates in their area. The pandemic made an already difficult financial situation for these news providers even harder, which is why I support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. By providing tax credits for individuals to support local news outlets, they can continue to provide important coverage for readers, listeners, and viewers.” Senator Wyden adds, “The decline of local news has had devastating effects on our communities. Local news has often been the only window into the city council or mayor’s office. Without these outlets, these important institutions in our communities go uncovered. Further, the decline of local news has only fueled the growth of misinformation as Americans lose their most trusted sources of information. As the son of a journalist, these developments trouble me greatly. Our bill would provide financial support to local news at this critical time for our democracy.”

WMVP To Repeat A $50,000 Ad Giveaway. It’s part of an ongoing “Supporting Small Business” campaign by Good Karma Brands Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP “ESPN 1000” and First Midwest Bank. Good Karma Brands Chicago market manager Mike Thomas comments, “We’re excited to continue our partnership with First Midwest Bank to help a local small business see success. Supporting local businesses in our community is central to both ‘ESPN 1000’ and First Midwest Bank. This is a great way for us to introduce the passionate sports fans in our area to a small business.” First Midwest Bank chief marketing and communications officer Jim Stadler adds, “This past year has reminded us of the importance of small businesses and the role they play in creating employment opportunities and momentum for economic growth in their local neighborhoods. We are proud to partner with ‘ESPN Chicago’ for the second year to bring valuable and well-deserved public exposure to these important businesses.” Last year’s “Supporting Small Business” award benefitted Breaking Bread Catering & Deli.

TALKERS News Notes. Former 13-year Tampa Bay Lightning director of broadcasting & programming Matt Sammon is appointed manager/business development & strategy for Skyview Networks. Sammon joined Skyview last September as an executive producer overseeing Notre Dame sports broadcasts and spent two years freelancing with Sammonsez, LLC … After reporting part-time for NPR the past several months, David Gura will join the network next Monday (8/2) as business correspondent. Most recently the host of MSNBC’s weekend morning show “Up With David Gura,” he previously was a Bloomberg anchor. Gura began his career as an intern at University of North Carolina news/talk WUNC, Raleigh … The next installment of the “Gracie Interview Series – Virtual Gatherings” will be this Thursday (7/29) at 2:00 pm (ET). “The Breakfast Club” co-host/“Angela Yee’s Lip Service” host Angela Yee moderates the interview of Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott. Registration is free at https://allwomeninmedia.org/events/gracie-interview-series-virtual-gatherings/  … iHeartMedia Des Moines news/talk WHO “News Radio 1040” afternoon drive talent Simon Conway took his show on the road to Groton, Connecticut for several broadcasts aboard the USS Nautilus. Conway received a tour of the USS Iowa (pictured), guided by captain James Quintin. According to Conway, “The two shows we did from our submarine base at Groton were very exciting. All my questions were answered and the feedback from my audience has been incredible.” In addition to WHO, Conway’s afternoon drive show is heard on iHeartMedia stations in Cedar Rapids (WMT) and Davenport (WOC) … Nexstar Media Group promotes Ron Romines to senior vice president and regional manager. Romines will oversee the company’s broadcast and digital operations in various markets and will report to Nexstar Media Group president of broadcasting Andrew Alford.

Top Talk Topics This Past Weekend Headed By COVID-19.  As has been the case in recent years, the news cycle no longer slows down on the weekends. The most-discussed topic on news/talk radio this past weekend has been COVID-19 with a focus on the Delta variant, vaccine hesitancy, controversy over mask mandates and the potential for more shutdowns.  This was followed by intense partisan bickering over the formulation of the January 6 committee, followed by climate change, 2020 election denial, and the Olympics.

Acción Adds Tampa and Jacksonville. Effective immediately, Star Over Orlando’s WRSO “Acción 97.9 – La Primera En Noticias” will be simulcast in Tampa on iHeartMedia-owned WHNZ which had been English-language news/talk; a West Tampa translator at 105.9 that was simulcasting English-language news/talk WFLA; and WMTX-HD2. In addition, it will be heard in Jacksonville on iHM’s WFXJ and WKSL-HD2. iHeartMedia senior VP/Hispanic Strategy Hector Marcano comments, “Acción represents a solution for the Hispanic audience eager for a Spanish-speaking newscast and companies that are looking for this fast-growing audience interested in developing a life in the USA.” Division president Linda Byrd notes, “I’m excited to expand the Acción brand to other important Hispanic markets in Florida. Getting the news and information to Florida’s growing Hispanic population in their native language will be very impactful.” Area president for iHeartMedia West Central Florida Chris Soechtig remarks, “We are very excited to deliver a first of its kind Spanish language news platform to the Tampa Bay Hispanic community. With the changing demographics in our area, this is a natural addition to our diverse portfolio.” iHeartMedia North Florida area president Paul Rogers contends, “No other media company can truly help our advertisers, brands, and community organizations reach the full spectrum of the First Coast’s diverse populations like iHeart. We are thrilled to [bring] the first full-service Hispanic news/talk station to Northeast Florida.” Acción – La Primera En Noticias launched in 2018 and news director Jesús Manuel Torres states, “For the past few years, we’ve worked as a team to keep our Hispanic community informed of the events that have changed history. This time, our commitment continues to grow, and our team is ready to continue bringing relevant information and analysis to each market.” Among persons 6+, WRSO is trending 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.8 (April – May – June) and ranks #16 (Nielsen Audio, June 2021). Star Over Orlando-owned WRSO is operated by iHeartMedia under an LMA.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

| June 22, 2021

Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+).  Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.

Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot.  Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.

Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.

TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and  Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways  Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.

Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.

Monday, March 29, 2021

| March 29, 2021

Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. “Make commercial copy you craft for local advertisers THIS crisp,” and, consultant Holland Cooke says, “you will make money.” In this week’s column, he rips-off…er, “compiles” examples. Read it here.

Pending Business: Checking In. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that you’re more likely get a renewal from that advertiser if you check in regularly instead of adopting the “no-news-is-good-news” approach to gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. “Great sellers are like commercial airline pilots, or cruise ship captains. Everyone is prepared with specific goals, timelines, and once the journey (schedule) begins, ready to control the mission.” Read his column here.

The ‘Todd Starnes Podcast’ Joins Salem Podcast Network. Beginning April 5, the “Todd Starnes Podcast” joins the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “SPN is delighted to join in this partnership with Todd Starnes, one of the leading voices in conservative America. His courage in saying what needs to be said is unmatched. His knowledge and ability to explain what is really going on is his forte.” With this deal, the Salem Podcast Network assumes distribution, marketing, and sales representation duties for the “Todd Starnes Podcast.” Starnes also hosts a daily, syndicated radio program and he previously spent more than a decade at the FOX News Channel, hosting a daily radio program on the FOX Radio Network. He comments, “Salem is known for its cutting-edge platforms and excellence-driven programming. I’m honored to join such a well-respected industry leader like the Salem Podcast Network.”

WJR-AM, Detroit Takes Station of the Year Honor. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM is named “Commercial Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the 17th time since 2000. The Cumulus Media station also received 17 other awards, including eight “Merit Awards,” as well as nine “Best Awards.” Some of the “Best Awards” include: Regularly Scheduled Broadcast Personality/Team – “The Guy Gordon Show”; Sports – “Lions Pregame: Around the League”; Special Show Broadcast Personality/Team – “War of the Worlds” live stream event; and Continuing News Coverage – COVID-19 Replay.

iHeartMedia Names Barbara Latham Area President for Central Florida. Sales and management pro Barbara Latham is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia Central Florida in which she’ll oversee the Orlando and Melbourne markets that include talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1,” news/talk WFLF “WFLA,” sports talk WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game,” plus 10 music brands. She’s most recently been serving the Orlando cluster as SVP of sales. Latham reports to division president Linda Byrd, who says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Barb to this position. We’ve worked together for 36 years and in many different capacities. She is one of the brightest and most competitive employees I know. Barb has always been a winner, and to her, there is no other option. No one deserves this opportunity more, and it makes me happy to put this team, that I’ve managed for the last 21 years in her capable hands.”

WABC, New York Recognizes Greek Independence Day. Pictured above (from l-r) are Chad Lopez, president of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC, and Renee Cassis, owner of RC Communications Marketing on March 25 as the radio station hosted a celebration for the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The event was held in WABC’s event space, Studio 77. During his opening remarks, John Catsimatidis noted the diversity of America and stated that the celebration was for every ethnicity and race.

Josh Innes Returns to iHeartMedia as Morning Host at WNRQ-FM, Nashville. Sports radio talk host Josh Innes is joining iHeartMedia’s Nashville classic rock WNRQ-FM “105.9 The Rock” as morning drive host, effective April 5. The station says “The Josh Innes Show” will be a Nashville-focused blend of classic rock, news, sports and commentary and will broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WNRQ program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Josh is wildly talented as a personality, idea generator, and storyteller. He’s unconventional, creative, and exceptionally compelling. We’re beyond excited to welcome him to Nashville and foster in the next great classic rock morning show!” Innes was most recently afternoon host on Gow Media’s sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston. He’s also served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME-AM, Houston, and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He hosts “The Josh Innes Show” podcast live on Twitch and heard on iHeartRadio.

iHeartMedia Issues Statement on FCC Ruling. The company’s statement issued on Friday (3/26) is in regard to the approval of its pending applications to acquire certain radio stations, and the temporary shareholder restrictions required by the FCC to be imposed upon Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd. The company says, “iHeartMedia values its shareholder relationships and we welcome all new shareholders to iHeartMedia. However, because GMEI is a foreign shareholder, its recent investment was inconsistent with the FCC’s foreign ownership rules and created an operating issue for us under the FCC’s regulatory framework. As background, GMEI’s purchase of an 8.7% position in our Class A Common stock, as reported in its Schedule 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 5, 2021, caused a violation of the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations and the FCC’s November 5, 2020 declaratory ruling related to the company’s foreign ownership, both of which limit a foreign investor in GMEI’s position to 5% without prior FCC approval. To address this issue, over which iHeartMedia had no prior knowledge or control, we filed a remedial petition for declaratory ruling requesting FCC approval for GMEI to have the ability to increase its ownership to up to 9.99%. Notwithstanding the GMEI investment, the FCC has approved iHeartMedia’s acquisitions of certain stations, including stations for BIN: Black Information Network. However, the FCC has required that the company impose temporary shareholder restrictions on GMEI as a condition of approving those radio station acquisitions. To comply with the FCC order, iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors resolved to take action consistent with the FCC’s conditional requirements. These actions include imposing temporary voting and other shareholder restrictions on GMEI which will apply during the pendency of the Petition. iHeartMedia respects the FCC process and will, as a matter of consistent policy, ensure the company’s compliance with the FCC’s foreign ownership and other regulations.”

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, CNN’s COVID War Special/WHO Origin Report, Suez Ship Jam, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Hedge Fund Failure-Financial Markets, Chauvin Trial, U.S. Afghanistan Operations, and Nashville Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., rising cases in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; CNN’s Sunday special featuring the six doctors leading the U.S. COVID program and the WHO’s report concluding the coronavirus likely came from an animal at a Chinese wildlife market; the status of the container ship blocking the Suez canal and its effect on the global economy; the crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the failure of a major hedge fund causes problems for Credit Suisse and Nomura that could reverberate through the global economy; today’s beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; the United States’ Afghanistan operations and the Doha agreement that calls for U.S. troop removal by May 1; and the historic floods in Nashville and Middle Tennessee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday August 13, 2020

| August 13, 2020

Gardner Announces Retirement. Having worked for Bonneville the past 12 years – the last three as senior vice president and San Francisco market manager – Carl Gardner will be retiring at the end of this month. Bonneville International president Darrell Brown comments, “Carl has been a tremendous asset to Bonneville. We will miss his leadership, deep experience, and friendship.” Gardner transferred to the Bay Area from Seattle, where he spent nine years as the company’s vice president/market manager. In advance of that, he was an upper-level executive at Journal Broadcast Group for 17 years, leaving in 2008 as executive vice president of television, radio, and digital media. For more than a half-dozen years, Gardner was Journal’s Milwaukee-based president of radio operations. The University of Washington alum began his 43-year media career in Seattle and has worked in Denver and Portland, as well as San Francisco and Milwaukee. A past chair of the NAB Radio board and former member of the NAB executive committee, Gardner has had active industry involvement in other capacities, including membership on the Radio Advertising Bureau board of directors, Associated Press advisory board, and Washington State Association of Broadcasters board of directors. For the past seven years, Gardner has been part of the Seattle Sports Commission’s executive committee. Bonneville is expected to name Gardner’s replacement later this month.

RAB To Acquire NRTS. Founder/president of the National Radio Talent System, Dan Vallie, will advise the Radio Advertising Bureau as the RAB integrates the institute into the organization. With RAB’s oversight, the national “System” will continue to operate under its brand name and network of institutes across the country. RAB president/chief executive officer Erica Farber states that, “An integral part of the RAB’s mission is providing the industry with the tools and resources to help broadcasters attract new sales talent to the medium and enhance radio’s professionalism through training and support. The integration of the National Radio Talent System into the RAB delivers on the mission in so many ways. We are just delighted to continue to grow Dan Vallie’s vision and take it to the next phase.” According to Vallie, “The National Radio Talent System began as a labor of love to prepare the next generation of broadcasters, who can be hired today and be leaders in our industry tomorrow. Today’s visionary broadcasters, universities and sponsors working together have made it a reality. RAB has been there with us from the very first Radio Talent Institute. I’m confident the National Radio Talent System will continue to grow and maximize its potential, assuring the industry of young talent on through this 21st century. I truly believe over the next 100 years, radio will be the keystone of a golden age of audio, even more so by attracting young talent to the industry. People make the difference – always has been and always will be.” Entercom chief operating officer/RAB board chair Susan Larkin notes, “The future of our companies is dependent on the next generation of committed, prepared, and talented radio professionals. The National Radio Talent System is unique in that it provides a radio talent ‘farm’ for the industry, an incubator of well-rounded, well-educated college talent with a passion for radio. That’s why investing in this program is good for the RAB and the industry.” College students, recent graduates, and radio interns have to apply to be accepted into the intensive 10-day Institutes. Sessions include on-air, programming, sales, writing, news, sports, promotions, videography, podcasting, social media, engineering and management. Each student participates in RAB training and takes the exam to earn Radio Marketing Professional Certification (RMPC).

Davis Appointed iHM Greensboro VP/Programming. Most recently the senior vice president of programming for Entercom Richmond – Zac Davis – joins iHeartMedia as vice president of programming of Greensboro’s five-station cluster. Davis will report to iHeartMedia Greensboro president Kellie Holeman, who comments, “I am thrilled to welcome Zac to my team in Greensboro. I look forward to collaborating with him to continue developing these great brands. Zac brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity across all formats; I look forward to a long, prosperous partnership.” Davis adds, “I’ve really enjoyed my four years in Richmond, but always considered North Carolina my home. I’m thrilled to head back to Greensboro. After getting to know [those involved], I knew this was a special team.” The Florida State University grad previously was program director at iHeartMedia Hartford-New Haven and has held industry positions in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Raleigh, as well as in Melbourne (Florida), Stockton (California); and Myrtle Beach (South Carolina). In addition to WPTI “Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” (ninth, 4.2, July 2020, 6+), iHeartMedia’s Greensboro cluster consists of adult contemporary WMAG “The Best Variety of the ‘80s, ‘90s, & Today” (third, 8.8, 6+); WTQR “Q-104.1 #1 For New Country” (sixth, 5.7, 6+); rock WVBZ “105.7 Man Up!” (tenth, 3.7, 6+); and CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss-FM The Triad’s #1 Hit Music Station” (#12, 2.4, 6+).

Weinstein, Donaldson, Hall To Occupy Washington’s Radio Booth. While the updated name of this particular NFL franchise might not be the most creative – although an improvement over its controversial one – the Washington Football Team has unveiled its completely new radio crew for a potential 2020 season. Cumulus Media sports talk WSBN “ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol” afternoon host Bram Weinstein will handle play-by-play, while former defensive back DeAngelo Hall prepares to serve as an analyst alongside Julie Donaldson. Weinstein succeeds Larry Michael, who faces accusations of improper behavior toward female employees. Donaldson and Hall are replacing Chris Cooley and Rick “Doc” Walker. Weinstein explains that since 1979, “Only two people have had the privilege of holding the position of play-by-play voice of the Washington Football Team. With that in mind, and knowing what this team means to our community, I am humbled and honored to be given this opportunity. This is the fulfillment of a dream. This is also an exciting time to start with so much change happening in and around the franchise. I’m proud to have been selected to be part of this team.” Former NBCSW anchor/reporter Donaldson is the franchise’s newly-named senior vice president of media and remarks, “With DeAngelo’s experience as the ‘eyes’ of our defense for a decade, not to mention his work with the NFL Network, and Bram’s tenure as a sports broadcaster/Washington Football fan, we’ll be able to relate to – and involve –  the players and fans like never before.” Hall adds, “I am incredibly excited and honored to be joining this storied franchise as the next gameday analyst. While I loved my time playing for Washington the better part of ten years, there is more I would have liked to have accomplished for the fans. This opportunity will allow me to make a lasting impact in a different way. We are heading into the future with Julie Donaldson and I am excited to be her teammate for this journey.” The franchise’s games will air on a network headed by Cumulus Media news/talk WMAL and cross-town Radio One-owned sports talk WTEM “980 The Team.”

TALKERS News Notes. Honoring the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, iHeartMedia’s WVON “1690 The Talk of Chicago” afternoon talent Kimberley Egonmwan will host a virtual celebration to commemorate contributions of African-American women to democracy. The event will honor past and present “Women of the Movement” with a pictorial montage; a civic engagement call-to-action; and two panel discussions about how women have turned voting into power. Taking place on Zoom and Facebook Live, the celebration begins this Saturday (8/15) at 11:00 am, preceded by a 10:30 am civic engagement show featuring a 2020 census and election presentation by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority connection committee. Among those scheduled to join Egonmwan are the first black female US Senator, Carol Moseley Braun; congresswoman Robin Kelly; historian Dr. Keisha N. Blain; political strategist Delmarie Cobb; and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” contributor Stefanie Brown James Montana Public Radio host/writer/producer Nora Saks is the recipient of Boston University public radio news/talk WBUR’s Daniel Schorr journalism prize of $5,000 for her podcast “Richest Hill,” a series on a notorious EPA superfund site. Named for the legendary CBS, CNN, and NPR reporter/analyst, the award honors public radio journalists under the age of 35. Saks will be honored at a virtual event next month (9/15) … Effective next Monday (8/17) on Good Karma Brands’ Madison sports talk WTLX “100.5 FM ESPN,” Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti grab the 5:00 am – 9:00 am slot. Fellow ESPN Radio talents Mike Greenberg (“Greeny”) and Max Kellerman will follow at 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm, and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, respectively. Vice president and market manager Keith Williams comments, “It is an exciting time to be an ESPN radio sports fan, with the opportunity to listen to ESPN Network’s new national shows that will provide incredible energy and varying perspectives. Fans will continue to hear from the locally-produced and informative Wilde & Tausch (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); 12-year radio host Jim Rutledge (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); and then complete their day with the fast-paced entertainment of Greg Scalzo & Ben Brust (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm).” … A daily, two minute Josh Tolley-hosted feature – “The Business of Life” – is available from Fishnet Syndication. Topics pertain to faith, family, finance, politics, entertainment, and news. Fishnet Syndication partner Mike Tyler notes, “Josh has a long history of producing a fantastic radio show covering many hot topics to keep listeners coming back for more. Fishnet Syndication is always on the lookout for great shows and we know content is king.” Tolley adds, “I’ve had a very successful radio show with over 20 million listeners in 160 countries and in all 50 states. We know our decision to partner with Fishnet Syndication is the correct decision. Mike Tyler and Kent Jones have a long history in the radio industry and are well known for getting the job done.”

Entercom Launches “Battleground America.” The daily podcast available to listeners nationwide on Radio.com beginning next Monday (8/17) is centered around this year’s presidential election and American politics. Entercom Greenville (South Carolina) news/talk WYRD “106.3 Word” morning show host Tara Servatius provides daily intel on American politics and culture. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg senior vice president and market manager Steve Sinicropi remarks, “With election season in full swing, we want to give our listeners a wide array of premier political content, supported by reliable insight and diverse opinions. Tara does a fantastic job captivating her audience through her daily morning show and we look forward to amplifying her voice across the country on Radio.com to spark healthy discussions surrounding the 2020 election.” Servatius opines, “This election will be unlike any other and could change the way Americans live forever. I’m excited to share this afternoon snack with our local listeners who want their ‘Tara Show’ fix, as well as share my voice with those in other cities nationwide craving election talk radio as we rapidly approach November.” In episode one, Servatius will discuss her opinion about president Trump‘s 2016 win being a razor’s edge miracle and the probability of pulling it off again. New episodes will be available every weekday.

NAB Show New York Registration Opens Next Month. The ten-day (October 19 – 29) virtual event showcases advances in next-generation technology and will feature conferences, workshops, and exhibits focused on podcasting, television, film, online video, live events, and advertising. Executive vice president of NAB conventions Chris Brown notes, “We are continuing to evolve the digital event model to better serve the needs of the industry with a more robust platform and enhanced experience for participants. This solution allows us to serve a broader audience with expanded content, collaborative features and a longer, more flexible schedule that optimize opportunities for conducting business, networking and peer-to-peer learning.” Additional NAB virtual events taking place in October include the “Radio Show” (October 5–9), co-produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau, and NAB’s Sales and Management Television Exchange (October 14 – 15).

WBT, Charlotte Morning Host Pat McCrory is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former North Carolina governor turned WBT, Charlotte talk show host Pat McCrory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  McCrory is heard weekday mornings on the Entercom-owned heritage station with co-host, newsman Bo Thompson, 8:00 – 10:00 am on a highly-rated show that addresses local, regional and national topics along with a blend of pop culture items and a heavy dose of “fun.”  He has successfully held that position since 2017 after serving a four-year term as the Republican governor of North Carolina.  His gubernatorial service was a wild ride during which he garnered a tremendous amount of national attention, both positive and negative, due to the controversy surrounding his signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – also referred to as”HB2″ – and became embroiled in the issue of transgender use of public rest rooms.  There was a political backlash against that move which resulted in North Carolina being the target of numerous economic boycotts that resulted in the loss of revenue and jobs for the state.  McCrory, who refers to himself as one of the first victims of the “cancel culture,” lost his bid for re-election following that episode by a razor thin margin.  Prior to that, he had a long track record of being one of North Carolina’s most popular political figures.  Before being elected Governor, he served seven consecutive terms as mayor of Charlotte and presided over the Queen City’s notable growth as a business and cultural center during that period.  Harrison and McCrory candidly discuss a variety of topics from the impact of hyper political correctness on public discourse to current political issues.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Wrap” located in the right-hand corner on every page of Talkers.com.

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and the Economy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/12).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/12).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included concern over the economy including unemployment, the stimulus package debate, as well as COVID-19 stats and projections according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Approximately two weeks ago, 21-year-old Payton Cannon was killed when her vehicle ran off the right side of a North Carolina road and hit a tree. Payton was the daughter of David “Ace” Cannon, better known as “Ace” from the syndicated “Ace & TJ” show that originates from iHeartMedia Charlotte CHR WHQC “Hits 96.1.” Payton’s childhood friend, Max McLaughlin, will drive a Mohawk Northeast-sponsored #1Payton’sPromise.org Toyota Camry in tomorrow’s (Friday, 8/14) inaugural Arca Menards Series race at the Daytona International Speedway. “Ace” comments, “We are very touched that Max has been granted permission to honor Payton in this way.” Ritchie “TJ” Beams adds, “The best part about this is Payton would absolutely love it.” McLaughlin is a second-generation driver and races for Hattori Racing Enterprises. He won his first race on a road course at Watkins Glen International last season. Payton’s Promise is a nonprofit charity set up to help when a community is in the need of immediate help from tragic events or when local support efforts need more assistance to get to their goals … Most recently doing afternoons at iHeartMedia San Francisco CHR KYLD “Wild 94.9,” Julian Nieh (“Julian on the Radio”) joins Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle’s similarly-formatted KQMV “MOViN 92.5” for nights. KQMV brand and content director Cat Thomas comments, “Julian has always impressed me with his energy, excitement, and content. We are thrilled to have him join the team at ‘Seattle’s #1 Hit Music Station.” Nieh notes, “I’m beyond blessed to be added to a team of insanely-talented individuals and management. I’ve learned and been blessed to work with some of the best managers in this industry, and continue to do so. Much appreciation and thanks to Cat Thomas for bringing me aboard. I knew Cat was one of those special managers and all around good people when I met him last year.” …  Former WPLJ, New York City music director/midday talent Melony Torres has joined Pandora as director of pop programming. Torres was with WPLJ when it was a Cumulus Media-owned hot AC; it’s now an Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian outlet … The classical music format on Nashville Public Radio’s WFCL will relocate to the HD2 channel of co-owned news/talk WPLN-FM in the fall. Posting on the station’s website, president chief executive officer Steve Swenson writes that WFCL will air “more of Nashville’s music” with “complete local curation.” WFCL’s new format, he indicates, will be a “vibrant soundtrack of Music City.” … Voiceover talent Jordana Klein adds imaging duties at Cumulus Media Dallas CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3.” Klein formerly was imaging director at Bell Media Toronto CHR CKFM “99.9 Virgin Radio” and imaging voice at Bell Virgin Radio stations throughout Canada … Starting next Monday (8/17), Damien Barling and Kenny Caraway (“D-Lo & KC”) take over 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm duties on Entercom Sacramento sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320.”