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Thursday, April 29, 2021

| April 29, 2021

RTDNA/Newhouse School: 2020 A Dangerous Year for Journalists. The annual survey of broadcast newsrooms from the RTDNA and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University notes that during the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. “Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.” This is the first year that the survey included a section on media safety. The survey’s research team says it wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country and learned that one in five television news directors reported attacks on employees. 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. As far as radio is concerned, the study concludes, “Not surprisingly, the level of attacks at radio stations and on radio news people is much lower. Four percent of radio news directors and general managers reported attacks on newsroom employees. It was primarily a problem in major markets, with one million and more people, where 13.8% of news directors and general managers reported attacks on employees.” You can see the complete survey here. Commenting on the study, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Broadcast journalists play an essential role in documenting pivotal moments in American history from the front lines. That has never been more important than during the past year. NAB is gravely troubled by this study reporting the unprecedented level of harassment, intimidation and violence directed at journalists covering the historical events of 2020. These unacceptable attacks on our nation’s free press undermine our very democracy by preventing journalists’ ability to report the facts and keep the public informed. We are grateful to the dedicated broadcast journalists bringing the truth to Americans during these dangerous times.”

Nick Craig to Host Mornings on WAAV-AM, Cape Fear. Beginning May 3, Nick Craig begins hosting “Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk/sports WAAV-AM, Cape Fear, North Carolina “980 The WAAV.” The station says the show is “a live and local morning show hosted by fresh conservative talk personality Nick Craig. The show focuses on the day’s biggest stories including Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The show will feature a wide variety of topics, guests, and listener interaction.” Cumulus Wilmington VP and market manager Eric McCart comments, “We’re excited to have Nick join our 980 WAAV Cumulus family! He brings a fresh new energy and excitement to weekday mornings that our listeners will really enjoy. If it’s happening in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, it’s happening on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig!” Craig adds, “Traveling on the road paved by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, I’m excited to bring the next generation of conservative talk to the Wilmington region and beyond. To be part of a legacy talk station like WAAV and Cumulus Media is quite the opportunity at my age. Looking forward to using these platforms to engage and interact with traditional talk listeners and the next generation.”

Ron Slay Joins WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Afternoon Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces that former University of Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay is joining the “3HL” afternoon drive program alongside current hosts Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport. Paul Mason is program director for the Cumulus Media station, and he says, “Our listeners have made it clear that they want us to hire Ron Slay. I am happy to say we listened, and we are thrilled Ron Slay will be joining Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport on ‘3HL.’ ‘3HL’ is already a great show and I look forward to seeing it go to even higher levels.” Slay comments, “I am both delighted and eager to join the ‘104.5 The Zone’ and ‘3HL’ families. I hope to bring joy, energy, and insight to Nashville sports enthusiasts each day.”

SiriusXM Reports 2021 Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 5%. Satellite radio and digital audio broadcaster SiriusXM releases its financial data for the first quarter of 2021 and reports total revenue of $2.06 billion, a 5% increase from the $1.95 billion reported during the same period a year ago. However, net income for the quarter was $219 million, a decline of 29% from the $293 million reported in Q1 of 2020. SiriusXM added 126,000 self-pay subscribers to hit its all-time high of 31 million self-pay subscribers. New chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure.  These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company. Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports… We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”

RAB Announces ‘Radio Works for Automotive’ Presentations. As part of RAB’s Business Accelerated initiative, it is presenting a two-part live series for May’s featured automotive category, one of radio’s most important advertising categories. The first presentation titled, “What’s Driving the Auto Industry?” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 19. As Americans return to school and work, the demand for vehicles grows. Parts shortages, as well as chip scarcity, are hindering inventory on lots and yet, auto sales remain high despite the supply-demand imbalance. In this presentation, hear from experts in both automotive and auto dealership industries including Tyson Jominy, vice president, data and analytics, J.D. Power, and Dick Parrish, dealership management consultant, NADA, who will share insights into the auto industry’s growth and challenges. The second live presentation will feature broadcasters discussing automotive client success stories to help sellers prospect and support their clients. The session, titled “Radio Works for Automotive Part 2,” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 26. The presentation will also be available for on-demand viewing. Both presentations are free for RAB members. You can register here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Media Sales Institute announces its strategic alliance with Media Staffing Network that will bring MSN’s media recruiter’s expertise to the MSI curriculum at the 2021 NABOB MSI, being held at the Atlanta University Center and hosted by Morehouse College from October 25 to November 4, 2021. Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn comments, “With our tutelage, we can better prepare the MSI graduates to address the position for which they are applying. Sadly, many colleges and universities are not as up to date on what a recent graduate should include on their resumes. Nor do they teach their students how to best stand out and showcase their value when they have little to no work experience.”…..iHeartMedia and media personality Chelsea Handler have entered into a deal for a new podcast called “Dear Chelsea” to be produced as a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast.  The comedian, best-selling author, and television host will give listeners the opportunity to submit questions about life and get candid answers on the podcast. “Dear Chelsea” – also featuring Handler’s co-host and longtime assistant Brandon Marlo – debuts on May 6. Handler says, “iHeartRadio has been a great place for me to share all of my wild, unvarnished thoughts. I’m excited to start this journey with ‘Dear Chelsea’ to help people figure out what they need in life – I’m more than happy to be that kick in the pants or shove that will give someone a new perspective on a situation and help them to make a decision.”…..SiriusXM announces it is again offering listeners nationwide comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/1). SiriusXM, through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network, airs all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network and produced in collaboration with HRRN.

Biden Addresses Congress, COVID-19, Police Violence, Fed Search Giuliani’s Home and Office, John Kerry Iran Allegation, Feds Investigate Direct Energy Attack, and Boris Johnson Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and his wide-ranging $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; the spate of high-profile cases of deadly police violence against citizens; the FBI’s search of former NYC mayor and former Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in an investigation of his ties to Ukraine; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry shared Israeli military intelligence with Iran; the Pentagon’s investigation into a mysterious “direct energy attack” near the White House; and the scandal over Boris Johnson’s refurbishing of 10 Downing St. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.