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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

| April 13, 2022

Cindy Rollison to Lead Cumulus Tri-Cities, Tennessee. Sales and management pro Cindy Rollison returns to Cumulus Media to serve as vice president and market manager for the Tri-Cities, Tennessee station group that includes news/talk WJCW-AM and sports talk WXSM-AM plus two music brands. Rollison takes over for Debbie Caso, who is retiring after 43 years in the market. Rollison served as VP and market manager for Cumulus’ former station group in Blacksburg, Virginia from 2007-2018. She’s been serving as regional marketing consultant for Mel Wheeler, Inc. Radio and Digital Advertising since 2019. Cumulus regional VP Mark Sullivan says, “I’m thankful to Debbie Caso for making such a valuable contribution to the community and company for so many years and wish her much happiness in her retirement. At the same time, I’m very pleased that we have someone of Cindy Rollison’s caliber and experience joining our team. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work alongside Cindy again, after many successful years working together with our cluster in Blacksburg. I’m looking forward to many successes together.”

 

Justin Schaflander Named Director of Sales for ‘ESPN LA.’ Radio sales pro Justin Schaflander is named director of sales for Good Karma Brands’ sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710 AM.”  He was most recently a region president with iHeartMedia. In the early 2000s, Schaflander was a director of sports for CBS, running the Dodgers Radio Network. He says, “I’m thrilled to join ESPN LA and Good Karma Brands. To return to LA, work with some of the most iconic brands in sports and have it wrapped up in Good Karma Brands’ culture makes this a bucket list experience! I would like to thank the team for making this process and transition seamless and fun, and I can’t wait to start learning and working with this special group of teammates.” Good Karma Brands acquired “ESPN LA 710 AM” and “ESPN 1050 AM in New York” earlier this year. The company also took over the agreement to perform ESPN’s obligations under the Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN” in New York.

 

Kidney Transplant a Life-Changing Event for WHUB, Cookeville’s Brent Carl Fleshman. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian writes today about Cookeville, Tennessee talk radio host Brent Carl Fleshman who recently underwent a lifesaving – and life-changing – kidney transplant. Fleshman serves with Zimmer Broadcasting’s Cookeville station group where he hosts the morning drive show on news/talk WHUB “News Talk 107.7 and 1400 The Hub” and serves as program director, among other duties. In May of 2014, Dr. Barbara Fleming was doing a segment on Fleshman’s program when she noticed something about Fleshman that concerned her. She prompted him to seek treatment at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University and he got into the hospital’s kidney transplant program. Fleshman says, “I’ve been given a second chance with this kidney and am grateful to the man who signed that donor card [making it possible for me to] continue doing what I love every day. I intend to make the most of it. I look forward to getting back on the air soon and have asked Dr. Fleming to be on my first show. If [the host of WHUB’s 30-minute Saturday health program, ‘Your Best Health Connection’] hadn’t noticed my symptoms eight years ago and gone to Vanderbilt with me, I would never have seen this day. Radio saved my life.” Read his story here.

 

Gordon Smith Joins Beasley Board of Directors. Former NAB president and CEO Gordon H. Smith is nominated by the Beasley Media Group board of directors to be added to the slate of directors to be presented at the annual shareholders meeting on May 25. The official unanimous vote took place during the company’s board of director’s meeting on March 31, 2022. Smith, who served two terms as a Republican U.S. Senator representing Oregon, led the NAB from 2009 through 2021. Beasley board chair and CEO Caroline Beasley says, “It is such an honor and a privilege to welcome Gordon to the Beasley Media Group board of directors. His outstanding leadership, dedication and service to broadcasters and our nation is unparalleled. His understanding of Washington and how to navigate the halls of power will serve our board well for years to come. I look forward to working closely with Gordon and our board as we continue to evolve our company forward.”

 

47th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 47th Annual Gracie Awards which will return in-person on May 24 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles with local and student awards given on June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. AWMF says the event will honor some of the most talented women in television, radio and digital media. AWMF chair Heather Cohen says, “Throughout this past year we have seen a number of remarkable projects by and about inspirational women.” AWMF president Becky Brooks adds, “We are honored to shine a spotlight on these women, whose stories have driven cultural awareness, offered entertainment that has made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. This year, we will be returning to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and are delighted to return to an in-person format so that we can properly celebrate together.” Some of the national radio honorees include Allison Keyes, CBS News Weekend Roundup; Cheri Preston, ABC News Radio; Jen Horn, Victoria Keelan, and Jai Kershner, “The DJV Show”; Heather Hunter, WMAL-FM, Washington’s “O’Connor and Company”; Jeana Gondek, WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, “Jacksonville’s Morning News”; Judi Franco, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; Lori Barghini and Julia Cobbs, KTMY-FM, Minneapolis “The Lori & Julia Show”; MalaniKai WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, “Word on the Street”; and Rita Cosby, WABC, New York. See the complete list of honorees here. Pictured above at the most recent in-person ceremony (2019) are (from l-r): country artist Kelsey Ballerini, Heather Cohen, and Becky Brooks.

 

Comrex to Unveil Gagl Remote Contribution Solution at NAB Show. The newest remote contribution solution from Comrex will be showcased at the NAB Show in Las Vegas April 23-27.  Dubbed Gagl, this new cloud service delivers conferenced audio from multiple contributors in high-quality. Gagl allows between one and five users to send and receive audio from computers and smartphones. Participants can connect and send audio by simply clicking a link using any common web browser. Their audio is conferenced (if there’s more than one user) and delivered to a Comrex hardware codec such as an ACCESS or BRIC-Link. All participants can hear other participants, and the codec can send audio back to them. Comrex says Gagl could be used as the hub for a round-robin reporting program or for a large-cast radio show to support multiple simultaneous connections at once. Because it offers low latency, it’s appropriate for call-in talk radio. Gagl could also be used to allow a single contributor to connect back to the studio from a computer or smartphone. Designed with audio quality in mind, Gagl provides stable connections with limited bandwidth. Gagl uses the Opus audio encoder, with a bit rate that delivers both voice and music in excellent quality. Gagl also delivers audio directly to a Comrex codec with all the stability enhancements, pro-grade audio connections, and features that hardware codecs provide. With a simple user interface, Gagl is easy for users with any level of technical expertise to use. Gagl works with Comrex hardware IP audio codecs including the AES67-compatible ACCESS NX Rack IP audio codec and ACCESS MultiRack multi-channel IP audio codec as well as the BRIC-Link series – a sneak peak of the next addition to the BRIC-Link codec line will also be featured at the 2022 NAB Show. LiveShot (a bonded IP solution for live video) and other IP audio solutions for IFB and POTS and /ISDN replacement can be found at the Comrex booth C3024 in Central Hall along with a “behind the curtain” look at some new concept products.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden/Rudy Giuliani Investigations, Inflation/Recession Fears, Brooklyn Shooter Search, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Severe Southern Weather, and Gilbert Gottfried Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s use of the term “genocide”; the investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures and the investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s potential violation of foreign lobbying laws; high gas and consumer goods prices in the U.S. and fears the inflation will cause a recession; the search for the man who opened fire in a Brooklyn subway injuring 26 people; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the reinstating of mask requirements in some places in the U.S. as the BA.2 variant dominates and the brutal lockdowns taking place in China; the severe weather affecting the Southern U.S.; and the death of comic Gilbert Gottfried were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

| June 2, 2020

KFI, Los Angeles Front and Center in Coverage of Chaos. Los Angeles is another American city in which authorities are trying to quell civil unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. KFI, Los Angeles – which, on the strength of a 5.5 share in Nielsen’s April PPM survey, shot to #1 in the market – has been front and center in covering the story. Program director Robin Bertolucci tells TALKERS that KFI “was and will continue to be wall-to-wall on this story. KFI’s news team, led by Chris Little, was all over this, covering the protests and the ensuing chaos. One of our reporters, Kris Ankarlo, was so close to the action in the Fairfax district that his tires were slashed. In addition to covering it for KFI, we covered it with updates all weekend long for all of our iHeartMedia LA stations.” Bertolucci shared with TALKERS the content of a memo to all staffers sent Sunday. “I want to remind everyone that as this situation unfolds, we are in NEWS mode. This goes for all shows, news or talk. This is the time to tell people what’s happening and explain all the sides of the story. This is a dynamic situation and we need to cover it clearly, first and foremost. We should try to refrain from drawing grand conclusions, making pronouncements or adding to the overall tension and confusion. The tone is INFORMATION and CLARITY. There are many different factions at play in this story… business owners, antifa, police, looters, the national guard, and let’s not forget the original focus of this… the protest about race and police brutality that launched this moment in history. This has become something very different and awful, but we need to stop talking about this as if it’s an us/them situation. We are all part of the same community and we need to find a way to talk about what is going on. Let’s get the whole story and let’s talk to different members of our community. No, I’m not condoning any bit of this horror show but I am asking us not to simplify this, not to paint everyone with the same broad brush and to find the nuances and tell the stories.”

WSB, Atlanta’s Drew Anderssen: Proud of WSB and CMG News/Talkers. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta director of branding and programming Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS magazine, “I’m very proud of the work that WSB and frankly all of our Cox Media Group news/talk stations have done in response to local market protests. In Atlanta specifically, our 95.5 WSB news center was staffed around the clock and we aired wall-to-wall coverage of the protests throughout the weekend. ‘The Show’ with Shelley Wynter and Malanikai, which features a predominantly black cast, were integrated into our news coverage and helped facilitate conversations about how we move forward each night as a community while protests continue. We added 22 hours of local programming this weekend focused on the impact of George Floyd’s death at the hands of law enforcement, featuring talk with prominent Atlanta leaders in government, civil rights, entertainment, and faith. We continue to monitor the developments of the historic protests happening across the country and are making real-time decisions on adjusting programming to meet the needs of our listeners and to serve our community.”

KPCC, Pasadena Reporter Shot with Rubber Bullet. As reported by LARadio.com, KPCC-FM, Pasadena reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez was shot in the throat (at right) by a Long Beach police officer. LARadio.com notes that the law allows reporters access to protests in order for them to do their jobs and KPCC had “confirmed with officials from L.A. County and the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica that journalists were among those exempt from the curfew.” Guzman-Lopez tweeted that he’d just finished interviewing a man with his iPhone when he saw a police officer take aim and shoot. He tweeted, “The rubber bullet hit stings like a mf, and is starting to hurt, talked to doctor friends, said if not having trouble breathing then ok. Going home.” He later tweeted that an ER doctor confirmed no damage to his windpipe.

New York Landmark Boarded Up. In New York City, WABC talk host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS he’s been “leading the Guardian Angels patrols at night to stop the looting in Soho and return in the morning to broadcast on WABC about what I just experienced hours before.” The photo above is a still from video Sliwa shot of the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square – all boarded up. Sliwa adds, “The NYPD seems unable to address these safety issues.  So, the Guardian Angels have stepped in and are now patrolling these hot spot areas around the clock. It is uncertain how long the mayhem will last but we are in it for the long haul. We have been here since 1979 and we don’t intend on going anywhere.” You can see Sliwa’s eerie video of the Macy’s storefront here.

Rush Limbaugh and ‘The Breakfast Club’ Air Conversation About Race. In a first for the Premiere Networks personalities, conservative talk star Rush Limbaugh and “The Breakfast Club” hosts DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God had a 30-minute conversation about race relations in America that aired on both of their programs. The point of contention between Limbaugh and the “Breakfast Club” cast was the issue of white privilege. During the conversation Limbaugh said he doesn’t believe in the concept of white privilege, calling it a “construct of today’s Democratic Party.” Charlamagne called Limbaugh “delusional” for his stance on the matter. You can hear the exchange here.

Dimes Media Launches ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ in San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo market has a new news/talk station as Dimes Media unveils “K-NEWS 98.5 The Power of Information” on KWWV-HD2/K253BR. Dimes Media president and CEO Eric D. Fahnoe says, “‘K-NEWS 98.5’ now provides San Luis Obispo county residents with a voice and perspective they didn’t have before. We look forward to enhancing the diversity and dialogue regarding issues ranging from local to national which our resident’s face daily. The importance of hearing and considering other perspectives cannot be overstated during these current times. Our culture will best evolve and compromise through informed discussions and we look forward to ‘K-NEWS 98.5’ contribution to the conversation every day.” The station’s weekday lineup includes: “The Armstrong & Getty Show,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Savage Nation with Michael Savage,” “The Andy Caldwell Show,” “The Larry Elder Show,” “The Dennis Prager Show,” “Red Eye Radio” and “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” Weekend programs include: “Handel on the Law,” “Free Talk Live,” “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” “Townhall Review,” “Meet the Press,” “Armed American,” and “The Christian Outlook.”

George Floyd Protests, Trump vs Governors/Military Threat, Trump Church Visit, Facebook ‘Walkout,’ COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, and Limbaugh-Breakfast Club Conversation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/1). The ongoing violence and looting accompanying the protests over George Floyd’s death; President Trump calls U.S. governors “weak” for failure to stop protests and threatens the call in the U.S. military; Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church in DC; Facebook employees stage a virtual “walkout” over Trump posts; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; and the radio conversation between Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh and the syndicator’s “Breakfast Club” hosts were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Down 3.7%. Reporting its financial data from the first quarter of 2020, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $58.3 million, down 3.7% from the same period in 2019. After reporting net income of $322,000 in Q1 of 2019, Salem reports a loss of $55.2 million this year. Breaking down the company by segment, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.0% to $45.2 million. Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 0.6% to $44.3 million. Digital had a tough quarter, dropping 11.1% to $9.1 million.  Speaking during Monday’s investor conference call about the company’s strategy for surviving the economic impact of COVID-19, CEO Ed Atsinger said, “First of all, we’ve reduced discretionary spending such as travel and entertainment, which of course has been easy so far. We’ve eliminated open positions, we’ve instituted a hiring freeze, we’ve made request for discounts or forbearance from vendors and landlords, and we laid off and furloughed about 10% of our employees. We have limited capital expenditures to emergency expenses only, we suspended the quarterly dividend, we suspended the 401(k) match, and we’ve taken advantage of the ability of deferred payroll taxes of approximately 3.6 million under the CARES Act, and we’ve reduced base salary for every employee with salary cuts ranging from between 5% and 10% depending upon the salary levels.” Company EVP and CFO Evan Masyr says the company will not be offering Q2 guidance but delivered some April data. “April revenue is down 24%. I’ll break that decline down in a little bit more detail. Broadcast revenue in total declined 24%; local spot advertising was down 49% and national spot advertising was down 38%; local programs were down 26% while national programs were down 2%; local digital revenue was up 30%; national digital revenue declined 11% and publishing revenue declined 45%; and in May, revenue was down just around 23%.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the whole conference call transcript here.

TALKERS News Notes. KXTV-TV, Sacramento reports that KHTK-AM, Sacramento sports talk host and Sacramento Kings play-by-play voice Grant Napear has been placed on leave by station owner Bonneville after a Twitter exchange with former King’s player Doug Christie in which Napear said, “all lives matter.” The Sacramento Kings issued a statement saying they are investigating the incident with broadcast partners KHTK and NBC Sports California…..This Thursday (6/4), Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of COVID-19-related Town Hall broadcasts. This edition is titled, “NJ Back to Business.” The station says, “Even as more New Jersey businesses are permitted to reopen, the road to economic recovery will be long. With unemployment at record levels and the state facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit due to lagging tax collections, critical decisions will be made in the months ahead that will determine how quickly businesses will recover, or if they will recover at all.” Vice president, senior political director and director of special projects Eric Scott leads the discussion with New Jersey State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. LARadio.com reports that Muerelo Media has let a number of staffers go from classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles. Frosty Stillwell – who had been on furlough from the Frosty, Heidi & Frank morning show – is let go permanently. Joining him are afternoon drive host Gary Moore, as well as Jim ‘JD’ Daniels, Steve Jones, Frazer Smith, and Greg Beharrell.…..On-air pro Matt Ryan – assistant brand manager and afternoon host at Townsquare Media’s hot AC WJLK, Asbury Park, New Jersey “94.3 The Point” is named host of “Pop Crush Nights.” He takes over for Lisa Paige. He’ll continue his role with WJLK.