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Monday, June 28, 2021

| June 28, 2021

Monday Memo: Quoting Sgt. Hulka. Are you the soundtrack of The American Comeback? Or what consultant Holland Cooke calls “relentless negativity, even as polls demonstrate widespread optimism? The phrase ‘talk radio’ conjures a caricature. That seems not to be a problem for station owners and managers focused on FMs losing music consumers to streaming. Down the hall, legacy stations with once-proud call letters – now sadly referred to as ‘the AM’ – dispense daily discouragement. To the suits, that’s ‘talk radio.’” Get more of Cooke’s take on this by reading his column here.

Pending Business: Hunters and Farmers. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes today about a major university-based seminar he attended that identified two basic categories of sellers: “hunters” and “farmers.” The “hunter” personality enjoys the prospecting, contact, engagement, in essence the outright pursuit and negotiation of the deal. The “farmer” personality will be stronger at keeping current relationships fluid. Servicing current advertisers and easier legacy renewals are the farmer’s number one priority. Is you approach balanced or does it lean too much in one direction? Read his column here.

Video of First Session from TALKERS 2021 Conference Posted. The video of the first session from the TALKERS 2021 Conference held at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted above. In this opening session, TALKERS 2021 master of ceremonies and TALKERS general manager of broadcasting operations David Bernstein welcomes the attendees to the conference and introduces FOX News Radio talk host Jimmy Failla who provides opening remarks and performs his trademark stand-up comedy. Also, in this session is a greeting from Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, followed by the presentation by WPG, Atlantic City morning show host Harry Hurley of $5,000 from his charity to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Also included: San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo kicks off the event with his saxophone rendition of the “National Anthem.” TALKERS magazine will continue posting videos of the panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 this week and next at the rate of one session per day.

KPRC-AM, Houston Announces New Evening Programming. Houston news/talk KPRC-AM “AM 950, Real Texas, Real Talk” unveils new evening programming that begins today. Airing from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm is Sean Salisbury, who is venturing into the news/talk world in addition to his morning drive sports talk program that’s heard on iHeartMedia’s sister sports talker KBME, “Sportstalk 790 AM.” Also, KPRC is adding Premiere Networks’ “Jesse Kelly Show” in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daypart. iHeartMedia Houston director of programming Bryan Erickson says, “Kelly, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, brings an exciting new perspective on the day’s events. He’s a unique and fresh voice in the talk radio landscape and one of the most entertaining guys I’ve ever heard.” Regarding Salisbury’s new show, Erickson adds, “The self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ is anxious to talk about events outside the realm of sports. If he could, Salisbury would be on the air 24 hours a day. He loves what he does, and his passion is off the charts.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville ‘104.5 The Zone’ Unveils ‘3 The Pro Way’ Podcast. Nashville sports talk outlet WGFX-FM, “104.5 The Zone” announces the launch of a new podcast titled, “3 The Pro Way,” hosted by Nashville sports figures Kevin Dyson, a former Titans wide receiver; Joey Kent, a Vol For Life and former Titans wide receiver; and Todd Campbell, a former who Western Kentucky University football player. The podcast is the newest addition to the “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.” The debut episode features guest former Tennessee Titans great  and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, who currently serves as head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers. The Cumulus Media sports talk station says, “‘3 The Pro Way’ shares the stories of the three African American athletes and business professionals, who have each transformed their respective athletic careers into different careers, allowing them to learn, grow and become successful through those unique paths. Kent, Dyson, and Campbell will give advice and discuss concepts for how to successfully transition from one career to another. They will also welcome guests who have gone through similar career journeys to share their personal and professional perspectives and provide podcast listeners with helpful takeaways on how to transition from one career to an entirely new one.” WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “When Kevin, Joey, and Todd first shared their ‘3 The Pro Way’ podcast idea, I knew the 104.5 The Zone Podcast Network would be the perfect partner. I look forward to hearing a weekly conversation with different athletes and professionals on their career transitions. I am also excited to work with Todd, Joey, and Kevin in growing ‘3 The Pro Way’ within the ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’” The “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” was launched in April, when the Nashville sports station announced that it had entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports.

PodcastOne Inks Deals to Distribute Podcasts. The five podcasts that PodcastOne has just acquired the sales and distribution rights to are: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld,” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” – all of which will appear in the True Crime, Society & Culture and Documentary category. Podcast One president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne actively seeks unique and compelling content for our network and being able to add these shows: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” to our network is something we consider a real coup as we increase the varied genre content we make available to listeners, potential listeners and to advertisers.”

Dartmouth Puts Radio Station Up for Sale. The Valley News reports that Dartmouth College is putting its commercial radio station for up sale. A spokesperson for the school says that WFRD-FM “has not met revenue expectations and has been operating ‘in the red.’” The station has just one paid staffer Chris Fazio, a.k.a. Chris Garrett, who handles morning show duties as well as ad sales. The Class A FM is a 6,000-watt signal that serves the Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire towns.

Florida Condo Collapse, COVID-19, Infrastructure Deal, Trump Ohio Rally, U.S. Iran Strikes, Election Fraud Claims/Giuliani’s NY Law License Suspended, Big City Gun Violence, Kim Jong Un Weight Loss, and Northwest Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The search for survivors of Florida’s condo collapse and early reports of inspections and repair delays; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations; the compromise infrastructure deal; Donald Trump holds a rally in Ohio and continues claims of election fraud; Joe Biden orders strikes on Iran-backed militants on Syrian border; the issue of 2020 election fraud claims and Rudy Giuliani’s New York law license is suspended; the soaring rate of gun violence in America’s big cities; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weight loss; and the record-setting heat wave affecting the Pacific Northwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. 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, 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, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; 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.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP at #3. 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.

Monday, July 27, 2020

| July 27, 2020

Monday Memo: About Pottymouth. Yes, the rules are different for podcasters than for what’s acceptable on-air lingo. But consultant Holland Cooke warns podcasters, “Pick your lane and stay with it.” Read his column here.

Unemployment Benefits Ending/New Stimulus Deal, Back to School Debate, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, BLM Protests, Presidential Race, U.S.-China Tensions, MLB Season Begins, and the Deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Americans are bracing for the end of unemployment benefits that run out this week as the GOP and the White House work on a new stimulus package; the debate over if and how to send kids back to school in the fall; the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the Black Lives Matter protests in several cities and the Trump administration’s use of federal forces; the November presidential election and current Trump approval polls; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China and allegations China is trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine data; Major League Baseball begins its shortened 2020 season; and the deaths of Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, and Peter Green were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Location, Location, Location. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the coronavirus pandemic has changed where people take part in certain activities and where they consume certain products. Similarly, radio salespeople must accept that in-car listening habits have changed and they must pitch accordingly. Read it here.

Two Stations Add Salem Radio Network Lineup. Two radio stations are adding the Salem Radio Network lineup of conservative talk shows to their program schedules. Idaho Wireless Corporation’s KSEI, Pocatello, Idaho flips from oldies to news/talk and Wilkins Radio Network changes KXKS-AM, Albuquerque from a religious format to news/talk, both airing the lineup of Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Larry Elder, and Dan Proft.  Both stations are also airing Townhall News at the top of the hour. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “We have seen tremendous interest in the news/talk format, with this major breaking news cycle we are living through. These stations see this tremendous interest in breaking news and what to make of it, and they understand only one network is capable of giving them an entire lineup.”

iHeartMedia Los Angeles Partners with FanVestor for Charitable Sweepstakes. Through a partnership with fan engagement app FanVestor, iHeartMedia Los Angeles is raising money for local charities providing access to healthy meals for children and others affected by COVID-19 school closures and financial hardship. FanVestor is hosting a series of virtual in-app sweepstakes in which fans who download the free app and create an account become automatically entered to win a daily $1,000 cash prize and can also enter to win one virtual fan experience sweepstakes of their choice for free. Those virtual fan experiences include: A Private Virtual Q&A with professional baseball players Justin Turner or Max Muncy hosted by KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports” personalities Petros and Money. The winner will also receive a team gift bag and jersey from one of the players and two of the original seats from Dodger Stadium; A Private Virtual Hang with The Jonas Brothers hosted by 104.3 MYFM’s on-air personality Valentine; A Private Virtual Hang with DJ Khaled, hosted by Big Boy from KRRL “REAL 92.3”; Co-Host for The Day on 102.7 KIIS FM’s “Top 9 at 9 Countdown” alongside on-air personality EJ, plus a private virtual hang and interview with artist, singer and dancer Jackson Wang; Private Virtual Brunch with Ryan Seacrest and the cast of 102.7 KIIS FM’s “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” show; and more. iHeartMedia division president Kevin LeGrett says, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles is excited to partner with the new FanVestor fan engagement app at a time when our listeners, the fans, are craving interaction with their favorite artists and trusted iHeartMedia personalities.”

‘10,000 Voices’ Campaign Underway at iHeartMedia Philadelphia. In collaboration with non-profit voter registration organization HeadCount, iHeartMedia Philadelphia launches the “10,000 Voices” campaign to encourage voter registration in Philadelpha, New Jersey, and Delaware. iHeartMedia Philadelphia says it will “combine its tremendous reach on air and digitally with HeadCount’s voter engagement tools along with support from the Philadelphia Commissioners Office in the 100 days leading up to voter registration deadlines in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. “10,000 Voices” will provide three paths for voter engagement: voter registration; a Me+3 Pledge, an initiative which will encourage listeners to bring three friends or family members to vote; and voting by mail. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “Increasing the number of people that vote in each election means better representation of everyone’s voice and a great way to actively participate in our democracy. This is our chance to vote on the issues important to us.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio pro Simon Conway (left) is filling in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (right) on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated talk show today through Wednesday. That’s in addition to Conway doing his regular WHO, Des Moines-based morning show that’s also heard on iHeartMedia’s WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Quad Cities. The Joe Pags Show will also air on WMT and WOC…..Magnum Communications closes on the acquisition of WFAW-AM and WSJY-FM, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and WKCH-FM, Whitewater, Wisconsin from NRG Media. KALIL & CO., INC. was the exclusive broker for this transaction…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers announce they have a new Spanish-language radio broadcast team for the 2020 season. Francisco Pinto will provide color commentary and Adrian Garcia Marquez will serve as the play-by-play announcer on Estrella Radio’s simulcast of regional Mexican KBUE-FM/KEBN-FM “Que Buena 105.5/94.3.” Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos says, “We are excited to reunite two of LA’s most recognizable and respected voices on our Spanish-language radio broadcast. Francisco and Adrian have great on-air chemistry, as witnessed by their multiple Emmy Awards calling Los Angeles Lakers games for Spectrum SportsNet Deportes. Both are consummate professionals with extensive sports broadcast experience not just in LA, but on the national and international stages as well. We cannot wait for their call to hit the airwaves this season and bring Chargers fans the action in a way that only Francisco and Adrian can.”…..Nationally syndicated talk host Dave Graveline announced via social media that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He writes: “I am COVID positive and I ‘have a bad case of pneumonia.’ They are sending for the respiratory therapist STAT. And they will do everything they can before they need to consider… ventilator. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Not feeling well at all.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Broadcaster Urban One, Inc’s executive team expressed thanks on Friday to the Washington, D.C. City Council for the amendment that effectively eliminates a proposed advertising tax from the Fiscal 2021 budget.  The proposed 3% sales tax would have been added to TV, radio, print, and digital advertising purchases. Urban One CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “We have been partners with the residents of the District for over 40 years and consider ourselves part of the fiber of the city and the DMV.  This pandemic has devastated and disrupted all of our lives, and the advertising tax would have been like adding salt in the wound.”…..iHeartMedia announces it has signed Jubal Fresh to a deal to host “The Jubal Show” on CHR KBKS, Seattle “106.1 KISS FM” Previously paired with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke and Jubal” show based at Hubbard Radio’s KQMV, Seattle, Jubal exited the show earlier this year. He will be joined at KBKS by his wife, Alex Fresh, and additional hosts to be named at a later date. iHeartMedia Seattle market president Robert Dove says, “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Jubal on his next endeavor and welcome him to iHeartMedia Seattle. Jubal’s ability to cultivate a diverse fan base across America, but most importantly, right here in Seattle, was just something we could not miss. I’m excited to welcome him and Alex to the team!”

Friday, June 26, 2020

| June 26, 2020

Chuck Damico Named Program Director for Philadelphia Sports Talker ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ Six months after programming pro Eric Johnson exited the program director role at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic,” the company announces it is promoting programmer Chuck Damico to the position, effective immediately. Damico has most recently been serving as PD for sister adult hits WBEN-FM and as APD for rock WMMR-FM. He will continue to serve as the APD at WMMR-FM as well as consult with WBEN-FM until a permanent replacement is announced. Beasley Philadelphia VP and market manager Joe Bell says, “Chuck was the perfect person to take the helm at ‘The Fanatic.’ He is an outside-the-box thinker who knows the market, the listeners, the staff, and is a life-long Philly sports fan! He will do a great job taking the station to the next level and beyond!” Eric Camille, who has been filling in as the interim program director, will continue serving as assistant program director and operations manager of the station.

Hochman and Entercom Strike Contract Extension Deal. South Florida sports talk radio personality Marc Hochman renews his deal with Entercom to continue his role on its Miami sports talk stations WAXY “AM 790 The Ticket” and WQAM “560 The Joe.” He co-hosts the “Hochman and Crowder” program with Channing Crowder that airs from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on WAXY and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm on WQAM. Entercom South Florida SVP and market manager Keriann Worley says, “Marc is a staple in the Miami sports media scene and brings a dynamic repertoire to our weekday sports talk programming on both ‘The Ticket’ and ‘The Joe.’ With four flagship partnerships between the two stations, the lack of live sports has created a unique challenge in programming, but Marc and Channing have continued to inform, entertain and engage with listeners. We look forward to more in the years to come.” Hochman joined WQAM as an afternoon drive host in 2013 after spending the previous 10 years as executive producer of “The Dan Le Batard Show” on AM 790 The Ticket. “Hochman and Crowder” has been heard on both stations via simulcast since 2019.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled “Masking the Truth!” looks back at this past week of June 22-26, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJoe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksRobyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Holland Cooke, media consultant/talk show host, RT AmericaRon Hartenbaum, broadcast talent manager/marketing executive; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that ESPN Radio has inked a deal with Keyshawn Johnson – currently co-hosting the “Keyshawn, LZ & Travis show on ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles – to take over the morning show daypart on the ESPN Radio network. That would mean the end of the “Golic & Wingo” morning show co-hosted by longtime morning personality Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. Andrew Marchand’s piece in the Post indicates ESPN has not decided on co-hosts or cast mates for Johnson yet but says the show should launch in August…..Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is honored with three awards from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists. Reporter Dino Flammia won third place for the Herbert Morrison Award for best audio story, for his series on child mental health, giving parents actionable information about options for getting their children help. Eric Scott, director of special projects, afternoon anchor Patrick Lavery, digital operations specialist Dan Alexander, and digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman shared second place for the Gabe Pressman Award for best news video for 2019’s “Opioids and Addiction” town hall. Statehouse correspondent Michael Symons won third place for the Tim O’Brien award for best use of public records, for “New Jersey’s incredibly shrinking property tax relief program.”…..ESPN reports that during the month of May, ESPN Podcasts experienced 44.2 million downloads, the seventh month in the last eight with a total of 40 million or more.  The number represents an 11% increase over the previous month and a year-over-year increase of 32%. In addition, the average ESPN listener downloaded 8.62 podcast episodes in May, up 40% over last year. ESPN’s unique podcast audience is verified by Podtrac and download totals by Rawvoice…..iHeartMedia and youth media company VICE Media Group announce the launch of a weekly investigative series “covering critical news subjects from around the world” titled “VICE News Reports.” The series is being co-produced by iHeartRadio and VICE News. The companies say, “The year-round weekly series will feature in-depth, on-the-ground reportage, tapping into VICE’s extensive global network of diverse, award-winning journalists, offering rare access audio that brings the listener directly into the story unlike any other program.”…..Entercom-owned podcast producer Cadence13 unveils C13Features, “a groundbreaking podcast feature studio focused on creating a wide-ranging slate of compelling feature-length stories of all genres that appeal to a wide audience.” It goes on to say, “C13Features will use a traditional Hollywood blockbuster movie creative approach to construct audio features at scale. The objective is to develop a brand-new experience of storytelling to the podcast listening universe, while also creating an incubator for a new kind of IP, attractive for film and television.”…..iHeartMedia Tampa Bay announces an agreement with the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee to be their exclusive local radio partner for Super Bowl LV in February 2021. As part of the broadcast agreement, iHeartMedia Tampa Bay will work with the Super Bowl LV Host Committee to support and promote Super Bowl LV initiatives and activations, including events and fan experiences as well as distribute news and information across all nine locally owned-and-operated iHeartMedia radio stations, digital platforms and social media channels…..“Tell Me What to Do with Jaime Primak Sullivan,” the seventh weekly podcast series from the Lemonada Media podcast network, launched yesterday (6/25). Sullivan, star of Bravo’s “Jersey Belle” and bestselling author of The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl (Touchstone, 2016) offers advice to listeners in what Lemonada calls an “edgy audio advice column” delving into topics such as “marital stressors and parenting challenges to developing self-love and taking ownership of our sex lives.”

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 22-26. The rising number of COVID-19 cases in some states and projections for future outbreaks of the illness combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of health care during the pandemic and the debate over the efficacy of wearing masks in public. Coming in at #3 is a tie between race relations, police reform, the removal of Confederate and Colonial-era statues, and the NASCAR ‘Noose” case, followed by the presidential race, President Trump’s rallies, the primary elections, and former national security adviser John Bolton’s book all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed Germany-based Hungarian progressive jazz-rock musician Leslie Mandoki and The Epoch Times leading edge investigative reporter on Communist China, Joshua Philipp. There are also guest commentators on diversity management, school and campus safety, as well as keeping Zoom events secure and private – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

 

 

Saga Seeks News/Talk Programmer. Saga Communications holds every one of our news/talk stations in extremely high regard. Our 11 AM/FM news/talkers have been and remain a most important part of Saga’s large portfolio of stations. They are near and dear to Saga president/CEO Ed Christian’s heart with a love and passion for the format that is truly eternal. Saga has a rare opening for a focused and skilled news/talk program director at WHCU in Ithaca, New York. The Cayuga Radio Group has a total of 10 outstanding radio stations in virtually every format and is led by president/GM extraordinaire Chet Osadchey and our terrific operations manager Chris Allinger. Check out Ithaca! It’s home to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation such as Ithaca College and Ivy League member Cornell University. Looking to make a difference in one of the most beautiful parts of the country? We want to hear from you. Send your materials, including cover and resume, to operations director Chris Allinger at callinger@cyradiogroup.com. Join one of the premiere broadcast companies in the world. Saga is an EOE. No calls please.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A virtual, fundraising event designed to honor the community and benefit first responders who have withstood and continue to endure through the COVID-19 pandemic is being presented on July 2 at 7:00 pm ET by Reach Media and Radio One. Titled, “A Night of Inspiration,” it’s being hosted by Reach Media personalities Erica Campbell, Willie Moore Jr., and Darlene McCoy. Radio One EVP of business affairs and entertainment Gary Bond says, “‘The Night of Inspiration’ at its essence is about taking an inspirational moment and turning that into hours, days, weeks, and years of positive action during these unprecedented times. In this COVID-19 climate of social distancing and limited gatherings, we’re coming to people where they are, right in the living room, by bringing a spectacular night of entertainment to uplift, edify, and renew us all as agents of change.”…..Tonight (6/26) at 8:00 pm ET, more than 60 affiliate stations that air Premiere Networks’ “The Sweat Hotel” with Keith Sweat, will hear R&B legend Brian McKnight give a special, remote performance for fans as part of the “Keith Sweat Presents the iHeartRadio R&B Live Concert Series.”.….Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee announces that its Backline grant and educational initiative for local musicians is continuing its 12-week accelerator program with the $20,000 grants despite the challenges of the pandemic. It announces the four Spring 2020 Backline artists are: Bisca Rae (FKA Liza Jane), an Anti-pop singer-songwriter; Cameron Jarrell Henderson, better known as Lorde Fredd33 (pronounced “Lord Freddy”), who’s made a name for himself by releasing a fusion of work that touches the bases of folk, alternative, and hip hop; Cameron Williams, also known as Cam Will, is a rap/hip hop artist who left behind his full-ride D1 athletic scholarship to channel his work ethic and determination into his passion for music full-time; and So Zuppy who is the solo music project from multimedia artist and producer Micah Foust…..Key Networks nationally syndicated country radio host Shawn Parr is pictured below with the staff of Jasper on the Air Inc’s country WQKZ, Jasper, Indiana, the newest affiliate station for his “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program.