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Thursday, October 28, 2021

| October 28, 2021

iHeartMedia Adds ‘Jim Polito Show’ to WXKS-AM, Boston. Boston news/talk outlet WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” is adding “The Jim Polito Show” to the morning drive daypart, replacing the FOX Sports Radio programming currently airing there. Jim Polito’s morning show launched on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAG-AM, Worcester and was eventually rolled out to news/talk WHYN-AM, Springfield and news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence, replacing the local morning shows on those stations. iHeartMedia president of the New England area community markets Sean Davey says, “I am proud of Jim and his growth. More than anyone I know, Jim loves politics and the ‘give and take’ that goes with it. For him to be heard in Boston is so exciting and the natural next step in Jim’s growth.” Polito comments, “Boston is the next stop for making serious talk fun. I do battle with the political establishment and succeed where others fail by changing minds and waking people up on the ‘right’ side of the bed.”

John Batchelor Returns to New York Airwaves on WOR. Nationally syndicated nighttime radio personality John Batchelor returns to the New York City air on November 1 as iHeartMedia’s news/talk 710 WOR, The Voice of New York adds his program, “Eye on the World with John Batchelor,” to the schedule in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “I have been a fan of John’s for almost two decades and the dedication he consistently displays in tracking down the details behind the important stories anywhere in the world and then sorting them out for listeners.” Batchelor says, “I am astounded to be invited to join the legendary WOR at this promising time, when the listeners of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut begin the hard work to recover from these last rough years. This is a privilege.” Batchelor’s program broadcasts nightly from New York and is syndicated by CBS Audio.

iHeartMedia Spends $64 Million to Repurchase All Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. The company announces that it has – via its subsidiary iHeart Operations, Inc., repurchased and cancelled all of its 60,000 outstanding shares of Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock, paying for it with cash on hand. The cash repurchase price for each Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock is $1,000, plus a premium equal to the remaining dividends required to be paid through the optional redemption date of May 1, 2022 discounted at a negotiated rate. This results in an aggregate redemption amount of $64.35 million to be paid to the holders of the $60 million Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “We are pleased to have voluntarily repurchased the full balance of our $60 million preferred stock, demonstrating our commitment to strengthening our balance sheet and increasing free cash flow, while still maintaining ample liquidity. Repurchasing early allows us to realize interest savings, exit the most restrictive instrument on our balance sheet, and continue to reinforce iHeart’s commitment to improving our capital structure. This action continues to demonstrate our confidence in our business moving forward.”

Armstrong & Getty Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The long-running, highly successful, West Coast-based news/talk radio duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” They started out as DJs in music radio in the early 90s but transitioned to all-talk and landed a big-time slot in 1998 as the morning team on news/talk station KSTE in Sacramento, California where they developed a reputation throughout the radio industry for their freshness and youthful dynamics. They’ve remained a huge attraction on that station to this very day but their reputation and reach has spread and continues to grow far beyond the Golden State’s capital. They are now a morning powerhouse in California’s major cities including KABC, Los Angeles; KSFO, San Francisco; and KGB-AM, San Diego and are heard throughout the West as well as on an increasing number of stations spreading East via their own independent syndication. “When I first heard them years ago, they sounded to me more like the kind of talk show hosts one would expect to hear on a rock station than on a serious news outlet. They were funny and irreverent and surrounded with a cast of characters that gave their show more of the feeling of a morning zoo than a round table of stuffy panelists,” says TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. “But even though they were zany and played the goofball roll to a certain degree, their antics were offset by obvious intelligence, keen insight, excellent interviewing skills and a ton of information about what was happening in the news.” Today, this compelling act – though still first and foremost entertaining and full of engaging pop culture – has matured and is a perfect fit for news/talk stations looking to cover the news and maintain a conservative orientation, but without the pedantic posture that can sacrifice a more eclectic audience. Even more important,” says Harrison, “Jack and Joe remain irreverent and are not rigidly beholden to any singular ideology or political personality. They present their opinions issue by issue. As we approach 2022, the show is uniquely positioned to be a major element in the unfolding news/talk radio universe.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Swipes Green Bay Packers Football from Good Karma Brands. The business relationships between radio stations and sports franchises are not immune to change but iHeartMedia’s new deal with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers that moves play-by-play broadcast rights in the state’s largest market from Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee to its own crosstown sports talk WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” beginning in 2022 is huge because WTMJ has enjoyed broadcasting Packers games since 1929. The team announced the news yesterday (10/27) and clarifies that this change only affects the Milwaukee affiliate as the team brought the Packers Radio Network in house in 2018. Packers VP of sales and business development Craig Benzel says, “iHeartMedia enthusiastically pursued the opportunity that being part of the network creates, and we are looking forward to how their innovative approach will appeal to Packers fans in southeastern Wisconsin. The Packers have greatly appreciated the partnership with WTMJ over the years and will always respect the history they have with the franchise.” The press release says, “‘97.3 The Game’ WRNW and iHeartMedia Milwaukee will offer an attractive demographic opportunity to reach new listeners with a growing sports talk radio segment and other programming formats in the Milwaukee area. Additionally, the partnership offers a variety of new platforms that will support key Packers initiatives, including iHeartMedia’s new audio partnership with the NFL which features podcast distribution.” The most recent Nielsen PPM numbers (6+, weekly AQH share) from the September 2021 survey show WTMJ ranked #1 in the market with a 9.1 share and WRNW-FM ranked #15 with a 1.3 share.

Charlie Sislen to Retire from Research Director; Karen Morriss Joins as Director of Client Services. Radio pro Charlie Sislen is retiring from his role at Research Director, Inc after 24 years with the company as a partner. His last day will be December 31, 2021. Sislen says, “It has been a pleasure being part of Research Director, Inc. for the past 24 years. I woke up every day excited not only about what would come next, but also more importantly the people I would interact with. I enjoyed every conversation with Research Director, Inc.’s amazing team, our tremendous clients, and everyone who makes our industry great. I want to especially thank my partner, Marc Greenspan, who had the vision to bring me into this company and partnered with me to build a truly remarkable organization. I am leaving a phenomenal team, whose hard work made my role as the face of the company easy. They made the difference for every one of our clients. Now is the time of my life where I must shift my focus from my career, which I love, to my family and my community. Research Director, Inc. and the radio industry will always be in my heart. My thanks to all who were such an integral part of this life‐changing journey.” As a part of the transition, Karen Morriss joins the team as the director of client services. She says, “I’m excited to be joining the Research Director, Inc. team. I’ve known Marc and Charlie for over 30 years and have great respect for both of them. I look forward to working with their wonderful clients.”

Triton Digital and Signal Hill Insights Collaborate to Create Demos+ Podcast Metrics Service. This collaborative effort between Triton Digital and audio research firm Signal Hill Insights results in the enhancement to Triton’s Podcast Metrics that provides audience demographic and socio-demographic data on podcast listeners and downloads in the United States. Triton Digital says the new Demos+ solution is “the first-ever integration of census and survey-based research podcast measurement methodologies. Through this collaboration, podcast publishers, advertisers, and agencies will be able to leverage podcast download metrics by person-level demographic, socio-demographic, media behavior and purchase intent propensities.” The two firms say they’ve “launched a large, year-round survey that is representative of the population of podcast listeners in the United States. Demos+ utilizes the Podcast Metrics measurement census-level data to identify listener overlap to scale the podcast survey-based insights. This unique approach enables Triton to project the audience composition for virtually all size podcasts – a capability previously hindered by podcast survey sample-size limitations. With this insight, podcasters will see a clear view of their audience, and marketers can more easily identify the podcasts which best reach their target audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Promotions and marketing pro Sandy Corcoran joins Summit Media as promotions director for the company’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN” and four music brands. Corcoran served for 10 years with Audacy where she was the assistant director of marketing and promotions for the Phoenix cluster, including KOOL-FM, KALV-FM, and KMLE-FM. She says, “I’m excited for the opportunity to join SummitMedia and their heritage brands in Omaha. Radio and music are my biggest passions. I couldn’t be happier to oversee promotions and events for this cluster.”.…..Podcast firm PodcastOne extends its podcast production partnership with REELZ to launch “Sex, Lies & Murder,” the latest true crime podcast in a series of shows co-produced by the two media companies. “Sex, Lies & Murder” episodes feature the real stories of sex-driven crimes that have rocked communities. These are the stories of a suburban housewife who becomes a killer. A church pastor who has extramarital sex then his wife joins the dearly departed. It’s a soccer mom who is found dead and police uncover her double life as a midnight escort. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to continue our long standing relationship with REELZ through our latest podcast “Sex, Lies & Murder.” Listeners and advertisers alike know that our REELZ-branded programming is edge-of-your-seat content that the podcast world is hungry for and we are excited to deliver.”…..ABC News is covering the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with correspondent Karen Travers reporting from Glasgow. She’ll file regular reports for newscasts, “Perspective” and other audio platforms. ABC Audio will also release a five-part climate report series examining the consequences of climate change and issues the conference is planning to address. Additionally, ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will dedicate multiple segments to the effects of climate change and how Americans are addressing the problem.

Biden’s Infrastructure and Social Spending Bills, COVID-19, Virginia Governor’s Race, Petroleum Industry Testimony/Climate Change, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Migrant Caravan/Immigration Policy, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Rust Set Shooting Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The state of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social spending bills as Democratic factions battle over where to spend; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approved for kids, and mask & vaccine mandates; the tight race between Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; today’s testimony before Congress from petroleum industry CEOs about climate change; the ongoing supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; a migrant caravan in Mexico approaches the U.S. border and the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies; China’s continuing military aggression toward Taiwan; and the investigation into the deadly shooting on the Santa Fe set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 18, 2021

| January 18, 2021

Monday Memo: We Are Changed. “New Year, new challenges…AND opportunities!” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, HC lists “10 Fresh Insights into People’s Changing Behaviors,” based on “billions of tweets (yes, with a B).” Read it here.

Wednesday’s Biden Inauguration Preparation, Capitol Assault Investigation, Impeachment, Trump Pardons and Commutations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccinations, Social Media and Free Speech, Migrant Caravan, Navalny Arrested, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; the ongoing investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill; the House’s vote to impeach Donald Trump again; speculation about the coming pardons and commutations from President Trump; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and criticism of vaccine rollout problems; social media’s banning “spreaders of misinformation” and the issue of free speech; a new migrant caravan from Honduras crosses Mexico for the U.S.; Putin opposition figure Alexei Navalny returns to Russia and is detained; and today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Pending Business: How Do You Like to Be Coached? Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says he recently worked with two top 20 market radio stations with no formal system for sellers to give feedback to air talent handling live reads. “The pattern is predictable. The seller sells, the host does the endorsement read, and results are disappointing. The host reads are off target and the dance begins. No one has taken the time to adjust the feedback system.” Read his column here.

Joe Zarbano Exits WEEI, Program Director Role. The Boston Globe reports that Joe Zarbano has left his PD role with Entercom sports talk station WEEI, Boston. Zarbano first joined WEEI in 2007 as an intern and rose through the ranks to become program director in 2016. He stated in a company-wide memo, “After careful thought and consideration, the time has come for me to pursue new challenges and step away from WEEI. In May of 2007, I walked into 20 Guest St. to begin an internship that I was so excited about I couldn’t sleep the night before. Little did I know, it was the beginning of a 14-year journey that would lead me to some of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life.” The Globe says that while WEEI won a Marconi for Sports Station of the Year in 2018, the Nielsen ratings have been kinder to crosstown competitor WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The paper notes that in the fall ratings period, WBZ-FM “was first in the market in the men 25-54 demographic, while WEEI was a distant fourth.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville Midday Trio Exits for Outkick Gig. According to a piece in the Nashville Post, the trio of Johnathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky, and Chad Withrow – hosts of the “Midday 180” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” – are leaving the station for a new role with Clay TravisOutkick. Travis is building a new Outkick OTT Network that will launch later this year. The Post says Travis’ new venture intends to air from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET with live audio and video plus a podcast network. Hutton tweeted, “We’re parting ways with the station, but ‘We’re Not Leaving.’ We remain in the business to win. A priority for each of us was to ensure we’d continue to work with one another, as we are the closest of friends, and we will continue to raise the bar.”

Emily Pankow Named General Counsel for Red Apple Media. Longtime Red Apple Group counsel Emily Pankow is appointed to the general counsel role for Red Apple Media, owner of WABC, New York and operator of WLIR-FM, Long Island. Pankow launched her legal career with Red Apple Group as an associate. CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Red Apple Media and WABC Radio will be well served by Emily’s legal insight. She has proven herself time and time again as an asset to our company over the past 15 years. Since the acquisition of WABC, Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.” Pankow comments, “I’m honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company’s growth under John Catsimatidis’ leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media’s success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”

Jordy Culotta Exits WNXX, Baton Rouge. Co-host of the “Off the Bench” program (7:00 am to 10:00 am) Jordy Culotta exits the Guaranty Media spors talk station. Culotta co-hosted the program with T-Bob Hebert and it’s unclear at this time if the company will replace Culotta or continue with Hebert hosting solo.

Retired Wisconsin Radio Personality John Moser Dead. WTMJ, Milwaukee reports that longtime WBEV-AM, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin radio personality John Moser has died, just two weeks after delivering his final broadcast for Good Karma Brands’ WBEV-AM. The details surrounding Moser’s passing are not clear. His family says he went into the woods near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to hunt coyote and did not return. Authorities later found his body and the cause of death is under investigation. Moser began his career in Beaver Dam in 1973. During his time there, he served as a news announcer, disc jockey, marketing consultant and general manager.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s not a lot of detail on this but Townsquare Media is dropping the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from its talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls. The company posted the following to its websites: “As of January 18, 2021 the show ‘Pratt on Texas’ will no longer be heard on Townsquare Media radio stations in Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls, Texas. Townsquare Media thanks Mr. Pratt for his years of service hosting ‘Pratt on Texas,’ and wishes Mr. Pratt the best in his future endeavors. An additional announcement will be forthcoming concerning future programming on KFYO, KYYW, and KWFS-AM.” Pratt posts on his website that the move is the result of “cancel culture,” apparently implying that his show has been pulled because of his conservatism. Pratt says his ratings “are as great as ever.”…..All day today (1/18), SiriusXM’s Urban View channel and the Joe Madison show are honoring the legacy and celebrating the influence of Martin Luther King Jr. Madison is hosting a special edition of his morning show featuring speeches, sermons, and never-before-heard interviews. Madison is sharing his address to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on King’s legacy, King’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech and “Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool” sermon, Rev. C.L. Franklin’s “The Eagle Stirreth the Nest,” and exclusive new interviews with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, attorney Raymond C. Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and journalist Joan Walsh. Topics will include the 13th Amendment, supporting Black colleges and Black youth in the South, health equity, and white supremacy…..ABC News Radio is offering extensive live anchored coverage of the inauguration events, starting with the COVID-19 memorial ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. On Wednesday, January 20 ABC News Radio will offer a primetime special report that includes coverage of the planned celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from the Capitol with reporting by correspondent Karen Travers, correspondents Alex Stone and Mark Remillard, and multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara. Coverage will also include reporting and analysis by former White House correspondent Ann Compton, political analyst Steve Roberts, and ABC News’ political team and security experts. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post a special edition on Wednesday featuring the latest reporting on the Inauguration.

Monday, August 10, 2020

| August 10, 2020

Monday Memo: Say It Shorter. In this week’s concise column, consultant Holland Cooke barely says ANYTHING, “and that’s the point.” Read it here.

The Presidential Race, Biden VP Choice Speculation, Vote-By-Mail Debate, and Stimulus Exec Orders Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/8-9). The November presidential election, speculation over Joe Biden’s pending VP selection, the failure of Congress to arrive at a new stimulus package with President Trump responding by signing contestable executive orders to move the process along  as well as the controversy over his ongoing allegation that voting by mail encourages voter fraud were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this weekend according to TALKERS research of the most talked about topics on issues-oriented news/talk radio. Other heavily discussed topics over the weekend included the school closing debate and COVID-19 stats and projections.

Pending Business: Talk to the Winners. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes about how radio sales professionals should have faith in the resilience of local, small business based on the premise that many WILL survive the COVID-19 era.  He suggests that radio sellers seek out those whose innovation clearly has them on a winning track and talk directly to them, customizing campaigns that are in sync with their efforts. Read it here.

Update: WAMU-FM Sexual Harassment. As we reported here last week (TALKERS, 8/5), American University-owned public news/talk outlet WAMU-FM, Washington, DC is in a state of chaos over sexual harassment allegations. WAMU-owned publication DCist ran a Rachel Kurzius-written story detailing allegations of harassment and improper behavior by former WAMU-FM reporter Martin Di Caro. Numerous employees were asking for station general manager J.J. Yore to resign, something he said he was not prepared to do. That situation changed, however, late last week as the station’s six-year general manager has indeed stepped down. Vice president of people and external affairs/chief of staff Seth Grossman states, “American University thanks JJ for his years of service to WAMU; we wish him well as he pursues his next endeavor. We are announcing a series of critical steps designed to address issues in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, human resources, and management, as well as how matters of misconduct are handled at WAMU. These actions are a combination of immediate and longer-term steps to accelerate WAMU’s work to enhance culture and workplace. The changes will provide important support to the WAMU staff, who we thank for continuing to focus on producing award-winning journalism that the Washington, DC region relies on amid this period of change. We believe these actions will offer support for the entire WAMU team and provide a foundation for the station’s next chapter.” An interim general manager will be named in “the next four to six weeks.” In addition, a human resources employee relations consultant with “proven experience in improving organizational culture and creating inclusive workplaces” will be put in-place. Interim chief content officer Monna Kashfi becomes the permanent chief content officer, overseeing WAMU and DCist. WAMU’s former chief content officer, Andi McDaniel, left the station last month to join Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago as president and chief executive officer; McDaniel begins those duties next month. As indicated in the The DCist piece, McDaniel was well aware of Di Caro’s behavior, having signed off on a “Level III Final Written Warning for Serious Misconduct” given to Di Caro after “almost two years” of complaints.

Coronavirus Affects Cumulus’ Q2 Numbers. Second quarter figures for Cumulus Media include a 47.8% year-to-year revenue decrease to $146 million. The company witnessed its net income transition from a gain of $42.9 million to a loss of $6.4 million and adjusted EBITDA dropping from $61.8 million to -$6.4 million. Despite the pandemic’s material impact on revenue, Cumulus Media president/chief executive officer Mary G. Berner explains, “The company generated over $90 million of cash in the quarter through quick and decisive expense actions, strong working capital management, and the completion of sale of land in Bethesda, Maryland. Ending the quarter with nearly $200 million of cash, we have entered into an agreement to monetize our tower portfolio for more than $210 million, proceeds which will further add to our liquidity and contribute to significant incremental debt paydown.” She adds, “Our demonstrated ability to rise to a challenge, strong liquidity position, and resilient balance sheet are critical assets as we operate through this uncertain environment. We believe we remain very well-positioned to drive long-term shareholder value through continued aggressive debt reduction and the execution of our growth initiatives.” Broadcast station revenue was down 51.6% to $114.2 million. Spot revenue was off 55.6% and network revenue declined by 42.7%. Meanwhile, digital revenue was up .7% to $20.3 million.

COVID-19 “Impacts” Townsquare Q2 Results. Commenting on selected results for the second quarter that ended June 30th, Townsquare Media chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks that, as expected, the company’s “second quarter financial results were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA declined 34.5% and 93.1%, respectively, as compared to the prior year. Advertising net revenue throughout the quarter, however, “experienced sequential improvement,” Wilson reports. “Together with our Live Events, net revenue has experienced the brunt of the negative business impact.” To Wilson’s point, one second quarter highlight is that, compared to the second quarter of 2019, Live Events net revenue decreased 99.5%. Wilson observes that by the end of the second quarter, “Advertising net revenue had materially improved, from -42.1% in April to -29.6% in June and continued to show improvement through July and early-August.” Townsquare Interactive added approximately 900 net subscribers, ending the quarter with approximately 20,750 subscribers, with Wilson commenting, “Townsquare Interactive’s growth continued in the second quarter, with net revenue increasing 10.5%, at an Adjusted Operating Income margin in excess of 30%, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of 850 (or more) net subscriber additions. During this pandemic, the Townsquare Interactive team became a tremendous resource for their local clients by strengthening online presence and capabilities and powering their online communication strategy. Our thesis has always been, that Townsquare Interactive is a recession-resistant subscription business and will continue to grow its revenue and subscriber base throughout the year.” Wilson explains that Townsquare Media “enacted approximately $1.7 million of monthly fixed cost savings during the second quarter, in addition to the reduction of variable costs related to the decline in revenue, which led to total direct operating expenses declining 14.8%, compared to the prior year. In addition, we have reduced our planned capital expenditures, which declined 30% in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Our board of directors elected to cease paying our quarterly dividend moving forward. Even with all the challenges and unknowns during this pandemic, we have not had to alter our core strategy. Instead, the pandemic placed a spotlight on the need to double-down on executing our existing long term strategy. We believe our ‘Local First’ strategy, together with our talented team and diversified and differentiated product offering, ensures that Townsquare will emerge from this crisis well-positioned for the future. Although a very tough Q2, we believe our revenue, profit and cash flow results will be among the best in the radio – as well as in the local media – industry.” 

Why Are “You” Voting? That’s the simple question iHeartMedia is putting forth to listeners, cultural influencers, athletes, and musicians. It’s in advance of the November election, of course, when – in addition to the presidential contest – Americans will be voting for 35 Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats. Soundbites start today (Monday, 8/10) and run until Election Day (11/3). President of iHeartMedia entertainment enterprises John Sykes states, “With voter turnout expected to hit record numbers, ‘Why I’m Voting’ presents a rare opportunity for people of all backgrounds and beliefs to have their voices heard by millions of their fellow Americans before we cast our votes.” Listeners can record/submit their own 20 second or less audio or video message. Meanwhile, also debuting today (8/10) and running through Election Day is iHeartMedia’s longer-form “Why I’m Voting” podcast, which will feature conversations with a wide-range of celebrities on why/how this year’s election will shape our future. The podcast will showcase personal stories behind why voting means so much for our nation. The “Why Are You Voting” series of soundbites will air on iHeartMedia’s 850+ broadcast radio stations in 160 markets, podcasts, social media platforms, and the iHeartRadio app.

Podcast Ad Spending to Surpass $1 Billion Next Year. That forecast further predicts that more than one in five digital radio ad dollars will go toward podcasts. By the end of this year, podcast ad spending in the United States will reach $782 million, up 10.4% from last year, giving it a 21% share of the US digital radio ad market. Spending is expected to jump nearly 45% next year to $1.13 billion. Insider Intelligence eMarketer forecasting director  Shelleen Shum comments, “Growth in podcast advertising spend will be more resilient this year relative to digital radio advertising as a whole, which will see double-digit declines. The continued growth in podcast advertising is no surprise, as investments have made podcasts accessible to a wider audience. The news genre, a focus of many podcast advertisers, has performed well during the pandemic. While some ad campaigns were paused due to the uncertainty from COVID-19 lockdowns, we expect a rebound in Q3 and Q4. One key challenge in podcast advertising is the lack of uniformity in measurement. [The Interactive Advertising Bureau] has released a set of guidelines to establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which should bring some standardization to the industry and give advertisers more confidence.” This year, 105.6 million people in the US will listen to podcasts, the first time podcast listening will surpass 100 million.

KYW Silences Familiar Sound. Owing to pandemic-related budget cuts, a number of well-known voices on spoken-word and music-intensive formats across the country have been eased off the air. A longtime fixture at Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” is gone, but it had nothing to do with the bottom line or COVID-19 – and it isn’t a human. The station has eliminated the teletype sound effect that – for decades – has been played underneath its news broadcasts. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, KYW program director/brand manager Alex Silverman remarks to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “They stopped making the ribbons for the trusty teletype in 1986 and our supply finally ran out; so, old reliable is out of commission until further notice.” To that, co-owned WIP “Sports Radio 94” brand manager Spike Eskin mocks in a tweet, “Just excuses again from Alex Silverman. Are we to believe he couldn’t find a new one on Ebay, or simulate the sound somehow? Does he think we are fools?” On a more serious note, Silverman states, “As technology has evolved over the years, so has KYW. The sound of the station should reflect the modern, nimble, multi-platform news organization we’ve become.”  KYW has recently updated its jingle and logo. Entercom’s other top ten market news and news-talk hybrids include: WCBS-AM and WINS, New York City; KNX, Los Angeles; WBBM-AM & WCFS-FM, Chicago; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; and KRLD-AM, Dallas.

Leadership Training Program Accepting 2021 Applications. Designed to prepare senior-level broadcasters to advance into ownership or executive positions, the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training (BLT) program is accepting applications through August 19 for next year’s session. BLT program founder and dean/ ShootingStar Broadcasting founder, president, chief executive officer Diane Sutter states, “As we transition to a hybrid online and in-person model, we look forward to expanding the reach of the Broadcast Leadership Training program. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we cultivate the next class of diverse industry leaders and equip them with the knowledge and training to advance their careers.” As it moves into its 21st year, this executive MBA-style program teaches the fundamentals of purchasing, owning, and operating radio and television stations to senior-level broadcast professionals. All education sessions planned through the end of 2020 will be held online, with the starting gathering to be held next month (9/24 – 25). Broadcast professionals from all areas of the industry, including general managers, sales managers and department heads, as well as regional and corporate executives, are encouraged to apply. Fellowship opportunities are available for women and people of color. The complete schedule will be made available in early-October.

TALKERS News Notes. Starting one week from today (Monday, 8/17) and lasting through next Thursday (8/20), ABC News Radio is set to cover this year’s Democratic National Convention and plans to do the same  the following week (8/24 – 27) for the Republican National Convention. Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor; Alex Stone, Ryan Burrow, and Jim Ryan are slated to serve as reporters; and Steve Roberts joins for analysis. Multiple one-minute “Status Reports” will air each night, as will the network’s daily Brad Mielke-hosted podcast, “Start Here.” Meanwhile, each day during the conventions, the Karl & Klein-hosted podcast “Powerhouse Politics” will release special editions featuring interviews and analysis …  Former iHeartMedia Jacksonville senior vice president of programming Tommy BoDean joins Cumulus Media as operations manager of its four-station Melbourne (Florida) cluster, which includes sports talk WLZR “1560 The Fan.” Cumulus Media regional vice president Pete DeSimone comments, “I am really excited Tommy is joining the Cumulus Melbourne team. He’s going to make an immediate impact – and at a time [when] programming and operational leadership are critical.” BoDean adds, “The world we live in is changing every minute; radio has not just an opportunity, but an obligation, to get plugged in and help. Now is the perfect time to step into a role that both challenges and excites me every day.” In addition to his OM duties for WLZR and classic rock WROK “95.9 The Rocket,” BoDean will be the day-to-day program director for CHR WAOA “107.1 A1A” and country WHKR “102.7 Nash FM.” He previously was operations manager for iHeartMedia Cincinnati and programmed Nashville CHR WNFN “Hot 106.7.” …  Effective today (Monday, 8/10), Bustos Media Tucson’s KVOI “AM 1030 The Voice” adds “The Joe Walsh Show” to its weeknight (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm) lineup and shifts “Our American Stories with Lee Habeeb,” which had been in that slot, to 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm … Twenty-year Spokane television and radio journalist Teresa Lukens will return to Morgan Murphy Media Spokane’s KXLY-AM “920 News Now” next Monday (8/17) as morning drive co-host. After three years as a reporter on KXLY-TV’s “Good Morning Northwest,” Lukens transitioned to radio as morning host on co-owned KXLY-FM “Classy 99.9 FM” and then as news anchor on KXLY-AM. Lukens left KXLY-TV in 2010 and hosted “Health Matters” on Spokane public television outlet KSPS.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Every Friday this month, iHeartMedia San Antonio joins forces with San Antonio Metro Health for the “Friday Night Virtual Dance Party” (7:00 – 7:30 pm). Participating stations within the iHM cluster include adult contemporary KQXT “Q-101.9”; CHR KXXM “96.1 Now;” country KAJA “KJ-7″; and Spanish contemporary KZEP “104.5 Latino Hits.” According to iHeartMedia San Antonio senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim, “There is nothing like the power of music. [We] are excited to partner with our friends at San Antonio Metro Health for ‘Friday Night Virtual Dance Party’ [and] look forward to raising our community spirit during these challenging times – all while abiding by the state’s safety guidelines to fight the COVID-19 virus.” Mayor Ron Nirenberg notes, “We want to send an encouraging and positive message to San Antonio to keep doing the things that make our city great, but do them in a safe way so we can continue to stop the spread.” …  A country music special hosted by four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan is among several, three-hour ABC Audio Labor Day weekend specials. “Luke Bryan: Born Here Live Here Die Here” takes listeners through each song on Bryan’s new album, which has produced three #1 singles. “Labor Day Rock Salute: Frontline Edition – From Speakeasy” honors frontline workers who stepped up during COVID-19. Hosted by ABC Audio’s Matt Wolfe, the special features hits from artists including ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, and Stevie Nicks. Top rock artists will also share what they’ve been up to during lockdown. Meanwhile, the Aaron Katersky-hosted  news special “How America Works Now” explores how people are coping through the pandemic. It questions what the future of American life and labor may look like, and puts a spotlight on those adapting to the new normal  … “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” takes over 12:00 midnight – 5:00 am duties in Santa Rosa, California on Amaturo Sonoma Media Group-owned KFGY “Froggy 92.9 Today’s Country.” Alan comments, “Our show is excited to be a part of the ‘Froggy 92.9’ lineup. We already feel like part of the ‘Froggy’ family. I can’t wait to get to Sonoma for a visit to wine country.” Amaturo Sonoma Media Group vice president of programming and operations Jim Murphy notes, “Cody creates unique, multiplatform content that really resonates with country fans; we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the ‘Froggy’ family. The station’s revised lineup includes: Amber & Tanner (5:00 am – 10:00 am); Jenn (10:00 am – 3:00 pm); Dano (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Lia (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and “CMT After MidNite with Cody Alan” (12:00 midnight – 5:00 am) … Former four-year wakeup duo at Hubbard Broadcasting St. Louis’ WIL “New Country 92.3, Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway (“Bud & Broadway”), sign with Houston-based SuiteRadio for morning show syndication, gearing up for next month’s start (9/7). The show will be represented on a market exclusive basis by Colbert Media Group. Prior to exiting WIL this past May, “Bud & Broadway” worked in Tulsa and Dothan, Alabama.

Friday, September 23, 2016

| September 23, 2016

marconi-awards-logoMarconi Award Winners Announced. More than 20 Marconi Awards were presented last night (Thursday, 9/22) in Nashville. TALKERS congratulates all the winners and nominees.

“Legendary Station of the Year”: CBS Radio New York all-news WINS

“Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year”: Premiere NetworksDeliah

“Major Market Personality of the Year”: Fred Toucher & Rich Shertenlieb (“Toucher & Rich”) of CBS Radio Boston’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”

“Large Market Personality of the Year”: Brooke Fox & Jubal Flagg (“Brooke & Jubal”) of Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle rhythmic CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5”

“Medium Market Personality of the Year”: Chaz & AJ of Connoisseur Media New Haven rocker WPLR

“Small Market Personality of the Year”: Brent Carl Fleshman of Cookeville Communications’ Cookeville, Tennessee talker WHUB-AM “1400 The Hub” & W299BY “107.7 FM”

“Major Market Station of the Year”: Jerry Lee-owned adult contemporary WBEB “101.1 More FM,” Philadelphia

“Large Market Station of the Year”: Hearst talker WBAL, Baltimore

“Medium Market Station of the Year”: Cox Media Group Dayton country WHKO “K-99.1”

“Small Market Station of the Year”: Ham Broadcasting Cadiz, Kentucky country outlet WKDZ

“Adult Contemporary Station of the Year”: Lewanee Broadcasting‘s WLEN, Adrian, Michigan

“CHR Station of the Year”: Zimmer’s KTXY “Y-107,” Columbia, Missouri

“Classic Hits Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Los Angeles’ KRTH “K-Earth 101”

“Country Station of the Year”: Cox Media Group Houston’s KKBQ “The New 93-Q”

“News-Talk Station of the Year”: Hubbard’s WTOP, Washington, D.C.

“Noncommercial Station of the Year”: Seton Hall University rock WSOU, South Orange, New Jersey

“Religious Station of the Year”: Salem Media Group Dallas’ KLTY

“Rock Station of the Year”: Zimmer’s KCMQ, Columbia, Missouri

“Spanish Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Houston’s KLOL “Mega 101”

“Sports Station of the Year”: CBS Radio Detroit’s WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket”

“Urban Station of the Year”: Howard University-owned WHUR, Washington, D.C.

cookeholland2016-radio-show-logoNAB/RAB Radio Show: Final Day Wrap-Up.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Nashville covering the NAB/RAB Radio Show for TALKERS and he presents a compact report of some of day two’s key takeaways.  Among them are sound bites from radio’s captains of industry and key players from the “Radio Show Advertiser Breakfast.”  Also included are Cooke’s notes from a variety of digital media- and marketing-oriented sessions, including those run by Dave Ramsey, Gordon Borrell and more.  See it all here.

mckayjeff-2“Heard” In Nashville. While noted media consultant Holland Cooke is providing our exclusive coverage of panels and presentations taking place at this week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Nashville, special features correspondent Jeff McKay is talking to attendees about what is being said at the events. Click here to see what people are telling him.

nelson-rayNelson Named VP/MM For Cumulus Huntsville. Former vice president/general manager/cluster director of sales for Cox Radio Birmingham, Ray Nelson, is appointed vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media‘s cluster in Huntsville (Alabama). Cumulus Media senior vice president Jeff Brown cumulus-huntsvillecomments, “Ray’s track record of success speaks for itself. Adding him to our team of market managers was an absolute no-brainer. I am excited for Ray and for our talented team in Huntsville.” Nelson notes, “I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Cumulus Huntsville cluster; Huntsville is a fabulous growth market. I appreciate the confidence that Jeff Brown and the entire Cumulus management team have demonstrated in selecting me to champion Cumulus Huntsville.” Nelson’s previous background includes vice president and market manager for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) Ann Arbor (Michigan) and general manager/general sales manager/national sales manager for Fritz Broadcasting Saginaw (also Michigan). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio’s spring 2016 book for Huntsville, Cumulus Media-owned CHR WZYP is #2 (7.7); WHRP “Today’s Best Variety of R&B” ranks #3 (4.8); AM-FM talk combo WVNN finishes #5 (3.1); country WWFF “Nash Icon 93.3” is #8 (1.3); and AM-FM sports duo WUMP “The Ump” ranks #10 (.6). Leading the field is iHeartMedia country outlet WDRM (11.1, 12+).

carr-howiepagsCarr, “Joe Pags” Picked Up For Simulcasts by Newsmax TV. Boca Raton, Florida-based conservative Newsmax TV adds weekday afternoon simulcasts of Howie Carr and Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo. According to Newsmax TV chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy, “The addition of both these shows not only give us important new voices to our diverse lineup of thoughtful, informative broadcasters, they help us expand our broadcasting footprint into the late afternoon hours. Our audience tells us they newsmax-tvare hungry for useful, intelligent, and independent programming. Howie and Joe provide just that.” Carr comments, “I have always had the greatest respect for the entire Newsmax team. I now look forward to reaching a whole new TV audience every afternoon with my show. I couldn’t be more pleased to be joining Newsmax TV.” Pagliarulo remarks, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Newsmax TV team. Having my show in a prime slot on this amazing, growing network is an honor I cherish as it adds a new dimension to the show for my listeners and now viewers.” National Radio Hall of Famer – and author of “The Brothers Bulger” and “Hitman” – Carr originates his four-hour conservative talk show from Entercom-owned WRKO starting at 3:00 pm; “Joe Pags” begins his three-hour syndicated program at 5:00 pm from iHeartMedia‘s WOAI, San Antonio. Carr – syndicated on the Howie Carr Radio Network – is #14 on the TALKERS 2016 “Heavy Hundred” and Pagliarulo – whose national show is distributed by Compass Media Networks – is #23.

sb-nation-radioSB Nation Radio Enhances Its Football Programming. Seventeen-year NFL player Keenan McCardell signs-on with SB Nation Radio as an NFL analyst. The former receiver joins the network on “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and Steve Bunin each Wednesday at 5:00 pm (ET). Gow Media chief executive officer David Gow comments, “Keenan is as impressive in the broadcast booth as he was on the playing field. He is an exceptional talent who can break down the nuances and subtleties of the game without alienating any of the audience. Whether you played football or are just a casual observer, you’ll love his insights.” Meanwhile, former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf will host a two-hour (8:00 am – 10:00 am, ET) weekly show (Saturdays) on SB Nation Radio. The onetime #2 draft pick states, “I am so honored and grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Gow and SB Nation has afforded me.” In addition, SB Nation Radio will premiere “The Kayce Smith Show,” a two-hour (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) college football program that will air Monday nights. Smith opines, “One thing missing from the sports industry is the opportunity for women to take strong stances on-air and give their opinions without hesitation. I am so excited to be a part of the SB Nation Radio family and to be able to share this crazy journey with our loyal listeners across the country.” SB Nation Radio chief operating officer and program director Craig Larson declares, “I have never been more excited about the state of our radio network. From top to bottom, there is no doubt in my mind that we have the strongest lineup of personalities in sports radio. The addition of Keenan, Kayce, and Ryan reinforces the idea that SB Nation Radio is truly the next generation of sports talk.” Gow Media has been operating as Yahoo Sports Radio since 2011 and it was rebranded as SB Nation Radio last month (8/1).

wmfsWMFS to Add Martin & Smith to Mid-Days. Starting next month, John Martin and Jason Smith will be inserted into the weekday lineup (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) at Entercom Memphis sports combo WMFS-AM “ESPN 680″ & WMFS “92.9 FM.” Entercom vice president and market manager Dan Barron states, “We are thrilled to bring this show to Memphis. Jason and John are highly skilled and bring unique insight. I believe listeners will enjoy this fresh, informative, and entertaining show.” Program director Brad Carson comments, “This is a significant day in this market. We couldn’t be more excited about the reporting and entertainment perspective dynamic that John and Jason both bring.” Smith remarks, “I am so pumped to be with my guy John Martin again. I am so grateful to the folks at WMFS. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait to get started.” With WMFS since 2013, Martin is reportedly the youngest sports host in a top 50 market. Smith spent the last six years at The Commercial Appeal as the University of Memphis’ basketball beat writer. The two worked together at The Commercial Appeal. Unchanged at 2.2, WMFS ranks #14 (Nielsen Audio PPM, August 2016, 6+); iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS “V-101” sets the pace in August 2016 with a 10.5 (6+).

abc-debateOdds & Sods. As part of its coverage of the first presidential debate from Hofstra University, ABC News Radio will provide a preview program anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. There will be post-debate analysis until 11:00 pm (ET). Joining Katersky will be wbns-jersey-160x120bBrad Mielke, Karen Travers, and ABC News Radio political analysts Steve Roberts and Trey Hardin ….. To note the signing of a three-year broadcast extension with the NHL‘s Columbus Blue Jackets, Radiohio-owned WBNS-FM “The Fan,” Columbus director of programming & operations Jay Taylor and president/general manager Dave Van Stone are presented an official Columbus Blue Jackets personalized jersey by the CBJ’s Stinger. “The Blue Jackets have been part of our programming since day one and we’re excited to be able to continue this relationship,” states Stone.

kmjKMJ Fundraiser Aids Fresno’s Community Food Bank. A day-long broadcast that featured Cumulus Media Fresno talk KMJ on-air talents John Broekse, Christina Musson, Ray Appleton, and Chris Daniel netted more than $154,000. For each dollar raised, however, Gar Tootelian Inc. kicked in 50 cents, thus elevating the total for the Community Food Bank to $231,000. KMJ vice president and general manager Patty Hixson comments, “I am overwhelmed by the support of our community. We can always count on the generosity of our highly-valued KMJ listeners. A special thanks to the hard work of our talented on-air team.” Money raised will provide more than 1.5 million meals for the less fortunate residents of the Central Valley. Seventeen (17) stations appear in Fresno’s spring 2016 book (Nielsen Audio) with KMJ finishing second (6.0, 12+), three-tenths behind iHeartMedia rhythmic CHR KBOS “B-95” (6.3, 12+).

talkers-ten-logoPresidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 19-23.  Landing atop the Talkers TenTM again this week is the presidential election.  At #2 on our list of the top news/talk radio stories was killing of black men by police in Tulsa and Charlotte and the riots that happened in Charlotte.  Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of the NYC/NJ/Minn. terror attacks; following at #4 was the Syrian Civil War/U.S.-Russia Tensions.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

harrisonupclosefaroutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with the ‘First Lady of New York Radio’ – Joan Hamburg. She is one of the most-honored, longest-running, and dazzlingly colorful talk radio personalities in the Big Apple – the quintessential live-and-local host. Joan Hamburg’s career in NYC goes back to the legendary WMCA in the early 1970s where she replaced Bob Grant. From there, she moved over to WOR as a featured personality on the historic “Rambling with Gambling” show. She quickly had her own daily midday show where she stayed for more than three decades covering a wide spectrum of topics that included consumer advocacy, shopping, dining, arts & entertainment and “soft” politics. Joan Hamburg was a pioneer in modern remote broadcasting and regularly performed her showhamburgjoan from, among many locations, the storied Broadway celebrity hangout, Sardi’s. For the past few years, Hamburg, now in her eighties, has been holding court live on-air every Saturday afternoon on WABC in addition to producing special features and stories for the station… and she still does remotes from Sardi’s. The conversation between Harrison and Hamburg is a radiophile’s delight – covering remarkable history including such names as Sally Jessy Raphael, the three John Gamblings, Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, Rick Buckley, Barry Gray, Dr. Joy Browne and many, many more. Harrison states, “It was an honor and privilege having this true ‘grand dame’ of radio on the podcast. We cover so much wonderful history including the golden era of Broadway. She harkens back to the day when talk radio offered a wide variety of lifestyle topics beyond politics and sports. I am really proud of this interview – it will always be a treasured addition to the amazing audio library of media history that I am gathering in this podcast series.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

| April 23, 2015

iheartmediasoundfront15spiegelexecsiHeartMedia Previews New Podcast Initiative at First-Ever ‘Soundfront’ in NYC.  Yesterday, iHeartMedia presented the “Soundfront” event in New York to preview its new original audio programs.  The company says this new content “will allow marketers to collaborate with a host of celebrities and talent through customized and creative storytelling.”  Speaking about the company’s need to explore the audio-on-demand marketplace is iHeartMedia CMO/EVP Gayle Troberman, who says, “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans, audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising.  We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love.  We believe most marketers are massively under-invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.”  Saying that it is teaming with “a broad spectrum of A-list producers, musicians, actors, music industry veterans and curators,” the company announces some of the people it is working with, including: “Skybound Rundown” (podcast): From the producers of “Theiheartmedia logo small Walking Dead” TV show and gaming franchise focusing on the world of indie gaming; “Heart of the Beat” (podcast):  Artist and musician Jared Leto will bring sound and storytelling together in this original audio show that allows artists to reveal the method behind their madness; “Who is Marty Hirsch?” (podcast) is the first-ever audio mockumentary, building off successes like “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Almost Famous” to tell a story of a mythical music icon.  iHeartMedia has partnered with Trium Entertainment (the creator and executive producer of “The Biggest Loser”) to produce a number of podcasts including: “The Vent” hosted by Jaime Pressly; “Get Mic’d” – a talent search show for the next great iHeartMedia DJ; and “Science of Success” with Jonah Berger.  The iHeartMedia-Trium relationship will also produce videocasts and the hiring away of Big Boy from Emmis in Los Angeles is relevant here as he’ll host “Urban Legends with Big Boy,” a hip hop show.  “Z100” New York-based personality Elvis Duran will also host a videocast titled, “The Elvis Sessions” in which he “digs throughout the day-to-day gossip and connects with the true passion that drives artists and celebrities.”  Other videocasts will include “On the Fly with Paul Costabile” and “My Journey.”  iHeartMedia also used the event to announce an expanded relationship with Snapchat, details of which are expected to come in the future.  Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in attendance discussing iHeartMedia’s unique positioning to “use the power of sound to drive social results.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes, iHeartMedia president and CFO Richard Bressler, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, and iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman.

emmis logoFacing “Weak Markets,” Emmis Seeks Covenant Relief from Lenders.  In a filing with the SEC, Emmis Communications presents historical performance data and forward-looking statements as it seeks covenant relief for the quarters ended May 31 2015 through February 28 2017.  Emmis says it is outperforming its markets but the problem is that the markets are weak – for example, citing New York figures showing Emmis down 6% while the market as a whole was down 7.3% over the nine-month period ended November 30, 2014.  It says the battle between its urban KPWR, Los Angeles and iHeartMedia’s new KRRL (which is benefitting from its luring morning talent Big Boy away from KPWR) is causing it to face “new headwinds.”  In New York, the company says the market was weak throughout calendar 2014 – down mid- to high-single digits after being up 5% in calendar 2013.  It reports national was off by 30% during the 2014 summer months and down 18% for the nine months ended November 30, 2014.  Emmis states that it finished fiscal 2015 under its 6.00x covenant at 5.40x but “wants to constructively manage compliance with sufficient cushion.”  It goes on to show its efforts to control costs by noting it has “reduced cash operating costs by $7 million as part of its fiscal 2016 budget.”  You can see the entire lender presentation here.

2015 NYC 150Panel of Radio Hunter-Gatherers to Discuss Generating Revenue in Changing Marketplace.   One of the power-packed, panel discussions scheduled for Talkers New York 2015, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Changing Paradigm,” will tackle the manybenedettovince challenges and identify opportunities in the sales end of the business today.  The lineup features a diverse array of what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “major league ‘hunter-gatherers’ covering the spectrum of broadcasting situations today.”  Moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, the lineup presents (in alphabetical order): Vince Benedetto, president/CEO, Bold carrkathyGold Media Group; Kathy Carr, VP, sales & marketing, Howie Carr Radio Network; Jerrycrowleyjerry Crowley, VP/GM, WNYM/WMCA, New York; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; and Cary Pahigian, president/GM, WBAL/WIYY, Baltimore.  TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey adds, “This panel will provide a wide variety of valuable takeaways.  You have a dynamic, young owner of a medium-sized, up-and-hartenbaumroncoming group (Vince Benedetto); a seasoned sales and management pro who has masterminded one ofleykistom the model examples of a powerful and lucrative regional talk network (Kathy Carr); a veteran major market general manager with an impressive sales track record (Jerry Crowley); one of talk radio’s most aggressive impresarios who has built a major sales rep firm and is instrumental in monetizing the careers of numerous syndicated and satellite radio stars (Ron Hartenbaum); an pahigiancaryindependent, high-profile radio talent who is doing it on his own in cyberspace and showing a profit (Tom Leykis); and a highly accomplished, medium/large market GM who is at the helm of one of the nation’s most historic heritage properties (Cary Pahigian).  This is not to be missed.”  Talkers New York 2015 is nearing a sellout.  For registration and sponsorship information, please click here.

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago Legend Spike O’Dell to Appear on Steve Cochran Show.  Former WGN, Chicago personality Spike O’Dell – an inductee in this year’s class of the WGN Radio Walk of Fame – will be a part of the station’s Steve Cochran show tomorrow morning (4/24).  Cochran is broadcasting his show from the CMT Studios in Nashville the day after the Chicago Blackhawks play the Predators in game 5 of the first round of the NHL playoffs.  O’Dell hosted afternoons on WGN from 1987 to 2000.  He took over the morning show after the death of Bob Collins and hosted it until December of 2008.

wrhu logoHofstra’s WRHU-FM, Signs Deal with New York Cosmos Soccer Franchise.  One of the most decorated college radio stations in America, Hofstra University’s WRHU-FM, Hempstead, NY has added another major league sports franchise to its programming roster.  The Marconi Award-winning outlet has signed a deal with the New York Cosmos soccer franchise. WRHU-FM will be the team’s official radio partner and flagship for the 2015 NASL soccer season. Students will perform all on and off air roles as they do with the station’s other major league partner, the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Odds & Sods.  News/talk KRDO-FM, Colorado Springs is being sold by Optima Communications to Pike’s Peak Television for $2.5 million.  Pike’s Peak is a subsidiary of News-Press & Gazette Company which owns KRDO-AM.  Optima has been airing the KRDO-AM news/talk format on KRDO-FM for the past nine years…..ABC News is available on the Apple Watch.  ABC says the app will “give you the world on your wrist.  From real-timeabcnewsradio news updates with personalized notifications to live video and audio, the app keeps wearers in the know without disrupting the moments that matter.”  Some of the features include “Stories In A Second” – “glanceable news that keeps you up to date with what’s breaking and showcases the latest hand-selected stories in all coverage areas.”  The app will allow users to dig deeper into stories and video with the ability to seamlessly hand off to the user’s iPhone…..ESPN Radio is broadcasting the 2015 NFL Draft next Thursday espnradio(4/30) beginning at 7:00 pm ET with host Dari Nowkhah, NFL analyst Louis Riddick and NFL Insider John Clayton.  Freddie Coleman will host post-draft coverage alongside NFL Insider Adam Kaplan on Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m…..Yahoo Sports Radio will present a five-hour program next Thursday for the first day of the NFL Draft.  Featured on the show will be Steve Bunin and Yahoo Sports Radio host Jonathan Peterlin.  Insider analysis will come from former Carolina Panthers general manager and Yahoo Sports Radio host Marty Hurney, and former NFL Quarterback and Yahoo Sports contributor Shaun King.  The program airs from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am ET…..ABC News announces Karen Travers, Mary Bruce and Stephanie Ramos join the news organization as multi-platform reporters covering national and international news for all ABC News platforms with an emphasis on NewsOne, Radio and Digital.

FOX Sports Radio to Broadcast from Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Fight.  Prior to the May 2 Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao welterweight fight in Las Vegas, FOX Sports Radio will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  The roundtable program will feature JT “The Brick,” Steve Gorman, Tomm Looney and Jeffrey Gorman.  Stations wishing to bring some unique expertise to their coverage of this upcoming fight may consider booking Jackie Kallen (pictured here) or Ivan Goldman from Boxing Insider.  Kallen has been involved inkallen jackie the sport of boxing for almost 35 years.  She started as a boxing journalist, hosted her own talk radio show, then became the publicist for the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit and eventually segued into management.  Her success in the male-dominated business inspired the Meg Ryan film Against the Ropes.  Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.  He has written for Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.  He’s a Fulbright Scholar and an elector for the International Boxing Hall of Fame.  To book either, email: boxinginsider@gmail.com.

Earth Day/Climate Change, Baltimore ‘Freddie Gray’ Protests, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Violence, Saudi Strikes on Yemen, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, North Korea Nukes Warning, and Gang Member Amnesty Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/22).  The observation of Earth Day and the issue of climate change; continuing protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the violence being perpetrated by ISIS; the military strikes on Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; China’s warning about the underestimated nuclear weapons arsenal held by North Korea; and the case of a gang member accused of murder receiving amnesty under President Obama’s executive order were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.