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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

| May 10, 2022

Townsquare Media Reports Q1 Net Revenue Up 13%; Tops Pre-COVID Net Revenue by 7%. For the first quarter of 2022, Townsquare Media is reporting net revenue of $100.2 million, an increase of 13% over the same period in 2021 and an increase of 7% over the same period in Q1 of 2019. Townsquare is also reporting net income of 2.74 million for Q1 of 2022 compared to the loss of $6.1 million it reported in the first quarter of last year. Townsquare reports in three segments: 1) Subscription Digital Marketing Solutions – including its subscription digital marketing solutions business, Townsquare Interactive. That segment reported revenue of $21.8 million, an increase of 15% over Q1 of 2021; 2) Digital Advertising – marketed externally as Townsquare Ignite that includes digital advertising on its owned and operated digital properties and its digital programmatic advertising platform. That segment reported revenue of $29.2 million, an increase of 16.6% over last year; and 3) Broadcast Advertising – including the company’s local, regional, and national advertising products and solutions delivered via terrestrial radio broadcast (plus other miscellaneous revenue associated with the broadcast advertising platform). That segment’s revenue was $48.1 million, an increase of 7.7% over the same period a year ago. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson states, “I am proud to announce our strong start to 2022, with net revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and net income increasing year-over-year by +13%, +10%, and $8.9 million, respectively. In addition, net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA exceeded our previously issued guidance due to strong growth and strong margins. As a Digital First Local Media Company, our first quarter performance was driven by our digital platform and solutions, with total digital revenue increasing +16% year-over-year in the first quarter (representing 51% of our total Q1 net revenue) and total digital Adjusted Operating Income increasing +11% year-over year (representing 55% of our total Q1 Adjusted Operating Income). As we move forward, we expect double-digit digital net revenue growth to continue at strong margins, fueling our overall growth and subsequent debt reduction, from 4.66x net leverage today to 4.0x by year end. We are also pleased to re-affirm our 2022 guidance and our 2024 digital revenue target of at least $275 million. These results and confidence in our outlook are due, in part, to the fact that Townsquare is the only local media and digital marketing solutions company of scale focused principally on markets outside of the Top 50 in the United States, a vital differentiator for our company. Our new reporting segments highlight the profit characteristics of our digital platform, which is essentially equal to those of our broadcast platform, each with profit margins of approximately 30%. While we view local radio as an extremely valuable asset with significant and attractive cash flow properties, unparalleled consumer reach, and an important and trusted local connection to our audience and communities, it is not our primary growth driver. With approximately half of our total revenue and profit coming from digital today, we have a strong digital growth engine that will drive significant and consistent growth in the coming years. It is our belief that as a Digital First Local Media Company providing a detailed breakout of our digital revenue and digital profit, Townsquare should be afforded a sum-of-the-parts valuation that gives credit to our digital assets.”

 

MIW Launches State Broadcasters Partnership Program. The non-profit organization Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc., dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting, announces a new national program designed to create mentorship opportunities in every state in the union. This three-to-five-year strategic plan exponentially expands the organization’s mentoring outreach across the United States. The first pilot program partners MIW with the Minnesota Broadcasters Association to create, “Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Minnesota.” MIW’s long term plan includes establishing close working relationships with leadership from all interested state broadcasters associations and broadcasters across the country to create mentorship curriculums for female professionals in radio broadcasting. With MIW’s guidance, these state-centered programs will be based on the tenets, structure, and best practices of MIWs broad array of successful and established mentoring opportunities. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff says, “This program is designed to dramatically expand our mentorship outreach. We couldn’t ask for a better first partner than president Wendy Paulson and the Minnesota Broadcasters Association as we work toward a mentee in every state. Cheers to the first. Forty-nine to go!” Find out more here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. When the Radiodays Europe conference takes place in Malmö, Sweden May 15-17, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley will take part in two sessions. She will participate in a special one-on-one session titled, “American Regional Radio in the Digital Age,” hosted by Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes. In addition, Beasley will take part in the “Audio Summit” panel, featuring Sibyle Veil (CEO Radio France), Linda Pamgren (CEO Bauer Media Sweden) and Cathinka Rondon (head of Radio-NRK). The session will be moderated by Folder Media creative director Matt Deegan…..The nationally syndicated, weekend shooting sports program “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” adds WBIN Media’s WTPL-FM, Hillsborough, New Hampshire and Berkshire Broadcasting Corp’s WLAD-AM/W231DJ, Danbury, Connecticut to its roster of affiliate stations. The program is syndicated by Talk Shows USA…..Chicago-based MediaTracks Incorporated sells “Radio Health Journal” and “Viewpoints Radio” to American Urban Radio Networks, LLC. The two weekly public affairs programs are syndicated on a total of nearly 1,500 stations in more than 200 U.S. markets. Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker for the seller in this transaction…..Audio content, marketing, and advertising services firm Gemini XIII, joins forces with Diversion Podcasts through an investment that will grow Diversion’s offerings under a new premium podcast network called Diversion Audio. Diversion Audio will become Gemini XIII’s content division. The division will leverage sister company Diversion Books’ publishing assets and author relationships to offer a focused content model it says is unique to podcasting: expanding IP from books, authors, and personalities into the podcast medium as original audio content across both high-frequency episodic shows and engrossing narrative limited series. Gemini XIII co-founder and CEO Spencer Brown says, “Through Diversion Audio, we will build upon the successful franchises and proven track record that Scott [Waxman] and his talented team have created at Diversion Podcasts. Together with our recent acquisitions of Phantom Producer and The Infinite Agency, Gemini XIII is well-positioned to optimize these premium assets and capabilities to build and grow a new breed of audio company. The creation of Diversion Audio advances that strategy considerably. We think podcast listeners and readers alike will love what they hear as we launch new podcasts tied to Diversion’s expansive intellectual property library.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Roe v Wade, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Vicky White/Casey White Manhunt, and Western Drought/Texas Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The falling Dow and NASDAQ, the high price of gas & food, and concerns about a full-blown recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and concerns about Vladimir Putin’s health and willingness to use nuclear weapons; the aftermath of the leak of a draft of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v Wade; the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rate of cases, hospitalizations & deaths from COVID-19; the manhunt for Alabama corrections officer Vicky White and convict Casey White ends; and the drought in the U.S. West and the Texas wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

| February 16, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

| January 26, 2022

Darren Moore Named Vice President/General Manager for Cox Media Group Ohio. Television sales executive Darren Moore is named vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group Ohio that includes heritage news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, two music formatted stations and WHIO-TV. Moore will oversee all operations at the outlets including news, programming, sales, digital, engineering, production and community affairs. Moore joined CMG 26 years ago as an intern for WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh. He served with WAXN-TV, Charlotte before returning to CMG Pittsburgh where he served in various sales management roles.  CMG EVP of Television Paul Curran says, “Darren’s passion for people, the broadcasting industry and CMG is infectious and inspiring. His strong track record of forging internal and external relationships will make a positive impact on our Dayton operations and in the Dayton community. I look forward to watching him excel in this new role as our approach to broadcasting in Dayton continues to evolve.” Moore comments, “I am honored to join the outstanding broadcasters at CMG Ohio, home to some of the most iconic TV and radio brands in the entire industry. I can’t wait to start working with the Dayton team, further enhancing our award-winning brands, serving our customers and viewers, and partnering with the local Miami Valley community.”

Steve Moore Promoted to OM for Audacy St. Louis. Programming pro Steve Moore is promoted to operations manager for Audacy St. Louis. In this role, Moore will oversee the markets’ six brands, including heritage news/talk KMOX-AM and news/talk KFTK-FM and its four music formatted sister stations. Audacy St. Louis VP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I am beyond delighted to have Steve ascend into this new role. He has been so instrumental in building operational alignment, collaboration, and synergy across our St. Louis footprint. I am looking forward to Steve helping us continue to grow our incredible brands.” Moore comments, “I couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity. I appreciate the trust that Becky Domyan and Audacy have shown me and I’m looking forward to working more closely with Derrick, Leo and the talented broadcasters on these incredible music stations.”

FOXNews.com Tops in Multiplatform Minutes in 2021. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Media’s FOXNews.com finished 2021 as “the top-performing news brand in the competitive set, delivering 38 billion total multiplatform minutes… FOXNews.com also toppled nearly every news organization in the competitive set, outpacing NYTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com in all categories for the entire year.” In its head-to-head battle with CNN.com, FOXNews.com had 37.8 billion multiplatform total minutes compared to CNN.com’s 35.5 billion. CNN.com topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform total views metric (20.3 billion versus 18.4 billion) and in the average monthly multiplatform unique visitors metric (139 million versus 86 million). FOX News says 2021 marked its highest non-election year on record in social engagement. The digital network hit a new high in Instagram interactions, reaching over 286 million, its best year to date. 2021 also was a record year for the highest amount of video views ever for FOX News, driving nearly 4 billion video views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The network saw increases of nearly 10% in YouTube Video Views versus the prior year, driving slightly over 3 billion views.

Round One of Holiday PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Nielsen’s annual Holiday PPM survey is traditionally not good to spoken word radio stations as so much listening is attributed to music outlets playing Christmas music. Bucking the trend, both of Audacy’s New York all-news stations were up compared to the December survey. WINS added six-tenths to finish with a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #5 rank while WCBS-AM added four-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #13 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP-AM tacked on two-tenths for a 3.0 share but remained in the #14 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dipped eight-tenths to a 5.8 share and sliding to the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

Wendy Bell Gets Weekend Show on Newsmax. Longtime Pittsburgh television and radio personality Wendy Bell is joining Newsmax for a weekend program titled “Wendy Bell Common Sense.” The program will debut this Saturday (1/29) at 4:30 pm ET and “will examine the news of the day with a lively approach to national issues.” (It will air again on Sundays at 3:30 PM ET.) Bell says, “People are hungry for common sense in this country, and that’s what this new program is about. Telling the truth, having great conversations, talking about what really matters. It’s going to be outstanding.” Bell also hosts a syndicated talk radio program that airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy comments, “Wendy Bell has had a remarkable career as a television journalist and radio host, and throughout it all has been an advocate of common sense and American values. We are glad to have her on the Newsmax team.”

Salem Media Group Names Ron DeSantis ‘Culture Warrior of the Year.’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is named “2021 Salem Culture Warrior of the Year” by Salem Media Group. The honor is the result of voting by Salem listeners and DeSantis received 52% of the vote among the six finalists. Salem listeners were given the chance to nominate anyone who fits the category. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Governor DeSantis is well deserving of this honor, and it proves how strong he is not only in Florida, but also across the country. Last year this award was given to Candace Owens, so both honorees are well deserving of the respect and admiration of the Salem audience across the country.”

MIW Offers ‘Understanding Broadcast Law’ Program. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization – dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting – announces a new career enhancing program titled, “Understanding Broadcast Law,” sponsored by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth Law, PLC.  The “Understanding Broadcast Law” program is built to clarify the numerous legal issues inherent to the radio business. In addition to underwriting the program, which runs throughout 2022, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth partners Frank Montero and Kathleen Victory and their team will host a series of free and on-demand videos dedicated to answering questions and providing practical and applicable information as it pertains to radio law. From EEO to FCC license renewals and contracts, to conversations with corporate lawyers, each unique and informative video will be easily accessible on a variety of platforms. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Knowledge is power, and the opportunity to empower more women by demystifying legal issues is huge. We are beyond grateful for Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth’s sponsorship of this important series. Frank and his team are providing an invaluable opportunity to the MIW community and the industry.” To ensure that these instructive videos focus on areas of highest need and priority, MIW is asking for feedback from interested participants. They have created a survey that you can take here.

WhyHunger ‘Hungerthon’ Raises $920,000 from Holiday Campaign. The 36th annual Hungerthon campaign raised more than $920,000 “to support true solutions to hunger and build social justice for all.” The organization WhyHunger partnered with Audacy New York, iHeartMedia New York and SiriusXM to engage listeners and raise funds. Celebrity supporters like vitafusion Gummy Vitamins ambassador Tiffany Haddish, Yoko Ono Lennon and Bruce Springsteen lent their voices to the issue. The radio partners hosted live broadcasts featuring exclusive interviews on topics such as hunger and health, the root causes of hunger, women in food justice and COVID-19’s impact on hunger, while raising funds through auction items, donation drives and social media engagement. The Audacy New York stations – including sports talk WFAN, all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM – hosted a radiothon on November 23 raising more than $400,000. Items donated for auction included a Bruce Springsteen autographed guitar, a Bob Weir autographed guitar, a chance to sit in on WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” show, and more.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Receives Top Score from Charity Navigator. The Broadcasters Foundation of America proudly announces it has achieved a rating of 100 from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. The evaluation process takes place over a seven-year period and uses Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. The Broadcasters Foundation received a score of 100 in finance & accountability, reflecting its solid financial health (stability, efficiency, and sustainability) and commitment to governance practices and policies. In addition, the Broadcasters Foundation also received full credit at 72% for its Program Expense Ratio, which measures the percent of total expenses spent on the programs and services it exists to deliver. BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We are very proud to receive this high level of accreditation from Charity Navigator. We have worked diligently to maximize our budget to provide the aid that so many in our industry desperately need. Life-altering illness or accident can devastate a family’s financial situation, and the Broadcasters Foundation is committed to easing that strain for our colleagues who qualify.” For more information, visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Financial Markets/Inflation/Crypto Plunge, Urban Violent Crime Spike, Midterms/Trump & GOP, Boris Johnson Troubles, the Beijing Olympics, and Baseball Hall of Fame Snubs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The global tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus legal battles over mask & vaccine mandates; the skittish world financial markets, high retail and oil prices & the plunge in cryptocurrency; the spike in violent crime in America’s large cities; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the ropes for violating his own COVID regulations; the drama surrounding the Beijing Olympics; and the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t admit Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds on their final ballots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 17, 2022

| January 17, 2022

Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Passes at 87. Talk radio host Michael Jackson, who achieved legendary status during his career in Los Angeles, died on Sunday (1/16) at his home in L.A. at the age of 87. Jackson, who retired from radio in 2007, had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for the past 10 years. He is best remembered for his iconic work at KABC, Los Angeles that lasted from 1966 to 1998. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (who served as a talk show host on rocker KMET in Los Angeles between 1975 and 1986) issued the following statement: “Michael Jackson was one of the all-time greats – a founding father – of talk radio. During his 32-year run at KABC, his very presence gave the station prestige and national stature as one of – if not THE – first very rare commercial outlets fully committed to the spoken-word format. Michael Jackson and KABC were synonymous with the phrase ‘talk radio.’ It should also be pointed out that his heyday in the format began prior to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 which, in my opinion, marked the beginning of the modern era of talk radio.  That made him the member of an exclusive club of radio performers whose historical relevance and influence on things to come in the broadcasting industry are incalculable.” Jackson’s longtime producer Lyle Gregory remembers Jackson in a piece you can read here.

Monday Memo: Podcasting ‘Will Continue to Explode.’ In a marketing piece to the advertising community, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman sees “no signs of growth abating.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines opportunities at the station level. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Early Warning. According to the “sales calendar,” January is over, and the first quarter is headed toward spring. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says it’s time for an early review of your sales game plan. “Like any other performance skill, practice, evaluation and repetition makes for improvement. The skills required for success in today’s sales environment may be different from the last few years.” Read about Lapa’s six questions you can ask yourself here.

Chicago Sports Personality Les Grobstein Dead at 69. Windy City sports media personality and WSCR “The Score” overnight talk host Les Grobstein was found dead at his home in suburban Elk Grove Village on Sunday, according to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder. He reports that WSCR operations director Mitch Rosen said Grobstein had been away from his show since last Wednesday due to illness. During his career, Grobstein was sports director at WLS-AM, Chicago for 10 years. He served at sports talk WMVP from 1991 to 1997. He began his overnight stint with WSCR in 2009.

Pioneering Talk Host Susan Bray Dies at 79. A number of news outlets are reporting that former talk host Susan Bray (pictured here on C-SPAN) died in her native Australia last week at age 79. The Des Moines Register has a nice story written by her longtime friend Julie Gammack, who would replace her on WHO-AM. During her career, Bray worked at such outlets as WHO-AM, Des Moines and WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. She earned the nickname the “Saucy Aussie” because of her ribald sense of humor. After a long talk radio career in the U.S., Bray, who had married American Ed DeLong, returned to her hometown of Mudgee, Australia where she and DeLong ran a bed and breakfast.

Maine Station Fires Sportscasters After Body Shaming Incident. The owner of Houlton, Maine radio station WHOU-FM has fired two sportscasters who were caught on a hot mic body-shaming female basketball players during a game between two high school teams. Jim Carter and Steve Shaw were calling the game while watching it on a livestream and made comments about the weight of some of the teenage girls. Carter is a former coach from another school and Shaw had been the athletic director at one of the schools playing in the contest that night. Carter told the Portland Press-Herald that he has apologized to the superintendent of one of the schools, adding, “I don’t even know what to say. Hopefully everybody can get through this and be OK.” Northern Maine Media owner Fred Grant posted a notice of the pair’s dismissal on the station website saying, in part, “Our mission has been to highlight the best of our communities, our schools, the programs we love, and most importantly – our students.  Last night, two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong.  Those broadcasters were terminated… We’ve heard from many of you, and many have shared clips of the event in question. While it’s wrong that it happened, I’m going to ask each of you to help us shift the focus back on the excellence we see every day in our students. If you’ve shared the video post, I’m hoping you will take it down, not to downplay the incident, but to better help all of our students move on to the important work and events in their lives.”

MIW Names Three to Board of Directors. Three new members are joining the board of directors for Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio. Haley Jones of MRC Data, Melissa Mitchell of Bonneville International, and Brittney Jackson of Urban One/Radio One are joining the board of the organization that “consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills.” Jackson currently serves as the general and digital sales manager for Urban One/Radio One in Richmond where she is responsible for recruiting and developing new talent, leading multi-platform sales efforts, and increasing annual revenue. Jones serves as head of independents for MRC Data where she oversees independent labels, small radio groups, and managers with music intelligence for today. Mitchell is Bonneville International’s director of finance, corporate controller and is based in their Denver market. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “We are extremely fortunate to have not one, but three powerhouses join our board. Their success speaks for itself; it’s their willingness to pay it forward for the good of women and our industry that makes each so special and appreciated. I’d be remiss in not thanking the three members leaving our board as their terms end: Kay Olin, principal of Olin & Associates, and past MIW spokeswoman, whose constant leadership, dedication, and long term participation profoundly impacted MIW and me personally; Valerie Blackburn, principal at VKB Consulting, whose financial expertise led MIW through the arduous process of establishing a formal 501(c)(3) status; and Beth Neuhoff, president & CEO Neuhoff Media who provided invigorating energy and challenging ideas that MIW will push ever forward.”

Cowboys Great Chad Hennings Takes Part in SRN News Series. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network VP of news Tom Tradup (left) with three-time Dallas Cowboys Superbowl champion Chad Hennings. Hennings is in the SRN studios working with Tradup on a special, week-long series on SRN News aimed at getting men involved in Christian ministries. The five-part series titled, “Get Off the Bench,” begins airing today (1/17)

Tuscaloosa Sports Talker Jay Barker Arrested on Assault Charges. Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jay Barker was arrested in Nashville and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly trying to ram the car his estranged wife was riding in. Barker hosts the midday show on Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTUG-HD2/W256CG, Tuscaloosa “Tide 100.9” and is married to country artist Sara Evans. She filed for divorce from Barker in August.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Texas Synagogue Assault, Djokovic Booted from Australia, NFL Playoffs, Winter Weather, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Joe Biden vaccine mandate; the battle for control of Congress in November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence in the GOP; the Texas synagogue hostage incident; Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is kicked out of Australia ahead of the Australian Open after violating the country’s COVID protocols; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend; intense winter weather hitting the Eastern U.S.; and the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend and holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 29, 2021

| November 29, 2021

Monday Memo: We’re Late. “Like the bookstores and stockbrokers and travel agents that were early casualties,” consultant Holland Cooke sees radio and TV stations as “middlemen the Internet is squeezing-out.” In this week’s column, HC warns that “we-who-power-the-towers are late, if we still regard digital content as an adjunct” and he urges that “we should only do what only we can do.” Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Exercise. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that “the radio business can learn a lot about the core changes facing 21st century commercial media in general by watching how the outdoor advertising industry is adjusting to the drastically new conditions of the modern era. Next time you’re moving through traffic take notice of the variety of messages on the out-of-home media around you. Billboards of all sizes, and all kinds – poster boards, vinyls, newer digital, stationary, mobile, building signage, airport boards, bus stop enclosures – all are blatant reminders that the medium is the message and the creative is changing.” Read more here.

Terry Ford to Program Cumulus Media’s ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia, South Carolina. Sports talk radio pro Terry Ford joins Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” as program director. In this role, Ford will also oversee the cluster’s sister sports talk station WISW-AM “ESPN 1320.” Ford was most recently with Clarity Communications’ sports talk WZNN-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Sports 96.1” as host and program director. During his career he’s served as late night host at Audacy’s WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and as a host on the Yahoo Sports Radio network. Ford says, “I am truly excited to become the next program director of such a quality sports brand as ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia. ‘The Game’ has sharp upper management support, a rock-solid infrastructure, and a talented staff, so this was an easy decision for me. I want to thank Cumulus Columbia market manager Tammy O’Dell for offering me this fabulous opportunity. In my many conversations with Tammy, you could hear her love and passion for ‘107.5 The Game.’ I also want to thank Cumulus SVP of sports, programming and audience Bruce Gilbert. It was Bruce who put me on Tammy’s radar. I can’t wait to land in Columbia and get started!”

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Says No More Advertising for Salem. Numerous consumer publications, including Business Insider, are reporting that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has pulled ads for his MyPillow products from the air at Salem Radio Network after complaining on his 96-hour livestream “Thanks-a-Thon” over the holiday weekend that the broadcast network has not had him on any of the talk shows in a “long, long time.” The Business Insider piece says Lindell “expressed annoyance that Salem apparently never took the time to explain why, in his opinion, the mainstream media had shunned him. He said that ‘woke’ retailers had also ‘canceled’ him and described their actions as ‘a joke.’” The story notes that retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s stopped selling his products after Lindell began his campaign spouting voter fraud theories. Salem has not publicly commented on the matter.

Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation 6th Annual Event Features Churchill Author Interview. The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, which supports efforts to defend free speech and help young people enter the news and talk radio formats, held its 6th annual event on November 19 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out program was themed “Celebrating the Leadership of Winston Churchill – Defender of Free Speech & Western Civilization” and featured keynote remarks by professor Andrew Roberts (pictured at right being interviewed by broadcaster James Rosen), author of the 2018 international best-seller, Churchill: Walking With Destiny. Roberts spoke about how Churchill used the power of oratory and the medium of radio to rally the free world to confront a variety of tyrannical ideologies and threats to freedom. Vince Benedetto, president of the Bold Gold Foundation and Bold Gold Media Group, addressed the rising importance of the Foundation’s work in an age of increased censorship and cancel culture.   The event also honored local business leader and entrepreneur, Rob Grimm, with the 2021 Atlas Award for Citizenship.

Good Karma’s ‘101.7 The Truth’ Announces Black-Owned Business Giveback. The Milwaukee talk station owned by Good Karma Brands announces a partnership with Associated Bank called Black-Owned Business Giveback, a promotion to help support Black-owned businesses by awarding them a free radio advertising campaign on WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth.” Each month, the first 10 businesses to register at BlackBusinessGiveback.com wins a campaign that includes one 30-second commercial that airs 50 times over the month. The promotion will run through the end of 2022. Station general manager Cherie Harris comments, “We are thankful for our partnership with Associated Bank for the Black-Owned Business Giveback Promotion. Our Black-owned businesses are a vital part of the community’s growth and economic development, and we want to be sure they are given every opportunity to succeed.” The 10 chosen businesses will be invited to work with ‘The Truth’ team to write and produce their customized radio spots. At the conclusion of the campaign in November 2022, over 100 businesses will be awarded a free advertising campaign valued at $2,000.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Asks for Help on Giving Tuesday. Tomorrow – November 30 – is Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving, and the Broadcasters Foundation of America asks that you think of them on this day of philanthropy. For over 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided medical aid and disaster relief to broadcasters and their families across the United States. This year, the Foundation will give away more than $1.8 million in monthly and emergency grants. Your gift will help them reach every broadcaster in need. One broadcaster says, “We would be lost without the generosity of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Because of your support, chronic illness has not taken everything from me. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!” On behalf of everyone at the Broadcasters Foundation of America, thank you and have a safe and happy holiday season. Donate here.

MIW Presents Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence Webinar. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization, together with vCreative, are recognizing and celebrating women in radio “whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their radio stations and groups.” The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence,” takes place Thursday (12/2) from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s Operations: Becky Degener, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Webinar participants will hear how these professionals strategically embrace emerging technologies; integrate new products into existing workflows; and hire and train teams. You can register for the webinar here.

COVID-19/Omicron Variant, Financial Markets/Inflation, Crime Spike/Mass Looting, January 6 Investigation, China Military Aggression, Thanksgiving/Football, and the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about the new Omicron variant; the world’s financial markets react to the news of the Omicron variant and the high retail prices facing consumers; the rising crime statistics in major cities and the ongoing spate of smash-and-grab flash mobs; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the Committee’s seeking information from former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; China’s continuing aggressive posture toward Taiwan; the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend; and this week’s start of the trial of accused Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.