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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

| August 4, 2021

Cumulus Media Q2 2021 Net Revenue Rises 54%. Reporting its financial data for the second quarter of 2021, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $224.7 million, an increase of 53.9% from the same period in 2020. During the second quarter of 2020, Cumulus posted a net loss of $36.3 million. That loss shrank almost 84% to $5.8 million in the second quarter of 2021. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “This quarter’s results clearly reflect the success we are having in accelerating our positive revenue trajectory. In addition to the continued improvement in the core radio business, total digital revenue grew by 55% year-over-year, with each of our digital channels posting new all-time highs. Additionally, we enhanced our considerable stronghold in the news/talk ecosystem with ‘The Dan Bongino Show,’ now on over 300 radio stations – the largest launch ever for a new and original syndication. We also significantly deepened our position in the fast-growing sports betting space with an innovative and expansive multi-year, multi-platform marketing and content partnership with WynnBET, which is poised to become one of our largest clients through this new relationship.” Cumulus breaks down its revenue into Broadcast and Digital segments. The Broadcast segment is further divided into Spot and Network (Westwood One) divisions. For the second quarter of 2021, Spot revenue was $120.8 million – up 67% from Q2 of 2020 – and Networks revenue was $55.3 million – up 32.5% from Q2 of 2020. Digital segment revenue was $31.4 million, an increase of 54.5% compared to the same period in 2020.

CMG Promotes Kris Hackett to Director of Sales for Atlanta Cluster. Radio sales pro Kris Hackett is promoted from general sales manager to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM and three music-formatted outlets. In this new and expanded role, Hackett will be responsible for the oversight of all multimedia sales efforts for CMG Atlanta’s radio cluster. Hackett joined CMG Atlanta in 2013 as GSM. Prior to that, she spent seven years as GSM for the company in Richmond. Cox Media Group VP and market manager Jaleigh Long says, “Kris is a proven leader with a keen ability to grow market share, deliver enhanced revenues and develop high caliber sales teams while building relationships with key partners that fit perfectly with our customer-centric sales culture. I’m thrilled to have such a visionary and talented leader inside CMG to promote into this critical role.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM weekend news anchor Dave Marsett is retiring from the Audacy station after 20 years. Marsett is also an ordained minister and he’s retiring from that calling as well. The 74-year-old radio pro served with Satellite Music Network as news director for many years prior to joining WBBM…..Cumulus Media and Imperative Entertainment announce the new true-crime series “Fox Hunter” joins the Cumulus Podcast Network. Host Sean Kipe investigates the mystery surrounding the murder of 18-year-old Rhonda Sue Coleman in 1990 which has been a thorn in the side of the small community of Hazlehurst, Georgia, for over 30 years…..The content creators at New Hampshire Public Radio have voted to form a union and are being represented by SAG-AFTRA. NHPR is an NPR member station based in Concord, New Hampshire and covers nearly the entire state, as well as portions of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine. The new 31-member bargaining unit of content creators includes producers, hosts, editors and reporters…..Pictured below are WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” air personalities Hardy, a.k.a. Rob Poole, Scott Zolak, and Marc Bertrand broadcasting live from Gillette Stadium for the start of the New England Patriots’ training camp. WBZ-FM is the flagship station for broadcasts of Patriots football games and Bob Socci and Zolak will once again call all preseason and regular season games. The duo will also get back on the road this season, traveling to each away game broadcast.

Former KYW, Philadelphia Reporter Ed Kasuba Dies at 74. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that former KYW, Philadelphia reporter Ed Kasuba died on August 1 of heart failure at the age of 74. Kasuba was the longtime South Jersey bureau chief for the station. He retired from the all-news outlet in 2008 at a time when the Great Recession was forcing then-owner CBS Radio to make cuts. He served as a shop steward and president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and left the radio station voluntarily so others would not be laid off during company cutbacks.

COVID-19 Delta Variant and Masks, Biden’s Eviction Moratorium, Cuomo Allegations, Pentagon Officer Slain, January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, and Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The fast-rising rate of COVID-19 Delta variant cases in some parts of the U.S. and the battle over vaccination mandates and mask policies; President Joe Biden extends the eviction moratorium and critics question its legality; the numerous allegations of sexual improprieties against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and calls for his resignation; a Pentagon officer is slain by an attacker; the committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the bi-partisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill; and Simone Biles wins bronze in the balance beam at the Tokyo Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Women in Talk: Is This an Issue?

| May 24, 2019

By Walter Sterling
Talk Show Host
Westwood One

 

NEW YORK — Take a look at real power.  The picture here shows the most powerful people in daytime radio in 1955.  Mary Margaret McBride (left) and Pegeen Fitzgerald (right).

Seven secretaries
It took seven secretaries to answer the mail received by Mary Margaret McBride. Her daily NBC/ABC network show, heard on stations like WOR New York, set the agenda for America’s conversation. She did not do a cooking show or a nice show.  She was the toughest interviewer in radio and scored the biggest guests.  They were afraid to not go on her show. The big guests also did whatever she told them to do.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

| March 8, 2019

WGN, Chicago Brings Back ‘Extension 720’ with Host Justin Kaufmann. The original “Extension 720” was hosted by the late Milt Rosenberg for 40 years but was canceled by station management in 2012.  Now, the Tribune Media station announces that Justin Kaufmann will leave his role with the morning drive Steve Cochran program to take over hosting the new 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.  Pete Zimmerman will serve as producer.  WGN station manager and VP on content Todd Manley says the new show will honor the format of Rosenberg’s program with long-form interviews.  Kaufmann will also “meet Chicago voices on location in the communities and neighborhoods where they live and work and will focus on a variety of topics, from arts & culture to politics and innovation.”  Monday evenings will still belong to “Andrea Darlas & The Reporters” and sports play-by-play will bump the show from time to time.  Kaufmann has been with WGN since joining from public media outlet WBEZ-FM in 2015.  He says, “I’m honored and humbled to be at the helm of one of the best radio shows in Chicago history.”

WHO, Des Moines Goes ‘All-Female’ in Honor of International Women’s Day. In recognition of today’s International Women’s Day, iHeartMedia news/talk WHO, Des Moines is presenting a lineup of entirely female hosts.  WHO’s International Women’s Day program lineup will include: Bonnie Lucas, Leila Rush, and Heather Burnside-Parizek from 1460 KXnO as hosts for “Van and Bonnie in the Morning,” with WHO personality Adrianne Branstad and WHO news director Wendy Wilde as hosts for “Need to Know with Jeff Angelo,” and WHO news anchor Sue Danielson as the host for “The Simon Conway Show.”  WHO program director Michael Dorwart says, “As a company we aim to celebrate the contributions of women in music and radio year-round and on International Women’s Day we are highlighting our accomplished radio personalities even more as we support and promote gender balance in the workplace and the world.”  The station adds that in addition to broadcasting 1040 WHO’s most renowned on-air personalities and hosts, the International Women’s Day programming will showcase a variety of different topics that inspire women – ranging from sports, business, and agriculture.  Cristen Clark, a successful farmer and founder of agricultural website Food and Swine, will be featured on-air with several successful women in Iowa agriculture and will be joined by co-host and producer, Morgan McEnany.  To end the day, 1040 WHO will also broadcast coverage of the nationally ranked University of Iowa women’s basketball team as they play their first game of the Big 10 Conference Tournament.

KYW, Philadelphia Personalities Seek Federal Mediator in Union Negotiations. A report by Philadelphia Business Journal’s Jeff Blumenthal indicates that the SAG-AFTRA-represented on-air staffers at Entercom’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia are asking for federal mediation to resolve their issues in contract negotiations with the company. As TALKERS reported previously, SAG-AFTRA publicly called out Entercom for what it is now calling “low-balling” during negotiations for the all-news stations previously owned by CBS RADIO.  Entercom responded, saying: “These discussions include contracts that had been open for years prior to our merger with CBS RADIO, as well as more recently expired agreements.  We prefer to negotiate directly with SAG-AFTRA and our employees, not publicly, and do not intend to comment further.”  Local SAG-AFTRA president Sam Clover tells the PBJ, “We’ve bargained for years with CBS RADIO and never had to take this step, but now we’re dealing with a new company who won’t compromise, so we’re reaching out for help.”  Most cutting to KYW talent is the company’s desire to cut severance benefits by 50% to 90%, according to the story.  Read it here.

PPM Analysis: January 2019 Pacesetters. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian looks at the January 2019 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio to see which formats/specific stations are in the lead (#1 and #2) positions in their respective markets.  Interestingly, while no news/talk station finished #2 in its market, five news/talk stations ranked #1 (6+) in the market during the January survey.  They were: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and Cox’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville. See the whole report here.

PodcastOne and Law & Crime Network Team Up. A new deal between PodcastOne and the Dan Abrams-founded Law & Crime will include a series of new podcasts focusing on the worlds of law and true-crime.   Law & Crime is a 24/7 linear and OTT live trial network.  The first podcast to debut is the self-titled “Dan Abrams Podcast,” set to release new episodes every Thursday.  Abrams says, “Law & Crime is excited to expand its distribution to yet another important medium.  Our partnership with PodcastOne will allow us share some amazing stories with expert legal analysis to a new audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Boston sports media personality Kirk Minihane is the subject of a profile piece in Boston Magazine.  Last fall, Minihane refused to sign a document promising to not attack the Boston Red Sox or the Boston Globe and to “not be mean-spirited” on the radio and that led to his departure from the WEEI, Boston morning show with co-host Gerry Callahan.  But, he’s still with Entercom, working on his own program emanating from the company’s RADIO.COM platform.  The piece recounts Minihane’s battle with depression and how WEEI changed its morning show…..Envision Networks and the GAB Radio Network are partnering to distribute 14 of the latter’s talk programs to radio stations.  GAB’s shows cover topics including news, sports, music, lifestyle, and more.  GAB general manager Chuck Duncan says, “GAB Radio has become one of the premier production and distribution companies in network radio.  Partnering with Envision was the natural progression to our growth strategy.  Their unbridled vision and outstanding team are an extension of GAB Radio Network.”…..iHeartMedia announces Annette Geiser is promoted to SVP of sales for its Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets that include news/talk KCSJ, Pueblo.  Geiser was most recently a senior account executive.  Market president Jessica Farias says, “I’m excited to have Annette step up and take on this leadership role as the senior vice president of sales.  Annette’s depth of knowledge in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo markets along with her deep relationships are key in leading a best-in-class sales team at iHeartMedia Colorado Springs and Pueblo.”…..Entercom sports talker WIP, Philadelphia is presenting the annual live event “SportsRadio 94WIP Birds Town Hall” – a discussion about the state of the Philadelphia Eagles led by WIP on-air personalities and featuring various NFL and Eagles experts.  It’s taking place all day at MaGerks Pub & Grill in Horsham, Pennsylvania…..Podcast company Cadence13, is presenting the SXSW Podcast Stage at this year’s SXSW in Austin taking place today through March 17. The SXSW Podcast Stage presented by Cadence13 will host podcasts across a number of genres — music, film, technology, comedy, politics, and more — recorded in front of a live audience during the SXSW conference…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” show is added to the daily lineup of Spirit Broadcasting’s WINT-AM, Willoughby, Ohio (Cleveland market).

Cohen Sues Trump Organization Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 4-8, 2019. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s suit against the Trump Organization and his congressional testimony about President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the U.S. House investigation into President Trump for obstruction of justice and more.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Russia probe and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, followed by the state of the U.S.-Mexico border 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.  It is published every Friday and Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Morning Talk on a Classic Rock Station: Mike “Bax” Baxendale is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The co-host of what is pound-for-pound one of the most successful talk shows on American radio, Mike “Bax” Baxendale, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  For the past 24 years, Baxendale has co-hosted the “Bax & O’ Brien Show” with his team-mate, John O’ Brien in mornings on the Saga Communications powerhouse classic rock station, WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts.  The all-talk show is an eclectic blend of local and national politics, regional issues, pop culture, lifestyle trends, frivolous “locker room” banter and compellingly candid insights into the personal lives of the show’s participants.  “Rock 102” boasts a “flame thrower” signal that radiates far beyond Springfield and Western Massachusetts to blanket the neighboring market of Hartford, Connecticut – going far north into Vermont, south to New Haven and west into parts of New York State.  Michael Harrison says, “Saga doesn’t need to subscribe to the ratings to sell advertising on this gem of a property in its primary listening area – the team of Bax and O’ Brien are superstars in this heavily populated region of New England.  Their success and impact are self-evident.  They are household names and two of the most beloved ‘bad boys’ I’ve ever seen in radio.  They are examples of the sheer power of this medium when done properly with authenticity and consistency.  They are also wonderful examples of the growing number of ‘all-talk’ shows that have popped up over the years on FM music stations – shows that defy the narrow, self-imposed restrictions that have come to define programming on traditional AM news/talk outlets.”  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right hand-column of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Jacksonville station WWJK-FM flips from adult hits to rock as “107.3 Planet Radio,” anchored by the morning drive “Lex and Terry” show.  The station is featuring core artists such as: AC/DC, Nirvana, Metallica, Linkin Park, and Sublime. iHeartMedia Jacksonville SVP of programming G-Wiz says, “Planet Radio is Jacksonville’s best rock station ever.  The legendary Planet Radio not only features Jacksonville’s highest rated morning show, ‘Lex and Terry,’ but has the hardest working, 24/7 radio staff.  I’m excited to have ‘Planet Radio’ back at its original frequency 107.3.”…..In San Francisco, morning personality Elvis Medina exits Entercom’s alternative KITS “ALT 105.3” and co-host Daena “DK” Kramer continues as solo host.