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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

| June 28, 2022

New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazine posts the latest in an ongoing series of video presentations from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on June 10 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Today’s video addition features the panel discussion titled “Programming News/Talk Radio in the Digital Era” moderated by Mike McVay, president, McVay Media Consulting.  Panelists include Dr. Asa Andrew, CEO/host, The Doctor Asa Health Network (“Believe”); Grace Blazer, VP, national NTS brand coordinator, director of news and AM programming Florida region, iHeartMedia Miami; Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media GroupSalem Radio Network/operations VP, New York Region; Kevin DeLany, VP, news & talk programming, Westwood One; and Greg Stocker, program director, WPHT, Philadelphia.  The introduction was provided by Steve Goldstein, CEO, Amplifi Media. You can watch the video here.

iHM Jacksonville Boosts Lawrence To Senior VP/Sales. Two-and-a-half-year iHeartMedia Jacksonville vice president/sales Stacey Lawrence advances to senior vice president/sales of that Florida cluster. Lawrence will report to iHeartMedia North Florida area president Paul Rogers, who comments, “When I joined the market [in March 2021], I took a long time to evaluate our team, including our management team. I wanted to learn their values, their work ethic, and observe their commitment to our team, our customers, and to iHeart. Stacey flat-out earned it, and her strong working relationship with vice president/digital sales Brooke Adams is going to be crucial and what takes us over the top.” Lawrence remarks, “I’m thrilled to step into my new role with this incredible team in Jacksonville. Although I’ve been with iHeartMedia less than three years, it did not take me long to realize this was where I belonged. [It’s] a forward-thinking company that is customer-centric at its core. Jacksonville is exploding and I plan on leading this team to their fullest potential. I look forward to making a difference in our community and helping businesses achieve their marketing goals through our world- class, multi-channel offerings.” Lawrence spent 14 years with Hibu (formerly YellowBook USA). She later held sales management positions for two Jacksonville TV stations, including Graham Media Group’s  WJXT-TV. Among the stations in iHM Jacksonville is Spanish news/talk WFXJ “Acción 97.3.”

Moore Becomes MAB’s Main Man. Most recently the vice president of programming for iHeartMedia New Hampshire, Tim Moore is named president/chief executive officer of the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Moore succeeds Suzanne Goucher, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. MAB board chair/WMTW-TV, Portland president/general manager David Abel states, “The Board was looking for someone with deep experience in Maine broadcasting and extensive relationships throughout the state; Tim stood out among some very qualified candidates. There is much to be done to position the MAB for the future and we are excited to have Tim lead that effort.” According to Moore, “I’ve loved the MAB for years and believe in the mission to advocate for broadcasters on every level. My thanks to David Abel; incoming chair Corey Garrison; and the entire board of directors for placing their faith and trust in me. I’m beyond excited to lead the MAB into the future and cannot wait to get started.” Moore began his Maine radio career in Bangor at WKSQ. He later went to Portland as operations manager of WHOM and WJBQ. A former MAB board chair, Moore is a member of the MAB Hall of Fame and was awarded the inaugural (2010) “Broadcast Achievement Award.” The Maine Association of Broadcasters was formed in 1947 to “cultivate a friendly spirit of cooperation in matters of common interest” to radio and television stations throughout the “Pine Tree State.”

Wexler Wins NFPW’s Top Spot For Best Radio Interview. Just hours after Jim Himes spent a marathon day and night at the U.S. Capitol following the January 6 (2021) riot, Connoisseur Media Bridgeport news/talk WICC’s Lisa Wexler interviewed the Connecticut congressman live on her 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show. That January 7 interview enabled Wexler to win first-place for “Best Radio Interview” in the National Federation of Press Women’s Awards. Wexler comments, “Interviewing congressman Jim Himes after he experienced all that transpired on January 6 felt like history in the making. I urge all to listen to it now, with the benefit of hindsight.” Connoisseur Media senior vice president Kristin Okesson remarks, “The role of radio is as vital as it’s ever been, and Lisa Wexler is a fantastic example of what makes the medium so critical right now. Lisa has developed a deep connection to her audience through her no-nonsense interview style and down-to-earth storytelling. Through these stormy past few years, Lisa was there to help guide her listeners through. She remains a reassuring voice during an uncomfortable time in our nation and the world. Connecticut and WICC are lucky to have Lisa Wexler behind the microphone.” NFPW is a nationwide organization of women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum, including radio, television print, electronic journalism, freelancing, new media, books, public relations, marketing, graphic design, photography, and advertising. Winners from throughout the country were honored this past Saturday (6/25) during the National Federation of Press Women communications contest ceremony in Fargo, North Dakota. Nearly 2,000 entries were judged in a wide variety of categories. Only first-place winning entries at the state level are eligible to enter the national contest. All entries were published or broadcast between January 1 – December 31 (2021). “The Lisa Wexler Show” took first place for the Jim Himes interview at the Connecticut Press Awards.

“Share Of Ear” Q1 2022 Findings. Among this week’s Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group blog highlights is that among registered voters, terrestrial radio has a 75% share of ad-supported audio. Meanwhile, AM/FM radio’s audience is 13 times bigger than Pandora and 19 times that of Spotify. Trending ad-supported audience shares from Q1 2020 to Q1 2022, terrestrial radio sees little change (78% to 76%). As podcast shares bump up from 7% to 11%, Pandora’s shares are down 25% (8% to 6%). Also in single-digits are Spotify (4%) and SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics; podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined. In the car, AM/FM radio shares have been in the high-80s the last six years. Most Americans only listen to terrestrial radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify. Over six years, the proportion of terrestrial radio listening occurring through online streaming has nearly doubled (8% to 15%). More radio listening is occurring via stream (15%) than the entire AM dial. With a 43% share, terrestrial radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker. Edison Research’s quarterly “Share of Ear” study surveys 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio.

TALKERS News Notes. The first-ever “Black Effect Podcast Festival” is set to take place August 28 at the Avant Gardner in Brooklyn. Premiere Networks’ “Breakfast Club” co-host Charlamagne Tha God will join the festival, along with some of the Black Effect Podcast Network’s most popular personalities for a day of live podcast tapings and discussions aimed at aspiring podcasters in the black community. According to Charlamagne Tha God, “The Black Effect Podcast Network was created to amplify black voices for new and established content creators and storytellers, giving them a space to showcase their creative vision in the ever-growing podcast game. I’m excited to celebrate the first-ever Black Effect Podcast Festival, where talented black creators and aspiring podcasters will come together for a day to uplift and inspire one another. This festival is for the culture and is one of many events the network will host for the black community.” Launched in September 2020 and curated by Charlamagne Tha God, the Black Effect Podcast Network has debuted 32 shows. Black Effect Podcast Network partners include AT&T, BetterHelp, Hulu, Molson Coors, Nissan and State Farm … Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is coming back to the organization to be part of this year’s radio broadcasts on iHeartMedia Charlotte. A first-round pick by the Panthers in 2012, Kuechly will be in the booth for six home games and the road trip to his hometown of Cincinnati. He comments, “I just love the Panthers. I want to be attached to the team and the game. I think it could be a lot of fun.” Kuechly played eight seasons in Carolina and retired following the 2019 season. Other members of the Panthers radio team are Anish Shroff; Jordan Gross; Jake Delhomme; Kristen Balboni; and Jim Szoke … Among the three specials ABC Audio will provide to affiliates this July 4th weekend is ABC News Radio’s three-hour Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” Nathanson and ABC News correspondents venture across the country thrill-seeking and learning new skills.

Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Downloads for Podtrac-measured shows (June 20 – 26) are up 1% over the previous week and gain 70% versus the corresponding period last year. Whereas “Health & Fitness” displays the strongest week-over-week growth (+9%), “Comedy” registers the weakest week-to-week loss (-4%). The category with the strongest  year-over-year improvement is “Health & Fitness,” climbing 183%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth for the 52-week period (June 21, 2021 – June 26, 2022) was up 70%, while week-over-week (June 20 – 26, 2022) download advancement  was up 1%. Year-to-year download growth was +183% for “Health & Fitness”; +116%, “Comedy”; +87%, “True Crime”; +83%, “Sports”; +64%, “News”; +62%, “Business”; +60%, “Society & Culture”; +47%, “Science”; +44%, “History”; and  +12% for “Arts.” Download week-over-week gains are made by “Health & Fitness” (+9%); “Arts” (+3%); “News” (+3%); “Society & Culture” (+3%); and “Sports” (+2%). “History” remains even, while “Comedy” is -4%; “Science” and “True Crime” are both -3%; and “Business” is -2%.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

| June 22, 2021

Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+).  Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.

Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot.  Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.

Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.

TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and  Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways  Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.

Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.