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Monday, July 18, 2022

| July 18, 2022

Pending Business: SiriusXM’s Chutzpah. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says AM/FM radio needs a stronger response to attacks like the broadside leveled at it by SiriusXM last week in its “Why waste your time with AM/FM radio? campaign. “Timing is everything and as much as it hurts, the “Why waste your time?” ad was well played. AM/FM radio can’t afford to ignore a broadside attack. Playing the local, free and emergency cards is a solid first step. Every AM/FM radio listener and advertiser can use a reminder. Just like a utility, we take it for granted until it’s not there when you need it.” He offers three concepts for development that support radio’s value. Read it here.

Monday Memo: Dine with Seinfeld’s Parents. Consultant Holland Cooke continues his month-long series “Inflation Hacks, money-saving tactics for your listeners (and yourself).” In this week’s column, HC offers “escape from Ramen, and your dentist!” Read it here.

‘The Big Picture’ Panel Video from TALKERS 2020 Posted. Today (7/18), the video of the panel discussion titled, “The Big Picture,” from the recent TALKERS 2022 convention at Hofstra University is posted. The panel was moderated by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (who was introduced by Dottie Herman, vice-chair, Douglas Elliman Real Estate and host of “Eye on Real Estate” heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer”) Panelists included: Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Lee Habeeb, host/producer, “Our American Stories”; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; and Chris Oliviero, president/market manager, Audacy New York. See the video here.

Salem Rises to Prominence in Conservative Media. In a profile piece published in TALKERS magazine today (7/18), executive editor Kevin Casey chronicles some of the history of Salem Media Group and highlights the company’s steadily growing prominence in the conservative media universe. At the very heart of Salem Media Group is its philosophy and mission. Co-founder and executive chairman of the board Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s leadership enthusiastically embraces the concept of American exceptionalism – that America is unique in human history as a place where no matter your social status, your ethnicity, your religion, or your country of origin the American dream is available for the taking. Today there are ideologies conspiring to tear us apart by promoting identity politics under such euphemisms as ‘critical race theory.’ Salem is committed to do all that we can to counteract the forces that would tear us apart, and we have created a company uniquely positioned to achieve that goal. Fortunately, there are enough Americans committed to religious faith and conservative values to help us achieve that goal.” Company SVP of spoken word format Phil Boyce states, “When I joined Salem’s team in early 2012, I had no idea the company was positioned to explode onto the conservative landscape like it did. My 14 year’s experience programming WABC in New York – the most-listened-to news/talk station in the nation – had prepared me well for the explosive times we were about to enter at Salem. We’ve been in a culture war for years in this country, and Salem is able to use its assets to further the cause, doing good, while informing and entertaining our audience.” Read the entire story here.

LiveOne to Spin Off PodcastOne into Separate Company. On Friday (7/15), LiveOne revealed its intention to spin off wholly owned subsidiary PodcastOne, as a separate public company to be listed on a national exchange and its plan to dividend a portion of PodcastOne’s common equity to LiveOne’s more than 15,000 stockholders as of a future record date. LiveOne says it hopes to complete the spin-off be year’s end. Related to the anticipated spin-off, PodcastOne closed a private placement financing of convertible notes and warrants totaling approximately $8.1 million prior to offering expenses, including $3 million invested by LiveOne, whereby the terms of the financing value PodcastOne at a pre-money valuation of $60 million. LiveOne CEO Robert Ellin states, “The goal of both our management team and board of directors is to maximize stockholder value. PodcastOne has been a tremendous addition to LiveOne since our acquisition in 2020, and we feel strongly that the market value of our stock dramatically undervalues the sum of our parts, which includes our PodcastOne subsidiary. Upon the successful completion of the spin out, we believe PodcastOne will be the only major pure play podcast company trading on a national exchange.” PodcastOne president, Kit Gray comments, “The podcasting business has exploded over the past five years and PodcastOne is one of the largest independent podcast companies in the world. The company is one of only two independent podcasting publishers in the top 10 of Podtrac’s list of Top Publishers. We believe that by trading as a separate public company, PodcastOne will have the opportunity to access the public capital markets as well as be better positioned to both acquire podcast platforms and attract significant podcast talent.”

Round Four of June PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2022 sweep covered May 26 – June 22. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Raleigh, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM adds eight-tenths to finish the survey with an 8.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) that lifts it to the #3 rank, while Curtis Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WPTF is up two-tenths for a 1.7 share good for the #17 rank. Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee solidifies its #1 finish after adding 1.1 shares for an 11.4 share finish, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN sheds six-tenths for a 9.0 and falls back to the #3 rank. Cumulus Media’s news/talk WWTN-FM, Nashville adds a full share for a 6.9 share finish but remains in the #4 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WOKV-FM, Jacksonville remains ranked #2 after dipping four-tenths for a 9.2 share finish. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first three rounds) here.

Up on the Roof.  Posing for promo shots on the roof of the Imperial Square Building (that housed the radio station) in Hempstead, Long Island during the Winter of 70-71 is the original airstaff of the legendary progressive rock station WLIR. Pictured (l-r): Richard Neer, Pete Larkin, Don K. Reed and Michael Harrison. All went on to colorful and groundbreaking careers in the media. Reed, who would serve for many years at WCBS-FM, New York, died over the weekend. His cause of death was not reported but it is believed he had been battling heart issues. You can see the memorial tribute video created by Art Vuolo here.

KXEL, Cedar Rapids Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above is Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signing the document declaring Thursday, July 14 “KXEL Radio 80th Anniversary Day” in the state. Standing next to her looking on is KXEL host and program director Jeff Stein. The NRG Media news/talk station was the first station in the U.S. to sign on with the maximum 50,000-watts on a clear channel signal. It first took to the air at 5:30 am on July 14, 1942, from studios in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. It was founded by Joe DuMond, a Waterloo native who came to national prominence portraying “Josh Higgins of Finchville” on NBC Radio in the 1930s and 1940s.

Biden in Middle East, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, The Economy, Uvalde Report, January 6 Hearings, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, European Heatwave/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East and his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for president in 2024; the high inflation rate, unstable stock market, and fears of a recession; the release of the Uvalde School Shooting report; the ongoing January 6 hearings; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the global economy; the climbing rate of subvariant BA.5 COVID cases in the U.S.; the intense heatwave gripping Europe and the Mediterranean wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.