Monday Memo: The Pandemic Dividend. As our lives were upended, advertising rose to the occasion, relating to – and offering solutions for – challenges imposed by the shutdown, and enduring change in The New Normal. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke demonstrates ten (10) successful copy points worth emulating when you craft commercial copy for station or podcast advertisers. Read it here.
Pending Business: Be Thankful. Sales pro Steve Lapa writes, with some COVID-consciousness, this the time of year we pause and give thanks. For many of us, food, family, friends and maybe football will dominate Thanksgiving Day. To all the heroes and their families who protect our health, safety and freedom let’s all start this holiday with a collective, “Thank you.” As our post-pandemic lives recover, off we go to the shopping races on line or on location. The numbers crunchers will be ready with the results of the first U.S. post-pandemic recovery Black Friday. How does that impact those of us in radio? Read about it here.
Phoenix Bumps Up Hatch To Sr. VP/MM. Ten-year vice president of programming for Bonneville Phoenix, Ryan Hatch, is elevated to senior vice president and Phoenix market manager. He succeeds Scott Sutherland, who was recently promoted to executive vice president, regional media operations, where he oversees Bonneville properties in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, and Sacramento. Bonneville Phoenix market manager since 2009, Sutherland states, “I am incredibly proud and excited to see Ryan in his new role as senior vice president and market manager. I have no doubt that under his leadership, Bonneville Phoenix will soar to new heights.” Hatch comments, “I’m humbled, honored, and thrilled for the opportunity to lead the most talented team in local media in a city that my family loves and calls home. I look forward to continuing to serve our dynamic and growing community, our advertisers, team broadcast partners and audiences.” Hatch has been with Bonneville the past fifteen years, including a stint as operations manager of its Seattle facilities. The three-station Bonneville Phoenix cluster consists of news/talk KTAR-FM “News 92.3,” sports talk KMVP “Arizona Sports 98.7,” and sports talk KTAR-AM “620 AM ESPN Phoenix.”
Dunaway To Exit WTIC-AM. After nearly 30 years at news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk,” Ray Dunaway announced this morning (Monday, 11/22) that he is retiring from the Audacy Hartford station and will air his final show Christmas Eve (12/24). Beginning (Monday) January 3 (2022), Brian Shactman, who joined Dunaway the past year, will host WTIC-AM mornings along with Aaron Kupec (news); Bob Cox (weather); Mark Christopher (traffic); and Matt Sirois (sports). Audacy Hartford senior vice president and market manager Stephanie Perl remarks, “We want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Ray Dunaway, who has dedicated almost 30 years of his career to WTIC-AM. Ray is known as the morning man, and his iconic personality is synonymous with our station. In addition, he had a significant impact over these past 29 years with Audacy and the larger Connecticut community. Ray is a true broadcaster and we will miss him greatly. We wish him all the best in his retirement.” Audacy Hartford operations manager Steve Salhany notes, “It goes without saying that Ray has been an important part of WTIC-AM, and more importantly, our community. While I am sure he’s going to enjoy sleeping in, he will be greatly missed.” Dunaway adds, “It’s been a long, wonderful run, but having hosted morning shows since 1980, the time has come to sleep in – at least I hope I can. I want to thank [those who listened] since 1992 at WTIC-AM. You are truly wonderful people, as [is] the staff at Audacy. I can honestly say these friends are the best I’ve ever worked with.” Prior to arriving at WTIC-AM in May 1992, Dunaway worked at Kansas City’s KMBZ-FM.
KGB-AM Sends Warriors Home With $1.4 Million. As a result of its annual 12-hour “Give-A-Thon” broadcast, iHeartMedia San Diego news/talk KGB-AM helped raise $1,455,741 for the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station to reunite injured service members with their families during the holidays. iHeartMedia San Diego president and market manager Melissa Forrest comments, “We are honored to have participated in the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station ‘Give-A-Thon’ which supports our deserving military men and women. It’s amazing to see this level of generosity; this is a true testament to our San Diego listeners. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s ‘Give-A-Thon’ a huge success.” Warrior Foundation Freedom Station founder and chief executive officer Sandy Lehmkuhler adds, “We are forever grateful to our wonderful media partners and donors for giving back to our nation’s service members during this special time of year. By shining a spotlight on our warriors and their brave struggles with the visible and invisible wounds of war, [iHeartMedia San Diego] rallied the support of thousands of people to fly our heroes home for the holidays. It’s a gift our troops will remember forever.” In 2004, Lehmkuhler contacted “760 AM” (when it was KFMB-AM) to ask its listeners to donate shaving razors for holiday gift bags being given to warriors in recovery at Balboa Naval Hospital. It then grew into an annual fundraising effort that reunites families during the holidays, and helps warriors face the challenges of recovery, rehabilitation and transition from military service to civilian life. KGB-AM’s syndicated morning show – Armstrong & Getty – promoted the “Give-A-Thon” for an entire week, as did KGB-AM’s similarly-formatted cluster-mate KOGO “News Radio 600.”
Not Just For Audio Anymore. Regular Fox News Channel talking head Ethan Bearman (right) spars with FNC hosts by representing a differing point-of-view. Formerly a host on California news/talk outlets KABC, Los Angeles; KGO, San Francisco; and KSCO, Santa Cruz, the frequent TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” entry secured his law degree and passed the California Bar. Bearman now practices media law and – with wife Amy (left) – hosts the “Law Junkie Show” podcast, which adds a video component.
TuneIn Handles Live Audio Streaming Portion of C-SPAN Now App. Under a new partnership, the deal with C-SPAN makes four news-oriented apps using TuneIn for audio streaming, including the CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC apps. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern comments, “C-SPAN serves a valuable role in bringing an unvarnished look at government proceedings to the general public. TuneIn is excited to be partnering with C-SPAN to provide live and on-demand access to C-SPAN Now users via our live radio streaming technology. All around the world, TuneIn is helping broadcasters and content creators bring their content to new audiences through digital distribution. This unique partnership showcases how TuneIn can both serve as a platform and value-add for media companies.” C-SPAN vice president of digital media Richard Weinstein adds, “C-SPAN Now was designed from the ground up to bring C-SPAN’s mission [of] delivering an unfiltered, high-quality viewing and listening experience of our government’s proceedings to another digital platform and to new audiences. From day one, TuneIn has helped C-SPAN bring compelling American political news to a new generation of digital listeners.”
TALKERS News Notes. Over $365,000 was raised this past Tuesday (11/16) in Audacy Minneapolis news/talk WCCO’s 19th annual “Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon.” The 13-hour event (6:00 am – 7:00 pm) will help to provide over 186,000 meals and care to those in need. WCCO “News Radio 830” brand manager Brad Lane comments, “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s hard work on this event. This is yet another great example of how live and local radio can truly help change lives. We’re so grateful that WCCO can partner with Union Gospel Mission and impact the community in such an amazing and rewarding [way].” WCCO hosts spoke with current and past Union Gospel Mission clients, as well as staff members and the charity’s leaders. This year’s $365,000+ brings WCCO’s overall UGM Hunger Radiothon fundraising total to over $3.6 million … For the 12th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks will give away thousands of turkeys as part of the “Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give.” Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of Harvey’s morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate Thanksgiving. Giveaways will take place today (Monday, 11/22) and tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/23) in affiliate markets across the country. Nearly 100,000 turkeys have been given away since 2009 when “The Turkey Give” was first launched. Harvey states, “It’s an honor and a privilege for all of us here to help those in need.” … For the past nine years, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has hosted/directed “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” In Boston, Buzz Knight Media president Buzz Knight debuts “Takin A Walk,” a podcast in which the consultant records results of his walks with celebrities. “The joy of this project,” he notes, “is that there are no boundaries to the type of guests we can book. We’re excited about this project along with future content creation opportunities.” Forthcoming is a walk-and-talk with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin … Newsmax re-signs Benny Johnson to a multi-year deal and plans to expand his weekend show, “Benny Reports.” Newsmax executive vice president of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “‘Benny Reports’ is a provocative and highly engaging show. Benny’s incisive and humorous commentaries have developed a strong following of Newsmax viewers. We are enthusiastic to grow our relationship with Benny and to expand ‘Benny Reports’ to a full hour show.” … What started as a fun on-air wager last Thursday (11/18) between WAJI “Majic 95.1,” Ft. Wayne (Indiana) on-air hosts Andy Beckman and Kat Walburn turned into “The Andy in the Morning Underwear Run.” Beckman lost the bet and – owing to terms of the agreement – had to do a city run in his underwear this past Saturday (11/20) at Ft. Wayne’s minor league baseball stadium, Parkview Field. The stunt on the Sarkes Tarzian-owned/Mike McVay-consulted adult contemporary outlet wasn’t done strictly for laughs as it benefitted Erin’s House for Grieving Children. Beckman notes, “The goal was to raise awareness and funds for every single Erin’s House family this holiday season.” For nearly 30 years, Erin’s House for Grieving Children has provided a safe, nurturing, and comfortable environment for children to process their grief. They learn how to express their emotions, share their feelings, and reinvest back into their lives.
Dolan Appointed To Libsyn Board. Joining the board of directors of Libsyn (Liberated Syndication) is the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s former president/chief operating officer, Patrick Dolan. Libsyn chief executive officer Bradley Tirpak notes, “[Patrick Dolan] brings decades of digital media experience at for-profit companies, as well as the most important trade organization, the IAB. He has [long been] a supporter of both Libsyn’s business and the podcasting sector overall. As a board member, I know Patrick will contribute significantly to Libsyn’s growth and help position the company to be a go-to-destination for podcasters for all of their needs.” Dolan adds, “I am honored to join Libsyn’s board. As the first podcast hosting company, Libsyn has long been an innovator in the podcast industry; it is an exciting time in the company’s history. I hope to be able to support Libsyn’s platform strategy and development of new value-added services for podcasters.” A former director of business operations at Doubleclick, Dolan most recently has been an executive-in-residence for Progress Partners.
VICE World News Seeks Archival Conservative News/Talk Radio Airchecks for Forthcoming Documentary. The TV arm of VICE World News is producing a four-part documentary series on the history of talk radio, from the 1980s through present day. This series utilizes a combination of original footage with archival materials. The production is currently seeking archival recordings of conservative talk radio programs, particularly from 1989 – 1995, including material that is on tape and not digitized. If you have any archival audio recordings that meet this description, please contact archival producer Elijah Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOX News Audio Has Talk Show Producer Opening. The FOX News Audio division of Fox News is looking for a creative talk show producer to be part of a growing national radio show and podcast. The talk show producer – based in New York City – will develop and execute ideas, provide strong story selection, book guests, and grow the show, its social media platforms, and website. See more information about this position and apply here.
FOX News Audio Seeks Podcast Producer. There’s an opening for a podcast producer at FOX News Audio. This New York City-based position’s responsibility will be to develop ideas, pitch stories, and work with FOX News Channel talent in crafting daily and weekly podcasts. They will direct bookings, edit shows for broadcast, and work with production teams to create high-quality products every day. In addition to their production duties, they will also lead creative on social media posts and website write-ups to promote the products. Find out more and apply here.
FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Opening. The Washington, DC bureau of FOX News is seeking an experienced, full-time reporter. The successful candidate will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories. Find out more about this position and apply here.
WIP-FM, Philadelphia Names Rod Lakin Program Director. Philadelphia sports talk WIP-FM goes outside the Philly area for its new program director naming KMVP, Phoenix “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” PD Rod Lakin as its new brand manager. Lakin will take over for Spike Eskin, who recently joined Audacy’s WFAN, New York as program director on October 4. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “I’m pleased to welcome Rod Lakin to the WIP team and begin the next chapter for our iconic station. Rod brings a breadth of experience and deep understanding of what works in the sports audio format, which I trust will position WIP for much success as the home for Philadelphia sports fans.” Lakin has spent nearly two decades in the spoken-word format in Phoenix, first joining “ESPN Radio 860″ and “Newsradio 620” KTAR in 2003. He was a founding member of “Sports 620 KTAR” upon its launch in 2007, serving in a variety of roles over the next several years including director of the Arizona Diamondbacks Radio Network. In 2014, Lakin was named executive producer for KMVP-FM “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.” In 2018, Lakin added programming duties for “ESPN 620 AM” and was named program director of “Arizona Sports 98.7 FM” in 2019.
iHeartMedia Denver Announces Programming Changes at KOA and KHOW. A number of changes at iHeartMedia Denver’s news/talk stations take place, effective September 20. First, Ross Kaminsky moves from KHOW where he’s been hosting the morning drive show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show on sister KOA. He displaces the “Logan & Lewis” show but both Dave Logan and Rick Lewis move to the afternoon drive daypart for the all-new “The KOA Sports Zoo” that will also feature current PM drive personalities Alfred “Big Al” Williams and JoJo Turnbeaugh. At KHOW, Michael Brown moves from his early afternoon show to the morning drive daypart where he’ll host “The Situation with Michael Brown.” Filling the 2:00 pm to 4:00 slot on KHOW is regular KOA and KHOW fill-in host Leland Conway, who joins the ranks of the full-time personalities. Regarding Kaminsky, iHeartMedia notes that he’s been named “Best Talk News/Talk Show” by the Colorado Broadcasters Association and “Best Radio Talk Show Host” by Westword. “The KOA Sports Zoo” – in addition to its four main personalities – will feature Denver Broncos players and coaches, and other celebrities and will cover the MLB’s Colorado Rockies and University of Colorado Buffaloes. Michael Brown is “a fan-favorite and described by many as smart, funny and connected. As the Former Under Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA, Brown provides provocative insight into culture, current events and politics.” New full-time host Leland Conway is known as “a ‘happy libertarian,’ and has an uncanny ability to interview news makers, putting them at ease while cutting to the heart of the issue.” iHeartMedia Denver president Brenda Egger says, “Both KOA and KHOW have been serving Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for close to a century. These enhancements further cement our position as the leading destination for unmatched news, talk and sports programming.”
Round Four of August 2021 PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for the group of markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM dips two-tenths to an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and slides from the #2 to the #3 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee loses seven-tenths for an 8.2 share finish but remains ranked #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN tacks on four-tenths for a 7.2 share finish and rises to the #3 rank. In Nashville, Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, “SuperTalk 99.7” rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.5 share jump to a 7.8 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the previous three rounds) here.
‘104-9 FOX Sports Upstate’ Launches in Greenville, SC. Gone from the 104.9 FM signal of WROO-FM, Greenville, South Carolina is the rock format and in is sports talk. iHeartMedia unveils “104-9 FOX Sports Upstate” that is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national programming lineup with the addition of the two-hour afternoon drive show hosted by longtime South Carolina sports broadcaster Phil Kornblut. His program, “Sports Talk with Phil Kornblut,” airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm nightly in addition to “Outkick The Coverage,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia Asheville/Greenville SVP of programming Brian Hall says, “We’re excited to bring back the FOX Sports Radio brand to the Upstate. Our listeners will have access to the best names in sports talk, plus regional coverage. It’s also a natural pairing with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Game on Upstate!”
Cumulus Media Studies NFL Fans’ Use of Radio vs. TV. This study from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is based on research from GfK MRI, Ipsos, the NFL “Fan Tracker,” and a special Nielsen Portable People Meter analysis of NFL listening to national broadcasts and reveals the season-long reach of Westwood One’s NFL play-by-play broadcasts to be 56 million listeners. Cumulus Media chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard says, “The research indicates the profile of the radio sports play-by-play audience is surprisingly different from the TV audience. The TV audience consists of casual sports fans while the audio audience is far more passionate and engaged – they are far more likely to be seen as sports experts by their friends, play fantasy sports, and attend games – this provides brands with a highly attentive audience.” Other key findings from the study indicated that: sports betting is more prevalent among AM/FM radio sports listeners versus the TV sports audience; in the car, the AM/FM radio NFL play-by-play broadcast is the ‘best available screen’ for employed and upscale sports fans and according to GfK MRI, the profile of the AM/FM radio NFL audience is much more upscale; compared to average Americans, NFL AM/FM radio audiences spend 16% more. See the study results here.
Salem Media Group Closes Refinancing of 2024 Senior Secured Notes. In a statement released on Monday (9/13), Salem Media Group announces it has closed the refinancing of $112.8 million of its senior secured notes due 2024 by way of exchange and/or sale and purchase of $112.8 of such 2024 Notes into $114.7 (reflecting a call premium of 1.688%) of newly issued 7.125% Senior Secured Notes due 2028. After the refinancing, only $103.5 million of the 2024 Notes remain outstanding. At the same time, Salem has obtained commitments from the holders of the 2028 Notes to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, contingent upon Salem satisfying certain performance benchmarks, the proceeds of which are to be used exclusively to repurchase or repay 2024 Notes. Salem believes that the extended maturity of the 2028 Notes, the ability under the indenture governing the 2028 Notes to use certain asset sale proceeds and casualty loss proceeds to repurchase or repay the 2024 Notes, and the commitments to purchase up to $50 million in additional 2028 Notes, as well as certain other features of the refinancing, all contribute to the ability of Salem to pay the remaining 2024 Notes in full prior to or at maturity. Salem CEO Edward G, Atsinger III says, “With this refinancing and our expected future free cash flow generation, we believe Salem has a clear path to ultimately push out all of the rest of our outstanding debt maturities. It also provides flexibility to opportunistically invest in our business.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago-born stand-up comic Brian Babylon, a.k.a., “Prince of Bronzeville,” is named the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on Tavis Smiley’s talk outlet KBLA, Los Angeles. Feder notes that Babylon hosted “The Morning AMp” from 2011 to 2015 on Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo platform…..ABC Audio announces that Derricke Dennis is promoted to staff correspondent. In this role, he’ll report for all ABC Audio platforms, continue to anchor newscasts – as well as coverage of breaking news and special events – and he’ll be instrumental in the company’s efforts to build new products and reach new audiences. Dennis has been serving the company as a freelancer and anchoring ABC’s flagship I-NET newscast…..VSiN announces that Stormy Buonantony joins the sports betting network as the new host of “My Guys in the Desert.” In addition to covering college football for ESPN, Buonantony joins VSiN from AT&T SportsNet, where she was the rinkside reporter for the Vegas Golden Knights over the past two seasons. She says, “I’m so excited to expand my role and join the incredibly talented and knowledgeable team at VSiN full time. I’ve always joked that I grew up in a household where it didn’t matter who won or lost the game but rather by how many points they won or lost. This represents a special opportunity for me to combine my personal and professional backgrounds in my hometown of Las Vegas on a network committed to providing the best sports betting analysis out there.”…..Pet behaviorist and humorist Warren Eckstein celebrates 40 years in radio hosting, “The Pet Show With Warren Eckstein,” that is syndicated internationally by Radio America in 150 additional markets, including Guam and Canada.
COVID-19, California Recall, Afghanistan, January 6 Investigation/Justice for J6 Rally, Met Gala, Prince Andrew Case, California Wildfires/Tropical Storm Nicholas Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the battle over vaccine mandates, and school mask requirements; today’s recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the looming Justice for J6 rally in Washington; U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wears a dress that says “tax the rich” to the Met Gala; Prince Andrew’s attorneys claim Jeffrey Epstein-related complaint is improper; and the wildfires in California and the threat of heavy rain in the Gulf south from Tropical Storm Nicholas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.