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Thursday, July 28, 2022

| July 28, 2022

WFAN And Yankees Extend Their Partnership. A multi-year extension is announced between Audacy New York sports talk WFAN-FM & WFAN-AM and MLB’s American League East New York Yankees. English-language broadcasts will continue to be heard on WFAN and streamed digitally on the Audacy app for those within the team’s broadcast territory. WFAN will also continue to produce the Spanish-language broadcasts for local radio affiliates, as well as for the Audacy app. Audacy New York market president Chris Oliviero declares, “The New York Yankees are the city’s premier sports franchise and WFAN is the city’s premier sports platform. Together, we form a potent combination for fans and client partners. [This – 2022] is our 21st consecutive season of broadcasting the ‘Bronx Bombers.’ We look forward to continuing to have the honor of being the soundtrack to more memorable and historic pinstripe moments.” New York Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost notes, “The Yankees are excited to extend our longstanding relationship with WFAN and Audacy. WFAN has been our flagship station for over two decades, and we look forward to fans continuing to enjoy Yankees baseball over its airways and on the Audacy app.” From 2002 to 2014, Yankees games were heard on WFAN’s sister station, all-news WCBS-AM (currently the flagship of the New York Mets); WFAN has served as the Yankees flagship since 2014. John Sterling, (class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee) Suzyn Waldman and Sweeny Murti are the English-language broadcasters, while Spanish-language broadcasts will be handled by Rickie Ricardo, Francisco Rivera and Rene Luna. As part of Audacy’s MLB partnership, WFAN and the Yankees will produce co-branded podcasts.

Newsmax, Verizon Sign Multi-Year Carriage Agreement. The deal between Newsmax and Verizon extends distribution of news channel in HD on Verizon Fios. Newsmax Media chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy remarks, “Verizon has carried Newsmax for many years. We are delighted to be extending our distribution through the Fios platform. We have found them to be outstanding partners who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the presentation of diverse, independent voices through their programming. We’re glad that we are continuing with this new agreement.” Newsmax will retain its broad distribution on the Verizon platform, which reaches approximately 3.5 million subscribers in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

SiriusXM Q2 Revenue Increases. While revenue was up 4% year-over-year to $2.25 billion in this year’s second quarter, SiriusXM’s net income declined from $433 million to $292 million (11 to 7 cents/basic share, 10 to 7 cents/diluted share). Adjusted EBITDA was off 3% to $679 million. SiriusXM chief executive officer Jennifer Witz notes, “We are pleased with our results in the second quarter, and while we continue to navigate an uncertain economic environment, we delivered strong financial performance and continued to make strategic investments in our business that will set us up for an exciting new era. We remain committed to creating compelling experiences for our listeners by investing in innovative technologies to deliver best-in-class, curated, comprehensive audio entertainment. Most recently, [we expanded] our relationship with the NFL to deliver the most extensive sports lineup in audio entertainment; we will continue to enhance our platform to ensure broad appeal.” Executive vice president/chief financial officer Sean Sullivan adds, “[Our] churn was steady at approximately 1.5% in the quarter, underscoring the strength of our business, products, and loyalty of our customers. In the second quarter, we delivered focused expansion in key streaming offerings and maintained a strong balance sheet. This quarter, we returned over $300 million in capital to stockholders, comprising $217 million in common stock repurchases and $86 million in dividends, and ended the quarter with net debt to adjusted EBITDA of 3.6 times.” Self-pay subscribers increased by 23,000 and paid promotional subscribers increased by 54,000. Satellite and streaming division totaled 34 million subscribers at the end of the quarter; self-pay churn was flat at 1.5%. The division’s revenue rose 5% to $1.7 billion, and gross profit rose 6% to $1.1 billion.

Marketron Releases Political Advertising Toolbox. Per BIA Advisory Services, political advertising will raise $8.6 billion for local media companies. Marketron’s collection of online resources combines all the political advertising content the company has developed at a single location for companies interested in increasing their share of political advertising. Marketron senior vice president/client success Christian Kligora opines that, “Political advertising is an important category for local media. It’s much different than any other and that requires a unique approach. We’ve been developing content on the topic all year long with a focus on how to support media sellers. Bringing it together in one spot makes it easier to learn from and access.” Each resource will reportedly provide media salespeople with tips, strategies, and insights for political advertising. Included are specialized considerations such as the “overall trends in the advertising ecosystem; the need to reach different demographics; the objective of persuading people to vote; and the regulatory compliance requirements” for how media companies price/offer inventory to candidates.

TALKERS News Notes. Changes at Audacy Philadelphia sports talk WIP “Sports Radio 94” find the station’s fill-in host Jody McDonald and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski co-hosting weekend shows with Glenn Macnow. McDonald will partner with Macnow on Sundays (10:00 am – 1:00 pm), while Sielski joins Macnow in the same time slot each Saturday. According to Macnow, “I have a comfort level with Jody. He’s the guy I broke in with [and] the guy our listeners heard me with from 28 years ago. Working with Jody is like an old pair of shoes – it’s easy and I like it. The Saturday show will now be me and the best damn sports columnist in town, Mike Sielski.” … Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL “News Radio 1090 AM & 101.5 FM.” According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.” … After eleven years with Nashville’s WPRT-FM, midday co-host Darren McFarland departs the Cromwell Radio Group sports talk outlet. Program director Chase McCabe confirms to The Tennessean that “Sports Radio 102.5 The Game” decided to part ways with McFarland, who formerly worked at Cumulus Media’s cross-town/similarly-formatted WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” McCabe, Willy Daunic, and Derrick Mason continue in middays on “The Game.” … Effective August 22, Cheddar News Washington bureau chief Megan Pratz will join NPR as political editor. In addition, NPR promotes congressional correspondent Sue Davis to political correspondent and interim congressional correspondent Dierdre Walsh gets to remove “interim” from the title. … Skyview Networks’ sports talk program “OutKick 360picks up three Withers Broadcasting-owned affiliates: KYRK, Marble Hill, Missouri; WGKY, Wickliffe, Kentucky; and WFRX, West Frankfort, Illinois. Skyview Networks is the exclusive distributor, affiliate sales representative and network sales partner of Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow & Paul Kuharsky-hosted “OutKick 360.”

Thursday, August 20, 2020

| August 20, 2020

Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman Suspended For Gay Slur. Cincinnati Reds play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman – son of National Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman – has been suspended for his using a gay slur during Wednesday night’s Reds-Royals broadcast. Apparently, Brennaman thought he was not on the air when he said, referencing and unknown place, that it is “one of the fag capitals of the world.” Brennaman apologized and left the broadcast before the completion of the double-header. The Reds issued the following statement. “The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.” During his apology, Brennaman implied that he realizes this may cost him his job. “I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.” Brennaman is part of the broadcast team for the Reds Radio Network and television’s FOX Sports Ohio.

Entercom Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Detroit’s WWJ-AM. Detroit all-news outlet WWJ-AM is celebrating 100 years on the air today (8/20). Entercom says it’s proud to honor “Detroit’s news leader and America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “WWJ has served as an important news source for Detroiters for 100 years and continues to provide the most credible and comprehensive multiplatform news coverage relevant to our city. We look forward to honoring our station’s rich history by reflecting on key moments with integral talent and welcoming distinguished guests to celebrate with us. I congratulate and thank the hardworking staff of WWJ and look forward to another 100 years as Detroit’s go-to news source.” Today WWJ will air special programming, including clips of major news stories the station has covered over the past 100 years and interviews with politicians and business leaders including Entercom president and CEO David Field, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, and former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon. Highlighted in the programming will be on-air pros who have been with the station for over 25 years, including morning anchor Roberta Jasina, auto reporter Jeff Gilbert, city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and business reporter Murray Feldman. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit News accompanied by lots of vintage photos of the station from the paper’s files. It also delves into the hotly contested debate over which was the first commercial radio station in the U.S., KDKA in Pittsburgh, KCBS in San Francisco or WWJ? The Detroit NewsMichael H. Hodges writes that WWJ being the first is disputed by KDKA and KCBS, but “it mostly comes down to a matter of technical definition. KDKA got its federal license a few months before WWJ in 1921, and that’s its line in the sand. But 8MK, as WWJ was known in 1920, was on the air with an amateur license well before Pittsburgh.” Entercom says WWJ is “America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station” and boasts such accomplishments as “being the first radio station to broadcast election returns on August 31, 1920, the first sportscast on September 1, 1920, the first missing person report on March 15, 1922, the first Detroit Tigers play-by-play broadcast on April 19, 1927, and more.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post is reporting that former Howard Stern show cast member “Stuttering” John Melendez is suing SiriusXM for “using his name, likeness and voice without permission on channels dedicated to Stern.” Melendez left the Stern program in 2004 – prior to Stern joining SiriusXM in 2005 – to become the announcer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The suit was filed in federal court in New York complaining that the airing of old Stern programs violates California law and “his right of publicity.”…..Westwood One and PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz is featured in the August-October issue of the investor-targeted magazine Luckbox. The theme of the issue is “Podcasts Rising” and in the interview piece, Pattiz discusses his building of Westwood One in the late 1970s and how in 2011 he began using what he’d learned running WWO to launch PodcastOne for the soon-to-be-burgeoning podcasting industry. You can read the piece here…..Newsmax TV announces that it has entered into a deal with Cox Media Group to air WOKV-FM, Jacksonville’s Mark Kaye program. Kaye’s program airs daily on WOKV-FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Newsmax TV show will air weekly – Saturdays at 3:30 pm – and will feature “funny and informative clips from Mark Kaye’s radio broadcasts, as well as behind-the-scenes ‘vlog-style’ content that is exclusive to Newsmax.”…..Hearst’s Baltimore radio duo news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM – along with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens – announce the radio broadcast team for the 2020 NFL season. Former Ravens players Dennis Pitta and Obafemi “Femi” Ayanbadejo are joining Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky to handle color and analysis. WBAL and WIYY president and general Manager Cary Pahigian says, “We are pleased to offer Baltimore Ravens fans an exceptional broadcast team. As a former Raven, Dennis has always provided astute analysis to our broadcast. Femi’s extensive NFL experience will add keen insight, and there is no better play-by-play announcer than Gerry Sandusky.”

Stephen K. Bannon Charged with Fraud in ‘We Build the Wall’ Effort. Former Donald Trump adviser, former Breitbart executive, and podcast/talk radio host Stephen K. Bannon is being charged in New York with fraud in what U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss says is his role in a scheme related to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising effort. The New York Times reports that Bannon is one of four defendants who allegedly “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.” Bannon has not commented publicly.

Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/Vote-By-Mail Debate, Putin Critic Poisoned, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The November presidential election and Wednesday evening’s Democratic National Convention; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in September and the COVID-19 outbreaks at several college campuses; the controversy over funding the U.S. Postal Service and the related debate over mail-in voting; Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalny in a coma after allegedly being poisoned; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WPHT’s Giordano Is on a Documentary-Special Roll. WPHT, Philadelphia’s legendary mid-morning host Dom Giordano has written, produced, and hosted the third in a dynamic series of two-hour specials tapping into his background as a teacher and one of talk radio’s most astute observers of education. The first two specials focused on issues surrounding COVID-19 and kids returning to school as well as a July 4th weekend special celebrating America.  The new show airing this week titled, “The Case for Civics: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason,” explores the need for civics to be taught in schools and how important it is to the future of America to raise knowledgeable citizens. Like all of Giordano’s productions, it is bi-partisan and features prominent figures including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed RendellSara HarrisEntercom VP for social impact is featured and details the radio company’s major commitment to promote civics education. The program is airing on WPHT tonight (8/20) from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Saturday (8/22) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Beijing’s Persecution of Chinese Spiritual Movement Falun Gong Is Focus of This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  While Americans continue to be preoccupied with COVID-19, a faltering economy and racial strife, the strained relationship between the United States and China intensifies with each passing day. America is confronted with the CCP’s unfair trade practices, subversive cyber warfare against US interests, intellectual property theft, military aggression in the South China Sea, strangling democracy in Hong Kong, and covered up misdeeds in the origins and spread of COVID-19. Add to that disturbing list the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens as evidenced by Uyghur labor camps and the imprisonment, torture, and organ-harvesting of innocent practitioners of a burgeoning spiritual movement based in peaceful Buddhist principles called Falun Gong. Levi Browde is the executive director of the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, an organization working to end the human rights abuses against people who practice Falun Gong in China. He is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In discussing this podcast Harrison states, “The CCP views the growing practice of Falun Gong among Chinese people both home and abroad as a threat to the State’s core position as the ultimate authority. They not only commit atrocities against its participants, they wage a war of toxic propaganda against the spiritual practice portraying it as a subversive cult – a view that has been unwittingly absorbed and perpetuated by the American media. It is my hope that this deep-dive conversation will clear up these misconceptions as well as shed light on the Beijing regime and the dangers its complex relationship with the United States presents going forward into the uncharted, turbulent waters of the 21st century. This is not a left versus right issue but one that I believe should be of great concern to all American talk media hosts and commentators interested in a secure America, freedom of religion, and human decency.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas’ KWNR “95.5 The Bull” has a new program director as Mojoe Roberts assumes the reins. iHeartMedia says Roberts joins the country station after most recently serving as country format captain for Alpha Media and PD for KUPL, Portland. SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas Tony Matteo says, “MoJoe brings a wealth of format knowledge and expertise. We’re thrilled to have him joining our iHeartMedia Las Vegas team.”…..Seattle CHR KBKS is re-branded “HITS 106.1” The New Home of the Jubal Show and Commercial Free Weekends. The iHeartMedia station is programmed by Jared Fallon who says, “From the moment we launched ‘Jubal 106.1’ the reception from the entire city and across the country has been massive. Today we are thrilled to unveil ‘HITS 106.1,’ the new home of the Jubal Show!”…..Pittsburgh morning radio personality Cris Winter exits Renda Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WWSH “WISH 99.7” as the result of budget-related cuts. She tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “When you look at covid-19, it’s a situation where everyone is making cuts. It is such a bizarre time, and everybody is struggling right now. It’s just an unprecedented time for everyone. We are all just trying to keep our heads above water.”…..Programming pro Don Jarrett is named PD at Rich Broadcasting’s country simulcast KWFI-FM and KWFO-FM “The Wolf” in Idaho Falls. Jarrett was most recently programming Riverbend Communications’ crosstown country KTHK-FM “105.5 The Hawk.” Rich Broadcasting operations manager Josh Tielor says, “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add Don to our team. He’s well known in the community and well connected in the industry. He brings a new level of excitement and energy to our station family.”…..The photo below published at LARadio.com is not from a time capsule. That KMET billboard is currently up and it put the folks at LARadio.com into investigative mode. The picture was snapped by Los Angeles publicist Hal Lifson who set the investigative wheels in motion. It appears the billboards are up for a movie shoot for a film that takes place in the 1970s. TALKERS magazine publisher and former KMET program director Michael Harrison says, “Seeing the billboard is a rush. I still find it hard to imagine L.A. without KMET. It would be like Brooklyn not having Coney Island.”