Julie Mason | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "Julie Mason"

Thursday, December 17, 2020

| December 17, 2020

Newsmax Media Founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Newsmax Media – the conservative news organization that owns and operates Newsmax.com and Newsmax TV in addition to a number of other platforms and services in digital and print publishing – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Veteran journalist, entrepreneur, and news executive Christopher Ruddy discusses the history and strategy that has led to Newsmax TV achieving enormous rating gains this year in its juggernaut campaign to provide FOX News Channel with formidable competition in the conservative news/talk cable TV ratings wars. In this revealing conversation, Ruddy tells Harrison his side of the recent story by media writer Ben Smith published inThe New York Times under the headline, “The King of Trump TV Thinks You’re Dumb Enough to Buy It.” He dispels the notion conveyed in that piece that Newsmax TV has strategically flanked FOX to its far right and is telling President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists whatever they want to hear regardless of the truth. Ruddy discusses the bigger picture of Newsmax content which also delivers stories and items that are unfavorable to Trump and collectively covers a broader segment of the spectrum best described as center-right, as opposed to far-right. Harrison and Ruddy take a deep-dive into talk media political “positioning” which lies at the very heart of modern competitive programming. They also speculate on the future of American politics and the talk media coverage thereof. True to his unpredictable and often contrarian approach to what many observers consider conventional wisdom, Ruddy states that it appears President-Elect Biden is not veering to the far left as many Republicans and Trump supporters fear he will as evidenced by many of his cabinet picks, and that the 46th president will be far more of a “centrist” than many in both parties are expecting. Ruddy also candidly discusses the balancing act required to maintain a long-standing “friendship” with Trump while not being afraid to criticize his policies on those occasions when he believes such criticism is warranted in addition to outlining his immediate plans to grow Newsmax as a full-service news organization in 2021. This podcast is a must-listen! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Floyd Reese Exiting ‘102.5 The Game’ in Nashville. According to a story in the Nashville Post, former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese is giving up his sports talk host gig at Cromwell Media’s WPRT-FM, Nashville “102.5 The Game.” Reese co-hosted the afternoon drive program “Jared & The GM” with Jared Stillman for the past five-plus years. Stillman will continue to host the afternoon show now billed as “Stillman & Company” as the station seeks out a new afternoon co-host. The Post cites a press release in which Reese states, “This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while and I feel it’s time for me to take a step back. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with ‘102.5 The Game’ and doing a show with Jared has been a terrific experience. He and I formed a unique partnership that allowed us to be teammates and friends. I’d also like to thank Cromwell Media owner Bud Walters and [program director] Ryan Porth for their non-stop support over the years. It’s been a good run.” Reese was general manager of the NFL’s old Houston Oilers from 1990-1999 and the Titans (after the Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville) from 1999-2006. He was a senior football advisor for the New England Patriots from 2009-2012. He joined “102.5 The Game” in 2015.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Keeps The Bike Drive Alive. The annual holiday “Bikes for Kids” drive was launched by retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock 26 years ago. With Hancock’s retirement at the beginning of 2020, the fate of the charitable drive that had provided some 20,000 bikes (as well as gifts, food, clothing and more) to tens of thousands of needy Charlotte-area kids was up in the air. Ultimately, WBT staff, in partnership with the Carolina Panthers, WSOC-TV, Frito Lay, and some other local charitable organizations, worked to get 400 brand-new bikes collected during the “Bike Drive” that took place on Tuesday (12/15). Brett Winterble, who took over the afternoon drive show following Hancock’s retirement, says, “It was an amazing day for Hancock’s bikes for kids. This was my first opportunity since joining WBT in February to interface with this amazing audience in person. The generosity and good cheer of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday was truly awe inspiring. In gathering hundreds of bikes for well deserving children I forged new friendships with dedicated listeners to WBT. One man named Steve told me he was a 50-year listener of WBT and had attended every one of the bike drives Hancock led. It was an unbelievable show of generosity and good civic pride. I look forward to next year and can’t wait for this to continue to grow!”

Townsquare Media to Offer $550 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media reveals it has priced an offering of $550 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026. These notes are being offered to institutional buyers and will be senior secured obligations of the company and will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by certain of the company’s direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. The closing of the offering is anticipated to take place on or about January 6, 2021. Townsquare says that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to repay existing senior secured credit facilities, to redeem all of its outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023. It is also terminating its existing senior secured credit facilities, including its existing revolving credit facility.

Skyview Networks and MLB Radio Rightsholders Team Up for Annual Meeting. This year’s annual meeting of Major League Baseball radio rightsholders and Skyview Networks to discuss their broadcast operations and ad sales experiences from the previous season was done remotely. This year’s panels placed a heavy focus on fan engagement and advertising strategies with emphasis on maximizing digital assets under the restrictions of the pandemic. Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “The MLB radio rightsholders play a significant role in their teams’ success through broadcast sponsorships. Radio and baseball have always put fans first and this season proved no different. Skyview played an important role in helping teams find creative solutions during the pandemic and we showcased those solutions to the whole league this week.” Skyview says many teams also leveraged the power of social media to engage with fans through promotions from their biggest sponsors, citing proactive communication as their key to success. Putting their followers’ interests at the forefront, these organizations hosted many virtual gatherings through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more to encourage listenership and interaction while the season was on a hiatus. Additional panel topics included software and strategies to streamline remote broadcasting, creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content to increase broadcast listening and sponsorship extensions, and monetizing the evolving sports betting opportunities across a radio platform.

New Drive Time Shows on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel in January. Starting on January 4, the new lineup on SiriusXM’s non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. channel will includeJulie Mason Mornings” (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) and “The Laura Coates Show” (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET). Veteran journalist Mason takes over for Tim Farley’s “The Morning Briefing” after Farley’s retirement at year’s end. Coates – a CNN senior legal analyst – moves to the P.O.T.U.S. channel from SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Julie Mason has more than 30 years of experience covering local, state and national politics, including four presidential campaigns. In more than 10 years at the White House, she traveled internationally and reported from more than 30 different countries. She is a former elected board member of the White House Correspondents Association. In addition to her media work, Coates has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law.

United Stations Radio Networks Names Jim Roberts Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Sports. Sports radio pro Jim Roberts is named director of affiliate sales and marketing/sports content for United Stations Radio Networks. He comes to USRN after a 20-plus years career with Disney/ESPN in which he oversaw the inception and growth of the affiliate network of 500-plus stations for ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes while also managing Disney owned-and-operated stations in New York City and Dallas. United Stations recently announced a partnership with SportsGarten Network to provide stations with short-form, long-form and daily daypart options in sports and sports wagering content. In his new role, Roberts will market all USRN sports-related programs and services, including the Total Sports Prep service. USRN’s Stefan Jones comments, “At United Stations we are growing our programming, services, and partnerships in the sports and sports-wagering lane. As more and more states are legalizing sports wagering, we want to ensure our company delivers quality options.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Rich Eisen and Westwood One reach an agreement for the latter to feature “The Rich Eisen Show” podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network, beginning on January 4. The deal also calls for the development of a new podcast by Eisen called “Just Getting Started” (scheduled for a February debut) in which Eisen interviews the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, discussing their career origins and mining their stories on how they got started, in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors…..In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago is handing the agribusiness beat over to Steve Alexander with the retirement of Orion Samuelson at the end of this month. Samuelson is putting the wrap on a radio career that spans 60 years. Alexander says, “When I’ve filled in for Orion over the past 12 years, I’ve often joked that he gave me the key to the tractor, and I was able to keep it out of the ditch until he returned. Come next month, I’ll try to keep the tractor upright and continue Orion’s efforts to explain how important agriculture is to all of us.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs’ program adds two new affiliate stations as WEOL, Elyria, Ohio and KPRL, Paso Robles, California pick up the show.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, the Economy & Closings, Stimulus Talks, Ongoing Election Denial, Georgia Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Northeast Snowstorm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of vaccine distribution in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy and forced business closings; the congressional negotiations over a new stimulus package; the ongoing denial of the election results in the Donald Trump camp; January’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and nominations; and a big snowstorm hits the Northeast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a series of holiday programs being made available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM that’s airing from December 18-20. The shows are: “POP Goes Christmas,” featuring Why Don’t We and Ava Max; “Acoustic Christmas,” featuring Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Dan + Shay, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Rob Thomas, Train, Matt Nathanson, Ava Max, and a special performance from Keith Urban; “Country Christmas,” with Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Lady A, Runaway June, and Russell Dickerson; and “Not So Silent Night” starring Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, All Time Low, SHAED, and Wallows. Those four shows will culminate in the “RADIO.COM LIVE! Holiday Music Festival,” a free video stream of the concert performances on December 21 at 6:00 pm ET, available nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website at RADIO.COM/Live. Portions of the show will also be available on Twitch and via RADIO.COM’s social media channels. The performances will be accessible on demand for 72 hours after the show on RADIO.COM and station websites…..SiriusXM announces the rollout of several new pop up channels, holiday specials, live programs for New Year’s Eve, exclusive video, podcasts and best-of live performances. “New Year’s Nation” will launch beginning December 29 as a pop-up channel on SiriusXM dedicated to the ultimate New Year’s celebration songs in pop, rhythm, dance, and hip-hop from across the nation featuring the hottest hits from Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and more. New holiday pop-up channels include Top 100 Interviews of 2020, highlighting the top celebrity interviews from the past year. Hosted by SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle and Julia Cunningham, the pop-up channel will feature interviews from shows including “Andy Cohen Live,” “The Hoda Show” and “The Jess Cagle Show” with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laverne Cox, Lily Collins, Lizzo, Ramy Yousef, Sam Smith, Sean Penn, Spike Lee and dozens more.

KID-AM Owner Explains Morning Show’s Departure

| April 23, 2020

Editor’s Note: This piece follows up on TALKERS’ April 20 report on the exit of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team Neal Larson and Julie Mason.  In it, station owner Richard Mecham explains what happened leading up to their resignations. He presents the email he sent to the duo. 

By Richard Mecham
President
Rich Broadcasting

 

SALT LAKE CITY — I spent a lot of time monitoring KID-AM the week of April 13 from my office in Salt Lake City.  While listening to the station I heard the following comments:

Read More

Thursday, April 23, 2020

| April 23, 2020

The Nitty Gritty of Online Listening.  WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” afternoon drive talk show host Phil Valentine writes in a piece for TALKERS magazine about news/talk listening habits in the current coronavirus crisis and how online listening is affecting ratings.  Valentine says some of his fellow hosts were concerned about losing listeners since fewer people are commuting and therefore are not in their cars to listen.  But, he says, that’s not what happened.  His show’s ratings, as well as the station’s overall, went up.  “What’s really interesting is our ‘universe’ in PM drive only shrank 4% overall with listeners 6+.  Even more interesting is our weekly cume with adults and men 25-54 actually went up. So did our time spent listening, which is understandable. If people are listening, they’re primarily listening from home without the constraints of a commute. This same scenario is being replicated on talk stations in many places all across the country. If they’re listening at home, it probably means more people are moving their listening to the Internet rather than listening to the on-air signal.  The big question is, if more people are listening online are we getting credit for it?”  Valentine contacted Nielsen Audio to find out.  Read the column here to find out what he learned.

Las Vegas-Based Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizing ‘Patriot Caravan’ on Las Vegas Boulevard. Talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root – heard in Las Vegas on KBET-AM and syndicated nationally via USA Radio – is organizing what he calls the “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan” up Las Vegas Blvd. tomorrow afternoon (4/24) at 3:00 pm.  Root says, “We will have biggest caravan in Vegas Strip history on Friday to demand our governor re-open the economy.”  He calls it a “massive show of force by WAR Army – made up of small business owners, patriots, conservatives, capitalists, and every employee left penniless by closure of the entire Strip.”  Root says he has designed it to adhere to government guidelines about social distancing as all participants will be in cars.  He will broadcast his entire show from his car at the head of the “parade.”  He adds, “This event is a political version of drive-in church service.”

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Owner Explains Morning Duo’s Departure.  On Monday (4/20), TALKERS magazine published a summary of the East Idaho News’ report on the resignation of KID-AM, Idaho Falls morning team of Neal Larson and Julie MasonRich Broadcasting owner Richard Mecham tells TALKERS their decision to resign “had nothing to do with a disagreement with the owner [which is how TALKERS phrased it in our coverage].  What it had to do with was the fact that their comments were irresponsible, they were challenging the governor’s order, and could have potentially put our license in jeopardy.  I invited them to discuss the issue over lunch and they quit with no notice.”  Mecham shares his email to Larson and Mason and further explains what happened in a piece you can read here.

SmartTalk Radio Network’s ‘CoronaLert’Airing on 300-plus Stations. The month-old “CoronaLert” program hosted by Cary Harrison and syndicated by SmartTalk Radio Network and Sun Broadcast Group is airing on more than 300 stations across the country.  SmartTalk says Harrison “presents slickly produced, 60-second rapid-response features that draw from the top scientific and medical minds available today.  ‘CoronaLert’ is the first of its kind with both volume of daily segments and a custom fleet of professionally produced companion videos for stations’ websites.”  SmartTalk CEO Chuck Duncan comments, “‘Facts Not Fear’ is the basis for ‘CoronaLert’ and provides listeners on all platforms and devices with a daily topic or development that is covered in a solution-oriented, easy-takeaway format.  SmartTalk Radio Network presents a forum for discussion, info, and entertainment covering myriad life topics, including COVID-19 and its lasting effects on our world.”

Entercom Expands Relationship with Sonos for RADIO.COM. Content from Entercom’s RADIO.COM will soon be available via the new Sonos Radio streaming service from Sonos.  Numerous Entercom stations are currently available as an integration on the Sonos platform.  Entercom corporate business development VP David Rosenbloom states, “Sonos provides a premier listening experience and we’re pleased to expand our relationship with them and bring RADIO.COM’s stations to millions of listeners across the country.  Through this partnership, Sonos customers can access RADIO.COM’s music, sports, and news content on their Sonos system, providing them with an enhanced listening experience of their station of choice from the comfort of their homes.”

TALKERS News Notes. The new American Uncensored News Network (AUN-TV) has launched with the goal of creating “uncensored” news, talk, and documentary programming from independent media and grassroots producers.  Currently, AUN-TV shows air on seven stations in Northern California, including in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fort Bragg, Santa Rose, and more.  The network has appointed Rick Trader CEO, general manager and president of program development.  He says, “I am thrilled and excited at the prospects of AUN-TV!  Now, many great shows, views and voices will have a television platform to call their own.  The AUN-TV Network is badly needed to report on the stories the alphabet networks do not want the American people to know of.  Our goal is to bring original, thought-provoking programs to the viewing public that has a thirst for the truth, and to return our country to the principals of Liberty, Rule of Law and Judeo-Christian ethics our founding father created it for.”…..JVC Media is bringing infectious disease expert Dr. Rajeev Fernandez aboard as a contributor to its radio programs in three of its markets.  Dr. Fernandez joins “Steve and Leeana Mornings” on CHR WPTY, Long Island “Party 105.3,” “The Shannon Burke Show” on “Florida Man Radio” (talk WDYZ, Orlando and WYGC, Gainesville), and news/talk WRCN, Long Island “103.9 LI News Radio.”  JVC Media president and CEO John Caracciolo states, “When we founded JVC, the goal was to be hyper-local and community focused.  Having Dr. Rajeev Fernandez available to our loyal listeners does so much good for the communities we serve.  The doctor is so relatable, likable, and easy to listen to.  It’s like a friend giving us the answers to this crazy puzzle called coronavirus.  I’m grateful to Dr. Fernandez and our hard-working JVC family for working together to super-serve our hard-hit communities.  It can’t be said enough, we WILL get through this together.”…..The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program with host Lee Habeeb adds new affiliate stations including: Entercom’s KRLD-AM, Dallas; Second Amendment Foundation’s KITZ-AM, Seattle; KBNP, Portland, and KSBN, Spokane; Futures and Options Inc’s KFNX-AM, Phoenix; Alpha Media’s KFOR-AM, Fargo; and STARadio’s WTAD-AM, Quincy, Illinois.  Habeeb, who is also CEO of producer American Private Radio, says, “There is no question people are starving for positive, original radio programming that celebrates this great country.  Partnering with one of the great stations in America, the legendary KRLD, means so much to our team at American Private Radio.  Now, we can bring our great stories to more people of not one, but two of America’s greatest cities under the banner of the 50,000 watt blow-torch of KRLD-AM.”…..Sports betting information network VSiN is partnering with Skyview Networks for the latter to handle affiliate sales.  Skyview CEO Ken Thiele states, “Skyview is in a strong position to partner with content creators as a full-service audio shop and is actively engaging in deals that bring exciting, high-demand content, like VSiN’s programming and analysis to the industry.”…..Radio’s “Best Friend” Art Vuolo handled editing duties for a film called iPot made by retired radio personality Joey Reynolds back in 2014 about the marijuana-growing industry in Humboldt County, California.  Reynolds’ daughter is in the growing business and that piqued his curiosity to investigate the newly legal industry.  Longtime Los Angeles radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly is among a number of special guests who appear in the film that you can see here.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Southern States Re-Opening Plans, COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign, Transferred HHS Doc Controversy, Financial Markets Activity/Oil Glut, U.S.-Iran Tensions, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases; several Southern states announce plans to begin re-opening their economies, clashing with President Trump’s advice; allegations that China, Russia, and Iran are mounting a social media disinformation campaign blaming the U.S. for the coronavirus pandemic; the controversy over Dr. Rick Bright’s transfer from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for opposing widespread use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to combat the coronavirus; the world’s financial markets’ response to the pandemic and the oil crash; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

American Urban Radio Networks DC Bureau Chief April Ryan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The Washington, DC bureau chief and White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks, veteran journalist April Ryan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”   Ryan, who is also a political analyst for CNN, is an African American single mother of two who has been covering the White House since Bill Clinton’s second term.  She was thrust into the national spotlight with the advent of the Trump Administration when she attracted controversy for standing up to the president and his press secretary at White House briefings and press conferences by asking tough questions and holding her ground for follow-ups.   Among her many awards and honors, the National Association of Black Journalists named Ryan its “Journalist of the Year” in 2017.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The Westwood One-syndicated urban AC morning show “Rick and Sasha” is the new morning show on WNBM, New York.  The program airs in more than 30 markets.  Cumulus Media vice president of urban programming Kenny Smoov states, “The ‘Rick and Sasha’ show is growing fast and going BIG! New York is going to love this show!  There is nothing like getting a historic first-year report card.  Rick and Sasha, with George Willborn, not only sounds better than it ever has but is also showing remarkable ratings growth – extraordinary for a second-year show.  It is refreshing when the actual numbers match my ear test. This show is poised for long-term greatness.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

| April 21, 2020

KID-AM, Idaho Falls Morning Hosts Resign Over COVID-19 Coverage Conflict with Station Owner. The morning drive duo of Neal Larson and Julie Mason resigned from their positions with Rich Broadcasting’s news/talk KID-AM, Idaho Falls yesterday (4/20) after deciding a directive from station owner Richard Mecham about their coverage of the coronavirus pandemic went against their principles.  The East Idaho News reports that at the heart of the disagreement was the duo’s disagreement with Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “stay at home” order.  While Larson and Mason tell the paper they didn’t suggest anyone to break the law, Mason says she told listeners they should “follow your heart and figure what’s right for you and your family because COVID-19 is really situational.”  Mecham tells the paper, “I was trying to understand why you would fly in the face of the governor’s order when so many other stations are doing things to support your clients and listeners.  This is the first time I’ve ever had a conversation with them about what they do and don’t cover.  I’ve always trusted Neal.  I’ve always supported them.  I’ve never critiqued the show, and I’ve always had their back.”

Entercom Adopts Limited Duration Shareholders Rights Plan.  The board of directors of Entercom Communications has voted to adopt a shareholder rights plan – also known as the “poison pill” – to prevent a takeover of the company without consent of the board.  The company explains the move in a press release, “The Board adopted the Plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations which has led to substantial volatility in the trading of the Company’s stock and a dislocation in Entercom’s share price.  The Plan is similar to those adopted by other publicly held companies and is intended to promote the fair and equal treatment of all shareholders and ensure that the Board remains in the best position to uphold its fiduciary duties to the Company and its shareholders.  The Plan is designed to allow shareholders to realize the long-term value of their investment by guarding against opportunistic efforts to capitalize on recent macroeconomic conditions, including open market accumulations and other strategies, aimed at gaining control of the Company without paying all shareholders a full control premium for their shares.  The Plan provides for the issuance of one preferred stock purchase right for each share of Class A Common Stock and each share of Class B Common Stock held by shareholders of record on May 5, 2020, exercisable for Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock, respectively. Generally, the rights will become exercisable or exchangeable only if a person or group (with the exception of certain existing holders in certain circumstances) acquires 10% or more of the Company’s outstanding Class A Common Stock, or 15% in the case of certain passive investors (including shares synthetically owned pursuant to derivative positions or deemed owned due to specified actions in concert) or announces a tender offer and the consummation of that offer would result in ownership above such percentage-levels.  If the rights become exercisable, the rights will entitle its holder to purchase one one-thousandth of a share of the newly-created Series A and Series B Preferred Stock, as applicable, which, in each case, at the Board’s election, may be converted into shares of Class A and Class B Common Stock, respectively, of the Company.”  The Plan has a one-year duration, expiring April 20, 2021.

Cox Media Group: Local Media Outperforms During Pandemic. According to a study conducted by Cox Media Group, consumers are turning to local radio for information, entertainment, and companionship more than any other media source during the coronavirus pandemic.  The multi-market, online in a wide variety of demographics – ranging from 18 to 54 – and yielded more than 11,000 responses.  CMG says that the study found that one-third of participants are listening to radio more since the coronavirus outbreak.  Since the outbreak, 94% of participants indicated that they have tuned into local radio more than any other streaming service for music, talk, and information, demonstrating that as radio continues to evolve, ‘local’ ranks as one of the most important differentiators.  CMG Radio VP, audience and content Tim Clarke says, “Audience engagement is very strong by any metric you look at.  Listeners depend on our radio brands more than ever for a mix of news, entertainment and a friendly and familiar voice to keep them going during this uncertain time.  They are captive and immersed in our content on all platforms and our top personalities continue to deliver.”

Members of Congress Send President Trump Letter Requesting Aid for Local Media. The letter dated Monday (4/20) is written by Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Flores (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Fred Upton (R-MI) and is signed by more than 240 Members of Congress.  It expresses the notion that people rely on local newspapers, TV, and radio for information and that those entities can’t survive without advertising.  The letter requests the following specific action: “We believe that Executive Branch agencies have a powerful opportunity to support local media and promote public awareness by directing that federal spending on advertising be prioritized for local media outlets.  Specifically, we encourage federal agencies to put into action today already funded campaigns to achieve certain public objectives as well as potential promotions of the economic stimulus programs provided for by the CARES Act and other recent legislation. We urge you to: 1) Direct your Cabinet secretaries to review any resources intended to be used for advertising campaigns and have them expedite such activities with local media outlets; 2) Direct federal agency advertising dollars for existing and new federal programs where community outreach is needed for spending with local media, including those serving minority and rural communities; and 3) Incentivize a portion of stimulus funds provided to businesses for their recovery efforts for advertising on local media.”

Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford.  Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 survey period covered February 27 through March 25.  The intense coronavirus news consumption since the pandemic was declared in mid-March has driven listening to all-news and news/talk radio stations.  Some of those seeing increased weekly, 6+ AQH shares during the March survey include: Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” adds eight-tenths to finish with an 8.8 share and the #2 rank in the market; in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia  news/talk WISN tacks on six-tenths for a 5.8 share and the #5 rank while Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ also rises six-tenths for a 5.7 share and the #6 rank; Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “Super Talk 99.7” is up six-tenths to a 5.3 share and the #6 rank; Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville rises 1.4 shares for an 11.8 finish and the #1 rank; and Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford shoots up a full share to wrap March with a 7.2 share and the #4 rank in the market.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

TALKERS News Notes. Milwaukee sports talk outlet WAUK-AM is airing content from SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio channel instead of the ESPN Radio content it usually airs now and for the foreseeable future.  Good Karma Brands vice president and Milwaukee manager Steve Wexler states, “We can’t wait for live sports to resume and for the threat of the coronavirus to subside, but in the meantime, we believe the health and well-being of our community is the top priority, as well as delivering relevant information to our audience.”…..No medium does parody songs better than radio and one such example addressing the coronavirus pandemic comes from Bob Flaherty, morning drive personality at Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts.  Taking on the topic of “herd immunity,” the Flaherty Singers twist a Johnny Cash classic into a parody for our times.  Check it out here…..Cox Media Group’s Tampa Radio stations – including talk WPHT-FM “102.5 The Bone” and its four music brand sisters – raised close to $268,000 for the Metropolitan Ministries via its “Feed It Forward: A Virtual Food Drive” that took place last Thursday (4/16).  The donations will assist families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic…..Beasley Media Group Philadelphia stations, including sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” and its four music-formatted sisters have officially unveiled a line of ‘Philly Stands Together” merchandise to benefit the “PHL COVID-19 FUND.”  The PHL COVID-19 FUND is a joint venture between Philadelphia Foundation and The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey designed to benefit organizations throughout Philadelphia and surrounding counties in PA and New Jersey to serve the region’s most vulnerable neighbors and to ensure critical resources remain accessible for those with the greatest need…..SiriusXM is presenting coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft that begins on Thursday (4/23).  The SiriusXM NFL Radio channel will carry the live announcements of every selection by every team.  The broadcast will feature Pro Football Hall of Fame member and legendary player personnel executive Gil Brandt; former NFL scout, coach and front-office executive Pat Kirwan; former veteran NFL quarterback Jim Miller; and lead host Jason Horowitz.  Former college coach Rick Neuheisel will join the broadcast team for the Friday and Saturday draft rounds.  All hosts will be broadcasting from their home studios.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Trump vs Governors, ‘Stay at Home’ Protests, Relief Funds Controversy, Oil Prices Crash, GA TN and SC Plan Reopening, Kim Jong Un Status, and Tom Brady Cited in Tampa Park Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and the death toll, plus the projections for future cases and fatalities; the battle between President Trump and the governors of several states over authority to issue directives and the states’ needs for medical assistance; the protests against “stay at home” directives; the controversy over reports that large corporations are receiving relief funds designated for small businesses; the price of oil continues to crater in the absence of demand; Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina’s plans for re-opening immediately; questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; and Tom Brady is cited for working out in a closed park in Tampa were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After exiting iHeartMedia’s KWBL, Denver “106.7 The Bull” for a new opportunity, we learn that Brian “B Dub” Washington is taking on afternoon drive show host duties at Hubbard Radio’s KNUC, Seattle “98.9 The Bull.”  He says, “I’m beyond excited to get my family back home to the Northwest and join the team at ’98.9 The Bull’ and Hubbard Seattle.  Can’t wait to make some great radio with Fitz, Wingnut, and the rest of the crew at ‘The Bull,’ as well as work with Scott Mahalick again!  Amazing things to come!”…..Changes take place at Saga Communications’ country WCVL-FM, Charlottesville, Virginia as morning drive host Adam Rondeau and program director and PM drive personality Bryan Shine exit.  Operations manager Les Sinclair takes over station programming duties…..After being off the air since March 31 due to a case of COVID-19, iHeartMedia alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” evening jock Karah Leigh returns to the air.