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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

| December 14, 2021

Good Karma Brands to Acquire ESPN Stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The three sports talk radio stations owned by Disney/ESPN are being acquired by Good Karma Brands, LLC under a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. The stations are WEPN-AM, New York; KSPN-AM, Los Angeles; and WMVP-AM, Chicago. The deal will also have Good Karma Brands perform ESPN’s obligations under the current Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN.” As part of a long-term affiliation agreement, all three stations will remain as ESPN Radio affiliates and continue broadcasting ESPN Network Radio content as well as locally produced programming. There is no price revealed in the press release from GKB. The company has been operating WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” under an LMA since October 2019. Good Karma founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB. These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.” ESPN Audio vice president Scott McCarthy comments, “At ESPN, we are focused on evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our business, providing the outstanding content that our fans expect, and growing our audience in critical, leading markets. We have a strong, 20-plus year relationship with Good Karma Brands and know they will further contribute to the success of these great local audio operations.” In addition, the companies have agreed to extend their ESPN Digital sales agreement, which began in 2015, in which GKB represents display and video inventory on ESPN.com and the ESPN App to local and regional advertisers in 14 select markets.

Porth Joins WSCR, Chicago as Assistant Brand Manager. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Ryan Porth is leaving his program director position at Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” to joins Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” as assistant brand manager, effective January 3. WSCR operations director and brand manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving ‘The Score’ brand forward into the future.” Porth has served as PD of WPRT since 2016 and also served as executive producer for the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Bonilla Rises to PD at KXNT, Las Vegas. TALKERS magazine hears that Audacy has promoted Mark Bonilla from his assistant program director position at news/talk KXNT-AM, Las Vegas to program director for the station. He assumes the role previously held by Paul Ihander.

Audacy and Voicify Partner for Voice Capabilities Across Digital Platform. A new multiyear partnership is struck between Audacy and Voicify, a company described in a press release as “the market leader in conversation experience management software that combines voice optimized content management, cross-platform deployment, and voice-specific customer insights.” As part of this deal, Audacy will leverage Voicify’s services to drive interactive voice capabilities across the Audacy platform and make station-branded skills more easily accessible for listeners via any voice assistant-enabled device. Audacy will also license Voicify’s patented platform – The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform – to create and deliver innovative, interactive voice ads and voice commerce experiences through digital audio content for advertisers. The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform enables marketers to connect with their customers by creating highly engaging and personalized voice experiences that are automatically deployed to a broad array of voice platforms, including smart speakers. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As we continue to expand and enhance the Audacy direct-to-consumer platform, adding new interactive voice capabilities and enabling voice commerce experiences across a wide range of devices is an important area of future growth, especially in an age where flexibility and speed to market are a must have for our advertising partners. We are excited to partner with Voicify to provide next generation interactive advertising solutions to our clients to help make their advertising more actionable.”

Former WLS-AM, Chicago Talk Host Stephanie Trussell to Run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Former weekend talk host Stephanie Trussell is joining Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Trussell had hosted the Saturday afternoon program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago after winning the station’s “Next Talk Star” contest in 2012. She left the weekend gig in 2019 but continued to host a podcast for the station for a period.

Newsmax Names Duchardt Congressional Correspondent. Journalist Kilmeny Duchardt is joining Newsmax as congressional correspondent. A press release says that Kilmeny brings more than 15 years of media experience with the Associated Press, Reuters and most recently as an anchor with Turkish TV’s TRT World. Duchardt has spent the last three years anchoring “Turkish TV’s TRT World” U.S. primetime news bulletins out of Washington, covering the U.S. election, Congress, the White House and other major global news events. Newsmax news director Chris Wallace states, “Kilmeny is a well-regarded journalist known for getting the story right. She will be a great addition to our growing team.” Duchardt comments, “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. I take great pride in earning the trust of my viewers. I look forward to gaining the respect of our diverse audience at Newsmax and being a source they can count on.”

TALKERS News Notes. Digital and tech services provider Triton Digital announces it is expanding its Podcast Reports to Canada. Triton says the Canadian Podcast Report will provide insight into the Top Podcasts and Networks in Canada each month, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The inaugural Canadian Podcast report will be issued in late Q1 2022. Triton president of market development John Rosso states, “As podcast listening in Canada continues to rise, advertisers need reliable measurement to better understand the performance of on-demand and podcast content. Expanding our Podcast Reports to the Canadian market, where we already have a strong presence, highlights our commitment to eliminate inconsistent measurement practices and self-reported data, providing content marketers, media buyers, and the audio industry at large with access to validated and transparent podcast metrics in the Canadian market for the first time.”.….New Hampshire Public Radio promotes staffer Rebecca Lavoie to director of on-demand audio. Lavoie joined NHPR in 2010 to produce the daily magazine program “Word of Mouth” and most recently served as director of audience & engagement. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “Rebecca has nurtured an explosion of excellent journalism and inspired creativity throughout NHPR. Her keen editorial ear is evident in all the material produced under her leadership. Her deep roots in the community and knowledge of the podcast industry make her an essential contributor to our senior management team.”…..Audacy announces that its Richmond stations – including news/talk WRVA – raised more than $670,000 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU during the annual “36-Hours for Kids Radiothon.”…..The syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill is added to the weekend lineup on Bennett Radio Group’s news/talk duo “The Patriot” in WEZR-AM, Rumford and WPNO-AM, South Paris, Maine…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) personality Shannon Burke (left) with Key Networks syndicated radio star Bill O’Reilly (right) backstage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday (12/12). Burke attended the “History Tour” event with O’Reilly and former President Donald Trump – a series of live conversations between Trump and O’Reilly about the four-year Trump administration.

FOX News Radio’s Jimmy Failla to Be Part of FNC’s New Year’s Eve Programming. This New Year’s Eve, FOX News Channel is presenting special programming from 10:00 pm to 1:30 am ET featuring “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Will Cain live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joining the trio in the holiday programming will be Jimmy Failla, host of FOX News Radio’s “FOX Across America” midday show, who will perform stand-up comedy from the Wildhorse Saloon. Also involved in the programming will be FOX Nation’s Lawrence Jones, “Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno and FOX News correspondent Griff Jenkins from Times Square, FOX News contributor Raymond Arroyo and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek in New Orleans, and FOX News Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina and FOX Business correspondent Madison Alworth from Tampa Bay, Florida.

COVID-19, Economy/Supply Chain/Inflation, Software Vulnerability, Build Back Better, January 6 Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Omicron variant, Pfizer’s pill, and mandates; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain woes, and high consumer prices; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, Mark Meadows’ refusal to cooperate with the House committee, and new email revelations; the G7 nations’ warning to Russia about military action in Ukraine; and the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky and Illinois were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

| October 7, 2021

Audacy Named Tim Clarke SVP, Digital Audio Content; Mike Thomas Returns to Boston to Lead Company’s Six Stations. Media executive Tim Clarke is promoted to the corporate senior vice president, digital audio content position with Audacy after serving as SVP and market manager for the company’s six Boston stations for the past six months. Taking over for Clarke at Audacy Boston is former WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” programmer Mike Thomas. In Clarke’s new role, he’ll be responsible for audio content across the Audacy digital platform that includes the Audacy app, Audacy.com, and Audacy’s station websites. Clarke will drive strategy and execution for new exclusive and original content for the platform and will have oversight of Audacy’s new exclusive digital music stations. He will also be responsible for the digital audio experiences of Audacy’s portfolio of broadcast stations, local and national station affiliates, and podcast partners. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “Tim is a rising star in our industry, and we’re excited to add his talents and capabilities to our digital business. He brings rich experience leading content and consumer strategies that we trust will enable him to help us further elevate our mission of delivering dynamic digital audio content through a listener-friendly platform every day.” Clarke joined Audacy in March of this year after serving as vice president of content and audience for Cox Media Group. Mike Thomas joins Audacy Boston from his most recent position as market manager for sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” that’s being operated by Good Karma Brands. Prior to that, he was brand manager for Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” In this new role, he’ll oversee Audacy’s six Boston stations that include sports talk WEEI-FM, WEEI-AM “ESPN Boston,” and WVEI-AM, Worcester and three music brands. Thomas says, “Boston evokes memories of great times and celebrations. When [regional president] Mark Hannon reached out about coming back and leading such a diverse group of stations, it was exhilarating! I can’t wait to reconnect with a lot of talented people, some which I spent over a dozen years working side-by-side with and celebrating many more victories.”

Curtis Sliwa is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime WABC, New York talk show host, founder of the world-famous volunteer public safety organization the Guardian Angels, and GOP nominee for Mayor of the Big Apple, Curtis Sliwa, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sliwa, who is on leave from his radio position while running for office, won the Republican primary by a landslide although he is considered an underdog in the forthcoming general election against Democrat Eric Adams. However, Michael Harrison says, “I wouldn’t count Curtis out. He was born to be the Mayor of New York City and has enormous ‘street-cred’ and appeal – especially when the major topics in this race are crime and homelessness. He’s a real-life Spider-Man.” Harrison and Sliwa discuss these issues as well as the candidate’s strong position on animal welfare and the colorful history of New York broadcasters such as the great Barry Farber running for mayor and other elective offices. Don’t miss this mega-cool conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Round Three of September 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM adds six-tenths for a 5.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but remains anchored in the #4 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM adds seven-tenths for a 3.2 share finish and rises to the #15 rank. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte rises from #10 to #8 after tacking on seven-tenths for a 4.7 share. iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is ranked #1 in the market after adding 1.1 shares for a 9.8 share finish while sister talk KSTE loses two-tenths for a 3.4 share finish and falls to the #12 rank. And in Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM soars from #3 to #1 after adding 1.4 shares for an 8.4 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KNRS-AM/FM shoots up from #7 to #4 after adding 1.3 shares for a 6.3 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as his reports on the first two rounds) here.

Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Back on Air After Breakthrough COVID Case. According to a story in The Buffalo News, WBEN-AM afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle returned to the air this Tuesday (10/5) after being off for a few weeks due to his getting a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Bauerle told his listeners that he was vaccinated with two doses of the Moderna shot and was tested daily while working as an extra on the set of the film Cabrini that’s being shot in Buffalo. Bauerle, who is against vaccine mandates because he thinks mandates are “un-American,” admitted to his listeners that while he was sick, he thought to himself, “Wow. I’m glad I got Moderna. How bad would it have been if I didn’t get Moderna?” He also said, “I’ll never know if the symptoms were mild because I got the shot. I’ll never know that.”

Salem Media Portland Names Sue Wilson Marketing/Promotions Director. Programming and marketing pro Sue Wilson returns to Salem Media Group as marketing/promotion director for the company’s Portland cluster that includes news/talk KPAM “AM 860 The Answer” and religious outlets KPDQ-AM/FM and KFIS-FM. Wilson was director of programming for the company’s Cleveland operations from 2001 through 2007. She served with Rubber City Radio as VP/operations for 12 years and launched Sue Wilson Creative in 2018. She says, “General Manager Dennis Hayes has built this amazing team in Portland that I’m so excited to be a part of. I’m grateful to him and [PD] Chris Kelly, and look forward to helping them create new, innovative ways to market and promote these incredible brands.” She begins her position later this month.

Audacy’s WEEI, Boston Renews Broadcast Deal with Red Sox. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI-FM and MLB’s Boston Red Sox announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for the Audacy sports talk station to continue to serve as the Red Sox flagship radio station, as it has since 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “Few things embody the city of Boston better than the Red Sox, and we’re delighted to extend our partnership with the team. The team has delivered some of the most memorable moments in baseball over the course of the last two decades and we’re proud to continue giving our audience a front row seat to everything surrounding the team.” As part of the partnership, WEEI will continue to air a weekly front office report with as part of “The Greg Hill Show,” featuring a rotation of interviews with Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran. Additionally, afternoon show “Merloni and Fauria” will welcome manager Alex Cora every week.

WABC, New York Honors Goya on Hispanic Heritage Day. New York City news/talk WABC presented an all-day event yesterday (10/6) honoring Hispanic Heritage Day by celebrating the numerous contributions the Hispanic community has made to New York City’s businesses, governmental communities, and culture. The celebration honored Goya, the largest and most successful Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, for donating over 40,000 pounds of food to victims of Hurricane Ida and over 4.5 million pounds of food since the start of the pandemic. Goya CEO Bob Unanue was presented the Humanitarian Award. Officials from the State of Louisiana called in via Zoom to thank Goya for supporting the residents during Hurricane Ida. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis said, “The Hispanic culture in New York City is among the most vibrant and fastest growing. As an immigrant myself, I understand what it means to take pride in your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity, and the path by which we all became ‘New Yorkers.’ We are proud of the contributions made by our Hispanic brothers and sisters, whether it is the thousands of Hispanic-owned businesses or the millions of New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage who work, live, play, and pray here in the greatest city on earth.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Red Apple and 77 WABC Radio president Chad Lopez, Unanue, and Margo and John Catsimatidis.

Debt Ceiling, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, COVID-19, Texas Abortion Bill, January 6 Investigation/Trump Election Denial, and China-Taiwan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). The battle in Congress over the raising of the debt ceiling; the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion Infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; a federal judge blocks the highly restrictive and controversial Texas abortion law; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s continuing claim of the “stolen” election; and China’s aggressive military actions toward Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

| October 6, 2021

WIP, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Announces Retirement. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime WIP-FM, Philadelphia morning host Angelo Cataldi will retire from the Audacy sports talk station when his contract expires at the end of 2022. Cataldi has been with the station since 1989. The Inquirer’s Rob Tornoe writes that Cataldi decided to work another year (instead of retiring at the end of 2021) “after meeting with WIP’s new program director, Rod Lakin, whose first day at the station was Monday. Cataldi told listeners he started to become burned out back in May and was prepared to announce his retirement at the end of this year when his contract expired but said Lakin asked him to remain on an additional year.” WIP made some concessions to keep Cataldi around for another year, including a new four-day work week, a driver to shuttle him to Atlantic City for remotes, and the rehiring of marketing director Cindy Webster as a “special consultant” to the show to “help with our relationships with the teams and promotions.” Cataldi hosts the show with fellow cast members Rhea Hughes and Al Morganti as well as a rotating group of Philadelphia sports figures.

Audacy Names Lena Moss Glaser VP and Executive Producer for 2400Sports. Production pro Lena Moss Glaser joins Audacy as vice president and executive producer of the company’s new podcast studio, 2400Sports. In this role, Glaser will oversee all production and content operations for all 2400Sports podcasts, partnering with producers and talent internally and externally to develop slates of new podcasts. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “I’m thrilled to welcome Lena to Audacy and our podcast team as we continue to scale our newest studio 2400Sports. Her deep experience in sports media, from digital and social-first content to international productions at the biggest sporting events in the world, and her ability to find unique stories that engage a diverse range of audiences, combined with her reputation as an incredible leader, makes her a perfect fit to lead 2400Sports, and we’re looking forward to Lena lending her voice, skills and talent to our team.” Glaser began her career with NBC, where she produced network studio shows for four Olympic Games and served as coordinating producer of NBC’s Paralympics coverage in Sochi, Rio, and Pyeongchang. Her additional remote, studio, and feature credits include work on the US Open, Wimbledon, and Roland Garros; three Super Bowls, and “Football Night in America.”

Round Two of September PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s September 2021 survey period covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In the Washington market, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM drops seven-tenths for an 8.5 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish and falls from #1 to #2. At Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM, the station sheds one-tenth for 3.2 share finish and the #13 rank. iHeartMedia Boston’s news/talk WRKO tacks on one-tenth to finish with a 3.9 share and remains ranked #9 while sister all-news WBZ-AM adds four-tenths to remain ranked #3 on the strength of a 6.6 share. In Seattle, Bonneville’s KIRO-FM continues its occupation of the #1 spot even though it dipped two-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 7.1 share. Lotus Communications’ all-news KOMO-AM/FM stays in the #3 rank while shedding four-tenths for a 5.4 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as yesterday’s first round) here.

CUMULUS Promotes Conrad Trautmann to Chief Technology Officer. Rising from his previous position as SVP, technology & operations for CUMULUS MEDIA to chief technology officer is Conrad Trautmann. He reports directly to president and CEO Mary Berner. Trautmann joined CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One in 2000 as EVP, technology, and was promoted in February 2016 to SVP, technology & operations. In his new role, he is responsible for the oversight of companywide broadcast engineering and information technology, as well as purchasing, real estate and facilities management across the company. He also serves on the Radio Technology Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters. Berner says, “Conrad’s contributions to the company over the past 21 years are countless. Unsurprisingly, Conrad has done a particularly commendable job successfully leading the company through the technical challenges presented by COVID-19, and by severe weather events we’ve experienced across the country. He has also been critical to broadening and advancing the technology that drives our growth platforms in digital and podcasting. This promotion recognizes the vital role that he continues to play in our success.”

Triton Digital Releases August 2021 Streaming Ranker. Data from Triton Digital’s Streaming Metrics measurement service for the August 2021 period is released. Rankings are computed based on Average Active Sessions (AAS) which represents the average number of sessions at any point in time in the reported time period, with invalid sessions omitted. AAS can be calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period. Measuring the Monday – Sunday 6:00 am to 12:00 midnight period in the U.S., iHeartMedia is far and away #1 with 289,528 AAS. The following media companies also ranked in the top 25: NPR Member Stations (#2), Audacy (#3), Cumulus Streaming Network (#4), Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (#7), Hubbard Broadcasting (#8), Salem Communications (#11), Urban One (#12), Bonneville International (#13), Midwest Communications (#18), and Lotus Broadcasting (# 23). You can see all the rankings in the August survey here.

Jim Thompson to Retire from Broadcasters Foundation of America; Tim McCarthy to Transition to President Role. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that president Jim Thompson will retire from the Foundation at the end of 2022. In conjunction with that announcement, the BFoA unveils a succession plan whereby Thompson and broadcast veteran Tim McCarthy will serve as co-presidents through 2022, at which time Thompson will move into an active consultancy role. The search committee unanimously chose McCarthy as the best candidate for the position, and the board of directors unanimously endorsed him and the succession plan. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “I have known Tim for almost 20 years. He is an outstanding leader and I look forward to working with him and Jim for a seamless transition. Jim has done a phenomenal job getting the word out about our mission and increasing the number of broadcasters we help. The entire board and I are delighted that he will remain with the Foundation as co-president and then as a consultant.” Thompson says, “Serving the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation has been the most rewarding experience of my career. I cannot think of a more worthy task then helping our colleagues in their darkest moments. The search committee and the board have made an excellent choice in Tim – I know I will be leaving our mission in good hands.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago morning drive star Eric Ferguson is off the air at WTMX-FM for the month of October while Hubbard Radio deals with the accusations of now three former station staffers who’ve accused Ferguson of inappropriate behavior. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England announced to the rest of the staff that Ferguson would be off the air while the station does more investigating. He said, “We take these allegations seriously and we are confident in the results of multiple investigations we have initiated. But we also owe it to ourselves and our listeners to have a deliberate and thoughtful process about our path forward, and candidly we are not there yet.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” air personality Hardy is adding new duties as afternoon drive host at sister classic rock station WBOS-FM “ROCK 92.9.” Hardy is co-host of the “Zolak & Bertrand” midday show on “98.5 The Sports Hub.” WBZ-FM program director Rick Radzik says, “Hardy is one of the most talented, creative people I have ever worked with. His day-to-day role on ‘Zolak & Bertrand’ and with 98.5 will remain the same. Expanding his role locally and within the company is a win for everyone.”

MIW Announces Traci LaTrelle is This Year’s Mentee. This year’s mentee in Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio’s MIW & BDSradio Mentorship Program is Howard University Radio Network’s WHUR-FM music and assistant programming director Traci LaTrelle. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “Traci is incredibly accomplished and still eager to grow further in our business. I am so excited for the opportunities that lie ahead of her and the chance for MIW to play a part in her growth. Congratulations to Traci and, as always, big thanks to Haley Jones, Scott Musgrave, and MRC Data who make this mentorship possible.”

Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills/Debt Ceiling, Facebook Whistleblower, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, and California Oil Spill Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/5). The negotiations among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill and the related issue of the debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appears before a U.S. Senate committee; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; the ongoing investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the subpoenaing of Trump administration officials; and the damage and probable cause of the Southern California oil spill were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

| September 22, 2021

Larry Elder to Return to Salem Radio Network Show Next Month. It’s been more than a week since the California recall election that Governor Gavin Newsom won by a two-to-one margin. Top Republican vote-getter Larry Elder has not yet returned to his nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show that airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. As TALKERS readers are aware, Elder took leave of his show to run in the recall election and Carl Jackson is hosting the program in his absence. SRN SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce says in a statement, “Larry is taking an additional 30 days to de-compress after a grueling run for governor of California. He plans to be back on the radio for Salem on or about October 18.  He wishes to thank all of his affiliates who supported him during this trying time, and he assures them when he comes back, he will be on fire and ready to save America once again.” At this morning’s editorial meeting, several TALKERS staffers raised the question as to why Elder wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get back on the air as quickly as possible to capitalize on the current buzz generated by his good showing among the GOP field. After all, in an era of short-term attention span, one must strike while the iron is hot. If he had been elected, he hopefully wouldn’t have taken a month off to recuperate. Salem has been extremely supportive of Elder and his campaign. Is there something else at play here?

Dennis Glasgow to Program iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. Radio programming pro Dennis Glasgow is the new program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC talk station “104.7 WONK-FM” (WWDC-HD2/W284CQ). Glasgow was most recently with Capitol Broadcasting where he was vice president of operations and program director for three sports stations including WCMC-FM, Raleigh. iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming for Washington and Baltimore Jeff Kapugi comments, “As a veteran in sports and news radio, Dennis brings an unparalleled set of skills and experience to WONK-FM. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Washington, D.C. team!” Glasgow says, “It’s an exciting time to be at WONK in Washington, DC. I am looking forward to creating meaningful and informative content for D.C.’s insiders and thought leaders every day.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WINZ as ‘FOX Sports Miami’; Local Morning Show Cancelled. Miami sports talk outlet WINZ-AM re-brands as “FOX Sports 940 Miami,” effective today (9/22). iHeartMedia drops the morning drive Jeff “DeFo” DeForrest show and replaces it with its new nationally syndicated show, “2 Pros and a Cup of Joe with Arrington, Quinn & Knox.” It now airs the complete FOX Sports Radio national lineup. It will continue to serve as the official flagship radio station for Miami Marlins baseball as well as University of Florida Gators men’s football and basketball. iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale market president Shari Gonzalez says, “We are excited to align 940 AM WINZ with a first-class organization like FOX Sports Radio. This partnership ensures passionate South Florida sports fans, and our 940 advertisers will have access to the nation’s top talk hosts and their insights on the most relevant topics facing teams, athletes, and fans.”

Audacy Names Steve Perrault Senior Producer for MLB Content. Sports radio pro Steve Perrault joins Audacy as senior producer for Major League Baseball content for its newly launched 2400Sports podcast studio. In this role, Perrault will oversee the creation and production of all MLB team podcasts and be a contributor to national podcasts co-produced in conjunction with MLB, following Audacy’s content partnership with the league. Perrault will co-host a new Boston Red Sox podcast under 2400Sports, which will debut in 2022 and will also serve as an on-air contributor for WEEI-FM, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox. This is in addition to his current role as co-host of the “Live BP Baseball Show” on the station. Perrault was most recently with Barstool Sports as co-host and producer of the company’s Red Sox-focused “Section 10” podcast. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “As we continue expanding our new 2400Sports podcast studio and embark on our new expansive podcast partnership with Major League Baseball, we’re thrilled about adding Steve to our team to launch a new show centered around the Boston Red Sox. This podcast, which will be intensely focused on fan engagement and fan-created content, will lend a unique perspective to everything Red Sox, and we believe Steve truly encompasses the dynamic of the show.”

Burlington, Vermont Sports Talker ‘101.3 The Game’ Drops ‘The Huddle.’ The afternoon drive show “The Huddle” with hosts Arnie Spanier and Rich Haskell has been dropped from the station’s program schedule on Vox AM/FM’s sports talk WCPV-FM, Burlington, Vermont “101.3 The Game.” The Burlington Free Press reports that the station has cited substandard ratings as the reason for the program’s demise. Haskell continues to work for Vox AM/FM, including calling Middlebury High School football on the company’s WVTK-FM. Spanier exits the company but continues his work with FOX Sports Radio on Sunday evenings. Haskell tells the paper, “It’s been a great run and it’s hard to see it end in the blink of an eye. But it’s also the nature of the business, that’s the real difficult nature of format and show changes in radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media personality and reporter William J. Kelly returns to the airwaves at WCGO-AM with his “The Citizen Kelly Show” on Monday (9/27). He says, “‘The Citizen Kelly Show’ is back! I’m very proud to be back on AM 1590 WCGO and 95.9 FM. We are a turning point in our nation’s history and, more than ever before, people want the truth. That’s what the Citizen Kelly Show is all about.”…..CNN Audio launches the first episode of “Margins of Error,” a new limited-series, weekly podcast hosted by CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. The company says, “In this series, Harry is on a mission to discover the statistical stories that live just a little under the radar. From making an unusual case for Daylight Saving Time, to the re-examination of a century old-dating rule, this podcast is a love letter to every listener who may need a pause from the news-of-the-day headlines, but still want the rigor of CNN reporting”…..John Davis joins the support team at Wheatstone. Davis – who has 18 years of on-air experience with Cox Media Group and continues to host weekend shows for the company – was most recently with Logitek Electronics Systems as a support manager. Davis has a background in AoIP support of almost 20 years and has previous experience in broadcast automation as the marketing manager for OMT Technologies.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling, Biden UN Speech, Infrastructure Bill, Southern Border Crisis, Trump Sues Niece and NYTimes, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid default on the nation’s debts; President Joe Biden’s speech before the UN general assembly; debate in congress over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump sues his niece Mary Trump and The New York Times over the disclosure of his tax information; and the homicide case of Gabby Petito and her missing fiancé Brian Laundrie 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.