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Thursday, May 12, 2022

| May 12, 2022

Michele Tafoya Joins Salem Podcast Network. National sports media figure Michele Tafoya is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network to host a new podcast titled, “Sideline Sanity.” The former NBC Sports sideline reporter’s new show – focusing “life, politics, and world news” will be produced four times per week, beginning on May 23. Tafoya’s broadcasting career includes a lot of radio in addition to her TV work. She served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk “KFAN,” hosted afternoon drive on Audacy’s WCCO-AM, and worked alongside morning star Tom Barnard at Cumulus Media’s KQRS-FM. She says, “I’m thrilled to launch my first podcast with the Salem Podcast Network. It’s exciting to join the chorus of talented Salem voices discussing the historic issues facing America and the world.” Salem Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson comments, “I cannot wait for the rest of the country to get to know Minnesota’s own Michele Tafoya beyond her successful years of reporting from the sidelines. She’s full of insight, passionate about her platform, and she’s ready to speak her mind. And Salem Media-Twin Cities is eager to help as we produce her podcast for a national audience and look forward to working with her locally as opportunities arise.” Tafoya announced her retirement from NBC Sports in February of this year and has joined the campaign of Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls as campaign co-chair.

 

David ‘Mad Dog’ DeMarco to Exit ‘The Game’ in Lansing After 26 Years. Sports talk personality David “Mad Dog” DeMarco is leaving his role as afternoon drive host on Townsquare Media’s WVFN, Lansing, Michigan after tomorrow’s program, capping a 26-year sports talk career in the market. According to a story in the Lansing State Journal, DeMarco began his sports talk gig in 1996 as part of “The Sports Guys” on WVFN. For four years in the early aughts, the “Mad Dog & Company” show aired on crosstown WQTX-FM, returning to WVFN in 2007. For the past 12 years, DeMarco has been selling for the station, as well. He says, “I had to be like Clark Kent and then go into sales mode and hit the streets as a salesman. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They just think that I did the show for three hours and I go home and smoke cigarettes and get high and stuff. I had to really buckle down and be disciplined that I was going to do this. And I did. It’s not even ratings anymore. It’s how much money that you can bring in. It’s like the mafia — you’re an earner is what you are. And if you can’t earn, you’re not going to be around.”

 

Edison: Comedy Top Podcast Genre for First Quarter of 2022. According to data from Edison Research’s Edison Podcast Metrics, the top podcast genre in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022 was comedy. This list of podcast genres is based on weekly audience size. (Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+.) The list of the Top 10 Genres for Q1 2022 is: 1) Comedy, 2) News, 3) Society and Culture, 4) True Crime, 5) Sports, 6) TV and Film, 7) Business, 8) Arts, 9) Religion and Spirituality, and 10) Education. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche comments, “As advertisers increasingly seek to target podcast listeners, it becomes more important to understand the appeal of various genres in the space.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. There’s special programming available from ABC Audio for the coming Memorial Day weekend. ABC News Radio will present, “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Alex Stone. The program reports on America’s heroes, including those who lost their lives serving their country and individuals performing good deeds at home. It features Katersky’s interviews with Gold Star families who lost loved ones last summer in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew its troops. The special also shines a light on COVID-19’s toll on the country as well as the resilience of Americans trying to emerge from the pandemic and recover from the past two years…..WNYC Studios announces that Kenya Young is appointed to the newly created position of SVP, WNYC Studios – part of New York Public Radio. In this position, Young will oversee a portfolio that includes “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry,” “The United States of Anxiety with Kai Wright,” “Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale,” “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience,” and the “Blindspot” series co-produced with HISTORY. Young was most recently managing editor for collaborative journalism at NPR. Young will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for WNYC Studios’ portfolio of podcasts, and leading and supporting the teams developing and producing shows. In partnership with Emily Botein, VP, original programming, she will manage and grow current Studios productions and build out WNYC Studios new documentary unit devoted to producing longform nonfiction audio works…..Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal “Save Democracy” Tour 2022  will make a Los Angeles appearance at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Joining Miller will be Hal Sparks, Frangela, and John Fugelsang on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 pm for an evening of standup comedy and special guests. Miller says, “We have a lot of work ahead of us supporting the Democratic agenda that moves all of America forward by delivering an even bigger majority to Capitol Hill.”…..“The Regular Joe Show,” hosted by Joe Giganti and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network, adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD, Albuquerque adds the program to air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and WPA Radio LLC’s KTLR-AM/K279CR, Oklahoma City is now airing two hours of the program daily. Giganti says, “These are exciting opportunities to bring our upbeat, witty take on some of the most pressing and challenging issues of the day. I think it’s so important to maintain your ability to laugh and have a little fun, especially when tackling some of the heavier hot topics – perhaps now, more than ever.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The high cost of food and gasoline, the roiling stock market & plunging value of cryptocurrency, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and Putin’s warning to Finland over plans to joins NATO; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

| June 17, 2021

Weekly Reach, Average Audience Post Highest Levels In 14 Months. As the nation continues to reopen and returns to pre-pandemic routines, the industry experiences another month of radio listening gains. According to results from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey period, radio’s weekly reach is at its highest level since March 2020 and has grown each of the past four months. In the latest sweep (May 2021), radio’s reach surpassed 122 million weekly listeners, which is within two million of where it was before lockdown precautions took effect last year. In May 2021, radio’s Average Quarter-Hour (AQH) audience also scored its highest level since March 2020. Coinciding with vaccination rollouts and more normal commutes, AQH audience levels have increased 11% since January. PPM’s year-over-year (May 2020 – May 2021) weekly reach and AQH comparisons stand at a 108 index and 120 index, respectively. From a weekly reach perspective, May 2021’s radio audience is 8% larger than this time last year, while the AQH audience is 20% larger versus May 2020. May 2021 listening gains were widespread, with all major dayparts at or near AQH peaks since COVID-19 began. Weekday morning drive and weekends hit their highest audience levels in 15 months. May 2021’s weekend AQH (6.6 million) is 300,00 higher than March 2020’s 6.3 million, before the peak of the lockdown. Even though news/talk is lower than in prior months (12.6% in May 2021, compared to May 2020’s 13.6%), it does remain the most-listened to format in PPM markets. Registering its third gain in a row (4.1% – 4.2% – 4.4% – 4.6%), sports talk posts its highest AQH share since COVID-19 began, surpassing October’s high point (4.5%) when football season was in full swing.

Round One of May 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). In presenting his “Ratings Takeaways” from this round of markets, Mike Kinosian notes that, while it erodes by one full-share from April 2021 (9.6 – 8.6, 6+), Cox Media Group Atlanta’s WSB-AM & WSBB is the only mainstream news/talk outlet to reach #1 (24th consecutive month, 6+). Meanwhile, the lone news/talk stations from the aforementioned metros that finished in the top 20 (6+) and posted an April 2021 – May 2021 increase are Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas (3.2 – 3.4, 6+) and Townsquare Media-owned WKXW, Middlesex (3.8 – 4.1, +.3, 6+). Off one-half share and three-tenths, respectively are Audacy NYC news siblings WINS (3.2 – 2.7, #11 to #14, 6+) and Mets key station WCBS-AM (2.7 – 2.4, #15 to #16, 6+). Cumulus Media San Francisco sports talk KNBR (Giants) improves by eight-tenths (4.3 – 5.1, 6+) to progress from fourth to third. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

IBA/Vipology Technology Contest Creates Nearly $1 Million In Local Sponsorships. During an eight-week “Key Word Contest” (April 19 – June 11), participating Independent Broadcasters Association (IBA) member stations collectively generated approximately one million dollars of revenue from local sponsors. IBA president/Adams Radio Group chief executive officer Ron Stone notes, “Hundreds of our member stations were able to generate new revenue from our group contesting. “Vipology’s technology, member execution/management, and data follow-up was nothing short of spectacular. We are planning a second contest for the fall; many participating groups have already indicated their interest in participating again.” Vipology CEO Chris Peaslee adds, “From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, Kansas, I’m proud of our team for building the technology and supporting hundreds of stations across the country in their effort to sound big on-air and powerful in their markets.” Participating stations’ on-air personalities gave three key words throughout the day. Listeners were then encouraged to enter the words on the IBA “contest widget” on that station’s website. Listeners correctly identifying the day’s ‘Winning Key Word” became eligible for that day’s random drawing to win $1,000.

Shattuck Set To Join WTIC-AM. Formerly the senior editor of Lowell Massachusetts’ “The Lowell Sun,” Tom Shattuck will become the mid-day host (10:00 am – 2:00 pm) on news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk” next Monday (6/21). The Audacy Hartford outlet will feature all-local programming from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm. Audacy Hartford senior vice president/market manager Stephanie Perl opines, “Radio is best when it is local, when we can discuss and look at the local issues affecting our listeners. Being able to expand our local weekday programming further separates WTIC-AM from other radio stations in the state and we look forward to unveiling this new slate of content to our audience.” According to Shattuck, “[WTIC-AM] has been serving the people of Connecticut for almost 100 years. I’m truly honored to be given the opportunity to contribute to the legacy of this great station. These are extraordinary times and I look forward to talking about our politics and culture with the thoughtful, astute WTIC-AM audience.” Shattuck previously was editorial page editor of The Boston Herald and executive producer of Boston Herald Radio. In addition, he spent four years at Boston’s WTKK as executive producer of the afternoon drive show and was a content manager, web designer, and executive producer at cross-town news/talk WRKO. In other WTIC-AM changes, morning show co-host Brian Shactman will add “Extra Time with Brian.” As of next Monday (6/21), the station’s revised 5:00 am – 6:00 pm lineup will be: “WTIC Sunrise Special” (5:00 am – 5:30 am); “Mornings with Ray and Brian” (5:30 am – 9:00 am); “Extra Time with Brian” (9:00 am – 10:00 am); “The Tom Shattuck Show” (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); and “The Todd Feinburg Show” (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm).

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place last Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

TALKERS News Notes. After a five-year run at KNBR “The Sports Leader” and KTCT “KNBR 1050,” program director Jeremiah Crowe is set to depart the Cumulus Media sports talk facilities the middle of next month. A new assignment has not been announced for Crowe, who is reportedly relocating to Las Vegas … Starting next Wednesday (6/23) at 9:00 am, Audacy Chicago sports talk WSCR “670 The Score” will air a 24-hour “What About Chicago?” radiothon. In partnership with former Chicago Bears player Sam Acho, the radiothon will benefit Athletes For Justice and the Austin Harvest program. WSCR afternoon talent Danny Parkins comments, “I hate when people who don’t care about our city ask ‘What about Chicago?’ in bad faith. The name ‘What About Chicago’ is a defiant response and this radiothon will hopefully highlight what Chicago is really about: A Chicago radio station partnering with a Chicago charity with a mission to help improve the lives of Chicago kids in a Chicago neighborhood.” … In acknowledgement for its protest coverage following the death of George Floyd, Audacy San Francisco all-news KCBS-AM & KFRC has won a national Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi award for “Best Radio Breaking News Reporting.” KCBS-AM & KFRC director of news & programming Jennifer Seelig comments, “I’m incredibly proud of my team’s thoughtful and compelling protest coverage. On behalf of everyone at KCBS-AM & KFRC, I’d like to thank SPJ for this prestigious honor. [We strive] to deliver comprehensive coverage of stories that resonate with our audience. This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to our community.” KCBS-AM & KFRC was the only commercial station in the country to win in any category … Even though its officials have not released an official statement, Cox Media Group continues to rectify digital damage apparently caused by a ransomware attack. Those trying to stream a CMG station hear the following, “This stream is currently unavailable and we are working diligently to bring it back online. Our radio stations continue to broadcast 24/7; you can listen to us over the air – thanks for your patience.” Cox Media Group news/talk outlets include WSB-AM & WSBB, Atlanta; WHPT, Tampa, WDBO, Orlando; and WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.

Facebook Censors Harry Hurley’s “Heavy Hundred” Post.  A post regarding Townsquare Media Atlantic City news/talk WPGG “WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM & 1450 AM” morning host Harry Hurley being named to the TALKERS list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America (“Heavy Hundred”) has been censored by Facebook. In an article posted this morning on the “WPG Talk Radio” website, Hurley (pictured with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2021) says that his story about receiving the honor was taken down by the social media giant with the explanation that it does not meet Facebook’s community standards and that the URL to the feature is considered spam. To read the entire article, please click https://wpgtalkradio.com/facebook-censored-my-post-about-talkers-magazine-honor/. 

Now Saluting “Kentucky Colonel” Roten. WVHU “News Radio 800” morning talk host Tom Roten was recently presented a plaque commissioning him as a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions as Kentucky Colonels are presented for contributions to the community, state, or nation, and for special achievements of all kinds. The honor stunned Roten, who happened to be emceeing a grant award ceremony. Kentucky Colonels executive director Sherry Crose spoke of Roten’s commitment to the community and years of promoting charitable organizations and then made the surprise presentation. Having just marked his 20th anniversary at the iHeartMedia Huntington, West Virginia – Ashland, Kentucky station, Roten remarked, “This is such a tremendous honor – I am very grateful.” Roten has interviewed hundreds of guests from the region including many from the Commonwealth. He regularly talks to state and federal lawmakers from the Bluegrass State and speaks to representatives of many Kentucky charitable groups. For over 10 years, Roten served as public service director for iHeartRadio’s Huntington-Ashland cluster and has written/produced hundreds of PSAs for non-profit organizations. Approximately 30 Eastern Kentucky charities received a portion of $2.1 million in grants that the Kentucky Colonels will award this year. Kentucky Colonels are that state’s ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.

Total Subscribers To Paid Audio Services Double in Six Years. According to data from Edison Research’s “Share of Ear,” 47% of Americans 13+ now subscribe to at least one paid audio service. That’s just over double what it was in 2015, when 23% had a paid subscription. Edison Research president Larry Rosin comments, “While much of this doubling of the numbers is the redirection of money that was going to physical music formats to music streaming subscriptions, there is also the trend of more people paying to avoid commercials. I believe we’ll see more subscription efforts in the future, particularly from radio companies. Bauer Media in the U.K. recently launched a subscription radio service that offers commercial-free versions of their radio brands and other content. Such efforts are likely to be launched in the U.S. as well.” Growth has come across the board from SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Audible audiobook subscriptions to music streaming services such as Spotify Premium, Apple Music, and Pandora Premium or Plus.

KCUR Enlists Edgell As Midwest Newsroom Managing Editor. Effective July 6, public radio news/talk WFYI, Indianapolis project manager/assistant editor Holly Edgell will join University of Missouri-Kansas City’s similarly-programmed KCUR, Kansas City as managing editor of the Midwest Newsroom. KCUR general manager Sarah Morris states, “We are thrilled to have had such a strong pool of candidates and delighted that Holly will be joining the Midwest Newsroom as a KCUR employee. Holly has extensive leadership in working with newsrooms across the midwest and beyond. She will help form and create a highly functional and collaborative team for the hub.” NPR managing editor for collaborative journalism Kenya Young adds, “We’re excited to see Holly join our team of stellar managing editors leading the hub newsrooms across the country. Holly at the helm ensures our mission to plan shared coverage and create stories that reach local, regional, and national audiences. Holly will be an agent of change in the midwest region; I look forward to seeing how she shapes collaborative journalism within our network.” KCUR is lead partner in the NPR-formed Midwest Newsroom, a collaborative among Nebraska Public Media; Iowa Public Radio; St. Louis Public Radio; and NPR.

iHeartPodcast Network Adds Three True Crime Mysteries. The new entries include: “Missing On 9/11”; “After The Uprising: The Death Of Danye Dion Hones”; and “Algorithm.” From the producers of “Missing In Alaska,” “Missing On 9/11” traces the whereabouts of a woman living near the World Trade Center who disappeared on that horrific day. John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski-hosted “After The Uprising” is an 11-part series that examines the truth behind the hanging death of a St. Louis Black Lives Matter activist. From iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV, Ben Kuebrich-hosted “Algorithm” is an examination of a reporter’s algorithm he claims can detect serial killers.