By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — New and Improved — two of the most powerful words in marketing so effective that the world’s biggest packaged goods marketers use the sell line over and over, generation after generation. So, why is it that when we introduce a new talent to our advertisers we stop at describing “product” (your NEW talent’s) features, skipping over what this NEW talent brings to your advertisers’ investment?
Monday Memo: Argument? Or Assessment? Reckoning that “I may be the only person in talk radio who thinks his own opinion DOESN’T matter,” consultant Holland Cooke compares what listeners are hearing to what they’re feeling and warns that “ambiguity is risky.” Read his column here.
Pending Business: Some Good News. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says last week’s employment news was encouraging – over 900,000 new jobs and counting – the biggest increase we’ve seen in over six months. With the hope of an expanding economy in mind, Lapa asks, “Are you ready for local business leaning into a recovery mode? The smart managers and sellers will be prepared with plans and packages that show advertisers the flexibility and creativity that only radio can offer.” See his five-point checklist here.
Former KROQ, Los Angeles Morning Host Gene Baxter’s ‘Podcast Radio’ Profiled in Forbes. Former longtime KROQ, Los Angeles morning personality Gene “Bean” Baxter (pictured here) has been living in the UK since he retired from LA radio and his current gig as a presenter on “Podcast Radio” – a DAB+ digital radio station that, as the name implied, broadcasts podcasts over the radio – is the focus of a piece in Forbes. The project is led by British broadcasters Gerry Edwards and Paul Chantler. The broadcast radio station – claiming to be the first in the world to be exclusively playing podcasts on the air – debuted in February of 2020 and can be heard in London, Birmingham, Surrey, Manchester and Glasgow (and digitally via smart speakers, apps, and the Podcast Radio website). Sunday Times radio correspondent Gillian Reynolds says of the project, “Podcast Radio has found its place on the dial because of its investors’ belief that, with millions of podcasts to choose from, people will trust radio to discern the ones that are worth hearing.”
Cumulus Washington Market Manager Ken Roberts Dies at 65. Condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Ken Roberts, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Media’s Washington, DC operations, who died unexpectedly on Saturday (4/3) at the age of 65. Roberts is survived by his wife Sandy and three children. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner says, “The Cumulus family is sad to confirm the news that Cumulus Washington, DC, VP/market manager Ken Roberts has died. This is such tragic news and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Ken was a passionate and smart professional, who cared greatly for the team in D.C. He has been a friend and coach to so many in radio and we’re all better because of our time with Ken. We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Ken’s family and are grateful for the time we had with him.”
Townsquare Media Appoints Tom Kreutzian Market Manager for Faribault/Owatonna, Minnesota. Media executive Tom Kreutzian joins Townsquare Media as market president for its Faribault/Owatonna, Minnesota market. The company says that the four-station cluster had been managed under Townsquare’s Rochester, Minnesota leadership structure since 2012. Kreutzian comes to Townsquare Media after serving with Spectrum Reach (formerly Charter Communications) for the past 20 years overseeing sales for several markets in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Townsquare regional vice president Kelly Quinn says, “There is an immense opportunity to partner with local businesses in this area stretching far south of the Twin Cities, which composes a large population base. We are already super-serving some of these areas with outstanding community involvement. And now, under Tom’s leadership and with his digital acumen, we will be able to not only better leverage our recently upgraded radio signals, but also better prescribe our incredible digital solutions, providing our business partners a fantastic path to growth.”
Allison Zolot Joins Townsquare Media as SVP and General Counsel. From the corporate headquarters of Townsquare Media comes news that the company has named Allison Zolot SVP and general counsel. Zolot joins Townsquare from Mayer Brown, LLP where she served as a senior associate representing financial institutions, major corporations, and individuals in high profile litigation and regulatory matters. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are thrilled to have such a talented lawyer join our company. Allison is a strong and effective leader who will make a great addition to our senior management team. I look forward to working with Allison as we continue to drive long-term growth and shareholder value through the execution of our ‘Local First’ strategy.”
Radio Producer Mike Jacobsen Dead at 35. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Mike Jacobsen, a longtime radio producer who served with Chicago sports talk WMVP and news/talk WGN before venturing out West to work in Los Angeles and Phoenix where he served with Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM and sports talk KMVP, died on March 29 at age 35. During his career, he also served as program director for Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WTLX-FM, Madison. No details of his passing have been released.
Dr. Tony Fauci Appears on ‘DeDe in the Morning.’ Pictured above (right) is NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci in a split screen photo with Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated morning drive personality DeDe McGuire (left) on this morning’s program. During the interview, McGuire and Fauci talked about the status of the fight against the virus, the effectiveness of the vaccines; and his relationship with former President Donald Trump.
TALKERS News Notes. This Friday evening (4/9), nationally known comedian Pat McGann will host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program for Dave Plier on WGN-AM, Chicago. The Nexstar Media Group station says McGann has toured with Sebastian Maniscalco and has performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” His first comedy special “Sebastian Maniscalco presents Pat McGann: When’s Mom Gonna Be Home?” was released in summer 2020 and is available on streaming platforms. Pat McGann has been both a guest and fill-in host on WGN Radio…..The “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” is presenting its next virtual performance Saturday night (4/8) at 8:00 pm ET. The show is headlined by Stephanie Miller along with guests John Fugelsang, Hal Sparks, and Frangela and will be an all-new show of sketch comedy and celebration “that restores our positivity after the horrors of the last four years.” Plus, very special guest Rosie O’Donnell joins Stephanie Miller for a no-holds-barred interview…..Outdoors lifestyle brand MeatEater, Inc. and iHeartMedia announce a major production and distribution partnership, the first of its kind in the outdoor category. Founded with the belief that a deeper understanding of the natural world enriches all of our lives, MeatEater brings together leading influencers in the outdoor space to create premium content, apparel and products in the areas of hunting, fishing, wild foods and conservation. iHeartMedia says “The partnership will leverage MeatEater’s brand, made popular by the Netflix Original MeatEater – currently currently in its 9th season – and chart topping podcast network which averaged over four million monthly downloads in 2020, and the massive reach of iHeartMedia’s cross-platform digital and broadcast network in order to serve outdoor-minded listeners across the country.”
COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Voting Legislation/MLB All-Star Game Move, Florida Reservoir Situation, Derek Chauvin Trial, Amazon Union Vote, and NCAA Tournaments Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan; the voting changes in Georgia, Democrats’ federal voting rights bill, and Major League Baseball’s moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta; the potential flooding issue at a Florida toxic pollutant reservoir; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the vote whether or not to unionize at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama operations; and the weekend’s NCAA tournaments and Stanford’s victory over Arizona in the Women’s division were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Copy Worth Copying. “Make commercial copy you craft for local advertisers THIS crisp,” and, consultant Holland Cooke says, “you will make money.” In this week’s column, he rips-off…er, “compiles” examples. Read it here.
Pending Business: Checking In. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that you’re more likely get a renewal from that advertiser if you check in regularly instead of adopting the “no-news-is-good-news” approach to gauging a campaign’s effectiveness. “Great sellers are like commercial airline pilots, or cruise ship captains. Everyone is prepared with specific goals, timelines, and once the journey (schedule) begins, ready to control the mission.” Read his column here.
The ‘Todd Starnes Podcast’ Joins Salem Podcast Network. Beginning April 5, the “Todd Starnes Podcast” joins the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “SPN is delighted to join in this partnership with Todd Starnes, one of the leading voices in conservative America. His courage in saying what needs to be said is unmatched. His knowledge and ability to explain what is really going on is his forte.” With this deal, the Salem Podcast Network assumes distribution, marketing, and sales representation duties for the “Todd Starnes Podcast.” Starnes also hosts a daily, syndicated radio program and he previously spent more than a decade at the FOX News Channel, hosting a daily radio program on the FOX Radio Network. He comments, “Salem is known for its cutting-edge platforms and excellence-driven programming. I’m honored to join such a well-respected industry leader like the Salem Podcast Network.”
WJR-AM, Detroit Takes Station of the Year Honor. Detroit news/talk WJR-AM is named “Commercial Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the 17th time since 2000. The Cumulus Media station also received 17 other awards, including eight “Merit Awards,” as well as nine “Best Awards.” Some of the “Best Awards” include: Regularly Scheduled Broadcast Personality/Team – “The Guy Gordon Show”; Sports – “Lions Pregame: Around the League”; Special Show Broadcast Personality/Team – “War of the Worlds” live stream event; and Continuing News Coverage – COVID-19 Replay.
iHeartMedia Names Barbara Latham Area President for Central Florida. Sales and management pro Barbara Latham is promoted to area president for iHeartMedia Central Florida in which she’ll oversee the Orlando and Melbourne markets that include talk WTKS-FM “Real Radio 104.1,” news/talk WFLF “WFLA,” sports talk WYGM “FM 96.9 The Game,” plus 10 music brands. She’s most recently been serving the Orlando cluster as SVP of sales. Latham reports to division president Linda Byrd, who says, “I am thrilled to be able to promote Barb to this position. We’ve worked together for 36 years and in many different capacities. She is one of the brightest and most competitive employees I know. Barb has always been a winner, and to her, there is no other option. No one deserves this opportunity more, and it makes me happy to put this team, that I’ve managed for the last 21 years in her capable hands.”
WABC, New York Recognizes Greek Independence Day. Pictured above (from l-r) are Chad Lopez, president of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and 77 WABC, and Renee Cassis, owner of RC Communications Marketing on March 25 as the radio station hosted a celebration for the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day. The event was held in WABC’s event space, Studio 77. During his opening remarks, John Catsimatidis noted the diversity of America and stated that the celebration was for every ethnicity and race.
Josh Innes Returns to iHeartMedia as Morning Host at WNRQ-FM, Nashville. Sports radio talk host Josh Innes is joining iHeartMedia’s Nashville classic rock WNRQ-FM “105.9 The Rock” as morning drive host, effective April 5. The station says “The Josh Innes Show” will be a Nashville-focused blend of classic rock, news, sports and commentary and will broadcast weekday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WNRQ program director Jonathan Shuford says, “Josh is wildly talented as a personality, idea generator, and storyteller. He’s unconventional, creative, and exceptionally compelling. We’re beyond excited to welcome him to Nashville and foster in the next great classic rock morning show!” Innes was most recently afternoon host on Gow Media’s sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston. He’s also served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KBME-AM, Houston, and Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia. He hosts “The Josh Innes Show” podcast live on Twitch and heard on iHeartRadio.
iHeartMedia Issues Statement on FCC Ruling. The company’s statement issued on Friday (3/26) is in regard to the approval of its pending applications to acquire certain radio stations, and the temporary shareholder restrictions required by the FCC to be imposed upon Global Media & Entertainment Investments Ltd. The company says, “iHeartMedia values its shareholder relationships and we welcome all new shareholders to iHeartMedia. However, because GMEI is a foreign shareholder, its recent investment was inconsistent with the FCC’s foreign ownership rules and created an operating issue for us under the FCC’s regulatory framework. As background, GMEI’s purchase of an 8.7% position in our Class A Common stock, as reported in its Schedule 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 5, 2021, caused a violation of the FCC’s foreign ownership regulations and the FCC’s November 5, 2020 declaratory ruling related to the company’s foreign ownership, both of which limit a foreign investor in GMEI’s position to 5% without prior FCC approval. To address this issue, over which iHeartMedia had no prior knowledge or control, we filed a remedial petition for declaratory ruling requesting FCC approval for GMEI to have the ability to increase its ownership to up to 9.99%. Notwithstanding the GMEI investment, the FCC has approved iHeartMedia’s acquisitions of certain stations, including stations for BIN: Black Information Network. However, the FCC has required that the company impose temporary shareholder restrictions on GMEI as a condition of approving those radio station acquisitions. To comply with the FCC order, iHeartMedia’s Board of Directors resolved to take action consistent with the FCC’s conditional requirements. These actions include imposing temporary voting and other shareholder restrictions on GMEI which will apply during the pendency of the Petition. iHeartMedia respects the FCC process and will, as a matter of consistent policy, ensure the company’s compliance with the FCC’s foreign ownership and other regulations.”
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, CNN’s COVID War Special/WHO Origin Report, Suez Ship Jam, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Hedge Fund Failure-Financial Markets, Chauvin Trial, U.S. Afghanistan Operations, and Nashville Floods Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., rising cases in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; CNN’s Sunday special featuring the six doctors leading the U.S. COVID program and the WHO’s report concluding the coronavirus likely came from an animal at a Chinese wildlife market; the status of the container ship blocking the Suez canal and its effect on the global economy; the crisis of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the failure of a major hedge fund causes problems for Credit Suisse and Nomura that could reverberate through the global economy; today’s beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; the United States’ Afghanistan operations and the Doha agreement that calls for U.S. troop removal by May 1; and the historic floods in Nashville and Middle Tennessee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: One Year Later. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa recognizes the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and notes that, while the radio sales climate is nowhere near where it was pre-pandemic, “the uphill process of slowly rebuilding an economy is emerging and it depends heavily on a foundation of sellers… you can feel the confidence of target business categories coming back as vaccines and mandated safety standards become more and more mainstream.” Read his column here.
Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg. “Non-music stations – particularly AMs –are at a fork in the road,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, he explains why “ambiguity is your enemy.” Read it here.
Salem Media Group Names Shaun Thompson WIND-AM, Chicago PM Drive Host. Weekend talk host Shaun Thompson is being promoted to the afternoon drive slot at Salem Media Group’s news/talk WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer.” Thompson takes over the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show today (3/22) from Steve Cortes, who is leaving the station to pursue a new national television project. Thompson has been serving as a weekend and fill-in host on the station since 2016. He most recently filled in for Cortes from July through November of 2020 when Cortes took a hiatus to work on the re-election campaign of Donald Trump. Salem regional VP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “It’s rare in radio to have transition as smooth as this one. Shaun Thompson has developed such a deep bond with our listeners because he was one of them before becoming a talk show host. He knows this city and this audience and what they care about. His passion and personality make him a unique talent. We’re excited to have him join the lineup as a full-time host.” Thompson says, “Twelve years ago, I made my first phone call to a talk radio station as a listener. Five years ago, I had the opportunity to host my first show on AM 560. During that time, I’ve come to appreciate this format and the listeners who spend time with us every day. I look forward to providing my perspective each afternoon and engaging with the audience. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I’m also thankful for Steve Cortes and his friendship. He’s made it so easy for me to slide into this role as he’s prepared to leave. I look forward to having him on the show as a regular guest.”
WPHT Supports Liberty USO Via Radiothon. WPHT, Philadelphia held its fourth annual USO Radiothon on Friday (3/19) between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm to raise awareness and funds for the USO of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. From the time a service member enlists, the USO is by their side until the day they transition back to the community. Through the USO Radiothon, WPHT brought many of the untold stories about the good work done by the Liberty USO to its listeners and raised awareness of the amazing effect that this charity has on active duty National Guard and reserve military personnel and their families. Co-hosted by WPHT morning host Rich Zeoli and mid-morning host Dom Giordano, the event raised thousands of dollars for the worthy cause. This year to aid the fundraising, Dom Giordano reached into his charity bag of tricks and called upon some national celebrities to each jot off a quick autographed doodle and send it to him be bid upon by listeners. Giordano tells TALKERS, “We had Bill O’Reilly, Brad Thor, Geraldo Rivera, Mike Rowe, Herschel Walker, Lee Greenwood, and Jesse Watters. Nelson Perez, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, even contributed one. The doodles also provided a lot of fun during the broadcast and a listener even bid $300 for my wife’s doodle of me.”
Entercom Launches ‘The Bet 105.9’ in Chicago. A new, sports-betting focused radio station is hitting the air in Chicago as Entercom unveils “The Bet 105.9” on the HD2 channel of WCFS-FM. The station is a “BetQL Audio Network” and CBS Sports Radio affiliate and programs airing on the signal include: “BetQL Daily” with Joe Ostrowski and Ross Tucker, “You Better You Bet” with Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley, CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney,” “The DA Show” and “Reiter Than You.” Entercom regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson says, “Since legalization in 2019, sports betting has exploded in the state of Illinois and we’re delighted to enter the arena of this rapidly growing landscape to deliver insightful content to our listeners with the launch of this new station. The station will serve as the home for several favorites from the BetQL Audio Network and CBS Sports Radio Network, giving listeners a wide array of expert analysis.”
iHeartMedia Reveals New Downtown Cleveland Facilities. The nine Cleveland radio brands operated by iHeartMedia will have a new home by the end of the year. The company is moving to Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland and it says the 10-year agreement with K&D Group provides space for the stations’ studios along with the company’s sales, marketing, digital and Total Traffic operation in a new, state-of-the-art street level facility. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “We are thrilled to return our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the downtown business district will further drive the passion to serve the community we all call home.” New office features will include five conference rooms, 11 studios featuring cutting-edge technology, eight service booths for news, traffic, and podcast creation, and phone audio sound via Sound+. A marquee broadcast studio and mixed-use podcast content creation room both face street level on Euclid Avenue. Studio designs are by Beneville Studios and AUX1 design.
Tom Hamilton Named Market Manager for Curtis Media’s North Carolina Sports Talk Trio. Radio management pro Tom Hamilton is returning to Curtis Media Group as the new market manager for the sports talk trio “Hub Sports” WSJS-AM, WMFR-AM, and WPCM-AM in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point market. Hamilton previously served as GM of WSJS and WMFR with Curtis Media Group from 2007 until 2011. Curtis president and COO Trip Savery comments, “We are very pleased to welcome Tom back to Curtis Media Group. He has enjoyed much success in the Triad for many years, and we look forward to Tom leading our efforts with WSJS Sports.”
Jerry Donadio to Lead Sales at ‘The Mightier 1090’ in San Diego. The Times of San Diego reports that San Diego sports talk outlet XEPRS “The Mightier 1090” names sales pro Jerry Donadio vice president of sales and marketing. Station operator Bill Hagen tells the paper that Donadio will be responsible for building revenue growth for “The Mightier 1090.” Donadio tells the Times, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I now have the opportunity to return to 1090 and build my own sales team. Prior in my career, I’ve always been in media sales with an existing infrastructure. I’m really excited to be part of The Mightier 1090’s renaissance.” Donadio was most recently serving with KFMB-AM and KFMB-FM as an account executive from 2017 to 2020.
COVID-19, Spring Break, Asian Protests, Border Crisis, Cuomo Troubles, Trump Social Media Platform, Chauvin Trial, and Deshaun Watson Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., concern about variants and the rollout of vaccines; the chaos in Florida as the beach towns are inundated with spring break revelers; protests in the Asian community over the shooting deaths of six Asian women in the Atlanta area; the crisis of young migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the allegations of sexual misconduct by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the news that Donald Trump will launch a new social media platform within the next few months; the ongoing jury selection in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; and the allegations of sexual harassment against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Last weekend, as the Uber left a bustling Florida airport and headed towards my home, in the distance, hovering overhead in a perfect spring sky was the iconic Goodyear blimp. Since the 1955 Rose Bowl, when the Goodyear blimp responded to the NBC request to carry a TV camera, the blimp means live sports and that means sponsorships.
There you have it. In one brief sentence, more clues that business is coming back. Masked Uber drivers are out and about again, masked travelers are filling airlines, hotels, and airports. Albeit at a tempered pace, sponsored outdoor sporting events are feeding local economies. It may not be at past levels, but remember last year at this time? Take what you can, when you can.