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Monday, October 25, 2021

| October 25, 2021

Monday Memo: Robots ARE Taking Over. Like so many of the big conferences only Las Vegas can host, this month’s NAB convention was canceled. “But,” consultant Holland Cooke reports, “I went anyway. The trip turned into a mini-vacation, since my wife had taken a couple workdays off to join me here post-convention, and we had show tickets.” In this week’s column, from Sin City, HC explains how “what I am witnessing here is a profound glimpse into that New Normal we’ve been wondering about.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: No. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa addresses what he calls one of the most difficult decisions a seller makes. “At what point do you move on from the no reply, no feedback, and nothing-here prospect? How many times should you try and reach out to open a dialogue with a prospect that does not respond, before you consider the effort fruitless and throw in the towel?” Read his answers to those questions here.

Audacy Renews Content Deal with Key Networks and Bloomberg Radio. The relationship between syndicator Key Networks, radio business news provider Bloomberg Radio, and Audacy will continue as the parties agree to extend the relationship in which Bloomberg delivers business and consumer news programming for the majority of Audacy’s 26 all-news and news/talk stations. Under the new agreement, Bloomberg Radio will continue to provide world-class news content, including live, customized reports, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features including: “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” “Green Report,” “Small Business Report,” “Real Estate Report,” and more to Audacy stations including; KYW, Philadelphia; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; WWJ, Detroit; KRLD-AM, Dallas; and more. Audacy VP of news Bill Smee comments, “Bloomberg has been an outstanding partner for our news brands, providing timely, relevant reporting on the business stories that matter most to our listeners. We look forward to building on this relationship in the coming years to help bolster our position as the leading local news platform.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Key Networks strives to associate with the top brands and products to deliver the best content available to our affiliates. Delivering the gold standard in financial news and information from Bloomberg to Audacy stations that are best in class checks that box. We look forward to continuing the longstanding partnership with Audacy and look for new growth opportunities to serve these stations, their audience and advertisers with Bloomberg content.”

John Kruse Honored by Outdoor Writers Association of America. “America Outdoors Radio” host John Kruse was recently honored by the Outdoor Writers Association of America with several Excellence in Craft awards. This national organization, comprised of outdoors media professionals from all over North America, presents awards for different divisions. One of those is the radio/podcast division and Kruse nearly swept those six categories, winning first place in four categories for interviews airing on “America Outdoors Radio.” The weekly program that covers fishing, hunting, and conservation is syndicated and distributed by Talk Media Network to more than 125 stations in 30 states.

Townsquare to Add ‘Toucher & Rich’ to Four New England Signals. The Boston-based “Toucher & Rich” Show is being added to four of Townsquare Media’s Northern New England stations. The Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb-hosted show is based at Beasley Media’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” and is how heard on Townsquare’s alternative WCYY-FM, Portland; country WPKQ-FM, North Conway, New Hampshire; classic rock WJZN-AM/W240DH, Augusta, Maine; and sports talk WEZQ-FM, Bangor Maine. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring Toucher & Rich’s unique brand of content and humor to sports fans throughout New England through this syndication initiative. The T&R Team is already a favorite with their passionate audience. We look forward to expanding that loyal audience through this new affiliation!” Townsquare Northern New England market president, chief revenue and content officer Christine Sieks comments, “The passion for all things New England sports is palpable throughout New Hampshire and Maine. No one brings more excitement and entertainment to the conversation than ‘Toucher & Rich.’ We couldn’t be more excited about our new partnership and the opportunity to bring this compelling content to Northern New England listeners.”

Iowa Talk Host Simon Conway Hosts 7th Annual BBQ Sandwich Giveaway Charity Event. Pictured above is iHeartMedia Iowa talk host Simon Conway holding his newest recruit to the Puppy Jake Foundation, Puppy Doc. On Friday, Conway held the 7th Annual BBQ Sandwich Giveaway to benefit the Puppy Jake Foundation which acquires, raises, and professionally trains service dogs for veterans. The event raised over $36,000 in two hours for the foundation. The event raised $4,000 eight years ago, then $6,000 the next year, $23,000 in 2016, $29,000 in 2017, and over $31,000 in two hours in 2018. Conway, whose show is based at WHO, Des Moines and is heard on WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Davenport, says, “I have the best audience in talk radio. They are astonishing! I also have to thank some of my show’s sponsors who have taken this charity to their hearts.”

Boston Sports Media Figure Bob Neumeier Dies at 70. According to a post at the WEEI website, longtime Boston sports media personality Bob Neumeier passed away on Saturday (10/23) at age 70. WEEI-com posts: “Known affectionally an ‘Neumy,’ he started his career in TV with WBZ, originally working as a weekend sports reporter. Later, Neumeier served as the radio play-by-play analyst for the Bruins. He worked at WBZ for 20 years. Following his first run in local TV, Neumeier spent three years at WEEI, where he was paired with Dale Arnold. ‘Dale & Neumy’ aired from 2002-05. ‘It saddens me to report that my friend and former partner, Bob Neumeier, passed away yesterday,’ Arnold tweeted. ‘Neumy was one of a kind, and all who knew him were better for it.’ Neumeier suffered a stroke in 2014 and had battled health issues in recent years. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Boston and New England Chapter recognized Neumeier with its Silver Circle Award in 2017.”

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown adds two pros to its production leadership team. Darren Silva is named West Coast director of commercial production for the company and client YamanAir. Jake Urbanek joins the company as production manager, long form programming. Silva joins Benztown after 22 years as network production manager for Radio Disney in Los Angeles. Urbanek was most recently with Apple Music in Los Angeles, as assistant producer of “The Zane Lowe Show.”…..“The BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with CUMULUS MEDIA to air their nationally syndicated morning show on 18 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S. The long-term deal also brings “The BOB & TOM Show” to Abilene, Texas, listeners with the addition of Cumulus station KXHS-FM to “The BOB & TOM Show” family.

Biden’s Infrastructure and Social Spending Bills, COVID-19, Afghanistan, Alec Baldwin Movie Set Shooting, Facebook Papers, January 6 Investigation, and Sudan Coup Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and his social spending plan; the rate of COVID-cases in the U.S., vaccinations for kids, and mask & vaccine mandates; governments around the world warn of the dire consequences if Afghanistan’s tenuous government collapses in the wake of the U.S. exit; the investigation into the shooting death of an assistant director on Alec Baldwin’s Santa Fe movie set; the trove of internal Facebook documents that show staffers’ ethical debates over its effects on society; and the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the House voting to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 2, 2021

| August 2, 2021

Monday Memo: “And While I Have You…” Even music stations can harness the power of talk radio, if enterprising local hosts use social media to “make the audience the show.” When you’re out-and-about – news people covering, for instance, the city council meeting – or hosts and DJs on the midway at the county fair – use that thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call “a phone” to gather vox populi. Ask them…something else. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says this is a great way to make your hard work count twice and he outlines an on-air and digital sponsorship opportunity. Read it here.

Pending Business: Winners or Champions?. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that a lot of radio sellers consider themselves “winners,” but it’s the “champions” who realize the most success year in and year out. What’s the difference? Lapa says, “Winners will focus on outperforming a competitor. In sales it simply means you will strive to be #1. How you get there – your sales skills, planning, organization, product knowledge, and daily motivation are all part of winning that #1 competitive ranking. Champions focus on setting a standard so high their focus is different. It isn’t just about outperforming the competitor. It’s about performing at a level so high only they know they can achieve.” Read six things he’s learned from champions here.

Bloomberg Black Business Beat Launches on 20 Affiliate Stations. The new specialty feature “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” from Bloomberg Radio and Key Networks is launching on 20 radio affiliates. In June, Key Networks and Bloomberg Radio announced that it had entered into an agreement with Superadio Networks, LLC, to make the “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” available to its affiliates across the U.S. Stations airing the program include: WLIB-FM, New York; WJBR-FM, Philadelphia; KDYA-AM, San Francisco; WNZN-FM, Cleveland; WRSV-FM, Raleigh; WABB-AM, Greenville, SC; WGRI-AM, Cincinnati; WCGL-AM and WWZR-FM in Jacksonville; as well as WBXB-FM and WJZU-AM in Norfolk, VA. The “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” is hosted by Renita Young, and is a daily look at the intersection of culture and commerce affecting Black American audiences. Topics range from the latest trends in Black-owned businesses and profiles of Black entrepreneurs, to a continuing look at diversity in the workplace and an inside look at the business of entertainment. Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Once again, the leader in business and financial news has created top-notch content with the ‘Bloomberg Black Business Beat.’ We are proud to present timely, topical content of interest to the Black community and advertisers looking to reach this important audience.”

Kelly Lynch to Leave WGY-AM/FM, Albany for Opportunity Outside of Radio. After a career of more than a decade with iHeartMedia’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany in which she co-hosted the morning show with Chuck Custer, and more recently Doug Goudie, Kelly Lynch will exit the station after the September 3 program for an opportunity outside of radio. The station says that during her time there, she helped raise millions of dollars for the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center and for many Capital District children’s charities through WGY’s Christmas Wish Program. Lynch says, “I would like to thank WGY and iHeartMedia for allowing me to be a part of the tremendously important work we have done over the last 11 years. I have enjoyed having a front row seat to the biggest news stories of the last decade, and it has been an immense privilege to share these stories with our listeners. I have also had the honor of working alongside the most talented people in our industry and treasure the lasting friendships I have formed along the way.”

Larry Elder Holds Rally for Campaign to Recall Gavin Newsom. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder at a rally at Will Rogers State Beach on Saturday (7/31). Elder is one of dozens appearing on the ballot for the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder addressed several hundred supporters in opposition to Governor Newsom, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon, and local City Council member Mike Bonin.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Erick Erickson Show” announces the program has added five new affiliate stations to its roster. The “Erick Erickson Show” airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET from Cox Media Group’s flagship news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta. Now carrying the program are CMG O&Os WDBO-AM, Orlando; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; and WGAU-AM, Athens, Georgia…..SiriusXM is announcing a new program that will debut this fall called “Let’s Go!,” a weekly show starring NFL legends Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald. The one-hour show will feature back-to-back, in-depth conversations with Brady and Fitzgerald, conducted by Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Jim Gray. Gray has been interviewing both Brady and Fitzgerald since they came into the league, and for more than a decade when the three were together for the pregame and halftime of the NFL “Monday Night Football” broadcast. This year, their conversations will be in a longer format and will premiere exclusively on SiriusXM. The show will air Mondays at 6:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel during the NFL season…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro is celebrating his accolades from Rhode Island Monthly’s 2021 annual reader’s poll in which he was honored with “Best Local News Site/Blog” and “Best Social Media” for his Twitter feed. In 2020, DePetro was named “Best Talk Radio Host.” DePetro, posing below with his recent honors, says, “Last year I was voted top radio talk show and this year I am pleased we extended to win in other platforms like my website and social media. Being recognized with radio awards is very gratifying but I am very pleased how we have extended my brand into other platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter because you have to be where the news is.”

Starnes Media Group Syndicating ‘Mid-South Gardening’ Program. Memphis-based Starnes Media Group is putting the “Mid-South Gardening” program into national syndication. Starnes Media Group says that the three-hour weekend program that airs live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET Saturdays is a caller-driven program hosted by master gardeners Jim Crowder, Vador Vance, and Ken Mabry. The show has been on the air in Memphis for more than 20 years. The program is available via XDS.

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Mask Policies, Trump Election Denial-GOP Influence, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Urban Crime Spike, and the Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising cases of Delta variant COVID-19 in many places and the resurgence of mask guidelines; former President Donald Trump’s continuing insistence in the “stolen” election mantra and his influence over the Republican Party; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack; the issue of critical race theory and protests against local school administrations; the dramatic rise in gun-related crime in America’s urban centers; and the Tokyo Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

| July 7, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Brian Kilmeade Keynote Address. The sixth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the conference’s Keynote Address delivered by FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel talk media star Brian Kilmeade. The introduction is provided by talk show host Frank MacKay of “Long Island News Radio” WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Audacy to Hire 50-Plus Journalists as Part of Multiplatform Transformation. In a move it calls “a multiplatform transformation for its news brands,” Audacy says the transformation will allow it to “offer more original digital news content as well as in-depth reporting to complement breaking news broadcast coverage.” The company says it will launch a new centralized digital team dedicated to news and add over 50 journalists in eight of its newsrooms across the country. “This coordinated, multi-platform focus will allow the company to produce an array of fresh audio and local reporting that will be distributed across the Audacy network. The new resources will enable the creation of original podcasts and other specialty digital content that will add to the body of trusted local reporting that Audacy news and news/talk brands deliver to millions of listeners daily.” Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano comments, “The past year has underscored the crucial role of journalism and the demand for trusted quality content has never been higher. Audacy’s local news brands have been delivering on-demand news and information for decades and are now poised to build on that foundation. While other news organizations are downsizing, this further investment will allow us to leverage the credibility of our news brands to expand our reach and engagement while continuing to deliver the premier coverage our audience is accustomed to and relies on.” The company adds that the multiplatform transformation will also see the launch of original longform podcasts from local news brands; an original national weekly podcast that highlights the most pressing story of the week and draws on reporting and interview content from across the Audacy network of news brands; daily in-depth podcasts and on-demand audio that explore local stories and issues that most affect listeners’ lives; as well as custom newsletters and in-app experiences that offer audiences a chance to explore areas of interest and interact directly with Audacy brands.

Dom Giordano Moves to Rush’s Old Slot on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal (7/6) reports Audacy has made a major move to turn WPHT’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, held for years by Rush Limbaugh, into a local program showcasing the talents of market mainstay Dom Giordano. Thirty-year veteran of the Philly airwaves, Giordano, is rightly considered by many to be “the dean of Philadelphia talk radio.” A former high-profile schoolteacher, he is one of American news/talk radio’s leading advocates for education reform, not to mention a household name in the City of Brotherly Love where he is plugged-in to the full spectrum of local issues. (He’s also quite astute about national issues as evidenced by his being the longtime go-to guy to sit in for Jim Bohannon on that legend’s Westwood One show.) Giordano moves to his new noon start from WPHT’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Morning host Rich Zeoli has taken over an extra hour until 10:00 am and WPHT has been utilizing the services of several locally known talents in the still open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon position.

WABC, New York Brings Constantine Maroulis Aboard for Dual Role. Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor Constantine Maroulis is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to launch a new variety entertainment program called “The Constantine Maroulis Show – Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!” and airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning this Saturday (7/10). Additionally, Maroulis will serve as 77 WABC Radio’s entertainment reporter. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.” He’s worked on Broadway and was twice nominated for Tony Awards – one for his leading role in Rock of Ages. His new program will feature music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s plus interviews with some of the most noteworthy musicians, artists, and influencers. He says, “I will be bringing the high energy and music that fans enjoyed from my ‘American Idol’ performances and starring roles on Broadway. What will be new for fans are my interviews. I look forward to having artists on my show and sharing behind the scenes stories with the audience while I spin amazing songs.” On Mondays and Fridays, Maroulis’ entertainment reports will be heard on “Bernie & Sid In The Morning,” and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, he will deliver a weekend-focused segment titled, “Pop Rocks 60.” Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Constantine is an immense talent both as a performer and storyteller. 77 WABC has worked with him on several specials and charity events, so we are sure ‘The Constantine Maroulis Show — Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!’ will be a homerun with audiences in New York and around the world. We look forward to sharing this new show and his other contributions to our schedule all week long.”

News/Talk WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Changing Hands and Calls. According to a report in Northern Virginia Daily, heritage Winchester, Virginia radio station WINC-AM is in the process of being sold to by Centennial Broadcasting II to Colonial Radio Group for $25,000. The station is operating under new call letters WZFC. It will continue to operate as a news/talk outlet. Centennial previously sold WINC-FM, Berryville and WZFC-FM to Metro Radio and Centennial president and CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper it offered WINC-AM to Metro Radio for free as part of the deal, but that Metro didn’t want it. Shaw says Colonial managing member Todd Bartley has what it takes to make the standalone AM work. “He’s very dynamic and very smart. He believes in local programming and community involvement.” The report goes on to say that “the sale of Centennial’s Winchester-area stations doesn’t include the building on North Pleasant Valley Road that houses their operations. Centennial is allowing Colonial and Metro Radio to occupy the building temporarily. Both companies are seeking new locations for the stations, and Centennial is discussing with real estate brokers possibilities for the approximately 7,000-square-foot building,” according to Shaw. “Those possibilities include demolition, he said, if the building can’t be sold and redeveloped eventually. WINC-AM’s tower on the property will be taken down at some point.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (7/8), the Key Networks nationally syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” – starring Bill O’Reilly – will feature an interview with former President Donald Trump. O’Reilly says Trump will appear in the “Message of the Day” segment. “The 45th President of the United States will have the opportunity to comment on rising gas prices, rising violent crime, and a disintegrating southern border.”…..In the wake of recent attacks on journalists, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith issues the following statement: “NAB is gravely concerned by recent incidents of violence directed against broadcast journalists who are covering local news. A cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the free press to document the stories and events shaping our communities and our nation. Journalists should be afforded the respect to safely provide this valuable service to the community without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”…..PodcastOne signs a multi-year partnership with Empire Media Group chairman and CEO Dylan Howard to produce a slate of original scripted and non-scripted podcast and vodcast series. Some of the shows that have been green-lighted include: “The Firm: Blood, Lies & Royal Succession,” a multi-part historical non-scripted drama looking at the British royal family; “My Favorite Scandal,” a weekly series where nothing is NSFW when you work at one of the nation’s leading tabloid magazines; and “You’re Fired,” a weekly series, in which you find out what really happens when the axe falls in the media, Hollywood, politics, television, or off-stage? PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne is thrilled to build our relationship with the Empire Media Group team on their upcoming podcasts. Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin have a proven track record of success in the space, and we are proud to join forces on their exciting new slate of shows.”…..iHeartMedia announces four new shows launching this month from My Cultura, its new podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, while also sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. The network’s initial lineup will include: “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama,” “Exactly Amara,” “Transportista” (published in both English and Spanish) and “Life As a Gringo.” iHeartMedia says, “With a driven commitment to the creation of a platform that helps amplify the Latinx community, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Walgreens will be My Cultura’s inaugural sponsors, building connectivity amongst this growing audience.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association announces this year’s inductees into its NBA Hall of Fame, and this year’s class includes longtime morning personalities Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler, a.k.a. Todd-N-Tyler. The nationally syndicated duo are based at SummitMedia’s rock KEZO, Omaha.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Soaring Big City Crime and Gun Violence, House January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Tropical Storm Elsa Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). Concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading through the U.S. and the low rate of vaccination in some parts of the country; the skyrocketing rate of violence and gun crimes in America’s big cities; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to appoint Republicans to sit on House January 6 investigation panel; the status of President Joe Biden’s $970 billion infrastructure package; the war of words over the issue of teaching “critical race theory”; the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

| June 23, 2021

The Power of Talk Radio Has Never Been Stronger. Sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr writes in a column today that in order to make the title this piece a reality, talk radio sellers must use all the weapons in their arsenal. “We are radio, but we are most effective when we take advantage of all the new technology that is now available to us. As an industry, we need to keep up with all the advanced marketing vehicles and provide them to our clients to increase their business and stay current with the times. We need to supplement the live reads with text messages, social media, and eblasts. The live reads should be synchronized with the blasts and texts. Adding your clients’ ads to your podcasts gives them an added bang for their buck.” Read more here.

Rose Tennent Show Gone from WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a story at Patch.com, the Rose Tennent program has exited St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh after three months on the air. Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” is now airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Tennent. Both Tennent – a longtime Pittsburgh radio personality who worked alongside Jim Quinn on “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM – and Wendy Bell joined the station in March. Bell, a former KDKA-TV newscaster and former KDKA-AM talk host, exited the station in April and was replaced in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot by Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck. St. Barnabas Broadcasting has not issued a public statement about the change and it’s unclear what the reason was for the change.

iHeartMedia Pre-Pays $250 Million of Term Loan Facilities. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., is voluntarily prepaying a portion of both its $2.075 million Term Loan and its $447 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased to announce that we will voluntarily pay down $250 million of our Term Loan facilities, demonstrating the encouraging momentum we are seeing across all of our businesses. At iHeart, we are committed to deleveraging and strengthening our balance sheet, reducing interest expense and further increasing our free cash flow while still maintaining ample liquidity. We continue to evaluate all possible opportunities to reduce our cost of capital, and we have taken advantage of the current favorable market conditions to reprice our Incremental Term Loan as well.” The prepayment, which will be applied to the two Term Loan facilities on a pro-rata basis, and the repricing, are each expected to close in mid-July, subject to customary closing conditions.

Bill O’Reilly Programs Hit 250-Station Threshold. The Key Networks nationally syndicated programs featuring Bill O’Reilly hit the 250-station mark in just over two years with the addition of news affiliates including: WRNN-FM, Myrtle Beach; WDAY-AM, Fargo; KLJY-HD3, St. Louis; KDXE-FM, Little Rock; and WBOB-AM, Jacksonville. O’Reilly comments, “We are very pleased with our expanding radio lineup. In this time of political and societal chaos, ‘The O’Reilly Update’ brings clarity and honest reporting. We also have fun with the ‘something you might not know’ segment. Sometimes the good guys actually win and that’s what’s happening with the ‘Update.’” Key Networks offers three O’Reilly programs – “The O’Reilly Update” in middays, “The O’Reilly Update Morning Edition” and “The O’Reilly Update Weekend Edition.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Two Hundred fifty stations in two years shows that Bill O’Reilly’s popularity remains strong. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ provides commentary unlike anyone in media today. The information is timely, topical and most importantly, sellable as local stations are generating revenue from content that is second to none. For those stations that have not signed up for The O’Reilly Update, the time is now!”

Voting Rights Bill Killed, COVID-19/Delta Variant, Spike in Violent Crime, Critical Race Theory, Employer Woes, Iran Politics/Nuclear Deal, Russian War Games, and NYC Mayoral Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). Republicans use the filibuster to block Joe Biden’s For the People Act voting bill; the slowing rate of vaccinations and concerns about a fall/winter rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant; the spike in violent crime and gun violence in America’s urban areas; the pushback against the teaching of “critical race theory” by parents; hospitality industry employers’ desperate need for workers; the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president and his refusal to meet with Biden over Iran’s ballistic missile program; Russia’s largest military exercises program since the Cold War; and the New York City mayoral primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

| June 8, 2021

Jesse Kelly Show Joins Premiere Networks. Talk radio host Jesse Kelly is moving from his current syndicator Key Networks to Premiere Networks, effective June 28. Kelly – a former U.S. Marine and a former Arizona congressional candidate – will air in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET slot currently occupied by Buck Sexton, who moves to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot partnering with Clay Travis. Kelly will continue to be seen weekdays at 9:00 pm ET as host of “I’m Right with Jesse Kelly” on TV network The First. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “We couldn’t be happier to have Jesse at the helm of our weekday afternoon timeslot. His fresh voice will undoubtedly connect with and engage our audience with intelligent, witty conversation and bold opinions, while creating impactful opportunities for our partners.”

Jimmy Cefalo Returns to WIOD, Miami Air. According to a report in the Miami Herald, WIOD-AM morning personality Jimmy Cefalo has returned to the air after several weeks’ absence and told listeners he’s been diagnosed with a form of demyelinating disease that affects the protective covering of the nerve fibers around the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – is a demyelinating disease but Cefalo was not diagnosed with that. He said, “We don’t know what exactly it is, what caused it, what will fix it. I’ll keep going as long as I can. One day I’ll just go, ‘Boom!’ Which is the right way to go, by the way, I’m convinced, after the last couple of months.”

Trump and Bill O’Reilly to Hold ‘History Tour’ Live Events. According to a piece in the Washington Times, Key Networks nationally syndicated radio personality and author Bill O’Reilly will go on a “history tour” with former President Donald Trump in December. The four live events before paying customers in Florida and Texas will address “exactly how things were accomplished, as well as challenges, both good and bad,” according to a statement from Trump. His statement adds, “These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the fake news media never mention.” O’Reilly says, “My job as a historian/journalist is to get important things on the record in a fact-based way. These conversations with the 45th president will not be boring.” Bill O’Reilly will be one of the 50 industry speakers participating in TALKERS 2021.  Check out the latest up to date agenda here.

SRN’s Tom Tradup Chats with ‘Seinfeld’ Star About New Film. Pictured above is former “Seinfeld” actor Wayne Knight (left) – who played the character “Newman” – speaking with Salem Radio Network V.P./News & Talk Tom Tradup (right) at Monday night’s Fort Worth, Texas red carpet premiere of “12 Mighty Orphans.” The SONY Classic Pictures film – starring Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Luke Wilson – tells the story of a Depression-era orphanage in Fort Worth that produced an inspiring state football championship team that even drew praise from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The film opens nationwide on June 18.

Radio Mercury Awards Call for Entry is Open. The call for entry for the 30th anniversary Radio Mercury Awards is officially open. The RAB announces that 15 trophies will be awarded in 12 categories, and the final round judges have the option to award a Best of Show winner. Starting this year, the Radio Mercury Awards is now accepting entries in any language for work that was broadcast, aired digitally, released or transmitted initially and primarily in the U.S. and its territories. For 2021, a new category, Purpose-Driven Spot or Campaign, will award a radio spot or campaign for an advertiser or corporation that promotes their actions and effort towards the public good and demonstrates how they addressed social, environmental or public health/safety issues. There are also updated categories, including Creative Radio Spot: Insightful Voice and Radio Station or Group Promotional Spot or Campaign. The call for entry deadline is on August 9. Finalists for the show will be announced in late September and winners will be announced at the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards event on November 17, during a virtual event. The Radio Mercury Awards is introducing a “Thirty Years in Your Ears” campaign produced in collaboration with chief judge Robin Fitzgerald and the creative team at BBDO Atlanta. The campaign highlights several of the Best in Show winners from the last 30 years of the competition. It can be viewed here and will be featured in social media and digital marketing. For more information regarding entry categories, guidelines, entry fees and deadlines, click here.

TALKERS News Notes. A couple of Chicago market notes from media writer Robert Feder: First, Wendy Snyder and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens are teaming up for a weekly program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM. “The Wendy and Ray Show” will air from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Saturdays. The two have been co-hosting a podcast and Stevens tells Feder, “The weekend show on WLS-AM 890 will be hyper local and will cover everything from block parties to the Bears. This is a true Chicago show hosted by two lifelong Chicagoans.” And second, Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM announces the return of “The Hamp and OB Show” starring former Chicago Bears Dan Hampton and Ed O’Bradovich. The program will air weekly during the football season…..ESPN’s Chiney Ogwumike is launching her own weekly podcast, “Chiney,” today (6/8). She’ll discuss current events in the sports world, primarily through the lens of an active professional athlete. Ogwumike plays for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and was the 2014 league rookie of the year. She first worked for ESPN in 2017 and in August 2020 began hosting “Chiney and Golic Jr.” on ESPN Radio, becoming the first Black woman to host a national, daily sports talk radio show…..The nationally syndicated “America Tonight with Kate Delaney” adds new affiliate station KUJ-AM/K254DK, Walla Walla, Washington to its roster of stations.

COVID-19, January 6 Report, Harris Latin America Trip, Ransomware Attacks/Crypto Recovered, Voting Rights Issue, and Alzheimer’s Drug Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccinations, and the investigation into the Wuhan lab leak theory; the Senate report on the January 6 Capitol attack faults Capitol Police for inaction on threats; Vice President Kamala Harris tells Guatemalans not to come to the U.S. during Latin American trip; the increase in ransomware attacks and the FBI recoups millions in bitcoin paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers; Senator Joe Manchin’s decision not to back Joe Biden’s For The People voting rights bill; and the controversy surrounding the FDA’s approving Biogen’s Aduhelm Alzheimer’s drug were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.