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Thursday, March 31, 2022

| March 31, 2022

Criminal Trial Attorney and Radio Talk Show Host Arthur Aidala is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Get ready for a deep dive into an analysis of the criminal justice system, Supreme Court politics, and the causes of spiking urban crime stats. Nationally famous New York defense lawyer and high-profile on-air TV and radio legal analyst, Arthur Aidala is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For more than 25 years, Aidala has handled high-profile cases at the investigative, trial, and appellate levels, including a famous win for NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, and obtaining a full acquittal of William Rapetti in the highly publicized New York City crane collapse case. Now he’s been recruited to join the airstaff at New York City’s “AM 970 The Answer” (WNYM) to host a daily one-hour power-packed radio show (“The Arthur Aidala Power Hour”) currently in its third month on the air. Michael Harrison describes Aidala’s air work as “nothing short of fantastic.” Don’t miss this fast-paced, content-rich example of why “The Michael Harrison Interview” has been a favorite of media enthusiasts and talk radio junkies around the world for almost seven years. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

Triton Digital Releases Streaming Rankers for February 2022. The most recent streaming ranker report from Triton Digital is released for U.S. listening in February. Triton’s rankers are based on Average Active Sesions (AAS) – 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 (AAS=TLH/Hours in period). For the period Mon-Sun 6am-12am, iHeartMedia is the #1 publisher with 291,890 AAS. NPR Member Stations is #2 with 81,180 AAS, followed by Audacy at #3 with 65,774 AAS and Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 with 41,342 AAS. Other radio-related companies of note ranking in the top 25 include Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (18,423 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (14,884 AAS), Salem Communications at #11 (9,498 AAS), Urban One at #12 (8,084 AAS) and Bonneville International at #13 (6,783 AAS). See the whole report here.

 

Cumulus Boise Names Nancy Wirth Director of Sales. Radio and television sales pro Nancy Wirth is named director of sales for Cumulus Media’s Boise station group that includes news/talk KBOI-AM/FM, sports talk KTIK-AM/K237HA “The Ticket,” and three music brands.  Wirth most recently served as faith-based radio and TV group the Dove. She says, “Cumulus has always been the best of the best. I am ecstatic to be part of the Cumulus Boise team, and I look forward to working with everyone and growing in this dynamic company.”

 

Montemayor Joins Beasley Detroit as General Sales Manager. Another move in the sales department at Beasley Media Group Detroit as Lynn Montemayor joins the company as general sales manager for the cluster that includes sports talk WCSX-HD2/W228CJ “Motor City Sports Talk – The ROAR” and four music brands. Montemayor spent the past four years as a partner & chief marketing officer Detroit-based marketing firm Fortysix/5. Beasley Detroit VP of sales Tina Murley comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Lynn Montemayor to the Beasley Detroit team. Lynn is a highly respected, industry professional that has a keen understanding of client needs and how to build winning marketing plans. She is the perfect addition to our amazing team in Detroit.”

 

iHeartMedia Partners with Super League Gaming for Metaverse Projects. Forging ahead with its endeavors in the metaverse, iHeartMedia announces a partnership with Super League Gaming – a network of metaverse games, monetization tools, and content channels – that “will leverage iHeartMedia’s massive North American sales force of 1,500 sellers in every major market nationwide, as well as its vast roster of partners, to bring Super League’s highly-sought-after ad inventory and influencer network to brands looking to gain entry to the metaverse.” The two companies will also collaborate on the development and rollout of iHeartMedia’s “iHeartLand” virtual spaces and fan experiences across metaverse platforms as well as the distribution of Super League’s immersive new 3D and NPC (non-player character) ad units. The press release further states that “Super League will share its deep knowledge and insights on open metaverse gaming platforms such as Roblox and Minecraft. This includes the company’s robust suite of exclusive analytics to help guide the go-to-market plans and future-forward sales strategies for iHeartMedia’s portfolio of premium brand advertisers.” iHeartMedia EVP, digital distribution and platform partnerships Jessica Jerrick says, “As we develop and introduce our unique iHeart experiences in the metaverse this year, we’re thrilled to partner with Super League to create new and compelling ways to connect our brand partners to passionate fans in our virtual spaces and beyond. Super League’s expertise, coupled with their best-in-class ad tech and expansive inventory across Roblox games, puts them at the forefront of this exciting space and makes them an ideal partner for iHeartMedia’s new extensions in the metaverse.”

 

Alex Jones Being Held in Contempt of Court. According to numerous reports, including one from CNN, talk media personality Alex Jones is being held in contempt of court for failing to sit for depositions in the suit against him by families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook School shooting. Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that Jones intentionally failed to comply with the court’s orders but so far has not issued a warrant for his arrest. Jones’ attorneys say he is being advised to remain at home due to medical issues, but his attorneys also confirmed in a court filing that Jones has been hosting his daily “Info Wars” show from a studio away from his home. CNN’s report says, “Until he sits for a deposition, Bellis ordered, Jones will have to pay fines that will start at $25,000 a day on April 1 and increasing by $25,000 each business day.” Christopher Mattei is the attorney representing a number of Sandy Hook families and he argues that Jones should be jailed until he is deposed to show that refusing the court’s orders “are not worth it.”

 

 

Jesse Kelly Participates in KTLK, St. Louis’ ‘Patriot Speaker Series.’ Last weekend, Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk host Jesse Kelly participated in the inaugural “Patriot Speaker Series” produced by iHeartMedia’s news/talk KTLK-FM, St. Louis “104.9 The Patriot” and hosted by KTLK morning personality Jamie Allman. The event took place before a sold-out crowd of more than 300 guests and featured a conversation between Allman and Kelly, who chatted about their careers in radio and the latest news headlines, before taking questions from attendees. Pictured (from l-r) are: iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John Beck, Allman, Kelly, iHeartMedia St. Louis SVP of programming Gail Austin, and iHeartMedia St. Louis SVP of sales Libby Nolan.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Pictured at right is nationally syndicated talk radio host and best-selling author Todd Starnes in front of The Ronald Reagan Ranch Center where he was invited to deliver the keynote address at an event hosted by Young America’s Foundation. He also delivered a speech to hundreds of college students at West Coast Baptist College near Los Angeles…..The new book from SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison hits the #1 position on the Amazon Political Literature Criticism book chart. Radio Active: a Memoir of Advocacy in Action, on the Air and in the Streets (Xlibris US, 2021) is described as “the story of Madison’s decades of activism, from his childhood in a segregated neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio, to interviewing Barack Obama in the Oval Office. It’s a delightful tale, a call to action and an eye-opening commentary on the racial divide that persists in America today.”…..Audacy expands its broadcast partnership with the New York Mets by making the Audacy app the exclusive free digital streaming home for all Mets games as part of WCBS-AM’s flagship partnership with the team. English and Spanish language broadcasts of Mets baseball will be available on the Audacy app for consumers within the Mets broadcast territory and Mets.com beginning Opening Day on April 7. Audacy New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero states, “Following one of the most successful off seasons in franchise history, we’re thrilled to gear up for the 2022 season by making our outstanding coverage of the Mets even more accessible to millions of local fans. In the car, on their phone or however they may be listening – in English or in Spanish – the Amazin’ faithful will now have the ability to seamlessly catch every pitch during what is sure to be an exciting season.”…..iHeartMedia announces a slate of original podcasts as part of its My Cultura Podcast Network launching in partnership with award-winning actress, producer, director and activist Eva Longoria. The company says the upcoming shows further My Cultura’s dedication to celebrating and elevating Latinx voices, stories, and content creators like Longoria. The projects span across genres – two of the series will be hosted by Longoria herself, including an interview series and a food and culture show. Longoria, along with actress Dania Ramirez, will also executively produce a scripted podcast series based on a true story. SVP, head of production and development for My Cultura, Gisselle Bances says, “We’re incredibly excited about this partnership, and the growth of our network, as we continue to tell our stories and celebrate our Latinidad. We’re thrilled to partner with Eva as we continue to increase the representation and visibility of our community and cultura in the podcast industry and beyond.”…..TuneIn announces a newly inked, multi-year partnership agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of Opening Day that will – for TuneIn Premium subscribers – include live and on-demand game coverage of all 30 MLB teams, on-demand post-game analysis, Spanish-language broadcasting coverage, and spring training play-by-play coverage.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Trump’s Putin Request, Gas Prices/Inflation, January 6/Ginni Thomas, Hunter Biden Investigation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Cawthorn Allegations, and West Bank Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/31). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the war’s effects on the European and American economies; former President Donald Trump beseeches Vladimir Putin with requests for damaging information on President Joe Biden; the high price Americans are paying at the pump and in grocery stores; the January 6 committee’s investigation and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife Ginni’s texts to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows asking him to overturn the 2020 election; the DOJ’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant; GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn tells a reporter powerful Republicans invited him to an orgy and did cocaine; and the Palestinian-Israeli violence in the West Bank were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s 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. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.