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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

| December 15, 2021

Don Martin Elevated to Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Sports. Programmer Don Martin is named executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Sports. Martin, who’s been with iHeartMedia for the past 26 years, previously served the company as senior vice president of programming for FOX Sports Radio and SVP of sports talk KLAC-AM, Los Angeles. In his new role, Martin will lead sports radio operations and oversee recruiting for on-air talent, program directors, and board operators for the iHeartMedia Markets Group and Premiere Networks. In addition, Martin will identify opportunities to expand iHeartMedia Sports partnerships – including leagues, teams, podcasting and broadcast. He will continue to oversee the programming, promotions, operations and sales for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Chargers, UCLA and others. Martin will also continue his operational, programming and sales responsibilities for KLAC-AM, Los Angeles. Kevin LeGrett, president of iHeartMedia Sports and iHeartMedia Los Angeles, says, “The iHeartMedia Sports Network would not be what it is today without Don’s years of experience and innovation. He is the perfect choice to lead our ever-expanding network, bringing us the most exciting new partnerships and team members.” Martin comments, “In life, you are only as good as the family around you. I have had the privilege of working with three of the most incredible families in the business – from KOA in Denver to AM 570 and FOX Sports Radio in LA, and now the family just gets bigger! Thank you, Greg Ashlock, Kevin LeGrett, Julie Talbott, and Tom Poleman for your belief and trust in me. I am a blessed man!”

Markley, van Camp & Robbins Takes Over Late Mornings on KDWN, Las Vegas. The nationally syndicated “Markely, van Camp & Robbins” show – hosted by Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins – is now heard in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Beasley Media Group’s KDWN-AM/K268CS, Las Vegas. The Compass Media Networks program is currently heard on 120 affiliate stations. KDWN program director Steve Hoffman says, “‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ feels like the next generation of talk radio with the right combination of political talk, attitude and fun for KDWN.” Markley, van Camp and Robbins comment, “Thanks to Steve and the whole team at KDWN! It’s a blessing to connect with people throughout the country who not only want to know what’s going on but love common sense and to laugh at the absurd. That’s our goal every day.”

Cumulus News/Talk KMAJ-AM, Topeka Adds FM Translator. Topeka, Kansas news/talk KMAJ-AM adds an FM translator to its signal. The Cumulus Media station is now heard on K228FW at 93.5 FM in addition to its 1440 AM signal. Cumulus says the FM signal will cover all of Topeka, as well as all of Shawnee County. With the addition of the translator, the station rebrands as “The Big Talker KMAJ-AM/FM” and unveils its new logo. Cumulus Topeka VP and market manager Nic Merenda says, “KMAJ has been a part of the Topeka radio landscape for over 30 years. To be able to offer our stellar lineup of news, talk, and sports on a stronger, crystal-clear FM signal is an exciting new chapter in this station’s legendary history.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee adds, “Expanding the reach of ‘The Big Talker’ is a great benefit – especially to the listeners of our high school sports coverage. Mike Manns and his sports broadcast team are the voices of an entire community!”

Stapleford Promoted to Vice President at Magnum and Intrepid Broadcasting. Radio management pro Diana Stapleford is promoted from her general manager role to vice president of corporate operations for Magnum Broadcasting and Intrepid Broadcasting. For 16 years, Stapleford led the State College, Pennsylvania station group that includes news/talk WBLF and three music brands which was recently sold to Schlesinger Communications. The company says, “Sixteen years ago, Magnum Broadcasting entered the State College, PA market with the purchase of WUBZ-FM and WPHB-AM. We were continually told at that time that the key to our success was to bring Diana aboard as general manager and that proved to be true. We were fortunate to have Diana join the company then and her incredible talents, skills and dedication will ensure that Magnum Broadcasting realizes great success with her directing our operations and personnel across our five radio stations and two companies. The recognition this promotion brings and the appreciation it shows is thoroughly deserved by Diana. Meanwhile, Magnum Broadcasting and Intrepid Broadcasting have aligned themselves with top broadcast professionals as we position ourselves to excel in a very challenging and ever-changing industry and environment.” Magnum Broadcasting owns and operates WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, PA/Hagerstown, MD “Newstalk 103.7,” news/talk duo WKEZ-FM, Tavernier, Florida and WPIK-FM Summerland Key, Florida “Keystalk,” and several music brands in Florida and New York.

FOX News Digital Finishes Tops in Several Metrics in November 2021. According to data from Comscore for the November 2021 period among news brands in the news competitive set, FOX News Digital’s FOXNews.com was first in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching close to 1.6 billion multiplatform views and over 2.9 billion multiplatform minutes. FOXNews.com surpassed CNN’s CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the ninth consecutive month. FOXNews.com also marks five straight months as number one in multiplatform views. It should be noted that both FOXNews.com and CNN.com both saw reduced Total Minutes, Total Views, and Unique Visitors this year compared to the election month of November 2020. Also, CNN.com handily topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform unique visitors metric by a margin of 140.27 million to 90.23 million.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the update on former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago managing editor Julie Mann, who exited the Audacy all-news station last week. Mann is now the public information officer for Kane County, Illinois. She tells Feder, “I saw it as an opportunity to continue working in the field of communications but in a whole new way.”…..Podcast publisher PodcastOne announces that it has signed deals to keep top performing and fan favorite podcasts “LADYGANG,” “Gals on the Go,” and “Rob Has a Podcast” with PodcastOne for the foreseeable future. LADYGANG’s Keltie Knight, Jac Vanek, and Becca Tobin comment, “The team at PodcastOne understands ‘LADYGANG’ exponentially and continues to bring us exciting partnerships with the brands that we love. Our relationship isn’t just about impressions, downloads and contracts – it is about their dedicated team of producers and salespeople working hand-in-hand with us on every single episode so that we can overdeliver on our promises to our brand partners, while remaining authentic, honest and vulnerable with our listeners. We had incredibly successful and lucrative specialty projects with brands like European Wax Center, Obe Fitness, and Hyundai – and all three were so happy with the outcome that they are all hanging with the gang again in 2022. Our listeners are happy. Our brands are happy. We are happy and so excited for the future.”…..Saga Communications announces that its board of directors is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.16 per share and a special cash dividend of $0.50 per share. The dividend will be paid on January 14, 2022, to shareholders of record on December 27, 2021. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the quarterly and special dividends will be approximately $4 million. The quarterly and special cash dividends will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, the company will have paid over $77 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012.

Hilton Howell to Be Honored with BFoA’s Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, is the recipient of the 2022 Golden Mike Award. The award will be presented during a black-tie gala on Monday, March 14, 2022, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This year’s event marks the return of the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser, which did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcasters Foundation chairman Scott Herman says, “It’s been a challenging year-and-a-half, and we are thrilled to honor Hilton and once again present the Golden Mike Award live and in-person. Looking ahead, our goal remains to provide financial aid for every broadcaster who qualifies.” The Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award dinner attracts a who’s who of broadcast media executives and celebrities. The presenters and performers for this year’s event will be announced shortly. Previous recipients include Dave Lougee, Perry Sook, Emily Barr, David Barrett, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more. For information, or to reserve a seat or table, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250 or info@thebfoa.org.

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Biden Polls/Build Back Better Plan, Debt Limit, China and Russia vs the West, and Fed to Raise Interest Rates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The fast spread of the Omicron variant, vaccine mandates, and Pfizer’s COVID pill; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows held in contempt of Congress, texts of Trump staffers and media figures released; Congress passes legislation to raise the debt limit; Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping meeting and their warning against “Western aggression”; and the Fed’s plans to gradually raise interest rates were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 16, 2020

| November 16, 2020

Monday Memo: Who Is Next? Donald Trump’s improbable 2016 win kick-started a four-year 2020 campaign that began the way the 2016 run did, with a crowded debate stage. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke detects “who may already be lining up for 2024…or hoping to line their pockets.” Read his column here.

Trump Post Election Rhetoric/Transition Refusal, Georgia Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Obama Memoir, SpaceX Launch, and Hurricane Iota Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The admission by Donald Trump that Joe Biden won the presidential race but his refusal to concede and the Trump administration’s unwillingness to work with the Biden transition team; the two runoff elections to determine the winners of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for winter cases; Barack Obama releases his memoir titled, A Promised Land; four astronauts launch in a SpaceX rocket destined for the International Space Station; and the watch on Hurricane Iota as it threatens Central America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Planning 2021. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about planning for 2021. Lapa says that because of what happened in 2020 – the Pandemic crushed the economy, 30 named storms, minimal sports activity, home schooling, toilet paper shortages, new verbs like “Zoom,” and tumult in the White House – there are clues here on how to build a plan to achieve your 2021 sales goals. Read his column here.

Report: PE Firm Interested in Acquiring Newsmax. According to a report in Variety, private equity firm Hicks Equity Partners has been in talks with Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy about acquiring and investing in Newsmax. Variety spoke with Ruddy after a Wall Street Journal piece indicated that talks had taken place between Hicks Equity Partners and Ruddy about the former buying Newsmax as a platform to challenge FOX News Channel’s dominance with conservative viewers. There’s a lot of speculation about what Donald Trump’s plans might be for staying in the conservative media spotlight and he’s seen as a figure that could be featured in such an endeavor. Ruddy tells Variety, “Newsmax would never become ‘Trump TV.’ We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission. But we are open — [Trump] is going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House, and we would be open to talking to him about a weekly show.” Variety adds that Ruddy says they are not “actively selling” at this time.

Cat Thomas Named OM at Beasley Las Vegas. Programming pro Cat Thomas join Beasley Media Group as operations manager for the company’s Las Vegas radio cluster that includes news/talk KDWN-AM and four music brands. Thomas, who was most recently OM and program director for Entercom’s KNOU-FM, KYKY-FM, and KEZK-FM in St. Louis, returns to Las Vegas where he previously served with both Cumulus Media and Entercom. Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton says, “Cat’s knowledge of the market and leadership experience will be invaluable to our success across the breadth of our station group. We are thrilled to have him join our team!” Thomas adds, “Sometimes the stars align. I couldn’t be more excited to join the outstanding family at Beasley Las Vegas. The company has shown to be the top of the class when it comes to local broadcasting and audience engagement. Many thanks to Brian Beasley, Peter Burton, Justin Chase, and Mike O’Brian for their incredible support!”

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend “America Outdoors Radio” program, hosted and produced by John Kruse, breaks the 100-affiliate station mark and is now airing weekly on 105 stations in 25 states. The show is syndicated nationally by Talk Media Network and covers fishing and hunting, activities that have seen increased interest since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, as many people turned to the outdoors as a safe and enjoyable place to have fun. Kruse says, “The affiliate relations team at TMN really gave our show the added exposure and growth I was unable to achieve on my own.” Recent affiliates adding the program include KARN-FM, Little Rock; WKZO, Kalamazoo; and KEDO, Longview, Washington…..Tomorrow (11/17), iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester “NewsRadio 610” and WGIR-FM, Portsmouth “NewsRadio 96.7” in New Hampshire are producing the sixth annual “Make 12 Hours Count” radiothon to benefit Veterans Count, an organization that provides financial assistance, services and resources to New Hampshire veterans, service members and their families. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It never ceases to amaze me how our listeners and our business partners step up and support this great cause. Last year, ‘Make 12 Hours Count’ raised more than $153,000 which provided much needed assistance for veterans and their families.”…..CBS Audio is offering a three-hour Thanksgiving Holiday special radio show hosted by award-winning broadcaster Gil Gross that will help your listeners preserve their holiday traditions despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn…..National Association of Broadcasters announces that Téa Gennaro will assume the role of executive vice president and chief financial officer at NAB starting November 23. Most recently, Gennaro served as chief financial officer of the Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington, D.C. As EVP of Finance and CFO, Gennaro will lead NAB’s financial operations, including internal and external reporting, audit, tax, financial systems and the budget process.