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Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

| May 4, 2021

Beasley 2021 Q1 Net Revenue $48.2 Million; Operating Loss Shrinks. First quarter financial data from Beasley Broadcast Group – parent of Beasley Media Group – reveals a decline in net revenue of 17.8%, from $57.7 million in Q1 2020 to $48.2 million in Q1 2021. While station operating income was down, $5.2 million compared to $6.7 million in Q1 2020, Beasley greatly reduced its operating loss from $7.1 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2021. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Beasley reported 2021 first quarter financial results consistent with the expectations we outlined when we reported the 2020 fourth quarter, as our strong revenue growth in the first two months of the comparable 2020 period, prior to the onset of the pandemic, created a difficult year-over-year comparison. Though we continued to experience challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic during the first quarter, I am pleased to report that we began to see a strong recovery. As a result, we expect Beasley to return to top-line revenue growth beginning in the second quarter of 2021. During the first quarter, we continued to advance our digital transformation and revenue diversification initiatives across the company. In this regard, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 10% on a year-over-year basis, with digital accounting for approximately 12% of total first quarter revenue, compared to 9.3% of total revenue in the prior year period. Consumer demand for digital audio content remains strong and with our ongoing emphasis on digital innovation, Beasley continues attracting new business by successfully targeting the sale of non-radio products to non-radio advertisers. With the continued strong growth of our digital business, Beasley will report digital revenue as a separate segment going forward. We believe this milestone represents an important inflection point in the ongoing evolution of our operating model and clearly highlights the value of our revenue diversification strategies.”

Bill O’Reilly’s New Book, Killing the Mob, Published. The latest book from broadcast journalist and talk host Bill O’Reilly (with co-author Martin Dugard) is out as KILLING THE MOB: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America (2021, St. Martin’s) hits booksellers today (5/4). The promo for the book says: “O’Reilly traces the brutal history of 20th century organized crime in the United States, and expertly plumbs the history of this nation’s most notorious serial robbers, conmen, and especially, mob family bosses. Covering the period from the 1930s to the 1980s, O’Reilly traces the prohibition-busting bank robbers of the Depression Era, such as Bonnie & Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby-Face Nelson. In addition, the authors highlight the creation of the Mafia Commission, the power struggles within the ‘Five Families,’ and the battles to control Cuba, Las Vegas and Hollywood, as well as the personal war between the U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy and legendary Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa.” Bill O’Reilly currently hosts the Key Networks nationally syndicated radio programs “The O’Reilly Update” and “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition.”

Townsquare Media Ups Jeff Luckoff to Market President for Michigan. Rising from his Grand Rapids market president role to regional market president and chief revenue officer for Michigan is Jeff Luckoff. In this role, he’ll oversee Townsquare Media’s Michigan local media clusters and will report to SVP Todd Lawley. Lawley says, “In a very short amount of time Jeff has reset the culture, made key hires, and built a foundation that is unlocking the full potential of our market leading online and on-air brands in Grand Rapids. We are now challenging Jeff to unlock the full potential of our statewide footprint which includes Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint.” Luckoff comments, “We have incredible talent and local brands throughout the state of Michigan. I am fortunate for the opportunity to utilize Townsquare’s footprint to deepen our impact on the community and further deliver better results for our advertisers. I am honored to be leading such an extraordinary team.”

NAB Opens Nominations for 2021 Marconi Awards. The National Association of Broadcasters is now accepting nominations for the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and will be accepting submissions until May 31. Established in 1989 and named for inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the prestigious awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio. Station and on-air personality nominations may be submitted for the 23 awards presented in the following categories: Legendary Station of the Year, Legendary Manager of the Year, Radio Station of the Year by Market Size, Radio Station of the Year by Format, Personality of the Year by Market Size, Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year, and Best Radio Podcast of the Year. Nominations may only be made by NAB members. You can see the rules here. Winners will be recognized during a special event at the Radio Show, held October 13-14, 2021 in Las Vegas, and co-located with NAB Show.

TALKERS News Notes. The American Urban Radio Networks names Ebony McMorris White House news correspondent. She comes to AURN from Reach Media/Urban One where she most recently served as national news correspondent. She comments, “For such a time as this, it is an honor to join the AURN family as their White House correspondent during such a pivotal and monumental point in history. In taking this role I am reminded of Alice Dunnigan, the first African American woman to receive White House credentials, who said, ‘While the role of the Black press is that of objectively reporting the news as it happens, it has another function equally as important – that of fighting oppression.’”…..Audacy’s sports talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” announces that former MLB player Neil Walker will join “The Fan Morning Show” with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack Monday mornings at 9:00 am, beginning May 10…..iHeartMedia and Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg’s Pushkin Industries audio production company unveil a new co-produced iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi.” The weekly interview program builds on Kendi’s extensive body of antiracist work, challenging listeners to consider what an antiracist society might look like and how individuals and communities can play an active role in building it. Kendi says, “After a year that laid bare the pervasive racial inequity that continues to plague our nation, we must continue the difficult but necessary conversations that will allow us to imagine and erect a truly antiracist society. I look forward to exploring these topics with guests whose work I deeply admire and digging deep with them and with listeners.”…..CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is launching a new podcast called, “Chasing Life,” in which Gupta guides listeners on how to mindfully approach our new normal, while finding a balance between self-care and productivity. He says, “As we’re entering a new – and more hopeful – phase of this pandemic, now seemed like a worthy point in time to start a new podcast with recovery and reflection in mind. While we may never be able to replicate a pre-2020 world, I hope we can all start moving forward and start chasing life again.” The first episode premiers May 11 via CNN’s apps.

Audacy and Genomind Partner for Mental Health Care Content. Mental health awareness has been a focus of Audacy’s public service efforts for several years and now the company announces a partnership with Genomind to help “bring mental health conversations into the mainstream.” As part of the partnership, Audacy will leverage the deep local connection of 15 stations across eight markets – Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington D.C. – to promote Genomind’s new Mental Health Map, the first and only consumer DNA test to offer a concise, easy-to-navigate blueprint of your genetic profile and its influence on stress and anxiety, mood, focus and memory, habits and substance use, sleep, social behavior, and eating behavior. Audacy vice president, social impact Sarah Harris says, “Mental health awareness is a major area of focus for us and a crucial pillar of our companywide social impact platform, and we’re excited to further activate our commitment through this partnership with Genomind. We recognize our significant influence and welcome the opportunity to use our voice, coupled with Genomind’s mental health expertise, innovations and technology, to help improve and save lives and continue our shared mission of ending the stigma of talking about mental health.” Genomind will also serve as the sponsor for Audacy’s “I’m Listening Daily Capsules,” 60-second daily public service announcements as part of the company’s yearlong “I’m Listening” mental health initiative. Genomind will also serve as the presenting sponsor of Audacy’s annual “I’m Listening” broadast, a live national program that brings together artists, athletes and medical specialists every September to remind listeners it’s okay to not be okay, raise awareness and end the stigma of talking about mental health.

COVID-19, Giuliani Investigation, Trump’s Facebook Fate, Bill and Melinda Gates to Divorce, Border Crisis, and Severe Southeast Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/3). Vaccination rates in the U.S. and the politicization of the “jab,” rising infections among young Americans, and the high death toll in India; Facebook to decide the fate of Donald Trump’s currently suspended account; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates to divorce; the crush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the 6,000-plus illegals captured by ICE in April; and the severe weather hitting the Southeast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Industry Memorial Tribute to the Late Barry Farber Set for May 5. The family of Barry Farber, in association with TALKERS magazine, is presenting an industry memorial tribute to the legendary radio talk show host on May 5 via Zoom. The virtual event will mark the first anniversary of his passing and the 91st anniversary of his birth. Farber, considered by industry observers to be one of the greatest talk radio hosts of all time, as well as one of the genre’s most influential pioneers, passed away on May 6, 2020 – one day after his 90th birthday. The event will consist of a series of personal remembrances delivered by a select panel of family, friends and radio industry colleagues. It will be recorded and available for on-demand viewing as part of a larger display of memories and Farber history being developed for a special commemorative website devoted to the broadcaster. Barry Farber’s on-air career was launched in 1960 and continued all the way to his death in 2020. It included his hosting major shows on such legendary New York outlets as WINS, WOR, and WMCA. He also was syndicated by ABC Radio Networks and Daynet. His final shows were carried by CRN Digital Talk Radio Network. According to The New York Times, at the time of his death he was the longest continually running radio host. Farber was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2014 and is a past recipient of the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award among many other honors. He was the author of three books and a student of 26 languages. The memorial event will take place on Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 between 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm and will be hosted by Michael Harrison. Although all Zoom positions are filled, the event will be available to view via live streaming on YouTube. To view the Memorial event in real time on Wednesday at 7:30 pm ET, please click here.

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”

Monday, August 31, 2020

| August 31, 2020

Monday Memo: Announcers, You Have Been Replaced…for $47.  Seldom at a loss for words, consultant Holland Cooke admits he “won’t even TRY to describe” what he regards as a breakthrough, “after what we, as an industry, have suffered from failed consolidation, and as pandemic remote-broadcast mode has obsoleted the station workspace as we knew it.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The New-Talk of Sports Talk. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the dramatic changes in what sports talk hosts are discussing today compared to just a year ago. “Today, players and on-air personalities are tackling complex issues with newer topics up for discussion everywhere from social media to your station’s dial position. Let’s be clear, this is not about play-by-play, this is about selling your local sports talker hitting on topics that last year at this time weren’t up for consideration on a sports talk show sheet.” Read more here.

Madison Advertiser Pulls Ads from News/Talk WIBA-AM. A piece in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel by Daniel Bice indicates that Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin has pulled its ads from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WIBA-AM, Madison after talk host Vicki McKenna voiced support for Kyle Rittenhouse – the 17-year-old Illinois resident charged with homicide in the deaths of two protestors. Group Health Cooperative chief business development officer Allan Wearing tells Bice that McKenna has a right to her opinions and his  company has the right to pull its advertising. McKenna – whose show is also heard on sister station WISN-AM, Milwaukee – says she’s being “smeared” by the newspaper and that Bice wrote that she’s encouraging people to “murder protesters.” Bice says he wrote no such thing.

Cleveland, Tennessee Sportscaster Suspended After Insensitive Comment. Play-by-play broadcaster Gary Ownbey has been suspended by Hartline LLC for a comment made during a high school football game broadcast last week on “101.3 The Buzz” in Cleveland, Tennessee. After Ownbey stumbled over some of the players’ names during the broadcast, he said, “I don’t know where they’re getting these foreigners from.” Hartline and Bradley County Schools issued a joint statement that read, in part, “Now more than ever, it is critical for our organizations to reinforce our public commitment to equity for all. ‘101.3 The Buzz,’ Bradley County Schools, and Bradley Central High School will not condone this type of action or behavior. We believe this is contrary to our overall goals of empathy, affirmation, and creating a culturally responsive environment for all.” Hartline LLC owner Steve Hartline added, “The comments made during Thursday night’s game do not in any way reflect the culture nor views of the station. We respect our student-athletes, and their families and are proud to showcase their accomplishments on and off the field.”

Civil Unrest/Deadly Portland Shooting, Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, School Opening Debate/College Outbreaks, Hurricane Laura Destruction, Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The civil unrest in cities where protests are ongoing and the shooting death in Portland; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools to students and the outbreaks on numerous college campuses; the destruction in Louisiana after the landfall of Hurricane Laura; and the death of actor Chadwick Boseman were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Expands Black Information Network Across On-Air Signals. The new BIN: Black Information Network launched last month by iHeartMedia is adding four on-air signals to the group of radio stations carrying the 24/7 national audio news service “dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective.” The company has entered into Local Marketing Agreements with M-10 Broadcasting for WQLL-AM, Baltimore; Alexander Broadcasting Company for W257DC, Montgomery, Alabama; Beasley Media Group for WTEL-AM, Philadelphia; and an LMA with an Asset Purchase Agreement with Potomac Radio Group for WUST-AM, Washington, DC. BIN: Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is of course to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Baltimore, Montgomery, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and provide millions of listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Springfield, Illinois, Mid-West Family Communications announces that effective tomorrow (9/1) news/talk WMAY-AM begins airing on the 92.7 frequency in the market. Currently the home of country WUSY-FM, the move will put the company’s heritage news/talk station on three signals: 970 AM, 94.7 FM via W234CC, and the full-market class B1 FM WUSY. Station general manager Mike Paterson says in a press release, “Now more than ever, people across Central Illinois are relying on WMAY for breaking news and insightful coverage and commentary of important local, state, and national issues. Moving WMAY to 92.7 FM expands its reach into downtown office buildings and to inform consumers in surrounding counties. The pandemic, the rebuilding of the local economy, the election, statehouse scandals, and more – these are all reasons why people need a reliable way to stay informed and stay connected. Expanding our on-air reach, in addition to our streaming audio and our extensive online and social media presence, brings that vital information to every place that our audience needs it.”…..“The Armstrong & Getty Show” adds a new affiliate station to its roster as Starnes Media Group’s KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” begins airing the KSTE, Sacramento-based program. Starnes Media Group president Todd Starnes comments, “I’ve known Armstrong & Getty since my days at KFBK in Sacramento. I have no doubt that our KWAM listeners across the Mid-South will be thoroughly entertained by their show. Armstrong & Getty are making talk radio fun again.”…..In conjunction with the Seattle Police Foundation’s “Got Your Six” fundraising campaign, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s talk KVI, Seattle helped raise more than $50,000 earmarked for protective eyewear for Seattle police officers. The effort began on August 18 as KVI morning host John Carlson encouraged his listeners to donate funds in the aftermath of reports that police were being targeted with potentially eye-damaging laser pointers…..Former Georgetown University basketball coach and former WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” sports talk host John Thompson is dead at age 78. Thompson led the Georgetown Hoyas to the 1984 NCAA Championship. After leaving coaching in 1999, he began a 12-year career as a radio sports talk host on WTEM’s midday show alongside Rick “Doc” Walker and Brian Mitchell

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Baltimore hot AC WWMX-FM “Mix 106.5” announces its new morning drive team of Steve Kramer and Jessica Dutra, who will host the “Kramer & Jess” show beginning September 14. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “Kramer and Jess are both optimistic, energetic and downright entertaining, which is exactly what Baltimore listeners are craving to start their day. Their undeniable passion will be a welcomed addition to our morning drive, and we look forward to introducing them to our audience, both locally and nationally.” The pair were most recently with iHeartMedia’s KHTS-FM, San Diego where Kramer was a morning co-host while Dutra served the station as co-host, producer, and social media coordinator for the morning show…..A new program is being offered in syndication from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in partnership with Oceanic Tradewinds and T & T Creative. The show, “Winning with Jekalyn Carr,” features hit music popular in both the inspirational and urban formats as well as interviews, creative features, and a plethora of video lifestyle content. The show premieres on Labor Day (9/7) in both video and audio formats and then launches with a regular hour-long, daily radio program and a two-hour-long weekend offering. All programs are barter free through September 27.