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Monday, December 20, 2021

| December 20, 2021

Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.

Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of  $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to  $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.

KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”

KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”

Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”

Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, September 29, 2017

| September 29, 2017

Michael Harrison Says Talk Radio Is at the Forefront of Radio’s Evolution into the Digital Era.  At this morning’s (9/29) weekly meeting of the TALKERS editorial board, the publication’s founder addressed the relationship between talk radio and music radio from a sales perspective saying that the foreground nature of talk radio and the significant influence its talent have over the actions of its loyal listeners gives advertisers a tremendous bang for their buck – “on a dollar by dollar basis, as much as three times the potency of music radio for a wide variety of general consumer products including restaurants, automobiles, appliances, clothing, travel and health care.”  According to Michael Harrison, spoken word radio’s influence on keeping the medium pertinent extends beyond advertising power.  He states, “Talk show programming is at the forefront of three movements that make it the most formidable force in radio today.  These include the transition and expansion of audio media from on-air to online platforms; the delivery of effective direct-response marketing to advertisers; and continuing influence in public policy and the marketplace of ideas.  In today’s noisy world, influence is valuable currency unto itself.”  Harrison brought the issue up at the meeting after having recently been asked to comment on the subject of selling talk radio for a story being written by a major consumer publication.

Deborah Rodriguez New AM Anchor on WCBS News Radio.  Starting Monday (10/2), radio news pro Deborah Rodriguez is the weekday morning drive time anchor for CBS News Radio.  Rodriguez will anchor the top-of-the-hour newscasts on the network starting at 5:00 am.  She takes over for Frank Settipani, who handled the morning anchor position for the past 10 years. Rodriguez has been with CBS News Radio since 2014 as a writer, reporter and correspondent anchoring such major news events as the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the shooting of five Dallas police officers, the presidential campaign, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, and Hurricane Harvey.  Between 1992 and 2017, Rodriguez also worked at WCBS-AM, New York “Newsradio 880” anchoring middays and the afternoon drive dayparts.  She was WCBS-AM news director from 2008 through 2014.

Shelman to Program KBOI, Boise.  Afternoon drive talk show host Nate Shelman is adding program director duties to his role with Cumulus Media’s news/talk KBOI-AM.  The company had been searching for a new program director and, in a memo to the staff from vice president and market manager Don Morin, Shelman is quoted saying, “I consider it an honor and a great pleasure to continue keeping KBOI as successful as it has been and will work hard with everybody to accomplish and surpass our goals!”

WTIC, Hartford Welcomes Bob Cox Back to Morning Show.  Hartford news/talk WTIC-AM “NewsTalk 1080” announces a change to “The Morning Show with Ray Dunaway” as meteorologist Joe Furey exits the show and Bob Cox returns to serve as weekday morning meteorologist.  Cox previously held the position from 1992 to 2014.   WTIC-AM program director Jenneen Lee says, “Together, Bob, Sam, Steve and AccuWeather will provide important local weather forecasts, without the hype, to WTIC’s loyal listeners throughout Connecticut.  We’re thrilled to welcome Bob back to the station and feel great about the dynamic team we have in place.”

iHeartMedia Names Drew Salamon to New Regional Sales Post.  Radio sales pro Drew Salamon is moving from iHeartMedia’s Pittsburgh Region to the Virginia-Carolina Region to take on the regional vice president of sales position.  iHM Virginia-Carolina Region president Dave Carwile says, “Drew is a natural leader and has a proven track record of success in this role.  His experience as the region senior vice president of sales in iHeartMedia’s Pittsburgh Region, oversight of sales efforts with world championship teams like Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins Radio Network and his tremendous passion for helping clients grow their business makes Drew the perfect choice for this important role.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Satellite radio operator SiriusXM announces the appointment of Megan Liberman to the position of SVP, news, talk & entertainment.  She comes to the company from the digital world, having most recently served as vice president and editor-in-chief at Yahoo News Group.  To this position she brings experience from the print news industry, having served for 13 years with The New York Times, ultimately as deputy news editor.  The following executives will report to her: Dave Gorab, VP/GM, talk programming; Tim Johnson, PD, entertainment programming; Steve Sturniolo, PD, entertainment programming; Jack Vaughn, SVP, comedy programming…..The Boston Globe and public radio news talker WBUR, Boston are partnering for a new, daily podcast designed to provide “in-depth analysis and thought-provoking discourse on sports.”  Titled, “Season Ticket” (and launching on 10/2), it will be hosted by Globe sports columnist Chris Gasper.  A preview episode is available and delves into the NFL protests issues from a local perspective …..WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts morning drive personality Bob Flaherty is training hard for his October 6 ping pong marathon fundraiser.  Flaherty and the Saga Communications news/talk station will be at Zing! Table Tennis in Northampton from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm as Flaherty attempts to play for 12 hours straight — against a number of local politicians as well as regular citizens — while raising cash for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield’s refugees resettlement project.  Check out the promo poster at right with Flaherty dressed up like John McEnroe.

Smyth Inducted into Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  Pictured above are Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley (left) and former Greater Media chairman and CEO Peter Smyth (right) at yesterday’s Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon.  Smyth was among the 2017 Inductees recognized for their life-long contributions and commitment to the broadcasting industry.  Caroline Beasley commented, “On behalf of the entire Beasley Media Group family, we are thrilled for Peter in receiving this well-deserved honor that celebrates his many outstanding contributions and achievements in the broadcasting Industry.”  Beasley Media Group acquired Greater Media’s radio stations in 2016.

NFL Anthem Protests Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 25-29.  The protests by NFL players during the playing of the national anthem and President Trump’s admonition of the protesters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the Trump administration’s tax overhaul plan.  Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, followed by Alabama judge Roy Moore’s victory in the GOP Senate special election primary at #4.  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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

KHOW, Denver Talk Show Host and Former FEMA Director Michael Brown is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The latest installment of the award-winning PodcastOne media series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” posted on 9/26 features a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation between the TALKERS founder and KHOW, Denver host Michael Brown.  Brown, a non-practicing attorney, hosts the daily 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on the iHeartMedia powerhouse. He gained fame (including a degree of infamy) while serving as head of FEMA during the post-Hurricane Katrina days of the President George W. Bush administration when he became the “poster boy” for all that went wrong in the government’s handling of the devastating crisis.  Brown – a member of theTALKERS “Heavy Hundred” –  has gone on to become a tremendously successful radio personality. He has also evolved into one of the nation’s leading “go-to” experts on the volatile intersection of natural disasters and politics.  According to Harrison, “Michael Brown has evolved into one of the most original, knowledgeable and forthright hosts in talk radio today.  His experience in the Department of Homeland Security [that incorporates FEMA], that included a trial by fire in the media in the aftermath of Katrina, has given him first-hand knowledge and extraordinary wisdom in the complex subject of government and personal responsibility during and after natural disasters.”  Harrison continues, “He has also developed tremendous savvy about the modern-day issues of the radio business including navigating social media, accumulating workable cross-platform metrics, and balancing local and national content in the age of Donald Trump – topics we explore in this conversation.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  On air pro Shawnda McNeal joins Cumulus Media’s country KIZN, Boise “Kissin’ 92.3” where she’ll be part of the morning show with Cory Mikhals and will also host the midday program from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  During her career, McNeal has worked on air at KDGE, Dallas “102.1 The Edge,” KHMX, Houston “Mix 96.5” and others.  Station program director Hank Aaron says, “We did an extensive national search to find the exact right person to join Cory Mikhals for mornings at ‘Kissin’ 92.3.’  Shawnda not only brings morning show experience but the energy, creativity, and passion to win.  Can’t wait for them to start this Monday!”…..Envision Networks expands its partnership with Sun Broadcast Group to include additional affiliate sales support for Sun’s nationally syndicated shows, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” and “Slacker & Steve.”  Envision Networks continues its affiliation support for Sun’s Shazam for Radio platform.  The two companies have been working closely together for years on various products including advertising sales support for Envision Hispanic and general market products including “Six Second Reviews,” AudioMonky, “Our Auto Expert” and Collin Raye’s “Rewind Country.”  Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “With the continued success of Shazam for Radio affiliations, we are thrilled to add ‘Slacker & Steve’ and ‘Little Steven’s Underground Garage’ to the list of programming we can offer radio stations.  Sun Broadcast Group represents some of the best talent available for syndication and we look forward to expanding their current footprints throughout the USA.”…..Country superstar Kenny Chesney (right) is co-hosting “Country Countdown USA” with Lon Helton (left) this weekend (9/30-10/1).   On the program, the two discuss Chesney’s ​Love For Love City Fund, aimed at helping the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, hard hit by Hurricane Irma.  Chesney also discusses his recent shows at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, his current hit “All The Pretty Girls,” and his forthcoming album Live In No Shoes Nation.