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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

| January 18, 2022

WMAL-FM, Washington Unveils New ‘O’Connor & Company’ Co-Hosts. The morning drive “O’Connor & Company” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington, DC announces the program’s new co-hosts. Joining host Larry O’Connor are: Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, Julie Gunlock, director of the center for progress and innovation at Independent Women’s Forum, and Patrice Onwuka, political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. The station says that the trio have been well received by WMAL listeners as guest hosts on the show in recent months. WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are excited to welcome these fresh voices to WMAL. Their varied life experiences, chemistry with Larry and with each other, and opinions on the issues of the day serve to create compelling content each weekday morning.” O’Connor adds, “Having a daily conversation with Julie, Amber and Patrice about what matters most to the people of our community is an absolute pleasure. From the halls of the Capitol to the vital debates at our local school boards, these intelligent and engaging women bring insights and humor that represent the best of Washington. It’s a genuine honor to team up with them every morning on WMAL.”

Livingston Named GSM for Cumulus Birmingham. Radio sales pro Todd Livingston is promoted to general sales manager for Cumulus Media’s Birmingham station group that includes the trio of sports talkers WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5,” WJQX-FM “Jox2 100.5,” and WJOX-AM “Jox3 690,” and news/talk duo WAPI-FM/WZRR-FM. Livingston is a 32-year media executive who joined Cumulus Birmingham in July 2021 as an account executive. Prior to that, he was local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Tuscaloosa. Cumulus Birmingham VP and market manager James Robinson states, “We are excited to have Todd on our team as general sales manager. Todd has deep roots and broadcast experience in Alabama and his ability to create actionable ideas for our client partners make him a valuable asset to our team in Birmingham.”

Audacy Adds Two Sales Pros to Performance Sales Function. Media sales pros Shirin Peykar and Dan Wolman join Audacy – Peykar in the role of SVP of performance sales and Wolman in the VP of performance sales position. In her new role, Peykar will lead Audacy’s performance sales team and sell across its portfolio of products, leaning heavily into the company’s robust podcast library. Peykar will also strategize to drive the business forward and expand Audacy’s relationships with performance-driven marketers. She will report to Ken Lagana, EVP of digital sales. Wolman will work with performance clients and agencies to sell across Audacy’s portfolio of digital audio brands, with a focus on its podcast business. Both Peykar and Wolman join Audacy from Stitcher, where Peykar was SVP of direct response ad sales and Wolman was VP of performance sales. Lagana says, “Shirin’s rich experience leading multi-faceted ad sales operations for premier media and entertainment companies makes her a valuable addition to our performance sales business. We’re equally as excited about the addition of Dan to the team, which will collectively strive to drive revenue, market share and profit performance for our portfolio of assets.” Peykar says, “I’ve been watching Audacy’s progression in the podcast space over the past couple of years and their commitment to building a world class podcast portfolio has really impressed me. When you couple that dedication to the podcast space and audio in general, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing this portfolio to our performance clients and agencies!” Wolman comments, “Audacy is the industry leader in audio while remaining innovative, representing chart-topping content, generating loyal listeners, and serving as the home to influential talent. This is a performance sellers dream! I am excited to leverage my linear, OTT, and audio experience with this role and celebrate many wins with Audacy and our client partners.”

Deadline for 2022 Gracie Awards Submissions Extended to January 27. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the final deadline to submit entries for the 47th annual Gracie Awards has been extended until January 27 – a seven-day extension from the original January 20 deadline. The Gracie Awards celebrate programming and individual achievement by, for and about women in television, radio/audio and digital media.  Submissions from all facets of media are encouraged. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “We know the circumstances of the past two years led to delivering content to audiences in ways we never expected, which is why we are more committed than ever to honoring the remarkable work that has been created by, for and about women. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracie Awards enable the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media even during times of uncertainty.” The Gracie Awards Gala is still currently scheduled for an in-person celebration May 24 at the famed Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and Gracie Awards Luncheon for June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street. AWMF extends gratitude to its ongoing donors and sponsors committed to furthering the mission of the organization including Crown Media Family Networks, CNN, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association. The Gracie Awards are also honored to have the leadership of Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, chief communications officer, Crown Media Family Networks; and Mike McVay, McVay Media Consulting as Gracies co-chairs and Vicangelo Bulluck serving as executive producer. You can find entry details here.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Voting Rights, MLK Holiday, Inflation/Supply Chain, Synagogue Attack, and Tonga Eruption Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The high rate of COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant, masks, and vaccine mandates; the potential loss of power for Democrats after the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s hold over the GOP; the fate of the Voting Rights Act without support from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; high prices at the pump and at retail outlets combined with supply chain woes; the aftermath of the attack on the Texas synagogue; and the volcanic eruption near Tonga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 22, 2021

| November 22, 2021

Monday Memo: The Pandemic Dividend. As our lives were upended, advertising rose to the occasion, relating to – and offering solutions for – challenges imposed by the shutdown, and enduring change in The New Normal. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke demonstrates ten (10) successful copy points worth emulating when you craft commercial copy for station or podcast advertisers. Read it here.

Pending Business: Be Thankful.  Sales pro Steve Lapa writes, with some COVID-consciousness, this the time of year we pause and give thanks. For many of us, food, family, friends and maybe football will dominate Thanksgiving Day. To all the heroes and their families who protect our health, safety and freedom let’s all start this holiday with a collective, “Thank you.”  As our post-pandemic lives recover, off we go to the shopping races on line or on location. The numbers crunchers will be ready with the results of the first U.S. post-pandemic recovery Black Friday. How does that impact those of us in radio?  Read about it here.

Phoenix Bumps Up Hatch To Sr. VP/MM. Ten-year vice president of programming for Bonneville Phoenix, Ryan Hatch, is elevated to senior vice president and Phoenix market manager. He succeeds Scott Sutherland, who was recently promoted to executive vice president, regional media operations, where he oversees Bonneville properties in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, and Sacramento. Bonneville Phoenix market manager since 2009, Sutherland states, “I am incredibly proud and excited to see Ryan in his new role as senior vice president and market manager. I have no doubt that under his leadership, Bonneville Phoenix will soar to new heights.” Hatch comments, “I’m humbled, honored, and thrilled for the opportunity to lead the most talented team in local media in a city that my family loves and calls home. I look forward to continuing to serve our dynamic and growing community, our advertisers, team broadcast partners and audiences.” Hatch has been with Bonneville the past fifteen years, including a stint as operations manager of its Seattle facilities. The three-station Bonneville Phoenix cluster consists of news/talk KTAR-FM “News 92.3,” sports talk KMVP “Arizona Sports 98.7,” and sports talk KTAR-AM “620 AM ESPN Phoenix.”

Dunaway To Exit WTIC-AM. After nearly 30 years at news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk,”  Ray Dunaway announced this morning (Monday, 11/22) that he is retiring from the Audacy Hartford station and will air his final show Christmas Eve (12/24). Beginning (Monday) January 3 (2022), Brian Shactman, who joined Dunaway the past year, will host WTIC-AM mornings along with Aaron Kupec (news); Bob Cox (weather); Mark Christopher (traffic); and Matt Sirois (sports). Audacy Hartford senior vice president and market manager Stephanie Perl remarks, “We want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Ray Dunaway, who has dedicated almost 30 years of his career to WTIC-AM. Ray is known as the morning man, and his iconic personality is synonymous with our station. In addition, he had a significant impact over these past 29 years with Audacy and the larger Connecticut community. Ray is a true broadcaster and we will miss him greatly. We wish him all the best in his retirement.” Audacy Hartford operations manager Steve Salhany notes, “It goes without saying that Ray has been an important part of WTIC-AM, and more importantly, our community. While I am sure he’s going to enjoy sleeping in, he will be greatly missed.” Dunaway adds, “It’s been a long, wonderful run, but having hosted morning shows since 1980, the time has come to sleep in – at least I hope I can. I want to thank [those who listened] since 1992 at WTIC-AM. You are truly wonderful people, as [is] the staff at Audacy. I can honestly say these friends are the best I’ve ever worked with.” Prior to arriving at WTIC-AM in May 1992, Dunaway worked at Kansas City’s KMBZ-FM.

KGB-AM Sends Warriors Home With $1.4 Million. As a result of its annual 12-hour “Give-A-Thon” broadcast, iHeartMedia San Diego news/talk KGB-AM helped raise $1,455,741 for the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station to reunite injured service members with their families during the holidays. iHeartMedia San Diego president and market manager Melissa Forrest comments, “We are honored to have participated in the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station ‘Give-A-Thon’ which supports our deserving military men and women. It’s amazing to see this level of generosity; this is a true testament to our San Diego listeners. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s ‘Give-A-Thon’ a huge success.” Warrior Foundation Freedom Station founder and chief executive officer Sandy Lehmkuhler adds, “We are forever grateful to our wonderful media partners and donors for giving back to our nation’s service members during this special time of year. By shining a spotlight on our warriors and their brave struggles with the visible and invisible wounds of war, [iHeartMedia San Diego] rallied the support of thousands of people to fly our heroes home for the holidays. It’s a gift our troops will remember forever.” In 2004, Lehmkuhler contacted “760 AM” (when it was KFMB-AM) to ask its listeners to donate shaving razors for holiday gift bags being given to warriors in recovery at Balboa Naval Hospital. It then grew into an annual fundraising effort that reunites families during the holidays, and helps warriors face the challenges of recovery, rehabilitation and transition from military service to civilian life. KGB-AM’s syndicated morning show – Armstrong & Getty – promoted the “Give-A-Thon” for an entire week, as did KGB-AM’s similarly-formatted cluster-mate KOGO “News Radio 600.”

Not Just For Audio Anymore. Regular Fox News Channel talking head Ethan Bearman (right) spars with FNC hosts by representing a differing point-of-view. Formerly a host on California news/talk outlets KABC, Los Angeles; KGO, San Francisco; and KSCO, Santa Cruz, the frequent TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” entry secured his law degree and passed the California Bar. Bearman now practices media law and – with wife Amy (left) – hosts the “Law Junkie Show” podcast, which adds a video component.

TuneIn Handles Live Audio Streaming Portion of C-SPAN Now App. Under a new partnership, the deal with C-SPAN makes four news-oriented apps using TuneIn for audio streaming, including the CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC apps. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern comments, “C-SPAN serves a valuable role in bringing an unvarnished look at government proceedings to the general public. TuneIn is excited to be partnering with C-SPAN to provide live and on-demand access to C-SPAN Now users via our live radio streaming technology. All around the world, TuneIn is helping broadcasters and content creators bring their content to new audiences through digital distribution. This unique partnership showcases how TuneIn can both serve as a platform and value-add for media companies.” C-SPAN vice president of digital media Richard Weinstein adds, “C-SPAN Now was designed from the ground up to bring C-SPAN’s mission [of] delivering an unfiltered, high-quality viewing and listening experience of our government’s proceedings to another digital platform and to new audiences. From day one, TuneIn has helped C-SPAN bring compelling American political news to a new generation of digital listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. Over $365,000 was raised this past Tuesday (11/16) in Audacy Minneapolis news/talk WCCO’s 19th annual “Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon.” The 13-hour event (6:00 am – 7:00 pm) will help to provide over 186,000 meals and care to those in need. WCCO “News Radio 830” brand manager Brad Lane comments, “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s hard work on this event. This is yet another great example of how live and local radio can truly help change lives. We’re so grateful that WCCO can partner with Union Gospel Mission and impact the community in such an amazing and rewarding [way].” WCCO hosts spoke with current and past Union Gospel Mission clients, as well as staff members and the charity’s leaders. This year’s $365,000+ brings WCCO’s overall UGM Hunger Radiothon fundraising total to over $3.6 million … For the 12th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks will give away thousands of turkeys as part of the “Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give.” Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of Harvey’s morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate Thanksgiving. Giveaways will take place today (Monday, 11/22) and tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/23) in affiliate markets across the country. Nearly 100,000 turkeys have been given away since 2009 when “The Turkey Give” was first launched. Harvey states, “It’s an honor and a privilege for all of us here to help those in need.” … For the past nine years, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has hosted/directed “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” In Boston, Buzz Knight Media president Buzz Knight debuts “Takin A Walk,” a podcast in which the consultant records results of his walks with celebrities. “The joy of this project,” he notes, “is that there are no boundaries to the type of guests we can book. We’re excited about this project along with future content creation opportunities.” Forthcoming is a walk-and-talk with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin … Newsmax re-signs Benny Johnson to a multi-year deal and plans to expand his weekend show, “Benny Reports.” Newsmax executive vice president of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “‘Benny Reports’ is a provocative and highly engaging show. Benny’s incisive and humorous commentaries have developed a strong following of Newsmax viewers. We are enthusiastic to grow our relationship with Benny and to expand ‘Benny Reports’ to a full hour show.” … What started as a fun on-air wager last Thursday (11/18) between WAJI “Majic 95.1,” Ft. Wayne (Indiana) on-air hosts Andy Beckman and Kat Walburn turned into “The Andy in the Morning Underwear Run.” Beckman lost the bet and – owing to terms of the agreement – had to do a city run in his underwear this past Saturday (11/20) at Ft. Wayne’s minor league baseball stadium, Parkview Field. The stunt on the Sarkes Tarzian-owned/Mike McVay-consulted adult contemporary outlet wasn’t done strictly for laughs as it benefitted Erin’s House for Grieving Children. Beckman notes, “The goal was to raise awareness and funds for every single Erin’s House family this holiday season.” For nearly 30 years, Erin’s House for Grieving Children has provided a safe, nurturing, and comfortable environment for children to process their grief. They learn how to express their emotions, share their feelings, and reinvest back into their lives.

Dolan Appointed To Libsyn Board. Joining the board of directors of Libsyn (Liberated Syndication) is the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s former president/chief operating officer, Patrick Dolan. Libsyn chief executive officer Bradley Tirpak notes, “[Patrick Dolan] brings decades of digital media experience at for-profit companies, as well as the most important trade organization, the IAB. He has [long been] a supporter of both Libsyn’s business and the podcasting sector overall. As a board member, I know Patrick will contribute significantly to Libsyn’s growth and help position the company to be a go-to-destination for podcasters for all of their needs.” Dolan adds, “I am honored to join Libsyn’s board. As the first podcast hosting company, Libsyn has long been an innovator in the podcast industry; it is an exciting time in the company’s history. I hope to be able to support Libsyn’s platform strategy and development of new value-added services for podcasters.” A former director of business operations at Doubleclick, Dolan most recently has been an executive-in-residence for Progress Partners.

VICE World News Seeks Archival Conservative News/Talk Radio Airchecks for Forthcoming Documentary. The TV arm of VICE World News is producing a four-part documentary series on the history of talk radio, from the 1980s through present day. This series utilizes a combination of original footage with archival materials. The production is currently seeking archival recordings of conservative talk radio programs, particularly from 1989 – 1995, including material that is on tape and not digitized. If you have any archival audio recordings that meet this description, please contact archival producer Elijah Stevens at elijah.stevens@vice.com.

 

 

FOX News Audio Has Talk Show Producer Opening. The FOX News Audio division of Fox News is looking for a creative talk show producer to be part of a growing national radio show and podcast. The talk show producer – based in New York City – will develop and execute ideas, provide strong story selection, book guests, and grow the show, its social media platforms, and website. See more information about this position and apply here.

FOX News Audio Seeks Podcast Producer. There’s an opening for a podcast producer at FOX News Audio. This New York City-based position’s responsibility will be to develop ideas, pitch stories, and work with FOX News Channel talent in crafting daily and weekly podcasts. They will direct bookings, edit shows for broadcast, and work with production teams to create high-quality products every day.  In addition to their production duties, they will also lead creative on social media posts and website write-ups to promote the products. Find out more and apply here.

FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Opening. The Washington, DC bureau of FOX News is seeking an experienced, full-time reporter. The successful candidate will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories. Find out more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

| August 5, 2021

Beasley Broadcast Group Second Quarter Net Revenue Up 96%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group (parent company of Beasley Media Group) indicates net revenue was $59.6 million, an increase of 96.1% over the same period in 2020. The company posts operating income of $5.8 million compared to the $17.6 million operating loss it reported in Q2 of 2020. Station operating income also rebounded to $11.1 million compared to the $11 million SOI loss it posted in the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “Beasley’s strong 2021 second quarter financial results reflect growing momentum across our media platform, as the continuing broad-based economic recovery accelerated demand from consumers and advertisers for our premium content and marketing and advertising services. With the significant rebound in the commercial advertising market, second quarter net revenue of $59.6 million increased 24% over first quarter 2021 levels and 96% over the comparable prior year period. Top line growth combined with the meaningful actions we have taken over the past year to permanently reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies, resulted in a significant rebound in net income to $0.2 million and SOI to $11.1 million, as well as positive free cash flow of approximately $1.0 million. Throughout the second quarter, the resumption of advertising in key categories combined with the success of our content monetization strategies resulted in year-over-year revenue growth across all fifteen of our markets, with healthy double-digit revenue increases in Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Notably, our continued emphasis on strong local content and consumer engagement drove best-in-industry ratings performance for our station clusters, according to Nielsen. Our cumulative on-air audience share approached pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter, having grown consistently since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While second quarter non-traditional revenue (NTR) and events revenue was minimal, we made the strategic decision to fully re-open our events business in the third quarter, given the continued strengthening of commerce and consumer activities in our markets, and expect incremental revenue from this source in the second half of 2021. As we work to return all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels of operation, we are closely tracking potential impacts from the Delta variant and the uncertainty it may bring to businesses we serve and our future operating results. Our ongoing focus on digital innovation and the strategic investments we are making in our digital and esports infrastructure and content production capabilities are delivering positive results and continue to highlight the value of our long-term revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 96% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for approximately 13.4% of total second quarter revenue, compared to 13.4% in the prior year period and 12% in the 2021 first quarter. With growing audience share and engagement, Beasley’s digital network delivered record digital audience impressions in the second quarter, with total digital impressions growing 29% over the prior year period.”

Salem Media Group Q2 2021 Total Revenue Rises 20.6%. The total revenue for Salem Media Group’s second quarter of 2021 was $63.8 million, an increase of 20.6% over the same period in 2020. Salem posted operating income of $5.6 million for the quarter, compared to the operating loss of $900,000 it reported during the second quarter of 2020. The company’s net income for Q2 of this year was $2.3 million compared to the net loss of $2.5 million it reported for the second quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports data for its three business segments and the Broadcast segment’s net revenue for this quarter was $46.8 million, up 18.5% from the same period a year ago. Station operating income rose 66.6% to $10.6 million. The Digital Media segment saw revenue rise 9.5% to $10.3 million and the Publishing segment revenue was $6.7, an increase of 68.3%. As of June 30, 2021, the Salem Media Group had $216.3 million outstanding on the 6.75% senior secured notes due 2024, no balance outstanding on the Asset Based Revolving Credit Facility, and $11.2 million outstanding on Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans from the Small Business Administration.

Saga Communications Q2 Net Revenue Up 49.7%. Second quarter financial data from Saga Communications, Inc. reveals that the company’s net revenue was $28 million, an increase of 49.7% over the same period in 2020. The company posted operating income of $4.6 million compared to the operating loss of $8.6 million it reported in the second quarter of 2020.  Station operating expense increased $2.4 million to $21.0 million for the quarter compared to the same period last year. Station operating income was $8.4 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $181,000 for the second quarter of 2020. Free cash flow was $4.2 million for the quarter compared to a negative $1.8 million for the same period last year. Saga’s balance sheet reflects $59.4 million in cash on hand as of June 30, 2021 and $59.6 million as of August 2, 2021.  The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the second quarter 2021.

Urban One Second Quarter Net Revenue Climbs 41.6%. Today’s second quarter 2021 financial report from Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, indicates the company’s net revenue was approximately $107.6 million, an increase of 41.6% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.6 million, an increase of 64.3% from the same period in 2020. Urban One reports operating income of approximately $37.9 million for Q2 of 2021, compared to approximately $20.4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $17.9 million compared to approximately $1.4 million for the second quarter of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “Overall we had an extremely strong second quarter; not only was Adjusted EBITDA up 82.4% year-over-year, but we also surpassed our Q2 2019 pre-pandemic Adjusted EBITDA. We are experiencing unprecedented advertiser interest in our audience across the entire Urban One platform. The radio advertising business saw a robust rebound from the worst impacts of the pandemic in Q2 2020, with segment revenues up by 73% and radio syndication revenues up 50.2%. We also benefitted from strong TV scatter markets, with TV advertising revenues up 21.3% in the quarter; furthermore, registered interest in our 2021-22 TV upfront sales presentations has also been extremely encouraging, which will help our fourth quarter revenue performance. Demand for our digital products remains high, with digital revenues up by 147.9% for the quarter and Adjusted EBITDA up by over $6 million; a significant help to our top and bottom-line growth. For Q3, our core radio business excluding political is currently pacing up by over 40%, and we are comfortable increasing our FY21 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to mid-$130 million, excluding casino chase costs. During the quarter we completed the second tranche of our Class A ATM share sale program, which yielded $21.2 million net of fees. This cash influx further strengthened our balance sheet, and we ended the quarter with $129.8 million of cash on hand, which is a healthy place to be ahead of the exciting new investment opportunity in the One Casino & Resort in Richmond, Virginia.”

Ralph Nader is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Legendary consumer advocate, political activist, prolific author, Pacifica radio talk show host and five-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison and Nader engage in a fascinating discussion about “left/right political thinking” in America as well as social and business changes influenced by advancements in technology, plus more. Nader says working class Democrats and Republicans alike have far more in common than they have differences and that unbridled corporatism is the true enemy of the poor and working class regardless of race or political ideology. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

NAB Announces 2021 Marconi Finalists. The finalists for the 2021 Marconi Awards have been announced. The news/talk Station of the Year finalists are: WSB-AM, Atlanta; WTOP-FM, Washington; KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri; WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and KNX-AM, Los Angeles. (NAB lumps all-news and news/talk stations into the same category.) WSB-AM, Atlanta is also up for Legendary Station of the Year. Talk radio hosts making the finals include, for Major Market Personality of the Year, George Dunham, Craig Miller, and Gordon Keith from sports talk KTCK-AM, Dallas “The Ticket.” In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: WFLA-AM, Tampa’s Jack Harris; WBAL-AM, Baltimore’s C4 and Bryan Nehman; WHPT-FM, Tampa’s Mike Calta; and WWTN-FM, Nashville’s Dan Mandis. Medium Market Personality of the Year category finalists include: KRMG-FM, Tulsa’s Dan Potter; KIDO-AM, Boise’s Kevin Miller; KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas’ Harlen the Sports Guy and Pigskin Bob; and WHO-AM, Des Moines’ Simon Conway. See all the finalists here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (8/10), McVay Media’s Mike McVay is joining Loyd Ford from Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works, LLC for “The Radio State Of The Union Live Event” on The Encouragers on Clubhouse. It’s being billed as “a frank discussion about employment, job search, career management, corporate & local radio and the future” and takes place at 7:00 pm ET. Ford says, “We have been discussing the people we love in this business, the talent. This is a unique time in our history. If you are on the talent side of the business, it takes some skill to navigate your way through what is happening. I reached out to Mike because he really does have such deep experience and knows radio as a talent, a consultant and someone who ran programming for one of the largest broadcasters in the country. Plus, he’s willing (like I am) to be candid. This will be a conversation with red meat and a lot of helpful hacks to get ahead, stay balanced and help others.”…..Legendary WGN-AM and WGN-TV sports producer Jack “Rosey” Rosenberg will be recognized by the City of Chicago with an honorary street sign. The southeast corner of E. Illinois Street and Cityfront Plaza Drive will double as “Jack Rosenberg Way.” Rosenberg’s career at WGN began in 1954 where he was a producer, news writer, and sports editor and worked with celebrated sports voices including Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, and others. WGN says, “Rosey was a pioneer in modern sports production and broadcasting and is credited with its development. While Rosey himself was rarely heard on-air, the sound of his typewriter clacking in the background was unmistakable.” Rosenberg died December 26, 2020 at the age of 94…..Futuri announces the launch of AdMatic, “a revolutionary system that helps podcast platforms and creators make their content more discoverable and monetizable using advanced metadata sorting and deployment.” Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig adds, “Two million podcasts all have the same problem: poor metadata sorting that leads to mismatched recommendations for listeners and ineffective advertising for businesses. AdMatic solves this by using Futuri’s AI-driven technology to individually categorize podcast episodes and align with the businesses and products that best match on a case-by-case basis, rather than the hopelessly broad one-size-fits-all approach we currently see in the market.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant/Outbreaks & Mask Policies, Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations-Impeachment Possibility, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, the Tokyo Olympic Games, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in numerous U.S. states, governors under fire and mask policies; President Joe Biden’s moratorium on evictions; the allegations of sexual impropriety against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the possibility of his being impeached; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the Tokyo Olympics; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

| July 1, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ‘20s.” The fourth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment explores the main challenges facing spoken-word commercial radio’s largest and most influential format as we move into the highly unpredictable third decade of 21st century. Introduced and sponsored by Doug Stephan of the “DJV Show” and moderated by Mike McVay, CEO of McVay Media Consulting, the panel includes Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group/Salem Radio Network and VP/operations New York region; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WONK-FM, Washington, DC/iHeart Podcast ChannelDave LaBrozzi, SVP/programming, Red Apple MediaJosh Leng, CEO, Talk Media NetworkGreg Stocker, executive producer, Rich Zeoli Show and APD, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Joe Thomas, morning show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Honored with Studio Naming. Yesterday (6/30) was Mark Chernoff’s last day on the job at Audacy’s WFAN, New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. Chernoff retired from the company after an illustrious career in which he served as program director for legendary sports talk outlet WFAN for 28 years. In honor of his service, the company dedicated the sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” Pictured above are (top l-r): Craig Carton, Chernoff, Al Dukes, and Eddie Scozzare and (bottom l-r): Boomer Esiason, Jerry Recco, and Chris Oliviero. The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” (Photo: Audacy)

WSB, Atlanta Meteorologist Kirk Mellish to Retire; Christina Edwards to Join the Station. A meteorologist dedicated just to a radio station is indeed a rare thing in today’s media landscape and Cox Media Group’s WSB Radio (WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) has enjoyed the service of “first and only radio-only” meteorologist Kirk Mellish for 34 years. Mellish will retire at the end of July and transition into a consultant role through the end of the year. However, the station will not be without a meteorologist as Christina Edwards will assume the role. Mellish says, “When I joined WSB in Atlanta in July 1987 just three years after graduation, I never would have thought I’d stay this long. It has been a blessing to turn my childhood hobby into a career and to serve most of these decades as the first radio-only, full-time meteorologist in the country. This is the type of broadcasting innovation typical of WSB and CMG leadership in the industry. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many great colleagues and big names in our business in management, on-air and behind the scenes. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and am excited to pass the baton, or should I say barometer, to Christina Edwards who will be a great fit for the tradition of weather coverage on 95.5 WSB.” About her new position, Edwards says, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary 95.5 WSB Radio! I grew up in metro Atlanta, listening to Kirk Mellish’s weather reports during my family’s daily commute, and I continue to listen even today. I appreciate Kirk’s ability to break down complex weather forecasts in a way listeners can understand. And, of course, diving into the details online in his weather blog. I am thankful for Kirk’s service and weather forecasts. It is an honor to join 95.5 WSB Radio and continue in the footsteps of Kirk’s legacy.”

iHeartMedia and Audacy Honored by Philly Civic Organization. The Philadelphia operations of iHeartMedia have been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia by Philadelphia Foundation, in partnership with Points of Light and other local partners. Modeled after Points of Light’s national program, The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia provides a standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how employers use their time, skills and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s six stations have a long history of community service, especially critical during this pandemic. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition. To quote President Barack Obama, ‘If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope.’” Audacy vice president of social impact Sarah Harris says, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the region’s most community-minded companies. And I am thrilled to share our national impact and commitment to supporting sound communities in our inaugural social impact report. Thank you to our employees, partners and neighbors for the incredible work you do to move people to action within our markets.” Pictured below at a ceremony for the honor are (from l-r): Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia; Natalye Paquin, president & CEO, Points of Light Foundation; Sarah Harris, VP social impact, Audacy; David Yadgaroff, SVP / market manager, Audacy Philadelphia; Diane Melley, Points of Light board member & executive director, Philadelphia Foundation; Pedro Ramos, president & CEO, Philadelphia Foundation.

HOLIDAY DOUBLE HEADER: Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. KOA, Denver 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Mandy Connell and Bold Gold Media Group founder/CEO Vince Benedetto are this week’s guests on a special Independence Week edition of the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “We wanted to do a short-but-sweet salute to the nation’s 245th birthday and the selection of Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto really fits the bill. Mandy is a refreshingly objective conservative commentator and rising star in news/talk radio armed with facts, wit and goodwill. She articulates the subjective nature of today’s media and the role that it plays in perpetuating the wave of polarization gripping our republic. Vince Benedetto is a former Air Force pilot and U.S. intelligence agent with a remarkable wealth of scholarly knowledge about the founding fathers and the formative years of America’s development from Thomas Jefferson all the way through the mega-challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln. Together, but separately, Mandy and Vince present an informative and thought-provoking tribute to our nation’s past, present and future. Happy Birthday, America!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘NextUp’ Podcasting Initiative. The iHeartPodcast Network is launching an initiative called “NextUp” that takes up-and-coming and underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from iHeartMedia. This initiative is being led by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Anna Hossnieh and executive podcast producer Joelle Smith. Hossnieh says, “I’m excited to help launch ‘NextUp’ with the iHeartPodcast Network, an initiative that takes underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from one of the largest global podcasting networks. Led by myself and fellow executive podcast producer Joelle Smith, the program will mentor two people in each of iHeart’s three major podcasting hubs: Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. We believe by helping to elevate the voices of underrepresented storytellers and providing an incredible opportunity to be heard, iHeart will become the epicenter of compelling podcast talent and an industry leader in helping to address the market inefficiencies among underrepresented audio creators. The program will take place over five months and include a monthly stipend. ‘NextUp’ aims to empower participants by giving them the tools to succeed in the podcast industry – from developing and marketing a podcast to using industry-leading software. Participants in ‘NextUp’ will learn from some of iHeartRadio’s top creators and leave the program with at least three finished episodes and a polished pitch for their podcast. Submissions to apply for the program open July 5 – July 9 and can be found here.

Trump Org CFO Surrenders, COVID-19, Tucker Carlson NSA Allegations, Condo Collapse, Big City Violent Crime, Cosby Released, House January 6 Investigation, CCP Anniversary, Heatwaves, and Donald Rumsfeld Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrenders to authorities after being indicted by a grand jury; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; FOX News host Tucker Carlson claims he’s being surveilled by the NSA on the Biden administration’s orders; the continuing rescue efforts at the collapsed condo in Florida; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s large cities; Bill Cosby is released from prison after a PA court overturned his conviction; the U.S. House plan to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West; the record-setting heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Lennon, McCartney, Marbourg

| March 22, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Paul McCartney mused, “You’ve got to admit, it’s getting better, a little better all the time.” John Lennon muttered, “It can’t get much worse.”

And in the words of now-retired radio traffic reporter Bob Marbourg – a rock star to heavy listeners when he was part of my WTOP crew in the 1980s – “Pick your lane and stay with it.”

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