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Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”

WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”

Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.”  WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.

Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”

Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”

Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

| June 29, 2021

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TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World. The second video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted. This panel – in addition to featuring a brief video from consultant Holland Cooke – was moderated by Westwood One talk host Jim Bohannon and included panelists: Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Paul Gleiser, president/owner, KTBB, Tyler, Texas; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media, New York, RAB; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York, RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, New York.

Remotes: An Oldie But a Goodie. Radio sales pro Kathy Carr writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine about the need to keep talk show hosts in front of their audiences. She says the recent trend away from remote broadcasts misses some great opportunities to promote and sell. “Isn’t the mission of a local – or in our case regional – show to cover a certain geographical area? And covering an area includes being on the ground. Just this spring and summer alone, our network will visit 10 different parts of the region to get in front of the listeners via remote broadcasts – at restaurants including 110 Grill and Evviva Trattoria, auto dealerships, seaside inns, and even an arcade. Listeners drive long distances to watch the shows live. Some have come from as far as Ohio.” Read her column here.

WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Raises $100,000-plus for Service Dog Charity. Pictured above is WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive host Simon Conway (standing) at a live event to raise funds for his Puppy Jake Foundation – a charity that helps fund service dogs for U.S. service persons wounded in combat. Joining him were U.S. Navy SEALS Rob O’Neill (center) – whose shot took down Osama bin Laden during Operation Neptune Spear – and Will Chesney (left), who served as the SEALS dog handler on that mission. Conway says, “I am so honored that these true national heroes came to Iowa to support this charity.” Conway’s program – which helped raise more than $102,000 for the Puppy Jake Foundation – is also heard on iHeartMedia stations WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport.

Massachusetts Broadcasters Association to Induct Nine into Hall of Fame. This fall, the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association will induct nine broadcasters into its Hall of Fame, including WAQY, Springfield morning duo “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike “Bax” Baxendale (left) and John O’Brien (right). Other inductees are: WCRB, Boston morning host Laura Carlo; WGBH, Boston jazz show host Eric Jackson; broadcast executive Paul Kelley; former Boston Red Sox play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough; former longtime WMJX, Boston personality Nancy Quill; WCVB-TV, Boston journalist Jorge Quiroga; and former Boston television executive Gerald Walsh.

iHeartMedia Atlanta Commits to Launching 10,000 Black-Owned Businesses. The company is announcing that on the heels of its multi-year commitment to Atlanta-based Operation HOPE revealed back in April, it plans to help 10,000 aspiring Black entrepreneurs in the Atlanta metro area launch their businesses. This is part of the 1 Million Black Business Initiative that aims to create one million new Black businesses by 2030. iHeartMedia says this initiative will continue to amplify the work of aspiring Black entrepreneurs, providing them with top-of-the-line coaching and educational resources and a 120-day free trial, courtesy of Shopify. iHeartMedia Atlanta will also provide social media support and advertising to a select group of entrepreneurs in the future, with additional activations to come. iHeartMedia Atlanta president Drew Lauter says, “We are excited to partner with Operation HOPE to grow Black business ownership here in Atlanta. Our city is the epicenter for entrepreneurial energy, and we are proud to use iHeart’s considerable resources to help owners of Black businesses achieve their dreams.”

George Noory Signs Multi-Year Contract Extension with Premiere Networks. Late night talk radio star George Noory and syndicator Premiere Networks agree to an exclusive, long-term agreement to renew and extend their relationship. Noory will continue to host the “Coast to Coast AM” program that’s heard on more than 640 affiliate stations. Noory comments, “I can’t express how delighted I am that we have extended our agreement well into this decade. As I enter my 18th year as host of this incredible show, ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ I look forwarded to the future. We’re experiencing incredible times and we’ll be there nightly, bringing the best stories and guests to our audience who has made us the #1 rated nighttime talk show in the country.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “‘Coast to Coast AM’ continues to be an overnight powerhouse for our partners, and it’s a credit to George’s dedication to the program and his audience. For the past 18 years, he has brought passion and enthusiasm to the program every night, and we couldn’t be happier to extend our successful partnership.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s edition of Premiere Networks’ syndicated “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” former President Donald J. Trump will appear as a guest during the second hour of the show…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “Top of the World: Lessons from Rebuilding the World Trade Center,” an 11-part series featuring the people at the heart of the historic rebuilding of the new World Trade Center. The special programming premieres July 6 on Business Radio channel 132 and will broadcast for 11 consecutive weeks in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Among the major figures featured throughout the series are World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; WTC master planner Daniel Libeskind; National 9/11 Memorial architect Michael Arad; and more…..Audacy and Notre Dame Global Partnerships announce a multi-year radio broadcast agreement for Notre Dame Football. As part of the relationship, all-news WBBM-AM, Chicago will air all Fighting Irish football games on the Notre Dame Radio Network beginning with the team’s season opener on September 5 against Florida State. During Notre Dame football broadcasts on WBBM-AM, non-stop news coverage will continue on WCFS-FM…..C13Originals, the Peabody Award-nominated documentary studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 announces the second season of “Hope, Through History.” This limited-run documentary podcast series is directed and produced by C13Originals and written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and bestselling author Jon Meacham and explores pivotal moments of crisis in American history and how they shaped the nation. Season two explores “FDR, Churchill, and America’s Slow Walk to War”; The Battle of Gettysburg”; “George W. Bush and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” and more.

Facebook Anti-Trust Suit Tossed, COVID-19, Condo Collapse Case, Trump Rally/Trump Org Legal Situation, Big City Gun Violence Spike, House January 6 Investigation, Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, Western Heatwave and Gwen Berry Anthem Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/28). A U.S. District Court judge throws out the Federal Trade Commission’s anti-trust suit against Facebook; the concern about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the flagging vaccination rate in the U.S.; the search for residents of the collapsed Florida condominium and the building’s safety history; former President Donald Trump’s Ohio rally and the legal issues facing the Trump Organization; the spike in deadly gun violence in America’s large cities; the U.S. House legislation to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol; President Joe Biden’s push for the bipartisan infrastructure deal; the record-setting heatwave affecting the Pacific Northwest; and reaction to U.S. Olympic athlete Gwen Berry’s National Anthem slight were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

| May 12, 2021

Audacy Names Spike Eskin VP of Programming for WFAN, New York and CBS Sports Radio. Sports and radio programming pro Spike Eskin is being promoted to vice president of programming for Audacy’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York and CBS Sports Radio, effective July 1. Eskin, who has been brand manager for the company’s sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia, will take over for longtime WFAN programmer Mark Chernoff, who is stepping down from his roles with Audacy on June 30. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Spike has the vision, creativity, and drive to craft the next chapter of the iconic and influential WFAN brand. Along with CBS Sports Radio, his experience will be ideal to fuel our sports production powerhouse of 48 hours a day of original audio, 12 hours of quality television, all alongside a vibrant digital and social experience for both New York and the nation. As a longtime colleague of Spike, I am excited that he has joined our all-star team and have no doubt that he will succeed.” Speaking about his new role, Eskin says, “I’m humbled and excited for the opportunity to help lead WFAN into its next chapter. It’s an iconic station with incredible talent, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m grateful to Chris Oliviero and Audacy for the opportunity. Working at 94WIP over the last decade has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m grateful to David Yadgaroff for his belief in me and the staff who stepped up to every challenge.”

Urban One 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Declines 3.6%. The 2021 first quarter financial results for Urban One, Inc. indicate net revenue was approximately $91.4 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $36.4 million, a decrease of 3.3% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $23.8 million for Q1 of 2021 compared to an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was $7,000 compared to a net loss of approximately $23.2 million during the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was approximately $28.8 million in Q1 compared to approximately $32.3 million for the same period in 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III, states, “Normalizing for approximately $1.4 million of Richmond gaming chase costs, which were one-time in nature, our Adjusted EBITDA was down approximately 6.3% year-over-year, which was encouraging in the context of pre-COVID radio comparatives for January and February and a lack of political revenues. It is worth noting that compared to Q1 2019, which was a pre-pandemic and off-cycle political quarter, our Adjusted EBITDA was up by approximately 4.1% (and by 9.1% after normalizing for the Richmond gaming project). Our core radio advertising was down approximately 13.7% for the quarter, with January -28.4%, February -19.9% and March +8.8%. Currently for second quarter, core radio is pacing up over 70%, with April finishing at +89%. Our digital business had another strong quarter, with revenues up 64.6% and Adjusted EBITDA up by approximately $3.2 million. Cable TV revenues were down 2.6%, but Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $24.8 million was 14.5% higher than Q1 2019 (approximately $21.7 million), which is a more realistic comparison than the COVID-impacted Q1 2020, during which content production and marketing were effectively shut-off. Under the circumstances, we delivered a solid first quarter, and I anticipate further sequential improvements in Q2.”

Longtime WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Named to New York State Broadcasters Association 2021 Hall of Fame Class. One of the four broadcasters joining the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this year is longtime WFAN, New York program director Mark Chernoff, who’s been behind the programming helm of the legendary sports talk station for almost 30 years. The NYSBA says, “While known for his sports programming, Mark started his career at music stations including the legendary WNEW-FM from 1985-1989. He was the program director at ‘K-Rock 92.3 FM’ from 1989-1993 which included working with the legendary Howard Stern. Mark again worked as K Rock’s programming director from 2004-2006, where he helped develop the unique ‘Free FM’ format as a response to subscription-based satellite radio services and had the opportunity to work with  Opie and Anthony. He even worked as a rock music DJ for more than a decade. Mark joined ‘The Fan’ in 1993. At WFAN Chernoff oversaw iconic shows such as ‘Imus in the Morning’ and ‘Mike and the Mad Dog.’ Chernoff’s skills were put to the test as he rebuilt WFAN’s programming following Imus’s comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He managed the legendary Mike Francesa and Chris Russo. Chernoff brought Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to the station for a morning show that saw ‘Boomer & Carton’ reach No. 1 in the market during their decade-long run. In a recent Newsday interview, Audacy SVP and New York market manager Chris Oliviero stated, “When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer [Esiason] often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of THE FAN than ‘Chernoff.’”

Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Release Podcast Download – Spring 2021. The sixth Podcast Download report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights is “a comprehensive evaluation incorporating several studies that examine podcast audience and advertiser trends over the past five years.” This sixth installment was released to coincide with the IAB Podcast Upfront as part of Cumulus Media’s commitment to share insights and research findings with the podcast community. Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “Our new Podcast Download Report underscores the power of the podcast. Listeners look to podcasts for stories, for entertainment, for learning, and for escape, especially in a year of such upheaval. Audiences soared as listeners experimented with a broader array of content genres and used more distribution platforms than ever to listen to their podcasts.” Some of the findings include the conclusion that the pandemic was a podcast listening accelerant. The study reports that among weekly podcast listeners, the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for increased podcast listening. In March 2021, 53% of weekly listeners reported spending more time with podcasts since the pandemic, up +29% from July 2020 (41%). See more about the study here.

WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids Programmer Randy Lee to Retire. According to a report by KGAN-TV, Cedar Rapids, longtime news/talk WMT-AM, Cedar Rapids program director and on-air personality Randy Lee will retire at the end of this month after a 46-year career in broadcasting. Lee has been the program director at iHeartMedia’s WMT-AM for the past 32 years.

SummitMedia Promotes Tom Scott to Vice President of Engineering. Radio engineer Tom Scott is promoted to vice president/engineering for SummitMedia, LLC. In this role, Scott will manage engineering for all SummitMedia Markets throughout the U.S. SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer says, “We are delighted for Tom to direct all engineering efforts for SummitMedia. It is certainly a well-deserved promotion. His depth of knowledge and strategic vision will be invaluable to us as we continue to innovate and evolve the technical side of our business.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new weekly podcast from CNN Audio titled, “The Handoff,” and starring CNN anchors Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon debuts later this month. CNN says, “Each night during the primetime hours of CNN’s television programming, viewers witness the deep love, honest candor, and respect that these two anchors – and friends – have for one another in their unscripted ‘handoff’ conversations between shows. Now, with no broadcast clock to hold them back, they are stepping out from behind their anchor desks to come together and ignite even more personal and hot topic conversations. Nothing is off limits.”…..Actor Rainn Wilson and author Reza Aslan are teaming up with Kast Media to serve up their podcast, “Metaphysical Milkshake,” set to debut on June 15. Wilson, known for his Emmy-nominated role as Dwight Schrute on the NBC series “The Office,” and Aslan, author of three internationally best-selling books including bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, “bring their unique backgrounds, philosophies, and curiosities to create a podcast all about life’s big questions.”…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” – nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA – adds radio stations KHOB-AM, Hobbs, New Mexico and WGAN-AM /FM, Portland, Maine to it roster of affiliates.

Voting Rights Bill Debate, Cheney vs GOP, COVID-19, Pipeline Hack, Israel-Gaza Fighting, Border Crisis, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The debate in the U.S. Senate over the For the People voting rights act; Liz Cheney addresses the U.S. House as the GOP prepares to strip her of her leadership role for challenging the “stolen election” narrative; COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., mask guidelines, and India’s soaring death toll; the gas shortage in the Eastern U.S. due to the DarkSide pipeline hack; the shelling between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the controversy over the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 11, 2019

| October 11, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk radio.  As the NFL began its 100th season of play, 65% of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the August survey to the September survey, with big gainers Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+1.5), Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston (+1.3), and Entercom’s WKRK-FM, Cleveland (+1.0) leading the way.  Comparing September 2018 to September 2019, 50% of the sports talk stations on our panel are up, with 43% down and 7% steady.  Just one sports talk outlet ranked #1 in its market during the September survey – Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia.  The company’s WFAN, New York ranked #2 in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Envision Networks Adds to Sales and Marketing Teams in Cleveland. Two personnel changes take place in Envision Networks’ Cleveland office.  First, Jen Weisfeld moves from her role as assistant marketing manager to affiliate relations manager.  In this role, Weisfeld consults and assists Envision Networks’ affiliates and potential radio stations throughout the northwest states on their programming, sales, and production needs.  Second, Lara Weidner joins Envision Networks as the assistant marketing manager following a stint as a marketing intern.  In this role, Weidner handles public relations and other marketing aspects for the company’s shows, features, and services.  Speaking about Weisfeld, Envision senior affiliate relations manager Ryan Verardi says, “Super serving our affiliates is our most important job. Jen’s radio experience and knowledge of our shows and services makes her an incredible resource to stations across the country.”  Envision Networks marketing director Dave Hintz adds, “Lara Weidner brings a strong work ethic to our team.  She has done a great job building better processes for the public relations function and produces quality marketing pieces for our sales team.”

Former WCTC, New Brunswick Personality to Receive Easter Seals Honor. Radio pro Bert Baron left Beasley Media Group’s news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick where he was the longtime morning drive host to take on the public information officer role with the City of New Brunswick.  On Wednesday, October 16, Baron will receive the 2019 Champion Award from Easter Seals NJ, recognizing Baron’s ongoing commitment to providing opportunities to individuals living with disabilities and special needs.  Baron says, “It’s truly an honor to receive this special recognition from Easter Seals NJ.  It’s one of the many lifelong connections I’ve been fortunate to make through the three ‘ships’ of broadcasting: partnerships, friendships, and relationships. It’s moments like these that make live-and-local radio simply irreplaceable.” During this radio career Baron was elected into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame and received a Marconi Award nomination for Best Large Market Personality from the NAB.

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (10/11).  The new episode titled, “DC Reality Show!” looks back at this past week of October 7-11, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine;  Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, Salem Radio Network); Dick Morris, political strategist/author/pundit; Nan Su, reporter, NTDTV/The Epoch TimesChip Franklin, talk show host, KGO, San Francisco; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Howard Stern Commemorates Opening of SiriusXM Hollywood Studios. Pictured above is SiriusXM personality Howard Stern (left) with actor Seth Rogen (center) and rap artist Snoop Dogg (right) at the official grand opening of the SiriusXM Hollywood Studios this week.   Other stars appearing with Stern during his broadcasts from California included: Jennifer Aniston, Robert Downey, Jr., Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Levine, Demi Moore, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Golden State Warriors player Chris Mullin is joining Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR-AM/FM, San Francisco as an on-air contributor.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “We are thrilled to welcome Chris into the KNBR family.  Chris brings a unique perspective to both our Warriors coverage and overall NBA coverage, given his great success as a player, coach, and executive.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is adding Sunday afternoon football to its programming via Compass Media Networks.  But WGN listeners won’t hear the Bears – those rights belong to Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM.  Robert Feder also reports that WGN is changing part of its business model and is now airing a full simulcast online, instead of airing different commercials on the stream.  Because of this, the station qualifies for Nielsen’s Total Line Reporting in which its over-the-air and streaming ratings can be combined…..The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that former WGST, Atlanta talk radio host Dana Barrett is running for congress as a democrat.  The piece notes that Barrett considers herself socially liberal and “fiscally responsible.”  She hopes to challenge Republican Barry Loudermilk for the 11th Congressional District seat.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 7-11. The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of whether the president implied he’d release Ukraine financial aid in exchange for President Volodymyr Zelensky investigating Hunter and Joe Biden’s energy dealings there was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential election.  Coming in at #3 was Turkey’s invasion of Syria, followed by U.S.-China relations at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Alpha Media’s Lincoln, Nebraska station group, Double J is named content director for CHR KFRX.  Double J was most recently with SummitMedia’s rhythmic CHR KPHW, Honolulu “POWER 104.3” as APD and morning drive host.  Alpha Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley says, “We are very excited to bring Double J’s excitement, energy, and knowledge to lead heritage KFRX into the next decade with our Alpha Lincoln operation!”…..NRG Media announces that programming pro Jay Michaels is joining the company’s Omaha cluster to serve as program director for hot AC KQKQ “SWEET 98.5” and hip hop KOPW “POWER 106.9.”  NRG Media Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle comments, “I am thrilled to have Jay join our incredibly talented and award-winning staff.  Jay’s music knowledge, creativity, passion for radio and his competitive spirit is second to none.  Jay has a great programming mind, as well as a strong sales mentality, which is important in our business.  I am very fortunate to once again work with Jay, as he is truly one of the best programmers in the business.”…..PennLive.com reports on cuts at Cumulus Media’s Pennsylvania stations WZCY, Mechanicsburg, “Nash 93.5 FM” and CHR WWKL, Hershey “Hot 106.7.”  At WZCY, morning radio host Charles “Chachi” Angelo exits and at WWKL, morning personalities Ryan “DJ Puff” Downes and Steph Pagliaro also exit.