Keith Williams Named Market Manager for ‘ESPN 1000’ in Chicago; Tom Olson Rises to Market Manager for ‘ESPN Madison.’ A couple of management changes take place at Good Karma Brands. As a result of Mike Thomas leaving his position as market manager for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000” to take on the market manager role for Audacy in Boston, Good Karma Brands names Keith Williams the new market manager for “ESPN 1000,” effective November 1. Williams – a vice president and partner at Good Karma Brands – is a 22-year veteran of the company and most recently was market manager for WTLX-FM, Madison “ESPN Madison.” He says, “I’m thrilled to join the team at ‘ESPN 1000’ and work with the talented group of teammates and loyal partners we have in Chicago. I’m looking forward to furthering Good Karma’s track record as a best-in-class operator of world class brands to ‘ESPN Chicago’ and can’t wait to get started.” Rising to the market manager role in Madison is Tom Olson, who’s been serving as director of sales and marketing. Olson says, “I’m excited to lead one of Good Karma Brands’ heritage markets. Madison is an incredible sports town, and I’m looking forward to working with our talented team, as well as local businesses and marketing partners as we build on our years of serving the passionate sports fans.”
Ed Moloney Named Director of Affiliation and Sales for Skyview Networks. Radio syndication pro Ed Moloney joins Skyview Networks as director, affiliate syndication and sales. In this role, Moloney will serve as a key member of the syndication and content development team, identifying and activating affiliation opportunities to drive significant network growth. Moloney was most recently with Sun Broadcast Group and SuiteRadio as affiliate content manager. Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “Ed brings a sterling reputation, deep knowledge and specialized skills in syndication and affiliate sales to our already established team. His involvement in our growing talent portfolio will benefit existing and prospective clients and provide our affiliation managers strategic direction to achieve network growth goals.” Moloney states, “Over the past few years, I couldn’t help but notice the tremendous growth of Skyview Networks and its innovative leadership team that consistently operates ahead of developing industry trends. I knew right away this was a great opportunity to contribute my skills and expertise to further bolster a winning team.”
Las Vegas Talk Personality Heidi Harris Debuts ‘Headlines with Heidi.’ Las Vegas media personality Heidi Harris – who’s currently hosting her weekly Sunday night talk show on Audacy’s KFTK-FM, St. Louis from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm CT – announces her newest project called “Headlines with Heidi.” The daily program features Harris taking on the day’s news delivered via Facebook Live and posted to YouTube later in the day. Harris tells her fans, “Many of you have written to me about how much you miss me on local radio in Vegas, especially in the mornings, and you’ve been wanting my thoughts on different local issues, races, etc, so I started doing ‘Headlines with Heidi.’ I literally sit at my kitchen counter and talk about the news headlines. I give you my irreverent take on the stories of the day, with a side of my famous snark. The stories may be Vegas-related, national, or STL-related, but it’s fun and I keep it to about 15 minutes. We’re all busy!”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former Salem Media Group talk host (and former Republican congressman) Joe Walsh is launching a new twice-weekly podcast titled, “White Flag with Joe Walsh.” His first two guests on the podcast are former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and actor/comic/radio personality D.L. Hughley. Walsh says, “I don’t want to talk to people I agree with. I want to sit down and have civil, constructive conversation with people who think differently than I do.”…..Audacy and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls announce a multi-year radio broadcast contract extension in which sports talk outlet WSCR-AM “670 The Score” continues to serve as the flagship radio station of the Bulls, airing all regular season and postseason games. Listeners will also be able to hear games via the station’s digital stream on the Audacy app and station website. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “For years, ‘670 The Score’ has been the home for Bulls basketball, and we’re delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with the Reinsdorf family and the Bulls organization. As the voice of Chicago sports fans, we look forward to many more years of giving our listeners premier year-round coverage of the team, both on and off the court.”…..Audacy’s Cadence13, OBB Sound, and SB Projects announce the launch of “In Good Faith,” a new weekly podcast series hosted by Churchome’s lead pastors Chelsea and Judah Smith. Cadence13 says, “While in many ways inspired by their faith, the Smiths will challenge traditional beliefs and root themselves in broader universal principles that touch everyone on and off the show, regardless of personal or religious beliefs.”…..Paris Hilton, London Audio, iHeartMedia, with Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Telepictures are producing, “Trapped In Treatment,” a new iHeartRadio Original docu-style podcast series, hosted by Caroline Cole and Rebecca Mellinger, that will examine and expose the dark secrets and controversial practices of the “troubled teen industry.” Beginning with Provo Canyon School, each season will focus on unmasking one youth treatment facility, through the experience and stories of its survivors and the traumatizing abuse at the hands of their captors. Hilton has been at the forefront of creating legislation that regulates treatment centers for troubled teens in Utah after being mentally and physically abused at Provo Canyon School. “For 20 years, I lived silently with the memories, and the trauma, from my experience at Provo Canyon School. This past year, thousands of survivors like me have shared their stories, helping to bring into public view what so many of us have locked up. Provo Canyon School will not be able to hide behind the abuse they’ve caused survivors any longer. I am so proud to be producing ‘Trapped in Treatment’ and can’t wait to take you on this audio journey.”
January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Facebook Papers, Supply Chain/Inflation, Border Chaos, and China’s Military Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/25). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the public relations crisis affecting Facebook in the aftermath of the release of the “Facebook Papers”; the ongoing effects of the disrupted global supply chain and the inflation affecting retail prices; the flood of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the matter; and China’s military aggression were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus Media Reports 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 13.9%; Net Revenue for Full Year of 2020 Declines 26.7%. The second major radio company to report financial figures from the fourth quarter and the full year of 2020 (Beasley was first back on February 10), Cumulus Media reports net revenue of $245.8 million for the fourth quarter – a decline of 13.9% compared to the same period in 2019 – and full year 2020 net revenue of $816 million, down 26.7% from $1.1 billion reported in 2019. For Q4, Cumulus posted a loss of $249,000 a year after 2019’s Q4 income of $1.6 million. For the full year of 2019, the company posted a loss of $57.9 million compared to 2019’s full year income of $62.2 million. On the positive side, Cumulus reports that quarterly revenue improved sequentially from Q2 to Q4, both in total and excluding political; it achieved 9.4% year-over-year digital revenue growth (12.1% on a same station basis), driven by podcasting growth of nearly 40%; it generated $33.2 million of cash from operations for the full year; it completed two significant M&A transactions generating aggregate gross proceeds of $282 million; paid down $54.3 million of term loan and retired $47.2 million of senior notes; and finished the year with $271.8 million of cash on hand (an increase of $256.6 million compared with December 31, 2019). President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “Given 2020’s extenuating circumstances, I am extremely proud of the company’s performance and the efforts of the entire Cumulus team to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. In the face of the pandemic, we maximized revenue performance, materially reduced expenses, generated cash through strong working capital management, and executed highly accretive divestitures that strengthened our balance sheet. As a result of these efforts and with a recovering economy, we believe that we are well-positioned to return our business to its pre-pandemic trajectory and to capitalize on strategic and financial options to best drive shareholder returns.”
Chad Benson Welcomes New Affiliate Stations. The Radio America-syndicated “Chad Benson Show” welcomes four new radio stations to its roster of affiliate stations: WP Broadcasting’s news/talk KRSY-AM, Alamogordo, New Mexico; WCED Rsdio’s news/talk WCED-AM, Du Bois, Pennsylvania; Fieldview Broadcasting’s news/talk KWBG-AM, Boone, Iowa; and VP Broadcasting’s news/talk WHOL-AM/W295CR Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Chad Benson Show is also heard on such signals as Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix; iHeartMedia’s KSTE-AM, Sacramento; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. Radio America says, “Listeners love Chad’s explanation of the day’s hard news delivered in a thoughtful and entertaining way. And that explains why Chad is featured on some of the most highly rated talk stations in the country and delivers the demos that talk radio needs most.”
Entercom and Pro Sports Teams Cooperate on ‘Vaccinate Michigan’ Effort. The Entercom Detroit station cluster that includes sports talk WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket,” all-news WWJ-AM “Newsradio 950,” and three music brands are partnering with the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Pistons to launch a new community initiative called “Vaccinate Michigan.” All five stations are airing state-approved public service announcements about the COVID-19 vaccination and its availability for Michigan residents. The “Vaccinate Michigan” announcements are voiced by various Entercom Detroit on-air personalities, show hosts, and news anchors, as well as some of the city’s key sports figures, including Tigers manager AJ Hinch, Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd, Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill, Lions head coach Dan Campbell, and Pistons head coach Dwane Casey. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Our company and sports partners understand the importance of getting Michigan businesses open, as well as the need of our listeners and fans to get back to work and feel some sense of normalcy. Radio serves as a crucial lifeline for the communities it serves and we’re proud to lend our influential voice in the community and our citywide footprint to deliver the important message of COVID-19 vaccinations to our listeners and fans.”
SummitMedia Enters into Podcast Deal with CurtCo Media. This strategic partnership between SummitMedia and CurtCo Media is SummitMedia’s first formal alliance with a third-party content creator for the podcast audience. SummitMedia owns and operates 47 radio stations in nine states. Los Angeles-based CurtCo Media currently produces cutting-edge quality scripted and unscripted podcast programming. SummitMedia chairman and CEO Carl Parmer comments, “SummitMedia’s partnership with CurtCo Media provides us with an exciting opportunity to develop and explore the rapidly growing podcast medium. We’ve known and watched CurtCo create engaging and innovative content for years, and we value the integrity and quality they bring to the media industry.” CurtCo Media CEO Bill Curtis says, “Having a strategic alliance and investment from SummitMedia makes this partnership the most powerful moment to date in our business development. We’re so excited to work with Greg Kelly, Carl and their team to create new dynamic programming and combine Summit’s powerful radio platform with CurtCo Media in the fast-growing world of podcasting. We believe this strategic partnership will provide sustainable value for our business and expand our audience.”
TALKERS News Notes. Longtime radio and television consumer advocate Clark Howard will receive the 2021 “Andrew Ashwood Award” at the 12th annual Talk Show Boot Camp, presented by Don Anthony’s Talentmasters and Gabe Hobbs Media being held virtually this year on March 18 and 19. Howard, who wrapped his nationally syndicated radio program after 23 years at the end of 2020, will be presented with the award by last year’s recipient, Greg Moceri. He says, “When I was given the privilege of selecting someone who exemplified the positivity that Andrew did for our industry, it took me two seconds to say Clark Howard. Having worked and associated with him for 30 years, he was an instant selection on how many ways he has demonstrated that positivity and has helped millions through the years. ‘In Clark we trust’ impacted his knowledge and authenticity in our industry for decades and it continues today. Clark was an instant choice to carry on this great tradition of honoring Andrew.”…..The 2nd Annual Radio Cares – Feeding America is off to a great start with new and returning partners signing on in support of the nationwide radio event that raises money to provide meals for individuals and families facing hunger in America. Radio Cares is presented by Feeding America and the Independent Broadcasters Association and takes place on April 14 on radio stations across the country. Last year, in its inaugural event, Radio Cares raised enough money to purchase 5 million meals.”…..The Philadelphia Phillies and Entercom announce a new, multi-year radio deal with the MLB’s Phillies to keep sports talk WIP-FM the flagship station for the club’s radio broadcasts. The play-by-play team of Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will be joined by Kevin Frandsen this season. Entercom Philly SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re eagerly awaiting the return of Phillies baseball and are happy to announce a new broadcast extension with the club. As the undisputed voice of the Philadelphia sports fan, we look forward to putting listeners right in the middle of the action through premier game day coverage and keeping them caught up with their favorite team throughout the season.”
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, SCOTUS Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Capitol Riot Investigation, Cabinet Confirmation Hearings, Dominion Sues Mike Lindell, and Facebook Australia News Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22). The United States passes the 500,000 COVID death mark and the rollout of vaccines continues; the Supreme Court rules New York prosecutors can have access to Donald Trump’s tax records; today’s first Senate hearing on the January 6 Capitol insurrection; Monday’s first confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, and the coming hearings for embattled White House budget office nominee Neera Tanden and Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland; voting systems firm Dominion sues MyPillow chief Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion for defamation; and Facebook agrees to Australian news deal that will pay news organizations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Salem Radio Network to Present ‘Coronavirus Pandemic: An SRN News Special Report.’ Tomorrow (3/18) at 6:00 pm ET, Salem Radio Network is producing and broadcasting a live, one-hour special report on the COVID-19 pandemic on most SRN affiliated stations. SRN says the program will feature the latest updates on what is unfolding with this major breaking news story and provide listeners with critical, hands-on information. The program will be co-hosted by SRN talk hosts Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Hugh Hewitt and will originate live from the SRN News studios in Washington DC. It will also be streamed on Facebook Live. SRN senior vice president Phil Boyce says, “The country has been shaken by the fast-changing news events of this important story and SRN is uniquely qualified to carry out this task with a live, one-hour special report. We’ll rely on the expert commentary of both Gorka and Hewitt, with SRN News coverage from Greg Clugston at the White House.” SRN hosts Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager will also participate in the program that will include reports from major SRN affiliate locations. Stations wishing to carry this important live broadcast should contact their regional affiliate relations manager at the Salem Radio Network – East: Jim Bligh 212-419-4663; Central: Kelli DeShan 972-707-6882; and West: Jim Watkins 239-470-9297.
Armstrong & Getty Make Show Available to Stations in Need. KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based, syndicated news/talk program Armstrong & Getty – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it is willing to assist radio stations trying to get through the COVID-19 crisis. Effective immediately, the program is available to any station in need of a replacement show (as long as the program doesn’t already have an affiliate in that market). The show airs live from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and stations do not need an affiliation agreement. Interested stations can contact Craig Whetstine at Armstrong & Getty Media at 503-975-6153.
ABC Audio Offers COVID-19 Digital Text Feed to Stations. As a public service, ABC Audio is offering a COVID-19 digital text feed to interested radio stations. The company says that regardless of a station’s current affiliation with ABC Audio or ABC News Radio, it can utilize the new RSS feed to auto-populate their websites and apps with stories related to COVID-19 without a fee. ABC’s feed will feature a selection of important news stories, including the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak and updates from health authorities and medical providers, as well as entertainment stories about the impact COVID-19 has on the industry. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Deshishku says, “In these uncertain times ABC Audio is trying to help all radio stations keep their listeners informed. As more station staff members work remotely, we want to offer ready-made material for as many platforms as possible. This new digital feed and social media content will enable stations to concentrate on their audio operations secure in the knowledge that their listeners and readers are up to date with the latest COVID-19 information.” Interested stations should email Christopher.Venice@abc.com or Mary.E.McCarthy@abc.com.
Beasley Initiates ‘Operation Gift Card: New England.’ In an effort to assist local businesses affected by the mandatory shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Beasley Media Group’s Boston-based radio cluster is unveiling Operation Gift Card: New England. As part of the company’s “We Are All in This Together” campaign, the stations are inviting area restaurants, free of charge, to submit links to feature their gift card pages on all Beasley Media Group Boston websites. The sites currently receive over two million page views and have 750,000 unique users on an average monthly basis. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “With local restaurants and small businesses experiencing a number of restrictions, including restaurants moving towards a take-out/delivery only model, we wanted to show our support during these challenging times. Our company is committed to being there for those in need. We are all in this together!”
Westwood One: Who’s Listening to What at Home? Working from home is becoming required for more Americans as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the Westwood One blog looks as data about listening to the radio from home, mostly via smart speakers. Based on recent Edison Research “Share of Ear” data from the third quarter of 2019, 24% of listening (persons 13+) is to AM/FM radio. That tops streaming services, satellite radio and podcasts by a substantial margin. As people work more from home, additional data will be available in the future. According to Triton Digital, over the past week, online shares for public radio and commercial news/talk radio have grown. See the blog here.
Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Application Window Open. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) Group announces that the application window for its MIW Group 2020 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is officially open. This is the 19th year in which this notable experience pairs women working in radio with female professionals who are recognized leaders from all aspects of the broadcasting industry. Four candidates will be selected for the 2020 program. Women with a minimum of five years of radio experience, and currently working in sales, marketing, programming, digital and/or engineering, are encouraged to review mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply. See the mentee application here. The deadline to apply is April 6, 2020. Lindsay Adams is a former mentee, is currently VP of national agency partnerships with Entercom, and serves as the mentoring committee chair for the MIW. She says, “This unique initiative provides a wonderful opportunity for ambitious, experienced women in the industry to gain valuable insight, knowledge, and grow their professional network. This program truly does propel the careers of women forward in our industry. It is rewarding to watch our mentees grow professionally throughout the year.”
Coronavirus Changes American Life, Financial Markets Battered/Recession Looms, and Biden vs Sanders/Ohio Postpones Primary Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The restrictions in place in most parts of America to prevent the spread of COVID-19; the world’s financial markets take another big hit on Monday and experts say the conditions are ripe for a global recession; and the Democratic presidential primary race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders plus Ohio’s postponement of its primary election were some of the top aspects of the coronavirus pandemic story discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.