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Thursday, June 3, 2021

| June 3, 2021

Lotus Communications to Acquire Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Seattle Radio Stations for $18 Million. The three Seattle radio stations – all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM – are the only radio stations in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio. The company is better known for its television station holdings and its conservative editorial policy. Lotus Communications will acquire the three stations – pending FCC approval – for “an aggregate purchase price of approximately $18 million in cash and other consideration.” Lotus Communications first SVP Jim Kalmenson says, “We are excited to work with the amazing staff at KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community, enhance local neighborhoods, and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Lotus owns and operates 44 radio stations in the Western U.S. This deal was initiated by Richard A. Foreman Associates and acted as exclusive broker representing Sinclair.

George G. Beasley Passes at 89. The founder of Beasley BroadcastingGeorge G. Beasley – died yesterday in Naples, Florida at the age of 89. Beasley was also serving as executive chairman of the board for Beasley Broadcasting at the time of his death. The company says, “While best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry, George will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work-ethic and love of family and friends. Born on April 9, 1932, George grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia. His drive and determination led him to enlist in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. Inspired by a commitment to provide a voice for the voiceless in his local community, George built his very first station (WPYB-AM) in Benson, North Carolina in December of 1961. Over the next 60 years, his hard work and vision paved the way for what Beasley Media Group has become today – one of America’s premiere publicly traded media companies, consisting of 62 radio properties located in 15 large and medium-sized markets with digital offerings and an esports division.” Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight and gentle smile.” A memorial service will take place for family and friends in Naples, Florida. Details will be forthcoming. A private burial service will be held for the family in Ararat, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Kim Komando Show: 86% of Those Surveyed No Longer Trust Big Tech. A national survey of 6,351 Americans conducted by “The Kim Komando Show” found that 86% of participants no longer trust Big Tech companies. Kim Komando says the poll underscores the growing concerns surrounding the power and influence Big Tech companies have on society and the little confidence Americans have in the tech power players. She says, “Americans are finally waking up to the fact that when a product is free, they are in fact the product.” Among the findings of the study: 1) 82.73% of those polled say they think smart speakers listen to what you say all of the time instead of only when you use the “wake” words. Kim recently explored how users can stop smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say; 2) Nearly 60% fear their smartphone is spying on their activity and have had advertisements populate for something they were just discussing. Thankfully, Kim explained in a recent “Daily Tech Update” episode that this phenomenon is likely dumb luck! 3) Participants surveyed believe Big Tech has too much influence on politics, with Facebook and Twitter each at 92%; 4) 67% of Facebook users would be willing to delete their account knowing that the social media platform tracks everything, sells data and cannot control what is posted on the site; and 5) 92% of people surveyed think Google knows too much information about their personal lives. To combat this, Kim has rounded up alternatives to Google that won’t track your information. She adds, “Since the onset of COVID-19, Big Tech companies have seen accelerated demand as the world has shifted to a more digitalized landscape. Across the board, the survey demonstrated that a majority of individuals worry that Big Tech has too much influence or knows too much about our personal information, yet nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. Interestingly, with the world becoming more digitalized and the news of Instagram for Kids, more than 84% of people surveyed said they would prefer their children to be over the age of 15 to use Instagram. Maybe we are starting to see the damage social media does to our adult lives and how it’s robbing children of a healthy, happy start to their own.” The national survey was disseminated to subscribers to “The Kim Komando Show” newsletters and 6,351 individuals across the United States participated.

Salem Brings Trish Regan into Podcast Network Fold. Conservative media figure Trish Regan is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network beginning June 15. Regan is most well known for her prime time show on the FOX Business Network. She was also a host on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CBS Television. The former Miss New Hampshire competed in the Miss America pageant in 1994 and is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in U.S. history. Salem says,“‘The Trish Regan Podcast’ will be her unique take on the day’s news events. Trish will examine the trouble we have gotten into in this country, and how we can and must get out of it. Her understanding of Wall Street and the nation’s economy will be an added plus for her listeners.” Salem SVP spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Trish is a superstar in conservative media. She adds class, personality, and wisdom to our lineup, and I have no doubt her millions of fans will follow her and find her here.” Regan adds, “I am thrilled to enter into partnership with Salem Media. Salem is an organization with real leadership and a management team that stands up for American values including—most importantly—our first amendment.”

Good Karma Brands Moving Milwaukee Stations to Downtown Location. The Milwaukee radio stations owned and operated by Good Karma Brands – as well as the company’s home offices – are moving from their longtime location on the northeast side of the city to new offices at The Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. GKB operates news/talk WTMJ, sports talk outlets WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” and WAUK “540 ESPN,” plus talk WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” in the market. Company founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “It is incredibly important to us as a local operator of world class brands to be a part of the fabric of the local community and the cities in which we live and work. We couldn’t be happier with The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall as it is a symbol of the growth, investment and diversity present in downtown Milwaukee development, and aligns directly with our values as a locally owned company passionate about serving our local community.” Good Karma Brands’ home office and Milwaukee-based radio station operations will be located on the second floor of The Avenue, in a space designed and developed for the growing company. The radio station studios will be located on the first floor in the 3rd Street Market Hall as a featured activation within the space.

iHeartMedia Names Spencer Bynes Area President for Texas. Former iHeartMedia executive Spencer Bynes returns to the company as area president for the Texas area in which he’ll oversee the Beaumont, McAllen, Waco, Corpus Christi and Bryan markets, effective immediately. He will report to Nick Gnau, division president for iHeartMedia. Gnau says, “Spencer has been a proven leader throughout his career, his energy is contagious and his ability to develop teams and talent are unmatched. I am extremely excited for Spencer to lead these markets and expand our community efforts as well as our revenue and rating footprint in the great state of Texas.” Bynes joins iHeartMedia from Lee Hecht Harrison, where he most recently served as vice president of business development in the Southern Region. Prior to joining LHH, he was managing partner and co-founder of Accendo International Consulting. Bynes served with iHeartMedia from 2011 to 2016 as director of talent management and talent acquisition before leaving to launch his consulting business.

iHeartMedia Louisville Sets First Annual Community Voices Town Hall. Taking place on June 10 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, iHeartMedia Louisville’s Community Voices Town Hall will “aim to address and bring awareness to the biggest issues in the Louisville community that have been identified by the iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board, including child abuse, racial equity and mental health. The town hall will feature subject-matter experts that will address and discuss these issues.” WHAS “NewsRadio 840” personality Terry Meiners and the Kentucky-Indiana Metro community engagement manager Gabriela Espino will host the event that will include a panel of local politicians, charity heads, experts, and activists. iHeartMedia Louisville metro president Earl Jones says, “I am thrilled we have a platform to bring key voices together to discuss the issues affecting our community. The in-kind media campaigns will support local programs that address these key issues. Through the power of iHeartMedia, we are committed to positively impacting our community.” iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board will help select eight 501(c)(3) organizations in the Louisville metro area who will receive a three-month in-kind media campaign addressing child abuse, racial equity or mental health. The in-kind media campaigns will be activated using the radio stations’ on-air, social media and digital platforms.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly 40 years with the station, all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco morning news anchor Stan Bunger is retiring on June 11. To commemorate his final day, the Audacy station will look back on his career and the major news events he’s covered – everything from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 9/11 terrorist attack, championship parades for the Giants and Warriors, COVID-19, and his daily conversations with former Oakland Raiders head coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. The final broadcast will also feature interviews with several of Stan’s past co-anchors and co-workers, including former news directors…..A new member joins the iHeartMedia, Inc. board of directors. Former Lala U.S. CEO and president Graciela Monteagudo takes her place on the board immediately. The company says Monteagudo is an internationally respected executive who, over her 30-year career, has held leadership roles at a variety of multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Graciela is bringing her expertise across strategic planning, digital marketing, mergers & acquisitions, international operations and the Hispanic and Latin American consumer audience, as well as her leadership in diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation, to the iHeart board. Her significant experience in North and Latin America – and her extensive background in global/digital marketing, e-commerce and consumer goods will provide valuable insights to our board as well as significant contributions to our company and our shareholders.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA will present live audio broadcasts of every game of the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever. The network, which has broadcast the Championship Series since 2011, will expand coverage to include all the preliminary games for the 2021 Series.

Taja Graham Joins MIW Board of Directors. Radio management pro Taja Graham is joining the board of directors of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. Graham serves as market president for Emmis CommunicationsIndianapolis. She is a proud graduate of the 2011 MIW Mildred Carter Mentoring Program, and in 2010 completed the Rising Through the Ranks Management Course for Women presented annually by Radio Advertising Bureau, Broadcast Music, Inc., and MIW. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “After decades of service, MIW founding member Mary Beth Garber transitioned off our board this year. We are ever grateful for her contributions. Today, with open arms, we welcome Taja Graham to fill her seat. From MIW mentee to board member, LSM to market president, Taja embodies the spirit and strength of the MIW’s beliefs and mission.”

COVID-19/Fauci Emails, the Economy/Employment, Trump ‘Reinstatement,’ 2020 Vote Audits, Israel Government, JBS Cyberattack, NFL’s Race-Norming Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Joe Biden’s deal with Anheuser-Busch to offer a free beer to those who get vaccinated, and the flap over Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails on the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy and employers’ complaints that they can’t find enough willing workers; the belief by some that former President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president; the audits of 2020 election votes in Arizona and New Hampshire; the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel and a coalition forms to oust him; the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS and concerns about future cyberattacks; and controversy over the NFL’s “race-norming” policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

| March 10, 2021

Entercom Renews with Bloomberg News for Service to All-News and News/Talk Stations. The extension of this companywide deal between syndicator Key Networks, business news provider Bloomberg Radio and Entercom Communications keeps Bloomberg Radio’s business and consumer news on the majority of Entercom’s 26 all-news and news/talk stations, including 1010 WINS in New York, KNX-AM in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, and more. Under the new agreement, Bloomberg Radio will continue to provide Entercom stations with access to its world-class news content, including live, customized reports, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features including: “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” “Green Report,” “Small Business Report,” “Real Estate Report,” and more. Entercom vice president of news Bill Smee says, “As the unrivaled leader in local news radio, powered by some of the most iconic brands across the country, we’re proud to extend our partnership with Bloomberg Radio. Our news stations are committed to serving as a trusted source of vital information for our millions of listeners, and this partnership will continue to enhance the content they turn to on a daily basis.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “It is a privilege to bring the most in-depth business and financial news reports to Entercom stations that are best in class from coast to coast. This partnership brings Bloomberg-created content to listeners and advertisers and we look forward to building on this successful partnership with Entercom.”

Townsquare Media Repurchases Oaktree Capital Management’s Stake in Company. Spending $80.4 million in cash, Townsquare Media, Inc repurchases the entirety of Oaktree Capital Management L.P.’s 12.6 million shares and warrants of the company at $6.40 per security and retires those securities. Townsquare repurchases 100% of Oaktree’s 12.6 million shares and warrants, comprising 1.6 million shares of Class A common stock, 2.2 million shares of Class B common stock, and 8.8 million warrants. The purchase price of $6.40 per security reflects a 39% discount to the closing price of the Class A common stock on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and a 19% discount to the pre-announcement share price. In addition, Townsquare will pay Oaktree a $4.5 million consent fee related to the transaction in four installments, the first of which is due on April 1, 2021. Following the repurchase, Townsquare has approximately 16 million securities outstanding, inclusive of common stock and warrants. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We could not be more pleased to share that given our strong cash position, we were able to repurchase 100% of Oaktree’s ownership interests in Townsquare, capturing a strong return for our shareholders. This is a beneficial transaction for our investors and the company. The Oaktree share repurchase is significantly accretive on an earnings per share and free cash flow per share basis in 2021, and entirely eliminates Oaktree’s ownership overhang for current and potential shareholders. We thank Oaktree for their long-term support of our company. We look forward to discussing our fourth quarter and year-end 2020 results as well as our first quarter 2021 outlook on our earnings call next week.”

Appleton Rock Station Fires Host for Limbaugh Comments. Rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin has fired longtime morning drive co-host Len Nelson, two weeks after it suspended him for a social media post in which, after opining about Rush Limbaugh’s effect on conservative politics, he closed with the statement “the world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh.” Nelson announced his dismissal with the following Facebook post: “My longtime WAPL radio partner, Rick McNeal, posted some nice words which I’m sharing here regarding my firing today and about our years together. I could not have asked for a better person, nor one more funny than he to have worked with. I am sad that it ends this way and that it puts so much pressure on Rick and the rest of my coworkers. But Rick is resilient, and our fans should rally to him as so many of you have rallied to me. Like I said in my previous post here, none of the air and sales staffs should be blamed for any of this. I put them in this situation, and I will regret that forever. As listeners and advertisers, you can make your own decisions but, in the end, WAPL and Woodward Radio Group are made up of lots of fine people with whom I shared decades of fun and profit. That hasn’t changed. Give them the respect they deserve and give Rick and Carol and whomever else will comprise the new morning crew a chance to entertain you and to serve you as clients. I know Rick is up to the challenge as is the rest of the WAPL team. Very little individual success ever happens without a team effort and I was fortunate to have a great team on which to play. I sincerely thank each of them for that.”

WABC, New York Officially Announces Greg Kelly Joins Station. In a move that was first revealed in the New York Post, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC, New York brings Greg Kelly aboard to host the station’s 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program. Kelly is also host of the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program on Newsmax TV.  Kelly is a former U.S. Marine who has served with television outlets NY1 and WNYW-TV “Fox 5 News” in New York. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Greg Kelly is a broadcast veteran with a tremendous portfolio of experience in media. He is dynamic on the air, entertaining, and will bring listeners what they want to hear in a style that is uniquely his own. Greg Kelly is a terrific addition to our daytime radio programming and will bring along with him a loyal audience who appreciates his perspective on the political current events. We are happy to have him aboard.” Kelly is filling in for Curtis Sliwa, who is running for mayor of New York. Regarding Sliwa’s status with WABC, the station previously said, “77 WABC celebrates what is great about America. We support our democracy and our right to vote, fair elections, and the American process. It is with that in mind that, while Curtis Sliwa is a candidate for the Office of the Mayor of New York City, his radio show, podcast, and all related contributions to 77 WABC Radio are on hiatus.” Catsimatidis added, “WABC recently received notice that a longtime member of our WABC family, Curtis Sliwa, is officially running for mayor. Therefore, Curtis is currently on leave pending his mayoral bid. We wish him and all of the candidates good luck in the upcoming race. If Curtis is not successful, we look forward to him rejoining the WABC family.”

Entercom Announces Acquisition of Podcorn. This transaction puts the value of Podcorn at $22.5 million with an upfront cash payment of $14.6 million and a performance-based earnout over the next three years. Podcorn is a self-service marketplace that allows podcasters to connect with advertisers for native sponsorships. Entercom chairman, president, and CEO David Field says, “The acquisition of Podcorn expands Entercom’s product offering for advertisers and builds on our position as one of the country’s three largest podcast publishers and the #1 creator of original, premium audio content. By making it easier for brands to collaborate with targeted podcast creators of all sizes, we are addressing an important market opportunity in the fastest growing segment of media.” Podcorn’s marketplace includes nearly 40,000 creators and has facilitated thousands of podcast ad campaigns. Podcorn creates an infrastructure for enabling direct podcaster and advertiser relationships, surfacing the most relevant matches to scale native branded content, drive higher ROI for brands, and enhance how podcast creators monetize their content. Podcorn was founded by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski following the successful acquisition by Google of their previous company FameBit, a marketplace for video influencers where brands and YouTube stars collaborated for branded content. Kozera and Kierzkowski will continue to lead Podcorn, joining Entercom’s leadership team. Kozera says, “Given the success that podcasters and brands have seen on Podcorn, we’re excited to join Entercom’s growing audio platform to accelerate our vision and help brands and podcasters succeed in an even bigger way. Together, we hope to provide the most effective podcast influencer marketing solution for brands and become the largest driver of brand deals for podcasters of all sizes.” Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley adds, “Remarkably, only a fraction of podcasts generate revenue. We want to change that. Bringing together independent creators, chart-topping talent, and advertisers under one roof – and providing the tools to streamline collaboration, transparency and efficiency – provides greater value for advertisers, creators and listeners alike.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “John Batchelor Show,” emanating from Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, leaves Westwood One and is now being syndicated by CBS News. There’s not much information available as this was done quietly, but Batchelor affiliate stations tell TALKERS magazine the change happened earlier this week…..Twin Cities radio personality, sports writer and producer Dana Wessel is joining Cumulus Media’s active rock KXXR “93X” as executive producer of the “Half-Assed Morning Show.” Wessel previously served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KXFN-FM “K-FAN,” and Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM…..SiriusXM announces that “Information Overload with Vernon Reid” launches on Friday (3/12) on the Volume channel. On the monthly program, musician and Living Colour guitarist Reid sits down with artists, authors, and celebrities to explore how the power of music can help in healing and creating change. Reid will explore topics from racism and social unrest to cultural moments and the onslaught of information and misinformation in social media.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Stimulus Package, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, U.S. Border Chaos, Newsom Recall, and British Royals Interview Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the several states relaxing mask and occupancy mandates and the push for full school openings; Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package goes back to the House; the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the growing migrant chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the aftermath of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s interview with Oprah were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

| January 27, 2021

WCBS-AM, New York News Pro Rich Lamb to Retire. After 50 years as a radio news pro, Rich Lamb announces that he’s retiring from Entercom’s all-news WCBS-AM on February 26. Lamb is currently city hall reporter for WCBS 880. WCBS news director Tim Scheld says, “Rich is a one of a kind reporter and human being. He will be missed not just for his broadcast journalism and eloquent story telling but Rich is a selfless friend, colleague and mentor whose influence and friendships can be seen across the New York City landscape in business, journalism and politics. Rich may be leaving, but he has left each one of us at WCBS 880 with something to help us carry on his legacy.” Lamb says in an internal memo to fellow staffers, “My career began in 1970 in the Detroit market. After working at 3 stations there, in 1974 I landed at WXLO, New York, known then as 99X, a rock station. In the course of doing street work, the legendary WCBS political reporter Steve Flanders, after whom the plaza in front of City Hall is still named, urged me to try out for the reporter’s position being vacated by the renowned Jerry Nachman. I assured Steve there was ‘no way’ that would happen. But, in December of 1977, news and program director Lou Adler hired me. His first assistant Rob Sunde called to say the station had a budget issue, and that my start date would be February 26, 1978. Thus, I have requested that my last day will be February 26, 2021, 43 years to the day after my first assignment covering the ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ in Coney Island.”

Sandra Golden Leaving Atlanta’s ‘The Fan’ Next Month. According to a report by Rodney Ho in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, morning drive personality Sandra Golden announces she’s leaving Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talk WCNN-AM/W229AG “93.7/680 The Fan” after the February 19 program. Station owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “It was Sandy’s decision. She recently got married. Her folks are older and she wanted to focus on family. As she put it, she has done tremendous things in sports radio and sports journalism. She has been fantastic.” Golden is married to former “Regular Guys” personality Larry Wachs, who worked for two rock stations in the market but now works in the mortgage industry, according to Ho’s report. Golden says she’s leaving the station on “great terms” but says, “The show with me, Steak [Shapiro] and Brian [Finneran] was the best one I’ve ever been a part of.” But says that the COVID-related departures of Shapiro and [midday personality] John Kincade in the fall caused her to assess her situation. “I didn’t like Steak and John leaving. They were legends at the station, two of the best voices in the market. It shook me. I had to do a reset.” John Michaels and Brian Finneran will continue to host the morning show as a duo.

‘America’s Healthcare Advocate’ Expands to Two Hours. The Radio America-syndicated health advice program, “America’s Health Advocate” adds an hour and now airs from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET on Saturdays. Radio America says, “‘America’s Healthcare Advocate’ is a weekly program that helps listeners understand the complexities of America’s healthcare industry, navigate the system, and make informed choices.” Guests include prominent experts and industry leaders in medicine, insurance, health and wellness. “America’s Healthcare Advocate” – hosted by nationally recognized healthcare policy expert and Benefits By Design president Cary Hall – currently airs on more than 100 stations across the U.S.

iHeartMedia Names Yesenia Bello SVP of Diversity and Inclusion. This is a lateral move into a newly created position at iHeartMedia for Yesenia Bello, who’s been serving as senior vice president of multicultural sales since October of 2019. In this new role as SVP of diversity and inclusion, Bello will work closely with chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer Michele Laven “and iHeartMedia’s executive leadership and Human Resources divisions to drive comprehensive long-term and measurable diversity and Inclusion strategies across iHeartMedia, as well as develop and implement specific Diversity and Inclusion goals and solutions for employee, community, client and agency engagement that drive inclusive behaviors and business practices.” Bello states, “I’m excited to move into this critical new role at iHeart at such an important time for our company and our country. I’ve seen iHeart’s commitment to diversity and inclusion up close since joining the company in 2019, and I’m looking forward to working closely with our entire company on new, exciting initiatives to continue to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion at iHeart.” Prior to joining iHeartMedia, Bello served at Telemundo Network, Hulu’s Latino division and Google, where she focused on Multicultural strategy and sales for YouTube advertisers.

Application Deadline Extended for MIW’s Mildred Carter Mentoring Program. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is being extended through Friday, February 5. The MIW’s annual mentoring initiative connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting. This year’s program is being sponsored by vCreative. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. Mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply can be found here. Entercom VP, national partnerships Lindsay Adams – who also serves as chair of the mentoring program and was a 2009 mentee – says, “The MIW’s Mildred Carter Mentoring Program has been instrumental in providing guidance, leadership, and bridging connections within the industry.  From personal experience, I can attest it’s an invaluable experience that helps shape and curate career paths and potential.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Issues/New Strain Concerns, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Biden-Putin Phone Call, Conway Family Social Media Mess, and Runup to Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/26). The problems plaguing the efficient rollout of vaccines across the U.S. and concerns about their effectiveness against new virus strains; the process of the second impeachment of Donald Trump; the investigation into the attack on the Capitol building; President Joe Biden’s first phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin; the chaotic social media messages from the Conway family and allegations Kellyanne Conway may have posted a semi-nude picture of daughter Claudia; and the runup to Super Bowl LV were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

| January 19, 2021

Brian Shactman Joins WTIC-AM, Hartford for Mornings. Television news personality Brian Shactman is named the new morning drive co-host at Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford, joining Ray Dunaway for the “Mornings with Ray and Brian” program. Shactman assumes the role beside Dunaway left open after former morning co-host Joe D’Ambrosio and Entercom agreed to negotiate an early exit from his contract. Prior to joining WTIC, Shactman had been serving as an anchor for WBTS-TV, Boston NBC10 and New England Cable News. He most recently created and hosted “Primary Source,” a nightly political show focusing on the presidential primary and has also anchored weekend evenings on NBC10 Boston since the onset of the pandemic. Entercom Connecticut SVP and market manager Stephanie Perl says, “I’m excited to welcome Brian back to Connecticut to join our morning show program alongside Ray Dunaway. He has a proven track record of entertaining and capturing his audience, and his energy will be a great addition to our show.” Shactman comments, “I have been listening to Ray for years, and WTIC is always my first stop when I get in the car. To now be a part of the WTIC team is an absolute thrill. Connecticut – the whole state – is a community. WTIC is a huge part of that community, and I am excited to help people start their day in this great state.”

Townsquare Media Creates Texas Network Featuring Chad Hasty Show. Following the departure of the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from Townsquare Media’s talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls, the company is adding a two-hour version of “The Chad Hasty Show” (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) to those stations’ program schedules. This move also marks the creation of the Texas Townsquare Media Network that will function on those three stations, with more affiliates expected to be announced later this year. Hasty is the first host to operate under this banner, with more programs anticipated to join it. Hasty has been hosting his eponymous 8:30 am to 11:00 am program on KFYO since the fall of 2012 and he’ll continue that Lubbock-focused program in addition to the new afternoon drive show.

Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell to Be Sentenced Wednesday. The Des Moines Register reports that former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell will be sentenced in federal court tomorrow (1/20) after pleading guilty in December of 2019 to one count of mail fraud. Prosecutors are seeking a five-year sentence combined with an order to pay $1.46 million in restitution to American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West and five individuals. Prosecutors say Tirrell defrauded investors of more than $1.5 million in a sporting events tickets resale venture. However, Tirrell didn’t acquire tickets and instead used the cash to “finance a lavish lifestyle and to spend on online gambling.” Prosecutors are seeking the five-year sentence because “the defendant has been defrauding businesses and individuals with his lies for years, with little to no consequences. Defendant continued to lie after he was under investigation in this matter, and the government is concerned he won’t ever stop lying.”

Salem Media Group’s Regnery to Publish Josh Hawley’s Book. After Simon & Schuster decided to cancel its publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, in the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Hawley has found a new publisher in Salem Media Group’s Regnery Publishing. Simon & Schuster said in a statement, “We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.” The Salem press release says, “Despite Senator Hawley’s immediate and forceful condemnation of the violent incursion, social media teemed with calls for retribution for his objection to the certification of the electoral vote. The next day, citing his purported ‘role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,’ Simon & Schuster announced that it was dropping Hawley’s book, scheduled for publication in June. Responding to the impulsive decision, Hawley stated on Twitter, ‘Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.’” The press release goes on to state: “Senator Hawley is an authority on the legal and constitutional implications of Big Tech’s growing power. While the attorney general of Missouri, he investigated how the most powerful company in the world – Google – uses citizens’ private information. In The Tyranny of Big Tech, he shows how Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and other digital giants have abused their enormous market power and political influence, silencing their competition. Explaining why current policies fail us, he identifies alternatives that will break Big Tech’s control over our liberties.”

High-Profile Guests to Take Part in 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. On Thursday (1/21), the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place in a virtual format and is being recorded from multiple locations. Just-announced special guests will include: Aaron Mahnke, Hillary Clinton, Holly Frey, Laverne Cox, Questlove, Roy Wood Jr., Will Ferrell, and more. The awards span 30 categories and you can see all of the finalists here. The event will exclusively video stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET and will broadcast across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App at 9:00 pm local time.

Anny Mansfield Named Corporate Research Director for Gen Media Partners. The company says that in order to meet the growing demands of its expanding portfolio of radio rep firms and networks, Anny Mansfield has been appointed to the newly created position of corporate research director. Mansfield has been with Gen Media Partners since its inception and in this new role will build out a company-wide research department and work closely with the company’s sales departments to serve the needs of network and national advertisers. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “I am very pleased that we already had the right person on our team to lead research across Gen Media Partners. Anny is exceptional at finding the data to develop marketing strategies that help our account executives deliver compelling stories and solutions about the power of radio to advertisers and their agencies, especially for new business development.”

U.S. Agency for Global Media Names Board of Directors; Blanquita Cullum Appointed Chair. New boards of directors have been appointed for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks by CEO Michael Pack. The USAGM says the diverse boards “bring exceptional skill in the fields of journalism, language, technology, broadcasting, and diplomacy that are essential to the work of the three surrogate broadcast networks, which provide a lifeline of factual news for those living in places where a free press is denied to them by repressive government.” Blanquita Cullum — host, producer, and writer for “The Hard Question” — is named chairwoman of the three boards. She comments, “From my previous service on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I understand the importance of delivering objective, accurate news about America and the world to combat our adversaries’ misinformation campaigns and to shine the light of truth into those dark corners where access to a free press is denied. The other board members and I will fight to ensure these networks and their journalists have the tools and support they need to perform their difficult but essential work, which itself is crucial for our national interest.” Serving on the board with Cullum as directors are: Jonathan Alexander, Amanda Milius, Roger Simon, and Christian Whiton.

TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (1/21) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the mental stresses of the pandemic. The station’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing mental health experts together to talk about these stressors and help residents access help. He says, “The toll this pandemic has taken on our overall mental wellness has been huge. This program seeks to de-stigmatize seeking help and connect our listeners to the many resources available.”…..Beasley Broadcast Group announces that subsidiary, Beasley Mezzanine Holdings, LLC intends to offer $280 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers…..In Abilene, Texas, Cumulus Media drops the sports talk format on KTLT-FM and flips to rock as “98.1 The Phantom.”…..iHeartMedia New York’s iHeartRadio Broadway and D’Marie Productions announce that the LGBTQ+ comedy podcast “Slumber Party with Tim Murray” is joining the iHeartPodcast Network, beginning January 20…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs Show” adds new affiliates: WWPR-AM, Bradenton/Tampa; KNET, Palestine, Texas; WNRI ,Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WTBG-FM, Brownsville, Tennessee; and WVEL, Peoria, Illinois.

Trump’s Final Day/Pardons Commutations, Inauguration Prep, Capitol Attack Investigation and Arrests, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, China and WHO Failures, Social Media and Free Speech, New Migrant Caravan, and Australian Open Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). Today’s final day in office for President Donald Trump and the pardons and commutations expected to be issued; the preparation and security for Wednesday’s inauguration for Joe Biden; the ongoing investigation into the Capitol attack and related arrests; the fast-rising number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response report indicating China and the WHO failed to act quickly at the beginning of the pandemic; the move by social media platforms to suspend purveyors of extremist content; the caravan of Hondurans heading for the U.S.; and positive COVID tests hamper the Australian Open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, September 21, 2020

| September 21, 2020

Monday Memo: Attention Is Not for Sale. What’s for sale? Clicks, on Facebook and Twitter and Google. And broadcasters and podcasters are buying. And as consultant Holland Cooke warns, “If you’re broadcasting and not also podcasting, you’re late.” In this week’s column HC offers 7 tips “before you spend a dime on social media ads.” Read it here.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies/Supreme Court Justice Battle, the Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Western Wildfires, the TikTok Deal, Tropical Storm Beta, and the Emmy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the battle over the nomination for her seat; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the wildfires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington; the deal to allow Oracle to acquire the U.S. version of TikTok; Tropical Storm Beta bears down on the Gulf Coast; and Sunday night’s Emmy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s That Computer Doing? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about what radio sales people have to offer that programmatic sales cannot. Read more here.

Pandemic Forces Changes at Atlanta Sports Talk “680 The Fan.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting Company-owned WCNN-AM “680 The Fan” has let a number of air staff go in a move forced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on company revenue. Morning drive personality Stephen “Steak” Shapiro and early afternoon host John Kincade are both out, as is WFOM-AM/W292EV “Xtra 106.3” host Mark Zinno. The company has moved talent from “Xtra 106.3” to WCNN and will now simulcast all programs across all of the signals. Moving to mornings alongside Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran is John Michaels. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak and Joe Hamilton move to “The Fan” in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, and Hutson Mason and Tug Cowart join Buck Belue for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program. John Kincade had worked alongside Belue for the past 20 years.

WFLA, Tampa Morning Personality Jack Harris Celebrates 50 Years on Air. A piece in the Tampa Bay Times recognizes WFLA morning host Jack Harris’ celebration of 50 years in the radio biz, almost all of it spent in the Tampa Bay market. The 79-year-old Harris got his start in his native West Virginia while still in high school. He’s been hosting the “AM Tampa Bay” program on iHeartMedia’s WFLA-AM, Tampa Bay for the past 27 years.

Mary Sandberg Boyle Upped to Vice President and General Manager for WGN-AM, Chicago. Rising from her general manager role to vice president and general manager at Nexstar Media Group’s WGN Radio is Mary Sandberg Boyle. The company says, “She joined WGN Radio in 2015, where she was instrumental in the development and launch of ‘The Opening Bell,’ a weekday morning business show. She has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility at WGN Radio, including executive producer, director of news and operations, and acting general manager. Sandberg Boyle was named WGN Radio’s general manager in December 2019 and has led the station through the current COVID-19 pandemic, initiating a series of new policies and procedures designed to improve workflow and keep the staff safe. She has also overseen a number of programming and personnel changes that have increased WGN Radio’s ratings, which are up 31% among adults 25 to 54 according to the latest available ratings.” Nexstar EVP Sean Compton says, “Mary has done an outstanding job under less than ideal circumstances. She is innovative, thoughtful and determined, and she has forged a great working relationship with the staff. She is a respected leader in Chicago media and this promotion is well-deserved. I look forward to WGN Radio’s continued growth under Mary’s guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. WBAL-AM, Baltimore talk host Clarence Mitchell IV, a.k.a. C4, is named Best Radio Host by the readers of Baltimore Magazine in its 2020 Best of Baltimore Readers Poll. Mitchell had been serving as the Hearst Television station’s midday personality until this summer when he moved to morning drive as co-host alongside Bryan Nehman…..Sports media giant ESPN says that the unusual confluence of all major professional sports in August “heated up ESPN Podcast listenership, as ESPN posted its best month ever and grew 29% over August 2019.” ESPN Audio vice president, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks adds, “It is clear that when current events are on the mind of listeners – be it sports or politics – fans turn to our network of podcasts for the best in analysis, storytelling and discussion. As baseball heads towards the playoffs, the NFL starts up and the election comes closer, we are focused on delivering our best for fans in a time like no other.” ESPN says that according to the Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in August ESPN was home to 13 of the top 30 podcasts, including five of the top 10. “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz – which in August added two hours of podcast-exclusive content each weekday – ranked second with a unique audience of 1.282 million.”…..Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Podcast” featured President Donald Trump speaking with host Dan Bongino in which the president shared his thoughts on polling accuracy, Twitter, Section 230, and other topics…..FOX Sports Radio’s new iHeartRadio original podcast, “Lights Out with Shawne Merriman,” launched on Friday (9/18) and featured Merriman speaking with two-time NFL Pro Bowler Quentin Jammer about athletes and depression, and how he nearly committed suicide.

Joe Madison to Host ‘The Vote Must Go On’ Broadcast Special. Talk host Joe Madison will host a special program on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel titled, “The Vote Must Go On: In Person or By Mail,” that will air tomorrow (9/22) at 7:00 am ET. The program addresses issues such as how voters can safely and fairly cast their ballots amid the pandemic, the potential for voter suppression, voter fraud, and more. Madison will lead the discussion that will include top elected officials from several states – representing both parties – along with members of Congress including: Ellen L. Weintraub, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Election Commission; Debra Cleaver, founder and CEO of VoteAmerica; Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman and House Oversight Committee Chair; Scott T. Nago, Hawaii Chief Election Officer; Frank LaRose, Ohio Secretary of State, Tahesha Way, New Jersey Secretary of State; Kim Wyman, Secretary of State of Washington; and Bill Burgess, president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, iHeartMedia presented the 10th edition of the iHeartRadio Music Festival with a virtual stream of performances on The CW App and CWTV.com, and a radio broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide. The event featured performances from: Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with special guests Khalid & Swae Lee, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett with surprise guest Jon Pardi, Usher and more, recorded live on stages in Nashville and Los Angeles. The CW Network will also broadcast the two-night televised on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00pm to 10:00 pm ET)…..Broadcast Music Inc, Beasley Media Group, and Xperi’s HD Radio are launching a new radio program series titled “100 Years of Hit Makers.” Beasley says it’s part of a year-long campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast in the U.S., and to highlight the continuing importance of radio, especially in our current climate. The series will take acclaimed songwriters from the country, rock, and R&B/hip-hop genres and give music fans everywhere a behind the scenes glimpse into the writing of their hit songs. “100 Years of Hitmakers” will air on 33 Beasley Media Group radio stations, as well as on demand here.….Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ 93-3” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated morning program “The Woody Show” for the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart. As a result, “The Mo! Show” moves to the midday daypart.