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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, September 28, 2021

| September 28, 2021

Binnie Media Names Michael Czarnecki Director of Brand Operations.  Radio programming pro Michael Czarnecki is named director of brand operations for Binnie Media, owner and operator of 15 signals in New Hampshire and Maine. Czarnecki joins the company from iHeartMedia where he most recently served as program director of WONK-FM (WWDC-HD2) Washington DC. Before that, Czarnecki was program director for iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston. At Binnie Media, Czarnecki will work alongside Binnie Media VP of programming Heath Cole, who says, “In his new role, Michael will work closely with our marketing, promotions, news/talk, and music initiatives in all formats. We are very excited to have Michael joining us on the programming leadership team.” Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati adds, “Michael’s skillset and energy combine to make him the perfect addition at Binnie Media.” Czarnecki, who began his radio career at WGIR in Manchester, New Hampshire, comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the Binnie media team. This is a return home for me, it’s full circle. Special thanks to Massimo Rosati and Heath Cole for making this incredible opportunity possible.”

SuperTalk Mississippi Unveils ‘SuperTalk Mississippi Outdoors with Ricky Mathews.’ The new weekly program “SuperTalk Outdoors with Ricky Mathews” will air on Mondays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm across the 12-station SuperTalk Mississippi network. Mathews is the former publisher of the Times-Picayune, NOLA.com, Mobile Press-Register, and the Sun-Herald. He retired in 2016 as president of Advance Southeast before joining SuperTalk Mississippi Media as the host of “Coast Vue” in January of 2020. He says, “Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of our Mississippi heritage. It’s part of our DNA in this state. Hunting or fishing or just simply soaking up the endless number of other outdoor recreational activities is at the core of this great state. I’m thrilled to be the host of this new show.” SuperTalk Mississippi Media owner Steve Davenport states, “Ricky has been a compass for our company and always seeks to forge a path toward improving our great state. He understands the importance of Mississippi’s outdoors, one of our greatest resources. I am confident that he will use this opportunity to engage and educate the public and will work to lead the conversation in this state about Mississippi’s outdoors.”

2021 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists in this year’s Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 149 radio/audio spots and campaigns made it to the finals of this year’s 30th anniversary awards. The Radio Advertising Bureau notes that this year marks the first time all categories were open to all languages. The submissions were created by advertising agencies, brands, production companies, radio stations and digital companies. The 2021 finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers from categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, nonprofits, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. Robin Fitzgerald is chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta and chief judge for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards. She says, “This year’s Radio Mercury Awards is celebrating the work that came through in 2021 and acknowledging the awards’ 30-year history. It was great to hear the amazing work, and I can’t wait to celebrate the winners in November.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Every year, the Radio Mercury Awards shines a light on the best of the best in radio creative, and this year is no different. This year’s finalists showcase a wonderful range of audio work that leverages the medium and delivers for the advertiser.” The Radio Mercury Awards winners will be presented at 6:00 pm ET on November 17 during a virtual ceremony. See more at www.radiomercuryawards.com.

Cumulus Media Creates Audio Active Group. The company calls the new division “an audio media and creative advisory group for marketers and agencies.” The Audio Active Group is being led by Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer of CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One and that this is the “natural evolution from a sponsor-focused research and insights group to a true comprehensive marketing advisory. The company says the Audio Active Group partners with clients to measure the impact of the entire audio campaign (not just the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One investment), specializing in the following areas: 1) Audio creative best practices: Advising on the development and testing of sonic logos and advertising creative; offering recommendations on how to optimize and enhance current creative; advising on how to deploy new creative strategies to meet campaign objectives; 2) Media planning: Providing recommendations on daypart mix, flighting, weight levels, podcast genres, and AM/FM radio programming formats to meet campaign objectives, based on audience analytics; 3) Strategic allocation within audio: Advising on the right mix of ad-supported audio platforms; and 4) Measurement of the entire audio investment: Advising on the right approach for brands to measure campaign effectiveness, including brand lift, sales effect, and search and site attribution. Cumulus EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes states, “One-third of brands in audio today are new to the medium. As major brands discover audio, they have lots of questions about audio creative strategy, media planning, and campaign measurement, and we have a deep understanding of what audio campaigns can accomplish. Under Pierre’s deft leadership, we are the only company that measures the impact of the entire audio investment and uses our trove of creative-testing and campaign-effectiveness data to help guide clients’ media investments and creative strategy.”

Cumulus Media Wichita Falls Offices Burglarized Overnight. According to a report from Texomashomepage.com, the offices and studios of Cumulus Media on Call Field Road in Wichita Falls, Texas were burglarized sometime early this morning (9/28). The story notes that the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to a call from a Cumulus employee who arrived early this morning to find the building had been “burglarized and ransacked.” Authorities say “there is extensive damage to the office areas of Cumulus Media and Henderson Appraisals.” Additionally, a station vehicle was stolen from the parking lot.

COVID-19, Biden’s Infrastructure and Spending Plans, Debt Ceiling Issue, Afghanistan Withdrawal Hearing, Border Crisis, Trump Georgia Rally, Chips and Labor Shortage, and R. Kelly Conviction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; this week’s debates on President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; the battle over the U.S. debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown; today’s congressional testimony from Pentagon brass about the withdrawal from Afghanistan; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Georgia and his role in the GOP; the global silicon chip shortage, supply chain woes, and the labor shortage; and singer R. Kelly is convicted of sex trafficking charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pioneering Radio Programmer Christine Cooper Spindel Dies at 97. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the obituary of former WDIA, Memphis programmer Christine Cooper Spindel, who passed away in Urbana, Illinois last week at the age of 97. As her daughter Carol Spindel states, Christine Cooper Spindel was a pioneer both as a female program director at WDIA in 1948 and for hiring an all-Black programming staff. Spindel appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, “The Blues,” to talk about her role in hiring the Black DJ staff that included legendary bluesman B.B. King.  Memphis music historian Robert Gordon is quoted in Bob Mehr’s story saying, “Instead of caving in to the racist pressures all around her, she persisted, and we as a city — and also we as blues lovers — all benefitted. Chris Spindel is evidence of how ordinary citizens have the power to change the world.” The story goes on to say, “In 1948, WDIA was still a small struggling outlet, when [co-owner Bert] Ferguson, Spindel and the station’s production head Don Kern decided to take a risk and hire Nat D. Williams, a Black high school history and social studies teacher, to host an afternoon program directed at Memphis’ large Black radio audience. ‘It was an unprecedented thing to do. Although Black people were accepted as entertainers… to put a Black man on the air was actually to empower Black people. They could speak in their own right,’ recalled Spindel. ‘I heard this phrase a lot and I deplore the phrase, “We must keep these people in their place” and their place was not in front of a microphone. It was to be subservient to the white community. But we tried to change that.’”

Thursday, August 19, 2021

| August 19, 2021

California Political Expert Wayne Avrashow is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Noted Los Angeles-based, attorney, law professor, author, columnist and political insider Wayne Avrashow is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Avrashow is a regular contributor to RealClearPolics.com and is described by Harrison as “a wonderful ‘go-to’ resource for solid, non-partisan insights about what’s happening in Los Angeles and the entire Golden State.” Harrison and Avrashow take a deep dive into the state’s gubernatorial recall special election, explaining how it works and assessing talk show host Larry Elder’s prospects of becoming California’s next governor. They also discuss the issues of crime, homelessness and exodus of businesses and workers to Arizona, Nevada, Texas and even Florida that are challenging the nation’s most populous state addressing the question, is California losing its mojo? According to Harrison, “Elder’s role in this key recall is of major interest to the talk radio industry because it illustrates the importance and influence of the platform as a staging ground for a political career of consequence – similar to what we witnessed years ago with the rise of Mike Pence.” To listen to this fascinating podcast in its entirety, please click here.

The Radio Agency Points to TALKERS Heavy Hundred as ‘Goldmine’ for Brands Seeking Marketing Leverage. A blog post by The Radio Agency CEO Mark Lipsky highlights an advertising strategy for businesses that he says can be leveraged to dramatic effect with the recent shift in the talk radio landscape. Lipsky points to TALKERS magazine’s 2021 “Heavy Hundred” list as a “potential goldmine for brands looking to get valuable marketing leverage from some of talk radio’s brightest luminaries.” Lipsky goes on to say, “The death of Rush Limbaugh left a vacuum in conservative talk radio with no shortage of would-be successors to entertain Rush’s audience. That creates opportunity for new talk radio advertisers to buy primetime airtime for less than the premium rates that Limbaugh once commanded.” While noting that securing a talk host’s endorsement is not a simple task and requires professional representation, Lipsky explains, “Every market has influential talk show hosts able to present the benefits of your product or service with the earnest credibility of a trusted next-door neighbor. The challenge is securing their endorsements at a fair price that will deliver incremental sales to cover or exceed the incremental cost of their services as spokesperson.” Read Lipsky’s complete blog post here.

WBAL, Baltimore Traffic Reporter Jim Russ Dies Unexpectedly at 57. Longtime Washington, DC and Baltimore radio traffic reporter Jim Russ died suddenly yesterday morning (8/18) at the age of 57. WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM VP and general manager Cary Pahigian writes in a memo to the Hearst Television staff: “Jim is the unquestioned Dean of Baltimore traffic reporting, keeping watch on the roads in the WBAL/98 Rock listening area for the past decade, with many more years of experience at WTOP in Washington and later the service we know today as the Total Traffic & Weather Network.  Along the way he helped mentor a generation of traffic reporters in the DC/Baltimore area… NO ONE loved the job of reporting traffic more than Jim did. He saw it as his duty to keep people in Baltimore moving to their destinations as quickly as possible and attacked that responsibility with passion and dedication. The sterling reputation of WBAL as a news and information leader was strengthened throughout Jim’s tenure, and his departure leaves a void both professionally and personally for his colleagues who enjoyed his company and commitment to excellence.”

Cumulus/Westwood One’s Suzanne Grimes Talks About the Value of Radio to Advertisers with Forbes. In a piece by Brad Adgate for Forbes, Cumulus Media EVP of corporate marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes answers six questions about the radio industry – from how the hosts who’ve filled the midday slot formerly occupied by Rush Limbaugh to how shifting a portion of media buys to radio provides a lift in return on investment. Addressing the latter, Grimes says, “The acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen made the introduction of ROI and sales-effect studies possible for brands and marketers. For the first time, Nielsen’s credit card and grocery shopper card data can be matched to Portable People Meters to prove the impact of radio advertising. Across a large variety of categories, Nielsen found that for every dollar of radio advertising, ten dollars of incremental sales are generated. CPG and QSR return three to one. Retail sixteen to one.”

iHeartMedia Selling Portsmouth, New Hampshire Broadcast Facility. According to a story at InDepthNH.org, iHeartMedia is putting its Portsmouth, New Hampshire studios at 815 Lafayette Road on the market with a current asking price of $3.67 million. A number of the company’s Portsmouth stations are located in the building, including news/talk WQSO-FM “Newstalk 96.7.” The piece cites a “reliable source” indicating that the live and local broadcasts will emanate from the company’s Manchester, New Hampshire studios by the fall. The two cities are about 40 miles apart.

Report: Max Kellerman to Move to ESPN Radio Mornings. According to a story by Andrew Marchand in the New York Post, Max Kellerman will be leaving the ESPN television show “First Take” that he currently co-hosts with Stephen A. Smith and is expected to join the ESPN Radio morning drive show with Keyshawn Johnson. He would replace Zubin Mehenti. The report also indicates that Kellerman could also get a one-hour show on the TV side in the 2:00 pm ET hour.

NAB Show to Require Proof of Vaccination. The National Association of Broadcasters EVP of global connections and events Chris Brown announces the organization’s policy regarding attending the 2021 NAB Show taking place in October in Las Vegas. He says, “While the enthusiasm is building, we are keenly aware of health and safety concerns tied to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and want to assure you that we are putting in place a comprehensive, data-driven plan that prioritizes safety and creates a productive environment at these events. We have worked for the past several weeks to finalize protocols that will maximize the experience and safety of all members of the NAB Show community. This process has involved extensive consultation with health and safety experts, gathering feedback from a range of exhibitors and attendees, and review of the safety measures recommended by national and local health authorities, including Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s important announcement this week regarding large events. Taking this all into account, we will require all attendees and participants to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. We think this is a positive step in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and will provide further details on implementation as well as other safety measures under consideration.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Newsweek launches titled, “The Diplomat,” hosted by former Middle East envoy for the Trump administration, Jason Greenblatt. The show is inspired by Greenblatt’s work in foreign affairs with the intent of fostering candid conversations on a wide set of global and domestic issues. “The Diplomat” will release one or two new episodes every week, featuring one or more guests with first-hand experience in a specific arena sharing their stories and insights. The show’s first guests will be former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the SXM original podcast “Huuuge Fan,” hosted by LaChina Robinson. The program features in-depth conversations with some of today’s biggest stars of stage and screen – famous actors, musicians and other celebs who are big sports fans – about their favorite team. Joining rabid sports fans Tracy Morgan, Ashley Judd, Nelly, Michael Bublé and Tim McGraw as guests on the show are Drew Carey, Monica, Adam Duritz, Michelle Williams, Anthony Ramos and many others…..Seven Bridges Radio’s sports talk WJXL-AM/FM, Jacksonville “Jax Sports Radio” inks a deal with VSiN, The Sports Betting Network to bring more than 50 hours of sports betting news, analysis and insights to Jacksonville and Northeast Florida each week. Station president and GM Steven Griffin says, “It’s important for us to be on the cutting edge of the sports betting media revolution and to serve our audience with this new focus on sports betting content. We’re excited to collaborate with VSiN to bring the best programming in the business to Jacksonville’s sports fans and betting enthusiasts. In addition, we’ll feature VSiN’s industry-leading on-air talent on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, August through January, to offer insight and opinion on the biggest sporting events.”…..Good Karma Brands announces that it has struck a deal with Milwaukee Panther Sports Properties to broadcast University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball on WAUK-AM/W266DR “540 ESPN” beginning this fall. Scott Warras will continue to serve as play-by-play voice for the broadcasts.

Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Russia-Taliban Relationship, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, Southern Border Crisis, Newsom Recall, Tropical Storms & Flooding, Western Drought & Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/18). The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s execution of the withdrawal; Russia’s relationship with Taliban leaders; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and full ICU beds in several U.S. states and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the migrant crisis at the U.S. Mexico border and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey extends the National Guard border patrol for another year; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom and talk host Larry Elder’s chances of winning; the tropical storms dumping rain on the Eastern U.S. and causing flooding; and the drought and wildfires affecting the Western U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

| April 13, 2021

Report: Sebastian Gorka’s ‘America First’ YouTube Channel Terminated. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, the Sebastian Gorka’s “America First” YouTube channel has been terminated for its “presidential election integrity policy.” Gorka’s “America First” program is syndicated nationally via Salem Radio Network live in the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart. He served as a one-time aide to President Donald Trump. The Examiner reports that YouTube spokesperson Ivey Choi told it, “In accordance with our long-standing strikes system, we terminated the channel ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka’ for repeated violations of our presidential election integrity policy. As we’ve publicly shared, our presidential election integrity policy prohibits content uploaded after last year’s safe harbor deadline that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Any channel that violates this policy will receive a strike and channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period are permanently removed from YouTube, as in the case of ‘America First with Sebastian Gorka.’”

Grace Curley Show Continues to Add New Affiliate Stations. The Boston-based early afternoon talk radio program “The Grace Curley Show” adds new affiliate stations – including Saga Communications’ WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts and Sugar River Media’s news/talk duo WNTK-FM and WUVR-FM in New London, New Hampshire.  The Grace Curley Show is produced and syndicated by the Howie Carr Radio Network. Howie Carr says, “Grace Curley continues to expand as she has put together an excellent modern talk show with daily compelling, fresh content.” Curley’s program launched in January of this year on WRKO, Boston and recent affiliates adding the program include: Saga’s WGAN, Portland; WFEA, Manchester, New Hampshire; and WKBK, Keene, New Hampshire; plus Harrison Irrevocable Trust’s trio of news/talkers WTPL, Hillsboro; WTSN, Dover; and WEMJ, Laconia in New Hampshire. Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr comments, “It is exciting to see such a young talent grow so rapidly.”

Cox Media Group Adds Mark Kaye Show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa. As it did at O&O WOKV-FM, Jacksonville, Cox Media Group fills the early afternoon daypart occupied for so many years by Rush Limbaugh with WOKV-based talk show host Mark Kaye on its Tulsa news/talker KRMG-AM/FM. Kaye was a longtime morning drive personality on CMG’s CHR WAPE-FM, Jacksonville who left that role last year to focus on his talk show on sister WOKV-FM. Kaye says, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG along with 102.3 KRMG for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.” CMG Radio EVP Rob Babin adds, “Our stations across the country will greatly miss Rush. We’re pleased to have our own CMG talent to take over that show time in the Tulsa market who has a long successful track record of great ratings and building large audiences, and is very compatible with the brand of entertaining and engaging programming that our listeners expect from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.”

Woofy Appointed OM for JVC Media’s Emerald Coast Cluster. Radio pro Woofy Ramone is joining JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach/Destin station group as operations manager overseeing talk WZLB “Florida Man Radio 103.1,” CHR WECQ, country WHWY, and classic hits WWAV, effective in early June.  JVC executive Shane Reeve states, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Woofy as our operations manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is great for everyone in the market. Woofy is synonymous with the Emerald Coast, having been involved in many local charities, broadcasting and helping listeners through our area’s big hurricanes, and having a top-rated show for almost 30 years. I’m thrilled to work with Woofy again and to have someone of Woofy’s experience and stature on board with the JVC family.” JVC Florida director of programming Stevie DeMann adds, “I’m excited Woofy is joining the JVC team! It is going to be fun to watch him lend his knowledge and expertise of the Emerald Coast to our brands and staff. He’s a natural to continue our culture of FUN radio that works for the community, clients, and our loyal listeners!”

Stanberry Named VP of Government Relations at NAB. The National Association of Broadcasters announces Charlyn Stanberry joins the organization as vice president of government relations, effective today. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Charlyn has exceled on Capitol Hill, in the private sector and in the legal community, and commands expert knowledge of the legislative process. America’s local broadcasters will greatly benefit from Charlyn’s work on their behalf and we are delighted to welcome her to NAB.” Stanberry was most recently chief of staff for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-09). She is also an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia where she teaches Foundation Civics and Ethics & Values.

Westwood One Blog Takes Aim at Myths About Radio. In this week’s Westwood One blog by chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, he addresses “the perception of media audiences” that is “skewed by prevalent myths in the ad community.” In the column, he sets out to disprove “eight of the biggest perceptions brands hold about AM/FM radio.” Perception #1: “Due to the pandemic, no one is listening to AM/FM radio.” Reality: According to the latest Nielsen Fall 2020 Nationwide Report, AM/FM radio has retained 95% of its persons 18+ reach from the Fall 2019 survey. Perception #2: “Due to the pandemic, everyone’s working at home and no one is commuting.” Reality: According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, 60% of Americans are commuting every day, a sharp contrast to the perception. Perception #3: “AM/FM radio has very low reach.” Reality: 88% of all Americans are reached by AM/FM radio on a weekly basis, according to Nielsen’s Q3 2020 Total Audience Report. See the rest of the blog here.

CMG Names Kim Dallow Tulsa Director of Radio Operations. Programming pro Kim Dallow officially rises to director of radio operations for Cox Media Group’s Tulsa cluster. Dallow has served with CMG Tulsa for 14 years, most recently as director of branding & programming of classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle,” a position she will continue to hold. She’s been acting OM for the cluster for the past year. She says, “It’s such a privilege to work with this team of outstanding broadcasters. I’m so proud of the local programming and community support that CMG Tulsa consistently provides, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to help ensure that its legacy of excellence continues.”

Minneapolis Police Shooting Protests/Derek Chauvin Trial, COVID-19, Border Crisis, China’s Taiwan Exercises, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Iran Nuclear Site Attack, and BLM Founder’s Growing Real Estate Portfolio Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/12). Clashes erupt between police and protestors in Minneapolis after police kill a Black man during a traffic stop and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the spikes of COVID-19 cases in some states, the recommended pause in Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and the rollout of the other vaccines; the large number of unaccompanied children amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; China’s aggressive military policy regarding Taiwan; the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz paid for sex with a minor; the attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility and the state of the Iran nuclear deal; and criticism of Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Kahn-Cullors’ growing real estate portfolio were some of the most-talked-about stories 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.