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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

| February 16, 2022

MIW Reveals Gender Analysis Study Results. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization reveals the results of the 22nd MIW Gender Analysis Study that tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director/brand manager titles. MIW says the study reflects data from the calendar year 2021 and was accounted for by PrecisionTrak. In the general manager category, women hold the position at 20.79% of U.S. radio stations. This is an increase of almost a full percentage point from 2020, which was 19.9%. Notably, this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%. Looking at sales managers, 33.59% of stations had a woman in the position last year. MIW says the management position that poses the greatest challenge for women is program director/brand manager. Only 12.09% of U.S. stations had women in the position in 2021, versus 12.2% in 2020. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “If the glass is half full we should celebrate any upward movement, even if it’s incremental, as jobs continue to be eliminated in the continuing pandemic. However, it’s disappointing that the glass isn’t filling faster for those in programming and MIW is paying close attention to this issue. We encourage you to register at radiomiw.com to learn about our multiple opportunities for mentoring and career development!”

iHeartMedia to Celebrate WOR, New York’s 100th Anniversary. WOR-AM, New York owner iHeartMedia is preparing to celebrate the news/talk station’s 100th anniversary of its first broadcast on February 22, 1922. Next Tuesday (2/22), “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will kick off the tribute by interviewing on-air hosts from WOR’s history to share memories of their time at the station. WOR will also air audio of historic moments and invite listeners to call in with their favorite WOR recollections. On February 23, the Empire State Building will light up in the colors of the station’s logo beginning at 5:40 pm. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “A station broadcasting for over a century is truly incredible. 710 WOR has a strong connection with the communities we serve, and as the media landscape continues to evolve, it’s exciting to see our reach has continued to grow as WOR listeners adopt streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.” WOR was initially launched to sell radios and other merchandise at Bamberger’s department store in Newark, New Jersey.

Talk Host Mark Kaye Announces 15-Year-Old Sickle Cell Patient as New Voice of the Program. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville-based, syndicated radio talk show host Mark Kaye (left) names 15-year-old Quincy Chapman (right) the new voice of “The Mark Kaye Show.” Kaye met Chapman during his “Kaye’s Kids” charity event called “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Kaye says, “Every Christmas we surprise local children who are battling life-threatening illnesses with dream gifts. This past December, Quincy was one of those kids.” Chapman suffers from the painful Sickle Cell Disease that’s required several blood transfusions, spleen removal, and a recent hip transplant. “Quincy lives in constant pain,” says Kaye. “But you would never know it if you met him. He has an incredible personality, an amazing smile, and as soon as he spoke on the air we were blown away by the power of his voice. He sounds incredible!” After being at the station, Chapman posted a message on Instagram describing how much fun he had on the show and how he was “hooked” on radio. Kaye saw the post and came up with the idea of bringing him back into the studio to record elements for his show. Kaye says, “As soon as he walked in the studio you could tell by the look on his face how happy it made him. We asked him to record some liners and promos for us. Dude was a natural.”

Alpha Media’s Chris Schmidt Named NSMA’s Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Lincoln, Nebraska radio personality Chris Schmidt is named the National Sports Media Association’s 2021 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Schmidt serves with Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR-AM and sports talk KLMS-AM as play-by-play announcer, host of the “Hail Varsity” program, and cast member of the “KFOR Morning Show.” Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Katie Philipi says, “Chris is an exceptional broadcaster and his passion cannot be rivaled. He is so deserving of this award. The entire Alpha Lincoln family celebrates his achievement.” Schmidt comments, “I’m humbled and honored by this award. Thank you to the many folks I have worked with over the years and get to work with today. I have fun going to ‘work’ every day, talking about news and sports.”

Edison Research to Host Black Podcast Listener Report Networking Event. On February 28, Edison Research is hosting an online “networking” event to further the discussion of the results of the Black Podcast Listener Report it, SXM Media, and Mindshare released in October of 2021. Edison says the virtual event will give podcasters and other interested parties a chance to network and discuss various relevant podcast topics, such as key findings from the Black Podcast Listener Report, feedback for the next report, and other topics helpful to creators in the space.  The study participants consisted of over 2,500 Black Americans age 18+. It concluded that 36% of Black Americans now listen to podcasts monthly. Black listeners are closing the gap with the general market. In 2020, 17% of Black Americans were listening to podcasts weekly, compared with 24% of all Americans. Just a year later, the number of weekly Black listeners jumped to 26% (while the general market grew slightly to 28%). Also, 42% of Black monthly podcast listeners say they’ve been streaming shows for one year or less. You can read the report here and you can register for the networking event here.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Durham Probe, S.F. School Board Recall, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Palin-NYTimes Case, Alec Baldwin Suit, and Beijing Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The threat of war over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the planned relaxing of mask mandates in numerous states, and the truckers’ protests; special counsel John Durham’s investigation into allegations of Hillary Clinton’s digital spying on Donald Trump; the successful recall of three liberal San Francisco School Board members; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; a judge tosses Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against The New York Times; Alec Baldwin is sued in connection with the shooting death on the Rust set; and the politics behind the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

| September 9, 2021

WOR-AM, New York Announces 9/11 Anniversary Broadcast. New York City news/talk WOR-AM will present a two-part, special broadcast to mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 that “will aim to honor the victims of 9/11 and the courageous first responders that risked their lives following the attacks, as well as the resilience of New Yorkers.” Tomorrow (9/10), from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, a special edition of “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will reflect on the events of that day with special guests including David Lim, a retired Port Authority police officer who was one of 16 officers to survive the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center; Jed Bernstein, head of the Broadway League and an instrumental force in getting Broadway back up and running after the attacks; and John Feal, founder of the Feal Good Foundation and 9/11 first responders advocate. On Saturday (9/11), from 8:30 am to 10:00 am, WOR-AM news director Joe Bartlett will anchor live coverage of the memorial ceremonies at the World Trade Center. The show will also feature the entire 710 WOR-AM morning team that was on the air on September 11, 2001, including host Ed Walsh, iconic 710 WOR-AM traffic reporter George Meade, news reporter Mara Rubin, and morning show executive producer Natalie Vacca. Tom Cuddy is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and he says, “These two special programs are being quarterbacked by Joe Bartlett and Natalie Vacca, two long term members of the WOR programming team who were both working on our morning show on 9/11/01. Preparing for these broadcasts has been emotional and heartbreaking for our entire staff.”

Joe Pags Releases 9/11 Memorial Song, ‘Tuesday Morning.’ Nationally syndicated, San Antonio-based talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo has released a song he wrote, sang, and played saxophone on that commemorates September 11, 2001. Titled, “Tuesday Morning,” the song describes the daily routines most Americans were beginning on that morning before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked and before a group of brave Americans helped down a jet in Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could hit its target. You can listen to the song and watch the video here.

Art Vuolo Presents Updated Edition of New York City Radio’s Coverage of 9/11. Radio’s Best Friend Art Vuolo has posted a new, updated version of the video he originally produced in February of 2002. That edition of the video was just under 13 minutes. This re-edit is just shy of 20 minutes in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. As Art notes, this is how the events of that morning were covered from a radio perspective. See the complete video here.

Newsmax to Present, “9/11: The Day That Shook the World.” This Friday evening (9/10), Newsmax will air its new documentary “9/11: The Day That Shook the World” at 9:00 pm ET. Newsmax commissioned the film with Fox Tail Productions. Award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith serves as one of the executive producers and the film was directed by Mandy Del Rio. It includes exclusive interviews with many of the key officials and players at Ground Zero that fateful day, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, former FDNY Commissioner Tom Von Essen, former New York Congressman Peter King, founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa, Chairman of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation Frank Siller, and other guests who share their personal stories of loss, grief, and heroism.

Round One of August PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Audacy New York’s all-news station WCBS-AM rises two-tenths to a 2.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and is now the #13 ranked station in the market while sister WINS-AM dips one-tenth to a 2.6 share and falls to the #14 rank. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI is up one-tenth to a 4.1 share but falls to the #7 rank while Salem Media Group’s crosstown news/talk KRLA is up four-tenths for a 2.4 share finish and the #16 rank. Nexstar Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago rises three-tenths for a 3.4 share and is ranked #9 in the market while Audacy’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM loses a full share for a 5.7 finish and falls to the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

Pittsburgh-Based Talk Host Wendy Bell Launches Show in Self-Syndication. Former KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk radio host Wendy Bell, who also served in the past as a television news anchor for KDKA-TV, has begun broadcasting a daily, three-hour talk radio program that’s available via streaming and on the radio. She’s developed an app to listen to her program online and her program has been added to the lineup at Lightner Communications’ WRTA-AM/W253CJ, Altoona, Pennsylvania “Talk Radio 98.5” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.

Tim McCarthy to Exit WEPN-FM, New York as ESPN New York Operations Evolve. According to a piece by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Tim McCarthy will exit his general manager role at ESPN’s WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN New York” at the end of this month. McCarthy has been with ABC/Disney more than 30 years and previously served as manager for news/talk WABC when the company still owned it. This comes as Good Karma Brands is expected to assume operations of WEPN-FM and KSPN-AM, Los Angeles as ESPN looks to completely get out of the radio station operation business. Good Karma recently entered into an LMA to control sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago. Emmis Communications owns the WEPN-FM signal and leases it to ESPN. McCarthy tells the Post that Disney has been very good to him over the years. “While it is bittersweet to say goodbye, I am excited and ready to begin a new chapter. The adventure continues! I am certain that our paths will cross again.”

Doug Stephan is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Long-time syndicated news/talk radio morning host, content producer and independent farmer Doug Stephan is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Stephan discuss the evolution of talk radio as well as the present-day factors that influence the way food is produced and distributed in America including climate change and the Chinese takeover of U.S. industrial assets. They also discuss the introduction of legal cannabis as an American agricultural product. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

G Networks Names Brian Pollina Director of Network Sales. National radio network G Networks announces Brian Pollina joins the company’s Ad Sales Team under Rich Baum, as a director of network sales. Pollina began his career with Audacy’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago and served with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM before joining United Stations Radio Networks in 2008 as VP of digital assets and Midwest sales.  Baum says, “We are thrilled to bring someone of Brian’s talent on board to the G Networks team as we find new ways to dynamically reach audiences through our full-service portfolio of networks and syndicated shows. We are aware of the importance of creating engaging and compelling stories for our clients across various platforms, and Brian will be an integral part of that expansion as we strengthen and grow.”

Media Bridge Advertising Names Shannon Knoepke SVP of Marketing. Radio sales pro Shannon Knoepke joins Media Bridge Advertising as senior vice president of marketing. During her career, Knoepke has served as senior vice president and market manager for Audacy, as well as senior managerial experience at Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia. In this new role, Knoepke will serve on Media Bridge’s leadership team and her executive responsibilities will include helping Media Bridge’s clients plan the right strategies, achieve the most value and achieve the best results, as well as mentoring and developing talent within the agency. Media Bridge founder and CEO Tracy Call states, “I’ve always been blown away by Shannon’s intelligence, professionalism and integrity. She’s the perfect fit for Media Bridge on many levels. She’s also the latest proof that some of our best talent comes from other side of the media table. She knows what clients want. She knows what media companies can do. And she’s the best in the business as putting those two things together efficiently.”

Melissa Colon Named VP of Client Investments for Focus 360. Marketing pro Melissa Colon is joining Focus 360 as vice president of client investments. In her new role, she’ll represent Focus 360’s suite of products and national networks to agencies and clients across the country. She most recently served with Havas Media and has also worked for Westwood One. Focus 360 founder and CEO Phil Brown comments, “This is such an exciting moment for me and the entire Focus 360 team. We’ve worked with Melissa very closely for many years and have always been grateful for her unwavering support. To have her now join our team and help spread the word on Focus 360, speaks volumes to what we’ve been able to build for all companies who turn to radio for results.”

TALKERS News Notes. The NFL’s 2021 season begins tonight and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One begins its 35th consecutive year as the exclusive network radio partner of the league. Westwood One Sports will provide play-by-play coverage of the NFL’s 2021 national regular season primetime games including Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and Sunday Night Football plus Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, the entire postseason, including the Wild Card and Divisional Playoffs, the AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games, the Pro Bowl, and Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Kevin Harlan and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner return as the lead broadcast crew…..iHeartMedia New York and media mogul Charlamagne Tha God partners with Mental Wealth Alliance to recognize World Mental Health Day by hosting the Mental Wealth Expo, a free and open to the public event taking place on October 10, 2021, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City. Attendees will hear from experts on everything mental health, with curated panels on racial trauma and mental health, Black men’s mental health, Black women’s mental health and the role religion and spiritualty play in our mental wellness…..CNN Audio presents the first episode of season one of “Total Recall: California’s Political Circus with Dana Bash.” The first episode is titled, “Welcome to the Circus.” CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash takes listeners back to the origins of the 2003 California recall and talks with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man he beat, Gray Davis, to learn why this election became such a circus.

COVID-19/Biden Speech, Afghanistan, Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Plan, Texas Abortion Law, Justice for J6 Rally, Newsom Recall, and Jamie Spears Files to End Conservatorship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/8). The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the battle over mask & vaccine mandates, and President Joe Biden’s planned speech to address the situation; the announced release of Americans in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to iron-fisted rule; the debate over the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan that expands the social safety net; the blowback from the passage of Texas’ restrictive abortion law; public safety concerns about the planned September 18 “Justice for J6” rally in Washington, DC; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and Britney Spears’ father Jamie files to end his conservatorship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

| November 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Down 22%. The earnings report from iHeartMedia for the third quarter of 2020 shows the media company in a slightly better situation than some of its similar-sized competitors as revenue was $744 million, a decrease of 22% over the same period in 2019. (Cumulus Media and Entercom were both down 30% and Beasley was down 25%.) iHeartMedia says that its third quarter revenue was up “53% sequentially, moving from down 47% [year-over-year] in Q2 to down 22% [year-over-year] in Q3. The company adds that October revenue increased 2%, benefitting from significant political advertising and digital revenue increased 17% [year-over-year]. Breaking the report down by segment, broadcast revenue declined 29% from $573 million in Q3 2019 to $404 million this year but increased 66% quarter-over-quarter. Networks revenue declined 26% from $160 million to $119 million but increased 24% quarter-over-quarter. Digital revenue increased 17%, from $97 million to $113 million, led by a 74% increase in podcasting revenue. iHeartMedia posted a loss of $32 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the net income of $12 million in Q3 of 2019.

iHM’s Pittman: Podcasting Already Profitable for Us. During yesterday’s investors conference call, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman explained the success of its podcasting segment. He said, “Podcasting continues to be our strongest performing business line, reflecting the fact that we built iHeart into the number one commercial podcast publisher in America, with 252 million downloads a month as of September, which is up 71% year-over-year. In Q3, as measured by Podtrac, we were number one in downloads each month. Our audience continues to be more than twice the size of the next largest commercial podcaster. And we extend that our lead over all other ranked podcasters. Let me share with you our model. We partner with the best content creators in the world – some of whom are our very own radio talent – distribute their content to the largest audience possible without a paywall, and use the unparalleled scale of our broadcast radio business as a built-in marketing machine to drive engagement with our podcast shows. We feel this is an important part of our secret sauce. It’s how we continue to build hit podcast after hit podcast, and how we continue to grow our leadership position. According to Podtrac’s latest data, not only are we number one overall, but we currently have the most shows featured across all categories, and we have ranked shows featured in all 19 possible categories, the most among all publishers. Let me be clear, podcasting is already a profitable business for us, and has an EBITDA margin that is higher than the overall company margin. Our podcast business is advertiser supported, it’s not subscription based, and it’s not behind a paywall, which enables our creators to share their passion with the widest audience possible, as we distribute their podcast not only on the iHeartRadio app, but across as many other distribution platforms as possible.”

Entercom Closes on $32 Million Acquisition of QL Gaming Group. According to a press release, Entercom Communications’ acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group will give Entercom “unrivaled data, analytics, and insight-driven content to Entercom’s best-in-class sports broadcast stations, influential podcasts, and RADIO.COM.” The QLGG technology portfolio includes sports betting data and analytical capabilities (BetQL), daily fantasy sports (RotoQL), simulation-based sports outcome predictions and game forecasting (AccuScore), and comprehensive analytical coverage of the ATP and WTA Tours (TennisInsight.com), each with respective subscriber base and licensing opportunities. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “As the sports betting marketplace continues to grow exponentially, the acquisition of QL Gaming Group is a perfect fit for our unrivaled sports audio platform. Integrating QL’s analytics and content with our sports brands enables us to deliver unparalleled experiences for sports fans. The acquisition builds on our track record of digital growth and further enhances our direct-to-consumer technology portfolio with data and analytics capabilities, while also adding an innovative new subscription offering to our platform.” Justin Park, QLGG co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead the business reporting to Entercom president of sports Mike Dee and Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley. Entercom adds that in 2021, under the company’s first full year of ownership, QL Gaming Group is expected to generate approximately $12 million in revenue with an EBITDA margin in the high 20s.

Flag Family Media Partners with Forum Communications to Operate WDAY-AM, Fargo. A deal between Flag Family Media and Forum Communications will give the former “an extensive role in WDAY-AM’s day-to-day operations and provides an eventual path to ownership.” Flag Family Media owns news/talk outlets WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota “AM 1090 The Flag.” Both of Flag Family Media’s principals – Steve Hallstrom and Scott Hennen – have worked at WDAY-AM in the past. Forum president and CEO Bill Marcil, Jr says, “This partnership allows us to focus our attention on our in-depth TV, digital, and print news operations while still sustaining a strong local radio presence in the region. We know Flag Family Media will honor the legacy of WDAY-AM and are looking forward to seeing how they transform our region’s radio experience.” Scott Hennen adds, “This is an extremely significant day for our company, and we look forward to learning from, and working with, some great professionals at WDAY Radio. Steve and I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and bring some energy and creativity to this legendary radio station.”

WOR, New York’s Michael Riedel Publishes New Broadway Book. WOR, New York morning drive co-host Michael Riedel has released his second book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 2020), that chronicles “a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers. In this book, Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on. Riedel, who co-hosts the WOR morning show with Len Berman, says, “I’m a newspaper guy who’s become a radio guy. It’s been my great pleasure to host the morning show with Len Berman on WOR for nearly three years. Len spent his life in sports. I spent mine on Broadway. We certainly talk a lot about politics and current events, but variety is the spice of life, so sports and Broadway are always in the mix. Broadway’s going through a tough time right now, but my book, recounts a better time – the 1990s. I have no doubt that Broadway will be back one day, and Len and I will be there to cheer it on.”

TALKERS News Notes. As eyes and ears shift to Georgia for the January 5 runoff elections to decide that state’s two U.S. Senate races, Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher’s syndicated late morning talk show will “parachute into Georgia in December” as he launches a “Save The Senate” initiative. Gallagher will use Salem’s WGKA-AM, Atlanta “AM920 The ANSWER” as his December base to follow what promises to be the most expensive runoff election in U.S. history. Gallagher says, “This pair of runoff elections in Georgia will be enormously consequential for America. I’m eager to originate my show from the studios of ‘AM 920 The ANSWER’ in Atlanta for a number of days in December, highlighting the dramatic differences between the Republicans and the Democrats in the race. It is all-hands-on-deck for Georgia!”…..The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Public Radio’s WVXU-FM had to shut down its operations after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the station is without much local content until further notice. It posted to its website: “Our programming is being provided through a national feed with limited local information. We apologize for this inconvenience and are doing everything possible to maintain the service you expect. We will return to normal operations as quickly as it is safe to do so.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 2020 Masters Tournament with exclusive hole-by-hole coverage beginning Thursday (11/12) through Sunday (11/15). The 84th Masters Tournament from Augusta National Golf Club is being played in November for the first time…..San Francisco public news/talk personality Michael Krasny is retiring from his position with KQED-FM where he’s been host of the late morning “Forum” program for almost 30 years. His last program will be on February 15, 2021. He says, “I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of Forum. I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.”

Biden Transition Process/Trump Refuses to Concede, Barr Orders ‘Irregularities’ Investigations, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Pfizer Vaccine, SCOTUS Obamacare Case, Trump Fires Esper, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). President-Elect Joe Biden proceeds with the transition process while President Trump refuses to concede the election; Attorney General Bill Barr orders Justice Department election crimes office to investigate voter “irregularities”; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for fall and winter cases; Pfizer announces its COVID vaccine is 90% effective; the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on the Affordable Care Act; President Trump fires Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appoints Christopher Miller acting secretary; and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio on-air pro Brooke Taylor is named midday host at iHeartMedia’s WSIX-FM, Nashville “The BIG 98.” Taylor was most recently with the company’s Chicago country station “BIG 95.5” until that station’s recent flip to a rock format. Taylor will continue to host the night show for iHeartMedia Denver’s “107.7 The Bull” and broadcast on several iHeartCountry stations across the country. She says, “When I set out to work in country music, one of the first things I prayed for was to be in Nashville one day, and the fact that this is becoming a reality is honestly a dream come true. I can’t wait to join an already incredible team at ‘The BIG 98’ and to represent the iHeartCountry brand.”…..Alpha Media Lincoln names Joe Dobbins, a.k.a. JDub, content director for CHR KFRX. JDub comes to Lincoln from Alpha’s CHR WDJX, Louisville where he was content director and afternoon show host. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “Joe is an outstanding programmer with outstanding vision. He is the perfect leader for our staff and for the brand of a great heritage CHR like KFRX.”…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” announces that its fourth annual #Change4Change broadcast will feature a day of giving to help listeners in need. Traditionally a radiothon, this year’s event will grant wishes to listeners experiencing hardship. #Change4Change will broadcast on Thursday, November 19, 2020 on hip hop WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” and across more than 77 affiliates of “The Breakfast Club.”…..WXKB, Fort Myers “B103.9FM” morning personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones, in conjunction with ABC 7, raising awareness and support for Home Base Southwest Florida Veteran and Family Care on Veterans Day (11/11). Jones also hosts Beasley Media Group’s “Bravery Network,” a weekend program dedicated to shining a light on important issues and services available for veterans and their families. He says, “I am very excited about this partnership. Being able to use the power of radio and television to help raise awareness and money for the veterans of Southwest Florida. I am planning some ‘star’-studded guest for the day that will not only make show informative but very entertaining as well.”…..The CHR evening show “Party LiveLine!” partners with Sun Broadcast Group effective immediately. The program was created by John Garabedian and his hosted by Mason Kelter. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “Broadcasters are worried about the loss of TSL among 18-34-year-olds, who spend extraordinary amounts of time with streaming services on their mobile devices. Add to this the negative effects which RIFs and voicetracking have had on the ratings of Top 40 stations, and until now there were no good alternatives. That’s why we are so excited to be offering this breakthrough Top 40 night show which is 100% live and interactive.”

Thursday, September 26, 2019

| September 26, 2019

‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ – Day 2.  Pictured above is conservative writer and media figure Ann Coulter (left) speaking on the air with Bill Meyer of KMED-AM, Medford, Oregon (right) at the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  This year, 72 talk radio hosts are taking part in the radio row, debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.

WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans Talk Host Seth Dunlap to Sue Entercom; Company Brings Police into Anti-Gay Slur Incident.  WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans owner Entercom released a statement yesterday (9/25) regarding its investigation into the use of the station’s Twitter account to publish a gay slur about station sports talk host Seth Dunlap on September 10.  At the same time, Dunlap’s lawyer – Megan Kiefer – released a long public statement implying that Entercom has not shown Dunlap any proof of its investigation into trying to find the perpetrator and concludes saying they are preparing a suit against Entercom. (Read that in Kevin Allman’s piece in Gambit.)  Dunlap has been on leave from the station since September 12.  However, Entercom says in its statement, in part: “WWL has completed its investigation into the highly offensive, unauthorized tweet sent from WWL’s Twitter account on September 10, which directed a homophobic slur at Seth Dunlap.  WWL conducted this investigation with the assistance of and external digital forensic firm and outside counsel, and expended considerable internal resources both in New Orleans and on our corporate staff.  We determined that the most appropriate next step is to involve law enforcement.  At this point, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement and it is not appropriate for us to comment any further on the substance of our findings.”  Kiefer says in her statement that Dunlap has taken and passed a polygraph test indicating he is not responsible for the tweet and, in promising the lawsuit, she adds that Dunlap has endured a “history of discrimination” during his eight years with the station.

Alpha Media and Salem Media Group Content to Be Available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM. The content distribution partnerships between Entercom’s RADIO.COM and broadcasting companies Alpha Media and Salem Media Group will put live channels for all of Alpha’s and Salem’s radio stations on the digital platform and provide a destination for the companies’ on-demand audio and podcasts.  Entercom’s growth of the RADIO.COM platform beyond hosting just its own content is seen in recent content distribution agreements with CNN, Bloomberg Media, Cox Media Group, and Bonneville.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “These partnerships further position RADIO.COM as the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content in markets all across the U.S.”  Alpha Media content to be available on RADIO.COM includes livestream broadcasts from 183 stations in 12 markets. Salem Media Group content to be available on the digital platform includes livestreams from their portfolio of 115 radio stations, including 73 stations in the nation’s top 25 markets and 25 stations in the top 10, and over 700 podcasts. Salem Media Group will also partner with RADIO.COM to reach listeners directly and share information about local events, programming and promotions from their portfolio of stations.

‘WOR Live’ at The Cutting Room.  Pictured above are WOR, New York personalities and their guests who appeared in the second installment of “WOR Live,” yesterday (9/25) at The Cutting Room in New York City.  They had a spirited conversation about some of the day’s top stories, their radio careers, what has changed in radio in recent years, and how news reporting has changed in the wake of 9/11.  From left to right are: WABC-TV reporter Toni Yates, WOR personalities Mark Simone, Joe Bartlett, Len Berman, Michael Riedel, Joe Concha, and WABC-TV reporter N.J. Burkett.

Seen and Heard at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay checks in from the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas in which he reports on the “2020 and Beyond: Insights from the Top” session with executives from top radio companies, as well as thoughts about monetizing podcasting and terrestrial radio in the era of media convergence.  Read his report here.

TALKERS News Notes. On the same day that e-cigarette manufacturer Juul announced it is suspending all marketing efforts in the wake of the recent deaths being attributed to vaping, Entercom sent an internal email to its sales force that it is no longer accepting advertising for vaping products.  Earlier this week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency and banned the sale of all vaping products for four months…..The new podcast from Lemonada is titled, “Last Day,” and is hosted by Lemonada co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs.  The program addresses the opioid crisis – reported to have taken 72,000 lives in the U.S. in 2017 – focusing on the last day of a victim’s life.  Wachs lost her brother Harris to opioid addiction.  She says, “We’re telling my brother’s story because it’s emblematic of so many stories of people taken too soon by this disease, and we think demystifying one person’s last day and their overall experience will help remove the stigma and shine light on solutions.”…..Season 4 of iHeartRadio’s Original Music Podcast, “Disgraceland” – produced and hosted by Jake Brenan – premieres today (9/26) on the iHeartPodcast Network.  iHeartMedia says, “In the first episode of the musical true crime podcast, Brenan covers hip hop legends N.W.A., the self-proclaimed, ‘most dangerous hip hop group in America.’  Other programs this season include and examination of: Led Zeppelin and the dangers of the band’s guitarist, Jimmy Page; the story behind Madonna’s difficult and deeply saddening rise to fame; and even explores Eric Clapton’s drug addiction and his murderous drummer.”

Trump-Ukraine Controversy/Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Election, Brexit Chaos, Jacques Chirac Dies, and Joker Screening Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). The controversy over President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy; the death of former French President Jacques Chirac; and the reports of possible threats of violence and public screenings of the new film, The Joker, were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Charlotte Job Opportunity. In the Charlotte, North Carolina market, Entercom is seeking a part-time news anchor for news/talk WBT-AM/FM.  The company posts the following job description: “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality.  You’re a great storyteller.  You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know, “Why?”  If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT Charlotte would like to hear from you.”  Get more information and apply here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, iHeartMedia names Greg T the new co-host for the morning show on hot AC WTKU.  The new “Carolina with Greg T in the Morning Show” debuts on October 9.   Carolina Bermudez says, “After a summer of having the opportunity to share the studio with some of the best and brightest on-air hosts across the country, it just made sense to welcome my brother Greg T to the KTU family.  I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to welcome him to his new radio home!”  Greg T has been a part of the Elvis Duran show for the past 23 years.  As he moves across the hall to his new gig, Duran says, “Greg T is a major part of our show’s 25-year success story and I will miss him dearly.  We applaud his courage and determination to keep moving forward. I am so proud of him!”…..iHeartMedia adult contemporary KSNR, Las Vegas “Sunny 106.5” names AJ Maguire morning drive personality in which he joins the station’s Joanna Baumann for the “AJ and Joanna Morning Show.”  iHeartMedia SVP of programming Tony Matteo says, “We’re excited to have AJ anchoring morning drive on ‘Sunny 106.5.’  Adding AJ’s skill as a storyteller and entertainer to the already strong ‘Sunny 106.5’ Las Vegas brand puts the station in the perfect position for growth and success.”  Maguire joins the station from Cox Media Group, where he most recently served as the afternoon host for country WWKA and classic hits WMMO in Orlando for the past three years…..Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” names programming pro Jerry McKenna program director, effective September 30.  McKenna was most recently with Cape Cod Broadcasting as director of programming.  He previously served with Entercom in Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts.  Entercom Atlanta SVP and market manager Rick Caffey says, “I am excited for Jerry McKenna to bring his breadth of knowledge to ‘Star 94.1.’  His insight and experience will be invaluable as we continue to deliver the engaging content Atlanta listeners deserve and expect from our station.”…..Skyview Networks announces “The Dana Cortez Show” is added to the program schedule at Riviera Broadcast Group’s hip hop KKFR-FM, Mayer, Arizona (Phoenix market).   This is the first top 15 market station to add the show to its lineup…..Sun Broadcast Group reports the Michael Baisden show is back on the air in his hometown of Chicago on dance-formatted W236CF, Chicago/W236CG, Bolingbrook “95.1 FM Club Steppin.”…..Townsquare Media Billings, Montana brings Michael Foth aboard as brand manager for classic rock KMHK “103.7 The Hawk.”  He says, “Reaching people on digital platforms is something that was only imagined by most terrestrial broadcast companies 10 or 15 years ago.  Radio is in the middle of a unique transformation and Townsquare Media is a leader in the industry.  I’m excited to be a part of this evolution.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019

| September 19, 2019

Nick Reed Back in PD Chair at KSGF, Springfield, Missouri. News/talk KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri morning personality Nick Reed is promoted to program director of the SummitMedia station. Reed joined the station in 2010 as PD and morning host but, for the past several years, has focused solely on his morning show.  Now, he again takes on the program director role.  SummitMedia Springfield president Janelle Moffett says, “Nick’s insight and years of experience are a great asset to our group.  We’re fortunate to have him on our team!”  Reed comments, “I am so very happy to be with KSGF under SummitMedia right now.  There really is a positive energy underway that made me want to be back in the saddle as program director of KSGF.”

Cumulus Media Announces Pricing of $525 Million Senior Secured Term Loan B. In the process of announcing in the pricing of a new $525 million senior secured term loan B due March 2026, Cumulus Media says that upon the closing of the new term loan (expected next week), it “will have fully refinanced the $1.3 billion term loan that the company assumed upon emergence from Chapter 11 on June 4, 2018.”  The new term loan will have an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75% with a 1.00% LIBOR floor, issued at 99.5% of par. Proceeds from this issuance, along with cash on hand, will be used to pay down and refinance the company’s existing term loan. Cumulus’ debt will then consist of the $525 million new term loan and $500 million of secured bonds issued in June 2019, representing a $275 million reduction in total debt since emergence.  Cumulus says its financial position will be further improved by the lower interest rates and 2026 maturity of the new debt.

Erick Erickson Show Deep-Diving into Georgia Politics. The recently launched, WGAU, Athens, Georgia-based Erick Erickson show reports that it is doing what it intended to do when host Erickson and Cox Media Group first began considering the project – covering Georgia politics. Erickson’s new program is distributed statewide via the Georgia News Network, airing live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  The company says, “A month into the new Erick Erickson Radio Show, Georgia political leaders are taking advantage of having a new statewide radio program.  In just the last three days, Erickson has interviewed Governor Brian Kemp, Senator David Perdue, and Congressmen Doug Collins and Jody Hice.  Collins is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and Erickson was able to interview Collins to update listeners on the headline-grabbing proceeding of that committee.”

WOR Live Event to Address ‘Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline.’  Next Wednesday (9/25), the “WOR Live” series at The Cutting Room brings in experts to discuss “Rebuilding NYC’s Skyline: Past, Present & Future.”  This event is being moderated by Len Berman, co-host of “Len Berman & Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR, New York. Joining Berman at the lunchtime event will be: Gary LaBarbera, president of Bldg & Construction Trades Council NYC; John Murphy, international rep for United Assoc Plumbers and Pipe Fitters; Thomas Hill, SVP of Boston Properties; and Mark Gregorio, president of TEI Group.

TALKERS News Notes. At the “Drive to Digital 2019” conference taking place at London’s The British Library Knowledge Centre on October 30, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will be featured in the “Driving the Digital Dash” automotive portion of the conference. Beasley, along with numerous audio and tech experts from around the world, will share her insights on key automotive technology trends and the impact on radio listening in cars…..Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform is announcing a new, original podcast for New York Yankees fans, hosted by legendary Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling, titled, “Pinstripes & Bright Lights.”  The weekly podcast will focus on baseball and Yankees history.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “As part of our ongoing content strategy, we seek to diversify on-demand audio offerings on RADIO.COM, the premiere destination for live and on-demand audio and sports content in the U.S.  John is a legendary broadcaster with an unprecedented reputation among baseball fans across the country and we’re looking forward to hearing his insider stories.”…..The nationally syndicated “Around The House with Eric G.” show – syndicated by Envision Networks – is added to the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KVI-AM, Seattle “Talk Radio 570.”  Eric G. says, “After spending most of my design career in Seattle, it is good to be back home.”

Iran’s War Threats/Saudi Oil Attack, 2020 Presidential Race, Kavanaugh Allegations, Dems Impeachment Strategy, and New National Security Adviser Named Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18). Iran’s threat of “all-out war” after being accused of responsibility for the attack on a Saudi oil production facility; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and criticism of The New York Times’ opinion editor; the ongoing talk of impeachment of the president by congressional Democrats; and the naming of Robert O’Brien as the new national security adviser were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Northeastern Wisconsin, Roger Utnhmer is retiring, and his Nicolet Broadcasting is selling its five-station cluster – along with two digital local news platforms – to his sales manager, Bryan Mazur.  Nicolet owns adult standards WBDK, Algoma; classic hits WRKU, Forestville; country WRLU, Algoma; WSBW, Ephraim; and translator W277BP, Sturgeon Bay.   In a Facebook post, Utnhmer says, “I appreciate the great people who have made Nicolet Broadcasting a successful company.  Those include Jeff Wagner in Antigo, Bruce McNeill in Eagle River, Paul Eck in Park Falls and Paul Schmitt and Tim Kowols in Sturgeon Bay.  These guys made me look better than I really am… Thank you for being among the best of the best.  And now to Bryan Mazur I wish you all success going forward. You are inheriting a very solid staff and one of the most beautiful markets in American radio.”…..Pictured below is Beasley Media Philadelphia air personality Kathy Romano (left) with ABC News and “Good Morning America” chief meteorologist Ginger Zee (right) at the 95.7 BEN FM 3rd annual Her Story Luncheon, held yesterday (9/18) in Philadelphia.  Romano is co-host of WMMR’s “Preston and Steve” show as well as the weekly “Her Story” program on sister WBEN-FM. The program showcases dynamic women that are making a significant impact in the community via their business, their charity work or a combination of both.