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Monday, April 5, 2021

| April 5, 2021

Monday Memo: Argument? Or Assessment? Reckoning that “I may be the only person in talk radio who thinks his own opinion DOESN’T matter,” consultant Holland Cooke compares what listeners are hearing to what they’re feeling and warns that “ambiguity is risky.” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Some Good News. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says last week’s employment news was encouraging – over 900,000 new jobs and counting – the biggest increase we’ve seen in over six months. With the hope of an expanding economy in mind, Lapa asks, “Are you ready for local business leaning into a recovery mode? The smart managers and sellers will be prepared with plans and packages that show advertisers the flexibility and creativity that only radio can offer.” See his five-point checklist here.

Former KROQ, Los Angeles Morning Host Gene Baxter’s ‘Podcast Radio’ Profiled in Forbes. Former longtime KROQ, Los Angeles morning personality Gene “Bean” Baxter (pictured here) has been living in the UK since he retired from LA radio and his current gig as a presenter on “Podcast Radio” – a DAB+ digital radio station that, as the name implied, broadcasts podcasts over the radio – is the focus of a piece in Forbes. The project is led by British broadcasters Gerry Edwards and Paul Chantler. The broadcast radio station – claiming to be the first in the world to be exclusively playing podcasts on the air – debuted in February of 2020 and can be heard in London, Birmingham, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow (and digitally via smart speakers, apps, and the Podcast Radio website). Sunday Times radio correspondent Gillian Reynolds says of the project, “Podcast Radio has found its place on the dial because of its investors’ belief that, with millions of podcasts to choose from, people will trust radio to discern the ones that are worth hearing.”

Cumulus Washington Market Manager Ken Roberts Dies at 65. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Ken Roberts, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC operations, who died unexpectedly on Saturday (4/3) at the age of 65. Roberts is survived by his wife Sandy and three children. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “The Cumulus family is sad to confirm the news that Cumulus Washington, DC, VP/market manager Ken Roberts has died. This is such tragic news and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Ken was a passionate and smart professional, who cared greatly for the team in D.C. He has been a friend and coach to so many in radio and we’re all better because of our time with Ken. We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Ken’s family and are grateful for the time we had with him.”

Townsquare Media Appoints Tom Kreutzian Market Manager for Faribault/Owatonna, Minnesota. Media executive Tom Kreutzian joins Townsquare Media as market president for its Faribault/Owatonna, Minnesota market. The company says that the four-station cluster had been managed under Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota leadership structure since 2012. Kreutzian comes to Townsquare Media after serving with Spectrum Reach (formerly Charter Communications) for the past 20 years overseeing sales for several markets in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Townsquare regional vice president Kelly Quinn says, “There is an immense opportunity to partner with local businesses in this area stretching far south of the Twin Cities, which composes a large population base. We are already super-serving some of these areas with outstanding community involvement. And now, under Tom’s leadership and with his digital acumen, we will be able to not only better leverage our recently upgraded radio signals, but also better prescribe our incredible digital solutions, providing our business partners a fantastic path to growth.”

Allison Zolot Joins Townsquare Media as SVP and General Counsel. From the corporate headquarters of Townsquare Media comes news that the company has named Allison Zolot SVP and general counsel. Zolot joins Townsquare from Mayer Brown, LLP where she served as a senior associate representing financial institutions, major corporations, and individuals in high profile litigation and regulatory matters. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are thrilled to have such a talented lawyer join our company. Allison is a strong and effective leader who will make a great addition to our senior management team. I look forward to working with Allison as we continue to drive long-term growth and shareholder value through the execution of our ‘Local First’ strategy.”

Radio Producer Mike Jacobsen Dead at 35. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Mike Jacobsen, a longtime radio producer who served with Chicago sports talk WMVP and news/talk WGN before venturing out West to work in Los Angeles and Phoenix where he served with Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM and sports talk KMVP, died on March 29 at age 35. During his career, he also served as program director for Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WTLX-FM, Madison. No details of his passing have been released.

Dr. Tony Fauci Appears on ‘DeDe in the Morning.’ Pictured above (right) is NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a split screen photo with Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning drive personality DeDe McGuire (left) on this morning’s program. During the interview, McGuire and Fauci talked about the status of the fight against the virus, the effectiveness of the vaccines; and his relationship with former President Donald Trump.

TALKERS News Notes. This Friday evening (4/9), nationally known comedian Pat McGann will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program for Dave Plier on WGN-AM, Chicago. The Nexstar Media Group station says McGann has toured with Sebastian Maniscalco and has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” His first comedy special “Sebastian Maniscalco presents Pat McGann: When’s Mom Gonna Be Home?” was released in summer 2020 and is available on streaming platforms. Pat McGann has been both a guest and fill-in host on WGN Radio…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” is presenting its next virtual performance Saturday night (4/8) at 8:00 pm ET. The show is headlined by Stephanie Miller along with guests John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela and will be an all-new show of sketch comedy and celebration “that restores our positivity after the horrors of the last four years.” Plus, very special guest Rosie O’Donnell joins Stephanie Miller for a no-holds-barred interview…..Outdoors lifestyle brand MeatEater, Inc. and iHeartMedia announce a major production and distribution partnership, the first of its kind in the outdoor category. Founded with the belief that a deeper understanding of the natural world enriches all of our lives, MeatEater brings together leading influencers in the outdoor space to create premium content, apparel and products in the areas of hunting, fishing, wild foods and conservation. iHeartMedia says “The partnership will leverage MeatEater’s brand, made popular by the Netflix Original MeatEater – currently currently in its 9th season – and chart topping podcast network which averaged over four million monthly downloads in 2020, and the massive reach of iHeartMedia’s cross-platform digital and broadcast network in order to serve outdoor-minded listeners across the country.”

COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Voting Legislation/MLB All-Star Game Move, Florida Reservoir Situation, Derek Chauvin Trial, Amazon Union Vote, and NCAA Tournaments Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan; the voting changes in Georgia, Democrats’ federal voting rights bill, and Major League Baseball’s moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta; the potential flooding issue at a Florida toxic pollutant reservoir; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the vote whether or not to unionize at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama operations; and the weekend’s NCAA tournaments and Stanford’s victory over Arizona in the Women’s division were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, November 6, 2020

| November 6, 2020


NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “The Envelope Please!” looks back at this past week of November 2 – November 6, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, London, UK; Dr. Renee Kohanski, psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Michael Zwerling, talk show host / owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling On Sunday.” This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Entercom and Urban One Announce Station Swap Involving Four Markets. A swap between Entercom and Urban One encompasses stations in three markets. Under the terms of this deal, Entercom acquires WPHI-FM, Philadelphia; WHHL-FM, St. Louis; and WTEM-AM, Washington, DC. Also, Entercom gets the format, brand and creative assets of Urban One’s WFUN-FM, St. Louis “The Lou” which will be moved to Entercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis. In return, Urban One acquires Entercom’s Charlotte cluster that includes news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM, and hot AC WLNK “107.9 The Link.” Both companies will begin operating their respective acquisitions under LMAs beginning November 23. The addition of WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” gives Entercom a second sports talk outlet in the DC market, complementing WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan.” Entercom DC SVP and market manager Ivy Savoy-Smith says, “For years, WTEM has established itself as the go-to home for everything surrounding The Washington Football Team, and we’re proud to enhance our position as unrivaled leaders in sports radio by adding the station to our portfolio. The Washington Football Team is a pillar in the D.C. sports community, and we look forward to providing our listeners a home to tune in to all the action on game days and stay up-to-date throughout the year.”

Entercom-Urban One Deal Gives All-News KYW, Philadelphia an FM Presence. With Entercom’s acquisition of Philadelphia FM signal WPHI from Urban One, Entercom announces it will simulcast heritage all-news KYW-AM on the 103.9 FM signal. Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff comments, “In this critical time for our community and country, simulcasting the iconic ‘KYW Newsradio’ on FM will greatly expand the reach of important, credible local journalism and enhance the listener experience on the crystal-clear FM dial. This station is the heartbeat of the community and we’re really excited about serving more listeners while providing additional access on top of 1060 AM, RADIO.COM, and smart speakers. The simulcast will begin on November 23.

Entercom’s 2020 Q3 Net Revenue Down 30%. On the positive side, Entercom Communications’ net revenue for the third quarter of 2020 was $268.5 million and that was up 53% from the second quarter of this year. However, that was 30% below the $386 million posted in the third quarter of 2019. The company notes that net revenues improved each month during the third quarter compared to the prior year: July was down 36%, August was down 32% and September was down 25%. Digital climbed 41% over the same period in 2019, posting revenue of $47.3 million. Entercom reports a third quarter operating loss of $259,000, compared to operating income of $79.5 million in Q3 of 2019. Entercom CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report that Entercom continued to make significant organizational improvements in the third quarter in the face of the deeply challenging pandemic. Third quarter net revenues were up 53% from the second quarter while our continuing work on enhancing our business model yielded an 18% reduction in operating expenses versus the prior year enabling us to rebound to positive Adjusted EBITDA of $31 million. We expect further improvement in both revenues and Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter. We continue to suffer from the deep impact of the pandemic which has caused many of our advertisers in businesses such as concerts and live events, tourism, gyms, nightclubs, museums, movies, theme parks, public transportation, airlines, restaurants, and others to temporarily cease or significantly curtail their operations and advertising. We look forward to welcoming them back once we emerge from the pandemic. We continue to build and transform Entercom into a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach, robust data, analytics and attribution capabilities, and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market, including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, events, network, music, sports and news. Entercom is strategically well positioned for future performance as our enhanced capabilities enable us to expand our customer relationships and accelerate growth.”

Cumulus Promotes Ken Roberts to Market Manager for Washington, DC. Rising from his vice president, sales position with Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC duo to vice president and market manager is Ken Roberts. He takes over for Jake McCann, who exits to lead the Philadelphia-based real estate investment firm The HOW Group, LLC. Roberts will lead the duo of news/talk WMAL-FM and sports talk WSBN-AM “ESPN 630 The Sports Capital.” Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “Since joining the Cumulus team in 2016, Ken Roberts has done a terrific job leading our sales effort in Washington, D.C. His creativity, experience, leadership, and performance made Ken the ideal choice for this key role. Ken has earned this promotion and we are excited to have him lead this highly talented and effective D.C. team!”

Twitter Permanently Suspends Stephen K. Bannon’s Account. Former White House chief strategist, former Breitbart chief executive, current talk media host Stephen K. Bannon has had his Twitter account permanently suspended after he tweeted that President Trump should fire Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray and then went further, “I’d put the heads on pikes. Right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.” At the same time, Facebook shut down the page of the pro-Trump group Stop the Steal. A Facebook spokesperson commented to CNN, “In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the group ‘Stop the Steal,’ which was creating real-world events. The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”

The Presidential Race, Electoral College, and Trump Lawsuits Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The 2020 presidential election, the Electoral College, and Donald Trump’s lawsuits combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was congressional races, local races, and propositions, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections and health care at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Based on Nielsen data, Newsmax TV broke its previous ratings records with Tuesday’s election night coverage. Newsmax Media says Newsmax TV reached 3 million viewers with the highest per minute viewership at 592,000 viewers. Moreover. Initial OTT reports indicate the network reached an additional 4 million viewers on Election Day and the day after on OTT services such as Roku, YouTube, Xumo, Pluto and others…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that the sale process of sports talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis is ongoing despite owner Randy Markel’s belief that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19. Markel is selling the station to a group led by current station manager John Hadley. Markel tells the paper that the process is in the hands of the lawyers now and that the deal “will get done.” Hadley is currently tweaking the station to be a true all-sports outlet. Several weeks ago it ended its deal with general issues talker Frank O. Pinion who’d been hosting the afternoon drive daypart…..iHeartMedia receives approval from the Federal Communications Commission for an increase in its authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100% (subject to certain conditions set forth in the Declaratory Ruling). The FCC concludes that the public interest would not be served by prohibiting foreign investment in iHeartMedia of up to 100%. The decision allows holders of iHeartMedia warrants to have those warrants exchanged into Class A or Class B shares of iHeartMedia common stock and affords iHeartMedia flexibility to accommodate increased foreign investment that may result from share purchases by the public…..Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s The Thing” podcast is joining iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcast Network in January. Baldwin says, “With the shift over to iHeartRadio, we’re breathing new life into a project I’ve been passionate about for nearly a decade. Hosting this show and speaking to so many remarkable people over the years has been such a joy, and I’m eager to see where we go from here.”…..Beasley Media Group unveils the Bravery Network in the Ft. Myers market.  The weekend public affairs radio program is hosted by CHR WXKB “B103.9” morning show personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones and is dedicated to shining a light on important issues ranging from PTSD and wellness to saluting Veterans who are making a difference in the local community. Jones says, “Florida has one of the largest veteran populations in the United States. As an Army veteran, I know first-hand the importance of finding resources after service can be both complicated and unique. The Bravery Network hopes to not only streamline these resources but bring awareness to those who don’t know about the struggle of reintegration into society.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation announces its 2020 Board of Directors. Heidi Raphael, chief communications officer at Beasley Media Group, is named co-chair, effective immediately. She joins Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris as co-chair of the organization. Pierre Bouvard, Gary Chapman, Erica Farber, David Kennedy, Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Heidi Raphael have been re-elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors. In addition, Ginny Morris, Gary Chapman, David Kennedy and Jack Goodman will continue to serve additional two-year terms on the Executive Committee.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A collaboration between Beasley Media Group and Broken Bow Records will result in their first-ever virtual “Country Christmas Concert.” The event will take place on Wednesday, December 16 at 8:00 pm on Beasley’s WKXC-FM, Augusta, Georgia; WKLB-FM, Boston; WSOC-FM, Charlotte; WKML-FM, Fayetteville; KCYE-FM, Las Vegas; WXTU-FM, Philadelphia; and WQYK-FM, Tampa. Beasley says the show will be hosted by local station personalities in an “up-close-and-personal setting.” Artists scheduled to perform include: Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Jimmie Allen, Runaway June, Elvie Shane, and Lainey Wilson…..Cox Media Group San Antonio names Craig Jones director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO-FM, rock KISS, country KKYX-AM/K285EU, hot AC KSMG, classic rock KTKX-FM, country KCYY, and oldies KONO-AM. CMG San Antonio VP and market manager David Able says, “Craig is an influential leader who has a long track record of success leading highly talented sales teams within our industry. I have no doubt that under Craig’s leadership our sales team will thrive and continue to deliver strong results for our clients.”

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