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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

| March 16, 2022

John Rosso Rises to President and CEO of Triton Digital. The company’s president of market development rises to president and CEO as Triton Digital founder Neal Schore transitions to managing advisor. John Rosso says of his new role, “I am extremely proud of Triton Digital’s achievements and market-leading innovations and accomplishments and I’m looking forward to guiding the company as we continue to fuel the growth of the global online audio industry. Neal has always insisted that Triton Digital provide unparalleled service, unrivaled expertise and a commitment to excellence, and I look forward to building on that legacy, further expanding Triton Digital and contributing even more to the industry as we move into the next stage of growth.” Schore comments, “I founded Triton Digital in 2006 to reinvent the online audio industry. It has been wildly fulfilling for me to experience Triton Digital delivering innovative technology, attracting the best of the best team, and building an incredible client base in over 80 countries, and I am so grateful to our team and clients for all their loyalty and trust since launching the company over 16 years ago. I’m pleased to assume the role of managing advisor, and to continue to support Triton Digital’s clients and employees under John’s exceptional leadership as Triton Digital continues to carry on our tradition of driving and leading our industry.”

 

Brett Beshore to Lead Alpha Media Dayton Cluster. Radio executive Brett Beshore joins Alpha Media as SVP/market manager for the company’s Dayton station group that includes sports talk WING-AM and four music brands. Beshore has served as market president for iHeartMedia Indianapolis for the past 10 years. Alpha Media regional president and chief compliance officer Bill McElveen commented on the announcement, “Since our former market manager in Dayton, Keith Wright, announced his retirement earlier this year, we’ve been searching for the best possible candidate to lead our awesome team in Dayton, and Brett brings all of Alpha’s core values to the market. He knows how to lead a team and serve a great market and we’re excited to welcome him aboard.” Beshore states, “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to join ‘the Pack’ at Alpha Media. Alpha’s Dayton stations have a highly talented team and a solid track record of success in the market with heritage brands such as WDHT-FM, WROU-FM, WGTZ-FM, WCLI-FM and WING-AM.  I look forward to serving our advertiser partners and providing great content for our listeners. I can’t wait to tell the story and find ways to use our stations to build and promote the great city of Dayton.”

 

iHeartMedia Announces Deal with TicketSmarter. A new multi-year agreement between Digital Ally’s TicketSmarter and iHeartMedia is struck that includes national marketing campaigns, prominent website feature displays, and sponsorship of national contests. The national contests will be powered by TicketSmarter and allow iHeartRadio listeners the opportunity to win trips and experiences. TicketSmarter CEO Jeff Goodman says, “We are thrilled to kick off this agreement with iHeartRadio and their innovative marketing team. We look forward to building once-in-a-lifetime experiences for their listeners.”

 

Today’s David Grapples Goliath with Problem/Solution. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian today presents a profile of Tampa-based talk personality David Gornoski. The 33-year-old hosts a daily, two-hour show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa that is also distributed as a podcast. He assesses his endeavor as “more of a mission,” rather than a conventional news/talk show, succinctly mentioning the “Neighbor’s Choice” title “felt right” when he started this project approximately seven years ago. “It actually began as an informal book club with some friends I gathered together. We try to make sense of current events through the lens of anthropology – I called our little group ‘a neighbor’s choice.’ I thought we need to shake things up by taking ideas we’ve been [discussing] in our neighborly community to the public. I wanted to introduce a new way of looking at things and began doing a podcast online in 2015.” He says that he views Joe Rogan’s podcast success as something radio should look at. “Joe Rogan does a fantastic show and has been able to build a parallel universe with a younger demographic. If we bring a young, relevant, fresh and interesting perspective to talk radio, there’s no reason why we can’t have 11 million young people tuning into a [terrestrial] radio show.” Read more here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. At 2022 SXSW yesterday (3/15), PodcastOne president Kit Gray took part in the panel titled, “Everything Old is New Again: The Podcast Biz Model, along with fellow panelists Gary Ousdahl of Advanced Management, Jenni Skaug of Sonic Influencer Marketing, and panel moderator Ilana Susnow, head of marketing & audience development for PodcastOne. The goal was to talk about the modern podcast business model and how it has adapted and adopted methods from content industries including TV, radio, streaming, and social media…..Good Karma Brands’ KSPN-AM, “ESPN Los Angeles” and the Los Angeles Lakers agree to extend their radio rights deal, continuing a long-standing partnership. The station will carry all regular-season games as well as all preseason and post-season games. The station has served as the official radio broadcast home of the Los Angeles Lakers since 2009. Handling play-by-play duties are John Ireland, currently in his 11th season as the Lakers radio play-by-play announcer, and Lakers legend and two-time World Champion, Mychal Thompson, who is in his 19th season as color commentator…..The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, in collaboration with iHeartRadio, announce the release of “Payback,” a new multimedia series on the years-long fight by members of the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) against what they allege is “institutionalized gender discrimination” in professional soccer. On February 22, 2022, the six-year legal battle between U.S. Soccer and the USWNT came to an end with an announced $24 million settlement and a pledge from the league’s governing body that steps would be taken to ensure equal pay between men’s and women’s teams in all competitions, including the World Cup. “Payback” examines some of the circumstances and events that led to the players’ filing.

 

Broadcasters Foundation Raises $300,000 at Golden Mike Award Gala. More than 270 radio and television broadcasters gathered at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on March 14 to honor Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, with the 2022 Golden Mike Award and Lesley Visser, the first woman sportscaster to report on all major sporting events with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala was a fundraiser, raising over $300,000 to support the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation of America, which provides financial assistance to broadcasters in acute need. The annual event returned this year following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Pictured here are Howell (left) and Visser (right).

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19, Daylight Saving Time, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, and Urban Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the U.S.’s role in sanctions and arming the Ukrainian military, and Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned address to Congress; soaring gas prices and the still rising costs of retail consumer goods; the leveling of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the lockdowns in China, and the still-active People’s Convoy protesting mandates in Washington, DC; the U.S. Senate approves a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time year round; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the capture of a man suspected of killing homeless people, the arrest of an NYC man who beat an elderly Asian woman, and other examples of violent urban crime were some of the top stories discussed on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

| March 30, 2021

Entercom Changes Corporate Name to Audacy. This change was teased by Entercom on Monday in a tweet but makes the news official today, marking the change from Entercom Communications Corp to Audacy, effective immediately. In a press release, the company says: “Over the past three years, the company has purposefully evolved into a scaled, multi-platform audio content and entertainment organization with the country’s best radio broadcasting group and a leadership position in virtually every segment of the dynamic and growing audio market—including broadcasting, podcasting, digital, network, live experiences, music, sports and news. Audacy is also the #1 creator of original, premium audio content.” Chairman, president and CEO David Field adds, “We have transformed into a fundamentally different and dramatically enhanced organization and so it is time to embrace a new name and brand identity which better reflects who we have become and our vision for the future. ‘Audacy’ captures our dynamic creativity, outstanding content, and innovative spirit as we aspire to build the country’s best audio content and entertainment platform.” The company says its evolution has been fueled by: the acquisition of the CBS Radio group, the launch of RADIO.COM and building the fastest growing digital audio platform, the acquisition of Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, enhancing its sports platform with the acquisition of QL Gaming Group and its partnership with FanDuel, and more. The company’s ticker symbol will change from ETM to AUD effective on or about Friday, April 9. Along with the name Entercom, effective today, the company will also sunset the RADIO.COM brand and align its direct-to-consumer platform under Audacy.

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Adds ‘Markley, Van Camp & Robbins’ for Early Afternoons. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk WSGW-AM/FM announces it is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart previously occupied by the Rush Limbaugh program with Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, Van Camp & Robbins Show” featuring Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins. The Alpha Media station says in mid-March it switched “from the Rush recordings to this new, live show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. WSGW wanted a show that would serve conservatives on the hot topics of the day in an informative and entertaining style. The MVC&R Show does that perfectly because they include a Millennial, Gen Xer, and a Baby Boomer. The range of audience listenership this trio brings closes the generation gap and provides a unique perspective that no other show can do. At the end of the day, it’s three friends hanging out and talking about everything! It is a great show and 100.5 & 790 Newsradio WSGW is excited to announce their addition to the lineup.”

WDUN-AM/FM, Gainesville, Georgia to Air Todd Starnes Show in Noon to 3:00 pm Slot. The Gainesville, Georgia news/talk outlet announces it will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart with the “Todd Starnes Show.” Jacobs Media’s WDUN-AM/FM is overseen by EVP and general manager Bill Maine, who says, “We know our listeners will miss Rush. He was the absolute best at what he did, and no one can replace him. But we are fans of Todd Starnes and we think moving Todd into that time slot, as well as adding more locally produced programs gives WDUN an exceptionally strong lineup of news/talk programs.”

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Expands Local Shows in Talent Shuffle. Salt Lake City news/talk KSL-AM/FM announces a series of changes in its lineup that includes the expansion of three programs. The Bonneville station says that with the departure of Lee Lonsberry from this station, Boyd Matheson’s “Inside Sources” program moves from the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon slot to the new 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart. The “Utah’s Noon News” show expands from 30 minutes to a full hour from 12:00 to 1:00 pm and “The Dave and Dujanovic Show” grows by an hour to air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. KSL program director Kevin LaRue says, “Boyd is just too important of a voice to the community to only have him on KSL one hour a day. We’re excited to provide listeners a longer program to cover important issues. The thinking he offers about the news and current culture is unparalleled.” Matheson also serves as the opinion editor of the Deseret News. He says, “Having spent most of my career as an international business consultant really gave me a look at how things work, what leadership looks like, and how you pull people together. Then my time in Washington DC as a chief of staff understanding the behind-the-scenes things that go on where the real levers of power are in DC and of course our connection to politics here locally. ”

‘Free Talk Live’ Host and Co-Founder Ian Freeman Awaits Bail Ruling; Faces Fraud and Money Laundering Charges. The lead host and co-founder of the nationally syndicated talk radio program “Free Talk Live” – Ian Freeman– is awaiting a ruling from federal Judge Magistrate Andrea Johnstone on a bail request from his attorney, according to an article in the Manchester Union-Leader. Freeman is being charged with money laundering, fraud and conspiracy after a recent raid on his home by federal authorities. Assistant U.S. Attorney Georgina MacDonald alleges that Freeman and others operated a Bitcoin-dollar exchange program through churches with which they are affiliated and called Freeman a “sophisticated cybercriminal.” The Union-Leader reports the feds allege that Freeman used Shire Free Church accounts to convert dollars to Bitcoin and that those dollars came from “romance fraud, investment fraud, and your-friend’s-in-jail fraud.” MacDonald says Freeman “offered anonymity, didn’t ask questions and charged a 10% exchange fee” when “legitimate” exchange services charge 3% or less. In requesting bail, Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, argued that Freeman is not a flight risk and that he’s known about the federal investigation for years because people agents interviewed would tell Freeman about their encounter with authorities. Sisti says Freeman could have fled before his arrest. Industry observers who follow this TALKERS Heavy Hundred program know that its main freedom-based theme and Freeman’s ongoing antagonistic position on laws he considers unconstitutional have provided it with provocative and compelling “reality show” type material even though it has been a source of irritation to both local Keene, New Hampshire (where the show is based) and federal law enforcement agencies. Part of the show’s formidable appeal to an ever-growing number of affiliates and loyal listeners has been the willingness of its primary host to “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.”

Sam Tatum Promoted to VP, Integrated Marketing & Partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media. Rising from his director of sales for Radio One’s Washington, DC cluster to the newly created position of vice president, integrated marketing & partnerships for Radio One and Reach Media is Samuel Tatum. In this new role, Radio One and Reach Media say they are further unifying their sales and integrated marketing efforts across both divisions to help brands and agency partners effectively connect with the coveted and influential Black consumer through authentic and powerful multiplatform touchpoints. Tatum will lead a team of marketers and project managers in developing and implementing new innovative marketing solutions for national advertisers and agencies utilizing all of the Radio One and Reach Media assets. As the primary liaison between the national sales teams and other departments within Radio One, Reach Media, and other Urban One divisions, Tatum will streamline communications, ensure the continuity of national and corporate partnerships, and make sure the sales teams continue to provide their advertising partners with the absolute best-in-class cross-platform solutions. Tatum states, “I am humbled by the confidence Reach Media and Radio One has placed in me and am excited to continue to grow the legacy of our founder, Cathy Hughes, in this new role. Radio One and Reach Media have a rich portfolio of assets, and I am passionate about the opportunity to create, develop, and execute unique, on-brand, and culturally appropriate solutions that provide reach and engagement with the Black consumer for our advertisers and partners. Let’s blaze new trails!”

Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville Announces Content Partnership with A to Z Sports. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces it has entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports. Cumulus Media says, “The agreement brings together the two biggest sports entertainment brands in Nashville and Middle Tennessee, allowing them to create and share unique, deep-dive sports content across their respective digital platforms, including streaming and on-demand content, podcasts, social media, and much more, plus live and local on-air programming on ‘104.5 The Zone’ and high-engagement live events for area sports fans.” Per the terms of the agreement, “104.5 The Zone,” the flagship home for the Tennessee Titans and Nashville affiliate for University of Tennessee Volunteers, will regularly feature A to Z Sports personalities, while “104.5 The Zone” personalities will appear regularly on A to Z Sports’ popular programs. The partnership will create shared and complementary original programming between the brands and their platforms to give fans more and better sports news and talk than ever before. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “We are truly excited to partner with A to Z Sports! This opens up more doors for both WGFX and A to Z to be more creative and implement new ideas in the market. The true winner in this partnership is the Nashville sports fan.” A to Z Sports is co-owned by Zach Bingham and Austin Stanley. Earlier this month, “104.5 The Zone” signed sports journalist Buck Reising as its midday air personality (10:00 am to 1:00 pm). Reising had previously been a frequent guest host on WGFX, but is mostly known for his “615 Sessions” podcast and live weeknight show, “A to Z Sports Primetime,” heard on A to Z Sports Nashville.

Audacy Unveils New Relationship with BetMGM. The new Audacy, formerly Entercom, unveils another sports betting deal, this time with BetMGM. This relationship is a multi-year deal designating BetMGM as a betting partner of Audacy across its sports broadcast stations, the Audacy, and Bet QL apps and digital platforms, and the “BetQL Audio Network.” The partnership will bring BetMGM’s sports betting content to Audacy sports talk listeners and gives BetMGM preferred access to Audacy talent. The partnership comes on the heels of several recent moves made by Audacy in the sports betting space, including the acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group and the launch of the “BetQL Audio Network, both of which are fundamental components of this deal. Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “The advent of legalized mobile sports betting has presented an unprecedented opportunity to bring the action closer to the audience than ever before and, as a result, provide our partners with a direct line of sight to tap into an attentive, fully engaged audience of potential sports bettors. We are proud to partner with BetMGM and wish to thank them for their confidence in us as we become one of their largest media partners. In light of our BetQL acquisition and related offerings, we believe this commitment is the latest validation that no other media company offers the wide variety of ways to connect with the sports betting audience the way that we do on a multi-platform basis.”

COVID-19 Cases Rising/Vaccines, WHO Virus Origin Report, Derek Chauvin Trial, Biden Economic Stimulus Plan, Suez Ship Freed, Lil Nas X Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/29). The rising number of COVID-19 cases and the CDC’s warning of a fourth wave, plus the rollout of vaccines; the World Health Organization’s COVID origin report that suggests the coronavirus jump to humans from animals; the beginning of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the Biden administration’s multi-trillion dollar economic plan that first focuses on infrastructure; the container ship that blocked the Suez canal for almost a week is freed; and the controversy over the new song from Lil Nas X and the accompanying “Satan Shoes” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.