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Monday, July 26, 2021

| July 26, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 17, 2021

| May 17, 2021

Monday Memo: Listeners Kidnapped! “They’re being abducted! Snatched-up in our own house,” consultant Holland Cooke warns. In this week’s column: How transmitters are diverting media consumers elsewhere and how smart stations are “riding the horse in the direction he’s facing.” Read it here.

Pending Business: Elvis Has Left the Building. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, has some advice for sellers who are caught short when a host committed to doing endorsement spots up and leaves his (or her) talk host gig with no notice. Obviously, that scenario puts sellers in a tough situation but a little planning ahead of time can ease the burden on the sales department a little bit. Read his column here.

CDC’s Mask Update/COVID-19, Israeli-Palestinian Violence, Rising Consumer Prices/Inflation Worries, Arizona Vote Audit, and Gates Divorce Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The CDC issues new mask guidance for Americans who are fully vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy, and death rate in India; the violence in Gaza as Israel and Hamas continue rocket fire and concerns about an all-out war; the soaring prices for consumer goods in the U.S. and worries about inflation; the 2020 presidential election vote audit taking place in Maricopa Country, Arizona; and the controversy surrounding the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffrey Epstein connection were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Bloomberg Radio Surpasses 400-Affiliate Station Mark. Syndication firm Key Networks announces that radio business news provider Bloomberg Radio hits a “major benchmark in affiliate growth, with over 400 stations now carrying its business and consumer news programming, a whopping 25% growth rate in the first six months.” In late October 2020, Key Networks entered into an exclusive agreement with Bloomberg Radio to manage all network advertising sales, affiliate sales and marketing. Global head of Bloomberg television and radio Al Mayers says, “The results speak for themselves. In six months, Key Networks has grown Bloomberg’s existing affiliates – including virtually all major radio groups – and added new groups and stations to our portfolio. When you combine the magic of Key Networks’ smart marketing strategies and fresh new approach to affiliations with the high-quality programming that Bloomberg offers, you can take a fully mature network and supercharge its growth.” Bloomberg’s news content includes live, customized reports for stations, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features that appeal to a diversity of audiences and interests, including the “Black Business Report,” “Green Business Report,” “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” and “The Luxury Report,” among others.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Present ‘Summer of ‘21’ Town Hall Broadcast. This Thursday (5/20), 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 ongoing coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in helping New Jersey families stay safe and have fun in the Summer of ’21. Scott says, “Everyone is understandably anxious for a summer of fun. This program will help guide families into making smart decisions so they can enjoy the summer safely.” The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Margaret Fisher, world-renowned pediatric infectious disease specialist and Jeff Vasser, executive director of the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism. The program will also feature check-ins with the mayors of New Jersey shore towns and representatives from the state’s biggest venues and attractions. Scott and his guests will also answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.

KKOB-FM, Albuquerque Joins Multi-Media Effort to Address Literacy. Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-FM is working with The Albuquerque Journal and KOAT-TV to address New Mexico’s low literacy rate through The Literacy Project. The Cumulus Media station and its partners have been meeting for several months on the project after a recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics showed that New Mexico ranks 49th in literacy nationwide. Even more alarming, literacy rates in New Mexico appear to not have made any significant improvements in the last 20 years. As a result, the three newsrooms have pledged 12 months or more of layered, in-depth coverage to identify the gaps, resources and opportunities to create positive, workable solutions. The special coverage kicks off this weekend. Cumulus VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “I believe we can do this together. As news leaders, we know how to be catalysts for change. We know how to get the attention of government and industry. We know how to rally public opinion and support. We want to use our joint strength and training to serve the state in a way that can truly enhance and assist public and private educational efforts.” Each organization has assigned some it its top reporters to this complex issue. “96.3 News Radio KKOB” operations manager Jared Hart is assigning Haylee Gonzales and is enlisting the talk show hosts in planning featured experts.

‘ESPN Cleveland’ to Honor Super Fan Stan the Man. Today (5/17), Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WKNR-AM “ESPN Cleveland” is producing a special tribute to local super fan Stan the Man, a.k.a. Leonard Stanislaus Lisewsky, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 77. The station says it was saddened to learn of the longtime fan and caller’s passing. “Stan was a lifelong Browns fan who also loved golf. His regular calls to ‘The Really Big Show’ became a highlight of that day’s program. He even had his own produced open that was played to introduce each of his calls into the show.” Today’s tribute will air live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm “850 ESPN Cleveland.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new collaboration between Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia is an exclusive multiyear agreement for the two companies to produce and distribute more than a dozen new original podcasts, and will also include the distribution of Bloomberg Media’s existing slate of over 20 podcasts through the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne says, “Bloomberg Media continues to be one of the first, most-trusted destinations for high-quality content – from market news to business trends, to deeper financial backstories on what’s moving the economy overall. We are excited to partner with Bloomberg, not only to grow the audience of their existing slate of great shows, but to develop a whole new list of titles across the next several years, combining their editorial expertise with our mass reach and monetization.”…..ABC Audio, ESPN Audio and National Geographic presented on the final day of the last week’s IAB Podcast Upfront and announced upcoming podcast projects, including ABC’s launch of LZ Granderson’s LGBTQ+ focused “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.” National Geographic’s Tara Roberts previewed a new six-part series as she sets off on the journey of a lifetime, traveling with divers to investigate the lost stories of the slave trade — both to expand the historical record and to honor the estimated 1.8 million unsung souls who perished during the Middle Passage…..KQED-FM, San Francisco announces that journalist Alexis Madrigal is named co-host of KQED’s long-running public affairs radio program, “Forum.” Madrigal arrives at KQED from The Atlantic, where he was a staff writer. Madrigal will take over the 9:00 am hour of “Forum” while Mina Kim continues to host the 10:00 am hour, which is shared with stations statewide and explores current affairs through the lens of race, justice and equality. Madrigal was selected after a national search to fill the 9:00 am slot of “Forum” vacated by Michael Krasny, who retired in February after a distinguished 28-year career at KQED.

Dr. Jack Casey Leaving Emerson College’s WERS, Boston. Veteran radio executive and educator Dr. Jack Casey is leaving Emerson College’s WERS-FM, Boston later this month to expand his media career as a consultant. Casey, who has been general manager of WERS for the past 16 years, says, “I am grateful that Emerson College sees the potential of WERS, both as a real-world training ground for students and, just as importantly, as a vibrant and robust fundraising stream. This has truly been a team effort and I appreciate all the hard work done by our professional staff, as well as by student managers and volunteers. I hope the higher education community takes note of what can be accomplished by professional management and willing students. College and university radio stations don’t have to be sandboxes. They can be competitive, revenue producing, major market media outlets. In addition, I couldn’t be happier to be passing the baton to our longtime operations manager Howard ‘D’ Simpson.”

Morning Radio Opportunity at KFAQ, Tulsa. Thirteen-year KFAQ, Tulsa morning host Pat Campbell is not returning to his show in order to focus on health challenges. As a result, Griffin Communications is seeking his successor. Director of operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “We are looking for someone to fill his big shoes. We need someone that is plugged into current events, sports and community events. This is a rare opportunity to work for a locally owned company in brand-new, state-of-art studios in the heart of downtown Tulsa. Griffin Communications Tulsa Radio/Talk Radio 1170 is looking for an on-air talent that can do a daily morning show that speaks to our 35-54-year-old demo. Digital/Social Media skills are a must. We are seeking a great communicator and a fun storyteller with a keen sense of how to create excellent content that will be displayed across all our platforms. The perfect candidate is exceptional on the air, excellent digitally and has worked in various formats including talk radio, news radio or sports radio. This is a very active radio group, heavily involved in the community and requires someone who is fearless and willing to get out of the studio and meet listeners. If you are ready to work in a building full of incredible talent with a family atmosphere and a must-win attitude, we would love to hear from you. Must be willing to work a flexible schedule including nights, weekends and holidays. Qualified candidates can contact me or Talk Radio 1170 PD Jeremie Poplin at Jeremie.poplin@griffin.news.

EWTN Seeks Producer/Call Screener. Religious broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Network is seeking an associate producer/call screener. EWTN says, “As the first point of contact for listeners during live call-in programs, [the associate producer/call screener] utilizes excellent knowledge of the Catholic Faith and customer service skills to prep callers for on-air broadcast. Executes assigned duties of recording, editing, mixing and transferring audio to and from specific media. This position is also responsible for exceptional production and promotion of live and recorded programs to EWTN standards. What does EWTN offer? Career with Purpose; Family-oriented working environment; Competitive salary; Benefits Package (Health, Dental, Vision, Life and Retirement); 11 Paid Holidays and Paid Time Off; Online continuing education and degree programs through Catholic Distance University.” Get more information here. Please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements here. EOE.

Promotions Positions Open at Audacy. There are two positions open on the Promotions + Experiences team at Audacy. The company says it is “looking to add two talented, versatile promotions pros to our central Promotions + Experiences team. These individuals will focus on promotional partnerships with concert partners, activating select live performance venues, and play a vital role in live events across the company’s portfolio of brands.” You can learn more and to apply for the Promotion Director, Concerts & Experiences position here and do the same for the Promotion Manager, Concerts & Experiences position here.