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Monday, July 19, 2021

| July 19, 2021

Monday Memo: Selling The Sorehead Show. Because “we live in a divided America” in which many use talk radio to validate grievance, consultant Holland Cooke sees sales opportunity: “Affinity = entre.” In this week’s column, HC suggests an approach to kindred prospects, and recommends four packages and specific copy points for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: Wobbles. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges of selling when the ratings wobble. He says, “After over a year of COVID craziness, the last thing you want to deal with is game planning for more negativity. Business should be accelerating, yet here we are looking at many large market news/talk radio stations down trending after lineup changes designed to improve audience levels have been slow to show upticks. Maybe a little too soon to judge, maybe sampling wobbles, maybe work-life patterns shifting, maybe we should start dealing with what we can control – our game plan.” Read more here.

Round Four of June PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM loses nine-tenths for a 4.0 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises six-tenths, finishing with a 5.8 share good for the #6 rank in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM tacks on one-tenths for a 7.0 share and rises from #3 to #2 in the market. In the Milwaukee market, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ remains in the #1 rank even though it lost three-tenths. It finished with an 8.9 share on the strength of Brewers baseball and Bucks basketball and easily topped iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN, which lost one-tenth and finished with a 6.5 share and the #4 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the first three groups) here.

FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Event Sets Record Attendance. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event is taking place this year on September 29 and 30 at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The annual event in which talk radio hosts from around the nation gather to broadcast from Washington and discuss the issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts is almost completely booked. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “Thanks to Biden’s border crisis – and apparently the itch to just get out after a year of being isolated – this year’s 14th Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row has set record attendance with 70 hosts now confirmed to broadcast September 29 and 30. After 14 years of doing this, I guess next year, we’ll need a bigger boat!” Inquiries can be made to Matt Tragesser at mtragesser@fairus.org

California Recall Controversy as Larry Elder Left Off Official List of Candidates. The official list of candidates in California’s recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom was released Saturday and Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder – who’s taking a leave from his nationally syndicated talk radio program in order to run – was not on the list. KCRA-TV reports that state officials say Elder’s filing did not include complete tax returns for the past five years, which are required to run. The report does not explain what was missing from Elder’s filing. In response, Elder tweeted the following: “Politicians know I’m the only candidate who will beat Gavin Newsom — and that’s why they don’t want me on the ballot. They’re using shenanigans that they invented to block the doors to the Governor’s Office and make sure they stay in power.”

WPTF, Raleigh’s Tom Kearney Retires. Longtime evening talk radio host Tom Kearney has retired from Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF, Raleigh after almost 40 years with the station. Kearney joined the station in 1982 and in 1988 he began his full-time role as evening talk host. The Raleigh Observer says Kearney didn’t copy political hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, but “chose a folksier path: garden chats, computer repair tips, stamp collecting, Friday night trivia. He picked guests who could pass on something useful: the astronomer who explained Pluto’s non-planetary status, or the assistant attorney general who offered advice on fighting elder fraud.” WPTF VP of content Rick Martinez is quoted saying, “Whether he’s talking to a political leader or an auto mechanic. Tom always seems to know what questions the listeners want answered. Tom has always put the listener first.”

iHeartMedia Miami Promotes Mark McKenzie to Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Mark McKenzie is promoted from account executive to sales manager for iHeartMedia’s Miami station group in which he’ll be responsible for overseeing all sales operations for “103.5 The Beat,” “Throwback 105.5 Miami” and Miami’s BIN 880 WZAB “Black Information Network.” iHeartMedia Miami market president Shari Gonzalez says, “Since joining iHeartMedia, Mark has led our team in multiple capacities. It is wonderful to make it official. As sales manager, I am confident that Mark will take this brand and team to new heights.”

Opinion: Mama, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Sportscasters. Author Michael Levin writes an opinion piece after reading Julie DeCaro’s new book, Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America, which he says, “details what a slime pit the world of sports broadcasting really is.” He says, “DeCaro is an attorney turned sports talk radio host who, in her book, decries the piggish nature of virtually all men in the world of sports, from the male broadcasters to the executives who run teams and broadcast outlets, to many of the players, and certainly to the fans.” But, Levin says, DeCaro is guilty of the legal concept called, “coming to the nuisance.” Read his piece here.

TALKERS News Notes. WSGW, Saginaw operations manager Dave Maurer is being inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Maurer has also served as the host of news/talk WSGW’s morning show for the past 42 years. The station lists Maurer’s accomplishments during his time with the station: Maurer and his news team were named AP Station of the Year for 25 consecutive years; in 2005, he received the Michigan AP Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2016, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for his coverage and contributions to humanitarian causes in Northeast Michigan. Under his leadership, WSGW was awarded the 2020 NAB Crystal Award for Community Service and the 2020 NAB Service to America Award for the Sharing Hope Radiothon…..NuVoodoo Media Services, is revealing findings from its recently completed Ratings Prospects Study 18 that indicates more than 40% of those 14-54 year-old radio listeners most likely to participate in ratings say that they have gotten out of the habit of listening to local morning radio shows. NuVoodoo will be presenting results from the study in a series of webinars beginning on Wednesday July 21. Interested attendees can sign up for free at NuVoodoo.com/webinars…..Triton Digital, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry, announced today the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the June 2021 reporting period (May 31 – June 27, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. In this reporting period, Stitcher Media remained in the #1 spot with 31M Average Weekly Downloads and 9M Average Weekly Users, followed by NPR with 30M Average Weekly Downloads and 7M Average Weekly Users. The Audacy Podcast Network ranked #3 with 16M Average Weekly Downloads and 6M Average Weekly Users. See the whole report here.

COVID-19, Facebook Anti-Vax Charges, January 6 Investigation/Sentencing, Critical Race Theory, the Economy/Inflation, Trump and the GOP, Voting Bills, European Floods, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and the debate over restrictions; Facebook is called out by President Joe Biden who says it is “killing people” by allowing anti-vax posts; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of those who’ve pled guilty; the furor over the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools; the state of the U.S. economy, the shortage of workers, and concerns about inflation; the relationship between former President Donald Trump and the GOP; the various voting laws recently passed and the controversy over Texas Democrats leaving the state to avoid voting on that state’s bill; the devastating floods in Europe; and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

| June 22, 2021

Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+).  Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.

Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot.  Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.

Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.

TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and  Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways  Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.

Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

| June 16, 2021

Where Have All the Sales Reps Gone? That’s the question radio sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr asks in a column published in TALKERS today. Carr notes that during her tenure selling at WRKO, Boston, the in-person training sessions and sales meetings were invaluable to sellers, as was the intense competition among the sales staff. “We had a lot of fun, but it was a serious sales atmosphere. With so many people working from home [now], I fear that this environment of training, support, jealousy and rage may be gone forever. How motivated are you really when you don’t know what your colleagues/competitors are doing? Those meetings with managers were inspirational and we had constant training.” Read her column here.

WTMJ, Milwaukee Morning Host Gene Mueller to Retire. Longtime Milwaukee radio personality Gene Mueller is retiring from the radio business after more than 40 years on the air. Mueller is currently host of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” on Good Karma Brands’ “Newsradio 620 WTMJ.” He’ll continue to host the morning program through February of 2022. Mueller recently told listeners, “As hard as it may be for some to believe, the thrill of getting up at 1:45 am each weekday morning has finally worn off after 44 years. I hear there’s this thing called ‘sunrise’ that I’d really like to witness in person on a regular basis as I live in a world where there are no deadlines and every day feels like Saturday. I’ve been blessed with fantastic opportunities over the course of my career, not the least of which was the one I had the past 14 years to host ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News,’ accompanied by so many talented teammates and such supportive management.” Good Karma VP and market manager Steve Wexler comments, “Gene has informed and entertained generations of listeners. He is beloved by so many people in our community because of the authentic, personal connection he’s made with them over the air and in person. We can’t thank him enough for his years of early wake-ups, his commitment to our stations and our community, and of course his sense of humor.” Mueller is expected to continue his work with select advertising partners on WTMJ and contribute occasional content to the station after he leaves the morning show.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Signs Contract Extension with iHeartMedia. WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” morning host Russ Rollins and iHeartMedia agreed to a multi-year contract extension for the leader of the ensemble show titled “Monsters in the Morning.” Rollins says, “I am so very happy and proud of the show we have now. The program has always made a lot of changes and now is very enjoyable for me. I truly love this company and the cast members that make me look good every day. The overwhelming talent of Angel, Carlos, Ryan, Angelique, Savannahand D-Strong keeps me excited to keep broadcasting here at iHeartRadio. I am ‘Real Radio’ for life!” iHeartMedia Orlando SVP of programming Rick Everett says, “I’m excited for the next chapter of the ‘Monsters in the Morning’ on ‘Real Radio 104.1.’  I’ve been amazed over the last 24 years that I’ve worked with Russ and watched him reinvent the ‘Monsters’ brand and see the show continue to perform as one of the top morning shows in Central Florida.”

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

Pictured above taking part on the “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Bruce Avery, general manager, WRHU Radio; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Walter Sterling, talk host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Gary Krantz, CEO Krantz Media Group; Chris Oliviero, SVP/market manager, Audacy New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Dr. Ira Nash, SVP/executive director, Northwell Health Physicians Partners, who introduced the panel. (Not pictured is panel moderator Michael Harrison)

Pictured above taking part on the “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Rich Zeoli, talk host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Juliet Huddy, talk host, WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk host, Genesis Communications Network; Lisa Wexler, talk host WICC, Bridgeport, CT/Connecticut Probate Judge; Larry Young, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; and Lee Harris, morning drive news anchor, WINS, New York.

Mark Chernoff to Guest Host Saturday Show on WCBS-FM, New York. Longtime Audacy programming executive – PD and brand manager for sports talk WFAN and CBS Sports Radio – Mark Chernoff is leaving the company after June 30. Before he goes, however, he’ll get a chance to spin records once again on Audacy’s classic hits WCBS-FM this Saturday night (6/19) from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Although he’s associated with WFAN, Chenoff began in radio playing records while a student at Rutgers University. He says, “I’ve always had a love for classic rock, oldies, classic hits – any kind of rock and roll – and having been a DJ for many years, I thought it would be a lot of fun as my days wind down at WFAN to get the opportunity to be a music jock one more time on our extremely successful classic hits station. WCBS-FM is a station I’ve long admired and respected through the years, having had an array of great jocks and program directors and played a lot of great music throughout all of their formats.” During his time with the company, Chernoff was responsible for programming the former WNEW-FM and the former “K-Rock.” Chernoff adds, “I’ve always been in these two worlds of music and sports, but for me, it’s getting back to my roots, where my first passion in radio was on the music end. Things developed nicely into 28 great years at WFAN, but I’ve always loved being on the music end. Having my roots as a DJ from 1976 until even into 1993, I thought a fun way to end my days with the company would be to go back to my roots and play some rock and roll records.”

Salem Unveils Salem Influencer Network. The sales division of Salem Media Group – Salem Media Representatives – announces the formation of the Salem Influencer Network, a new entity focused on connecting brands with the fans of leading Christian social media influencers. The company says the Salem Influencer Network “is a powerful vehicle to help clients reach the 18-34 young adult generation who are establishing their brand loyalties that will likely continue for decades.” Salem Media Representatives SVP Mike Reed states, “For years, Salem Media Representatives has been helping our advertising clients reach Christian and politically conservative consumers through multi-media advertising campaigns. A frequent request for our clients is to bring them more influencers. Over the last few years, we’ve been meeting the leading Christian YouTubers and Instagrammers who told us they needed representation they could trust to present them to major brands. We decided we needed to get into this world, and www.SalemInfluencers.com was born.” The company says that influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing areas in the advertising world. In 2020, influencers and paid content took the biggest share of digital ad budgets (20%) according to Sarah Bolton, Advertiser Perceptions VP/business intelligence. According to Business Inside Intelligence based on Mediakix data, by 2022, brands are expected to spend $15 billion in influencer marketing. Brands such as CVS, Felix Gray, Kroger, Steve Madden, Bose, Prison Fellowship and World Vision have already tapped into various Salem Influencer Network influencers.

Biden-Putin Summit/Russian War Games, COVID-19, Soaring Housing Market, Cryptocurrency, Juneteenth Holiday, Kamala Harris Latin America Trip, and Western Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Today’s summit between President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Russian Navy’s war games taking place near Hawaii; the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and speculation about the Wuhan Lab origin of the coronavirus; the hot housing market and concerns about a bubble reminiscent of 2008; the up and down value of the world’s cryptocurrency; the U.S. Senate makes June 19 – Juneteenth – a federal holiday; criticism of Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the intense heat affecting much of the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

| June 3, 2021

Lotus Communications to Acquire Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Seattle Radio Stations for $18 Million. The three Seattle radio stations – all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM – are the only radio stations in Sinclair Broadcast Group’s portfolio. The company is better known for its television station holdings and its conservative editorial policy. Lotus Communications will acquire the three stations – pending FCC approval – for “an aggregate purchase price of approximately $18 million in cash and other consideration.” Lotus Communications first SVP Jim Kalmenson says, “We are excited to work with the amazing staff at KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community, enhance local neighborhoods, and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Lotus owns and operates 44 radio stations in the Western U.S. This deal was initiated by Richard A. Foreman Associates and acted as exclusive broker representing Sinclair.

George G. Beasley Passes at 89. The founder of Beasley BroadcastingGeorge G. Beasley – died yesterday in Naples, Florida at the age of 89. Beasley was also serving as executive chairman of the board for Beasley Broadcasting at the time of his death. The company says, “While best known for his many trailblazing achievements in the radio broadcasting industry, George will be most remembered for his humility, kindness, integrity, work-ethic and love of family and friends. Born on April 9, 1932, George grew up working in the tobacco fields in his hometown of Ararat, Virginia. His drive and determination led him to enlist in the army to pursue a degree in Education through the G.I. Bill. Upon completing his B.A. and M.A. from Appalachian State University, he taught in Virginia, before moving to North Carolina in the late 1950s to become a high school principal and coach. Inspired by a commitment to provide a voice for the voiceless in his local community, George built his very first station (WPYB-AM) in Benson, North Carolina in December of 1961. Over the next 60 years, his hard work and vision paved the way for what Beasley Media Group has become today – one of America’s premiere publicly traded media companies, consisting of 62 radio properties located in 15 large and medium-sized markets with digital offerings and an esports division.” Among his proudest professional accomplishments was receiving an honorary doctorate and the unveiling of the George G. Beasley Media Complex on campus to provide future generations of ASU students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in broadcasting. Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley says, “George’s unconditional love for our mother, Ann and our family, along with his passion for the radio industry, helped to guide him throughout his lifetime. A loving father, mentor, and friend, I will especially miss his incredible wisdom, keen insight and gentle smile.” A memorial service will take place for family and friends in Naples, Florida. Details will be forthcoming. A private burial service will be held for the family in Ararat, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, the Beasley family requests donations be made in his name to The Broadcasters Foundation of America, 125 West 55th Street, 4th Floor New York, New York 10019. Online donations may also be made at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Kim Komando Show: 86% of Those Surveyed No Longer Trust Big Tech. A national survey of 6,351 Americans conducted by “The Kim Komando Show” found that 86% of participants no longer trust Big Tech companies. Kim Komando says the poll underscores the growing concerns surrounding the power and influence Big Tech companies have on society and the little confidence Americans have in the tech power players. She says, “Americans are finally waking up to the fact that when a product is free, they are in fact the product.” Among the findings of the study: 1) 82.73% of those polled say they think smart speakers listen to what you say all of the time instead of only when you use the “wake” words. Kim recently explored how users can stop smart devices from listening to you and recording what you say; 2) Nearly 60% fear their smartphone is spying on their activity and have had advertisements populate for something they were just discussing. Thankfully, Kim explained in a recent “Daily Tech Update” episode that this phenomenon is likely dumb luck! 3) Participants surveyed believe Big Tech has too much influence on politics, with Facebook and Twitter each at 92%; 4) 67% of Facebook users would be willing to delete their account knowing that the social media platform tracks everything, sells data and cannot control what is posted on the site; and 5) 92% of people surveyed think Google knows too much information about their personal lives. To combat this, Kim has rounded up alternatives to Google that won’t track your information. She adds, “Since the onset of COVID-19, Big Tech companies have seen accelerated demand as the world has shifted to a more digitalized landscape. Across the board, the survey demonstrated that a majority of individuals worry that Big Tech has too much influence or knows too much about our personal information, yet nearly 4 billion people use social media worldwide and the numbers continue to grow. Interestingly, with the world becoming more digitalized and the news of Instagram for Kids, more than 84% of people surveyed said they would prefer their children to be over the age of 15 to use Instagram. Maybe we are starting to see the damage social media does to our adult lives and how it’s robbing children of a healthy, happy start to their own.” The national survey was disseminated to subscribers to “The Kim Komando Show” newsletters and 6,351 individuals across the United States participated.

Salem Brings Trish Regan into Podcast Network Fold. Conservative media figure Trish Regan is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network beginning June 15. Regan is most well known for her prime time show on the FOX Business Network. She was also a host on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and CBS Television. The former Miss New Hampshire competed in the Miss America pageant in 1994 and is a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in U.S. history. Salem says,“‘The Trish Regan Podcast’ will be her unique take on the day’s news events. Trish will examine the trouble we have gotten into in this country, and how we can and must get out of it. Her understanding of Wall Street and the nation’s economy will be an added plus for her listeners.” Salem SVP spoken word Phil Boyce comments, “Trish is a superstar in conservative media. She adds class, personality, and wisdom to our lineup, and I have no doubt her millions of fans will follow her and find her here.” Regan adds, “I am thrilled to enter into partnership with Salem Media. Salem is an organization with real leadership and a management team that stands up for American values including—most importantly—our first amendment.”

Good Karma Brands Moving Milwaukee Stations to Downtown Location. The Milwaukee radio stations owned and operated by Good Karma Brands – as well as the company’s home offices – are moving from their longtime location on the northeast side of the city to new offices at The Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. GKB operates news/talk WTMJ, sports talk outlets WKTI-FM “94.5 ESPN” and WAUK “540 ESPN,” plus talk WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth” in the market. Company founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “It is incredibly important to us as a local operator of world class brands to be a part of the fabric of the local community and the cities in which we live and work. We couldn’t be happier with The Avenue and 3rd Street Market Hall as it is a symbol of the growth, investment and diversity present in downtown Milwaukee development, and aligns directly with our values as a locally owned company passionate about serving our local community.” Good Karma Brands’ home office and Milwaukee-based radio station operations will be located on the second floor of The Avenue, in a space designed and developed for the growing company. The radio station studios will be located on the first floor in the 3rd Street Market Hall as a featured activation within the space.

iHeartMedia Names Spencer Bynes Area President for Texas. Former iHeartMedia executive Spencer Bynes returns to the company as area president for the Texas area in which he’ll oversee the Beaumont, McAllen, Waco, Corpus Christi and Bryan markets, effective immediately. He will report to Nick Gnau, division president for iHeartMedia. Gnau says, “Spencer has been a proven leader throughout his career, his energy is contagious and his ability to develop teams and talent are unmatched. I am extremely excited for Spencer to lead these markets and expand our community efforts as well as our revenue and rating footprint in the great state of Texas.” Bynes joins iHeartMedia from Lee Hecht Harrison, where he most recently served as vice president of business development in the Southern Region. Prior to joining LHH, he was managing partner and co-founder of Accendo International Consulting. Bynes served with iHeartMedia from 2011 to 2016 as director of talent management and talent acquisition before leaving to launch his consulting business.

iHeartMedia Louisville Sets First Annual Community Voices Town Hall. Taking place on June 10 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, iHeartMedia Louisville’s Community Voices Town Hall will “aim to address and bring awareness to the biggest issues in the Louisville community that have been identified by the iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board, including child abuse, racial equity and mental health. The town hall will feature subject-matter experts that will address and discuss these issues.” WHAS “NewsRadio 840” personality Terry Meiners and the Kentucky-Indiana Metro community engagement manager Gabriela Espino will host the event that will include a panel of local politicians, charity heads, experts, and activists. iHeartMedia Louisville metro president Earl Jones says, “I am thrilled we have a platform to bring key voices together to discuss the issues affecting our community. The in-kind media campaigns will support local programs that address these key issues. Through the power of iHeartMedia, we are committed to positively impacting our community.” iHeartMedia Louisville Local Advisory Board will help select eight 501(c)(3) organizations in the Louisville metro area who will receive a three-month in-kind media campaign addressing child abuse, racial equity or mental health. The in-kind media campaigns will be activated using the radio stations’ on-air, social media and digital platforms.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly 40 years with the station, all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco morning news anchor Stan Bunger is retiring on June 11. To commemorate his final day, the Audacy station will look back on his career and the major news events he’s covered – everything from 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, 1991 Oakland Hills Fire, 9/11 terrorist attack, championship parades for the Giants and Warriors, COVID-19, and his daily conversations with former Oakland Raiders head coach and NFL Hall of Famer John Madden. The final broadcast will also feature interviews with several of Stan’s past co-anchors and co-workers, including former news directors…..A new member joins the iHeartMedia, Inc. board of directors. Former Lala U.S. CEO and president Graciela Monteagudo takes her place on the board immediately. The company says Monteagudo is an internationally respected executive who, over her 30-year career, has held leadership roles at a variety of multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare and retail industries. iHM chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are extremely pleased that Graciela is bringing her expertise across strategic planning, digital marketing, mergers & acquisitions, international operations and the Hispanic and Latin American consumer audience, as well as her leadership in diversity, inclusion and cultural transformation, to the iHeart board. Her significant experience in North and Latin America – and her extensive background in global/digital marketing, e-commerce and consumer goods will provide valuable insights to our board as well as significant contributions to our company and our shareholders.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – the official network radio partner of the NCAA will present live audio broadcasts of every game of the Women’s College World Series for the first time ever. The network, which has broadcast the Championship Series since 2011, will expand coverage to include all the preliminary games for the 2021 Series.

Taja Graham Joins MIW Board of Directors. Radio management pro Taja Graham is joining the board of directors of Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. Graham serves as market president for Emmis CommunicationsIndianapolis. She is a proud graduate of the 2011 MIW Mildred Carter Mentoring Program, and in 2010 completed the Rising Through the Ranks Management Course for Women presented annually by Radio Advertising Bureau, Broadcast Music, Inc., and MIW. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “After decades of service, MIW founding member Mary Beth Garber transitioned off our board this year. We are ever grateful for her contributions. Today, with open arms, we welcome Taja Graham to fill her seat. From MIW mentee to board member, LSM to market president, Taja embodies the spirit and strength of the MIW’s beliefs and mission.”

COVID-19/Fauci Emails, the Economy/Employment, Trump ‘Reinstatement,’ 2020 Vote Audits, Israel Government, JBS Cyberattack, NFL’s Race-Norming Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/2). The fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Joe Biden’s deal with Anheuser-Busch to offer a free beer to those who get vaccinated, and the flap over Dr. Tony Fauci’s emails on the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy and employers’ complaints that they can’t find enough willing workers; the belief by some that former President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president; the audits of 2020 election votes in Arizona and New Hampshire; the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister of Israel and a coalition forms to oust him; the ransomware attack on meat giant JBS and concerns about future cyberattacks; and controversy over the NFL’s “race-norming” policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, May 21, 2021

| May 21, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour, weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled,“Rebranding the Unidentifiable,” looks back at this past week of May 17-21, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Alan Stock, talk show host / commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of April PPM Survey Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2021 sweep covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds six-tenths to finish the April survey with a 5.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and remains ranked #4 in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis’ WIBC-FM falls from #3 to #4 after dropping six-tenths and posting a 6.6 share. The start of the baseball season helps Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ-AM (Milwaukee Brewers flagship) add 4.1 shares for a 9.7 share finish that rockets the station from #5 to #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown WISN-AM sheds six-tenths and falls from #2 to #4. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville stays ranked #3 after dropping just one-tenth to a 7.8 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

45 Joins the Joe Pags Show. Pictured above is Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (left) in a video still from his radio program in which he interviewed former President Donald Trump. Pags conducted the interview and spread it out over two days of his program. He’s also made it available at his joepags.com site.

FEATURE STORY: Creesh, We Hardly Knew Ye… Longtime radio personality and talk show host Mark Wainwright – most recently morning host at WSYR, Syracuse – authors this fascinating tale of a late-night television show that might have put the name Don “Creesh” Hornsby into the same ranks as American entertainers Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and Johnny Carson, yet it didn’t. Wainwright was inspired to research and write this story by the CNN series “The Story of Late Night” that he says, “overlooked both ‘Broadway Open House’ and the brilliant young comedian/host who was stricken by tragedy on the eve of his network television debut.” Hornsby was that California-based comic tapped by NBC in 1950 to host a new late-night variety show that never took off as planned. Read Wainwright’s feature story about what went wrong here.

Westwood One’s Dan Bongino Show to Launch on Monday. On Monday (5/24), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One launches the nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart. The former Secret Service agent has risen to the status of conservative media star based on the success of his eponymous podcast and his appearances on FOX News Channel. The new show is being carried on most of Cumulus Media’s news/talk stations that used to carry “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Some of the 115 affiliate stations at the launch will include: KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; KSEV-AM, Houston; WMAL-FM, Washington, DC; KTTH-AM, Seattle; and WJR-AM, Detroit. During the second hour of this show on Monday, Bongino will interview former President Donald Trump

Westwood One Wins Deadline Club Award for ‘New York City Protests’ Report. The news report “New York City Protests” by correspondent Steve Kastenbaum has won a Deadline Club Award in the Radio or Audio Spot News Reporting category for Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. The story aired as part of America in the Morning’s extensive reporting on the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The Deadline Club is the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Deadline Club’s journalism competition began in 1957. In announcing the award to Westwood One, the judges noted, “Steve Kastenbaum’s reporting on the civil rights protests in New York City over this past summer demonstrated strong, as well as balanced, reporting. The ‘day-of’ reporting was comprehensive and superb, but the follow-up reporting on peaceful protesters diffusing tensions with police was equally crucial, painting a fuller picture and therefore rendering the story in all the complexity it entailed.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Mask Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 17-21. The hesitancy among some Americans to get the COVID vaccine and the confusion surrounding the CDC’s mask guidelines combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, followed by the January 6 Commission debate and the criminal investigation into the Trump Organization tied at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.