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Thursday, April 22, 2021

| April 22, 2021

KFAB, Omaha Fires Chris Baker After Tweeting of Racist Image. A day after tweeting an image of Black natives in loincloths and holding spears with the caption “Guilty!” in the immediate aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict, iHeartMedia has fired KFAB, Omaha afternoon drive talk host Chris Baker, according to a piece in the Lincoln Journal Star.  iHeartMedia area president for Nebraska C. Taylor Walet III said in a statement the tweet was “completely inappropriate and unacceptable. Please know that this does not represent our viewpoint or our values, and we take this situation very seriously. Accordingly, Chris Baker’s employment with our company has been terminated.” Baker told the Journal Star that although he doesn’t expect people to believe his explanation, he says he was multi-tasking and searching for an image of “people celebrating” and inadvertently posted the image that he did. He added, “That’s not me, that’s not who I really am. There’s a difference between being intentional and being a fat-fingered boomer on Twitter. I don’t look at Black people that way.” On Wednesday, “Producer Josh” Odson and “Bird,” a.k.a. Meghan Bird, hosted the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program on KFAB.

Premiere Networks and EIB Network Launch ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo Snerdley. Premiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series will detail legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series will give listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to becoming the No. 1 talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy, which includes ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’s’ continued dominance as the most-listened-to talk radio program in the U.S.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “We look forward to sharing this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best will provide an insider’s look at his life and career, providing a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” You can hear a trailer for the series that launches on May 12 here.

Audacy’s WILK-AM/FM, Wilkes-Barre Announces New Lineup; Local Hosts Nikki Stone and Bob Cordaro Join Air Staff. Northeastern Pennsylvania news/talk brand “WILK News Radio” – WILK-AM/FM, Wilkes-Barre; WODS-AM, West Hazleton; WAAF-AM, Scranton – adds two personalities to its re-tooled daily lineup. Market radio pro Nikki Stone joins the station as host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and former Lackawanna County commissioner Bob Cordaro is the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk host. Jason Barsky co-hosts the morning show “The Morning News with Nancy and Jason” alongside Nancy Kman and Frank Andrews continues to be heard from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Audacy SVP and market manager Ryan Flynn states, “We’re really excited to introduce this enhanced slate of programming to our listeners as we focus on the issues that matter most to Northeast PA. Nikki brings a breadth of experience in this market which we think will quickly build a sense of trust between her and our audience. Bob Cordaro, also someone with deep local roots, is an expert on the area, the people, and local politics. I trust his candor and connection with our audience will quickly translate to a successful afternoon show.” Stone has been a traffic reporter and host on the station since 2017. She says, “Northeast PA has always been home to me. I’m excited about this chance to open up conversation, talk about the issues that matter, and have a little fun with the people I consider neighbors and friends.” Cordaro comments, “I am incredibly honored to become part of the team at WILK and Audacy. While it is a daunting task to replace the great Rush Limbaugh in Northeast PA, I feel privileged to be able to do so. I want to thank our management team here in Scranton Wilkes-Barre as well as everyone at Audacy for giving me this opportunity. We are going to have a lot of fun promoting a conservative commonsense agenda that works for the people of this area and our country.”

Round Three of March PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s March 2021 sweep covered March 4 – March 31. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland slips three-tenths to a 5.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and falls from the #2 rank to #4. In Charlotte, Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM loses a half share, finishing the March survey with a 5.0 share good for the #5 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s San Antonio news/talk WOAI-AM falls from the #2 rank to #7 after dropping 1.7 shares for a 5.0 share finish. In Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s KSL-FM sheds two-tenths to wrap the survey with a 6.8 share putting it in the #3 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown KNRS-AM/FM loses a half share and finishes with a 6.5 share and the #4 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets (as well and the first two rounds) here.

Radio’s Rob Carson Hosting ‘The Newsmax Daily’ for Newsmax Media. Radio pro Rob Carson has been working with Newsmax for some time now, but now the company officially launches the podcast “The Newsmax Daily with Rob Carson.” Newsmax says, “With ‘The Newsmax Daily’ you’ll get the latest top news with Rob Carson’s wit and wisdom to help you understand the events shaping our lives. Rob holds little back – and tries to find the humor in even the most frightening of news developments – especially when they emanate from the Biden-Harris White House!” Carson also hosts the TV program, “Rob Carson’s What in the World?” which airs Saturdays on Newsmax TV. Carson’s talk radio career includes stops in markets including: Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Nashville, Phoenix, Minneapolis, New York City, and Baltimore.

Cumulus Media Re-Brands Westwood One Podcast Network. Effective May 6, the Westwood One Podcast Network becomes the CUMULUS PODCAST NETWORK. Cumulus says the move “consolidates the Company’s national and local podcasts into one entity, capturing the full breadth and diversity of the portfolio and providing advertisers with a comprehensive offering of podcasts, in addition to streaming, mobile, social and display.” Suzanne Grimes, executive vice president corporate marketing and president, Westwood One, will retain responsibility for the Company’s podcast sales network. She says, “Placing our podcasts under the Cumulus umbrella allows us to offer our advertising partners easy access to the company’s full arsenal of digital products. This exciting expansion takes our fast-growing podcast network to the next level, as well as simplifies the buying process for agencies and brands, allowing our partners to seamlessly tap into the full power of our premium on-demand audio content.”

Nielsen: March PPM Data Reveals Big Audience Gains. According to data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey radio has achieved significant gains in radio listening across the aggregate of markets, to the tune of an 8% increase month-over-month in total AQH audience. This marks the largest single-month increase in average audience since June of last year. These gains were driven by increases in both weekly reach (adding nearly 4 million consumers in March – a 3% increase versus February) as well as time spent listening (gaining by over 20 minutes – on average –a 5% increase compared with last month). Nielsen adds that the year-over-year comparison between the March 2020 and March 2021 PPM stands at a 96 index for weekly reach and a 93 index for AQH. This means that from a weekly reach perspective, the radio audience in March 2021 is 96% the size of the same month from one year ago, while for AQH the number is 93%. This uptick in radio usage mirrors the positive changes in consumer sentiment and habits observed during Nielsen’s latest radio consumer study conducted during the March survey. Six in 10 Americans are now ‘ready to go’ and feeling life is becoming more normal in their city or town. Those working outside the home have increased nearly 70% since last April, while consumers spending more than an hour each day in a vehicle has more than doubled in that time. Heavy radio listeners, because they are more mobile and ‘ready to go’, are also more likely to engage in top activities including shopping for groceries, driving longer distances, ordering take-out, and getting together in-person with friends and family, particularly among those who are vaccinated.

Gene “Bean” Baxter Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Former KROQ, Los Angeles radio superstar Gene Baxter is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Known to his legion of fans by the nickname, “Bean,” he co-hosted (with Kevin Ryder) a wildly popular morning show called “Kevin & Bean” that ran on the legendary alt rock station for three decades and landed both performers in the Radio Hall of Fame. Then he announced his retirement from the show and moved to England (where he was born and raised as a young child) to get away from the pressures of the LA radio industry and his openly expressed distaste for the tone and direction of American politics. At present, now back in Great Britain, he co-hosts a show on Podcast Radio in London with another former KROQ broadcaster from his Kevin & Bean days – Allie Mac Kay – titled, “A Cup of Tea and a Chat with Allie & Bean.” Harrison and Bean take a deep dive into the worlds of the radio industry’s quirky culture and the increasingly harsh politics of modern times. Radio enthusiasts should not miss this! 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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Chauvin Verdict Aftermath/Ohio Police Shooting, COVID-19, Biden’s Climate Summit, Florida’s ‘Anti-Riot’ Law, Border Crisis/Immigration Reform, and Putin Threatens West Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict and the case of the fatal shooting of knife-wielding teen Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio; the disparate rate of COVID-19 cases in various U.S. states, the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; President Joe Biden’s climate summit and commitment to halving U.S. greenhouse emissions by 2030; the controversy surrounding Florida’s new “anti-riot” law that allows motorists to hit people blocking public roads; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and Vladimir Putin’s vague threat against the West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Talk Radio: America’s Last Best Hope Out of this Mess

| January 11, 2021

By Phil Boyce
Senior VP of Spoken Word
Salem Radio Network

NEW YORK — We all know it. We are in a mess in America. The battle lines are drawn, and if this isn’t a civil war without bullets, I am not sure what one would look like. One side wants to crush the other. Each side believes the other side wants to destroy America. The left vision for what America can be is drastically different than what the right sees and desires. Gone are the pretenses of fairness. This is a mess.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Monday, November 16, 2020

| November 16, 2020

Monday Memo: Who Is Next? Donald Trump’s improbable 2016 win kick-started a four-year 2020 campaign that began the way the 2016 run did, with a crowded debate stage. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke detects “who may already be lining up for 2024…or hoping to line their pockets.” Read his column here.

Trump Post Election Rhetoric/Transition Refusal, Georgia Runoff Elections, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Obama Memoir, SpaceX Launch, and Hurricane Iota Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The admission by Donald Trump that Joe Biden won the presidential race but his refusal to concede and the Trump administration’s unwillingness to work with the Biden transition team; the two runoff elections to determine the winners of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for winter cases; Barack Obama releases his memoir titled, A Promised Land; four astronauts launch in a SpaceX rocket destined for the International Space Station; and the watch on Hurricane Iota as it threatens Central America were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Planning 2021. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about planning for 2021. Lapa says that because of what happened in 2020 – the Pandemic crushed the economy, 30 named storms, minimal sports activity, home schooling, toilet paper shortages, new verbs like “Zoom,” and tumult in the White House – there are clues here on how to build a plan to achieve your 2021 sales goals. Read his column here.

Report: PE Firm Interested in Acquiring Newsmax. According to a report in Variety, private equity firm Hicks Equity Partners has been in talks with Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy about acquiring and investing in Newsmax. Variety spoke with Ruddy after a Wall Street Journal piece indicated that talks had taken place between Hicks Equity Partners and Ruddy about the former buying Newsmax as a platform to challenge FOX News Channel’s dominance with conservative viewers. There’s a lot of speculation about what Donald Trump’s plans might be for staying in the conservative media spotlight and he’s seen as a figure that could be featured in such an endeavor. Ruddy tells Variety, “Newsmax would never become ‘Trump TV.’ We have always seen ourselves as an independent news agency, and we want to continue with that mission. But we are open — [Trump] is going to be a political and media force after he leaves the White House, and we would be open to talking to him about a weekly show.” Variety adds that Ruddy says they are not “actively selling” at this time.

Cat Thomas Named OM at Beasley Las Vegas. Programming pro Cat Thomas join Beasley Media Group as operations manager for the company’s Las Vegas radio cluster that includes news/talk KDWN-AM and four music brands. Thomas, who was most recently OM and program director for Entercom’s KNOU-FM, KYKY-FM, and KEZK-FM in St. Louis, returns to Las Vegas where he previously served with both Cumulus Media and Entercom. Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton says, “Cat’s knowledge of the market and leadership experience will be invaluable to our success across the breadth of our station group. We are thrilled to have him join our team!” Thomas adds, “Sometimes the stars align. I couldn’t be more excited to join the outstanding family at Beasley Las Vegas. The company has shown to be the top of the class when it comes to local broadcasting and audience engagement. Many thanks to Brian Beasley, Peter Burton, Justin Chase, and Mike O’Brian for their incredible support!”

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend “America Outdoors Radio” program, hosted and produced by John Kruse, breaks the 100-affiliate station mark and is now airing weekly on 105 stations in 25 states. The show is syndicated nationally by Talk Media Network and covers fishing and hunting, activities that have seen increased interest since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, as many people turned to the outdoors as a safe and enjoyable place to have fun. Kruse says, “The affiliate relations team at TMN really gave our show the added exposure and growth I was unable to achieve on my own.” Recent affiliates adding the program include KARN-FM, Little Rock; WKZO, Kalamazoo; and KEDO, Longview, Washington…..Tomorrow (11/17), iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester “NewsRadio 610” and WGIR-FM, Portsmouth “NewsRadio 96.7” in New Hampshire are producing the sixth annual “Make 12 Hours Count” radiothon to benefit Veterans Count, an organization that provides financial assistance, services and resources to New Hampshire veterans, service members and their families. iHeartMedia New Hampshire market president Joe Graham says, “It never ceases to amaze me how our listeners and our business partners step up and support this great cause. Last year, ‘Make 12 Hours Count’ raised more than $153,000 which provided much needed assistance for veterans and their families.”…..CBS Audio is offering a three-hour Thanksgiving Holiday special radio show hosted by award-winning broadcaster Gil Gross that will help your listeners preserve their holiday traditions despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn…..National Association of Broadcasters announces that Téa Gennaro will assume the role of executive vice president and chief financial officer at NAB starting November 23. Most recently, Gennaro served as chief financial officer of the Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington, D.C. As EVP of Finance and CFO, Gennaro will lead NAB’s financial operations, including internal and external reporting, audit, tax, financial systems and the budget process.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

| May 7, 2020

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Dead at 90. One of the founding fathers of the talk radio format, Barry Farber, died Wednesday evening (5/6). His daughter Celia Ingrid Farber announced via Twitter, “My father Barry Farber, beloved, died this evening, at 6:25 pm. He was home, in bed, and we were all with him. He turned 90 just yesterday. He told me recently that his concept of death was ‘going somewhere I’ve never been before, like Finland or Estonia.’ May God rest his soul.” Barry Farber began his talk radio career in 1960 on WINS, New York with his “Barry Farber’s WINS Open Mike” show, the only talk show on a rock ‘n’ roll station. He left for WOR, New York in 1962 to do the evening show, which eventually led to his becoming the all-night host in 1967. He left WOR in 1977 to delve into politics as the conservative party candidate for New York City mayor and when that didn’t pan out, he joined WMCA, New York and did afternoon drive for the next decade. Farber, with the help of Michael Castello and the late Alan Colmes, formed an independent network called Daynet. That proved to be one of the forerunners of today’s independent talk syndication scene. Since 2009, Farber had been hosting a nightly talk show on CRN Digital Talk – something he did until his last live program last week. In 2012, Farber was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine. Radio Pro Michelle Jerson interviewed Farber at the TALKERS conference in New York City that year.  You can see it hereNewsmax founder Christopher Ruddy tells TALKERS he met Farber when he was 16 years old and they’ve been friends for 40 years. “I grew up listening to Barry Farber, a favorite of my mother who made his WMCA, WOR and WABC shows a staple of our kitchen radio. He was a thinking conservative, not a bomb thrower, who loved America, his Jewish faith, and Israel, as well as the 26 languages he spoke, many in dialect.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Barry Farber was one of the founding fathers of talk radio whose influential career spanned both the modern and pre-modern eras of the format. He described his longevity in the business as ‘being big in the old days and old in the big days.’ He was among the finest public speakers of his time and a true wordsmith who served as an inspiration for generations of broadcasters who strived to be artists as well as communicators.”

iHeartMedia Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan. Also known in the financial business as the “poison pill,” the shareholder rights plan is designed to prevent a hostile takeover bid. iHeartMedia states that its board of directors is approving “the adoption of a short-term stockholder rights plan in order to protect the best interests of all iHeartMedia stockholders during the current period of high equity-market volatility and price disruption. The board adopted the rights plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations; the complex nature of the company’s capital structure; to enable all of iHeartMedia’s stockholders to realize the full potential of their investment in the company in light of the inherent resilience of the company’s cash flow model and patient capital structure; and to protect the interests of iHeartMedia and its stockholders by deterring any entity, person or group from attempting opportunistically to gain undue influence over or control of iHeartMedia through open market accumulation or other tactics without paying an appropriate control premium.” Specifically, under this plan “the board has declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock and warrant issued in connection with the Company’s plan of reorganization. The record date for such dividend distribution is May 18, 2020.”

Crossover Media Group Sales to Rep Quick Hits Media. The recently launched Quick Hits Media and Crossover Media Group Sales have struck a deal for the latter to provide ad sales for Quick Hits. Quick Hits was recently launched by veteran television journalist David Shuster and partners to “bring compelling conversations and expertise to news consumers via succinct, informative, 10-minute exchanges, covering the day’s top stories, that are polished, highly watchable and digestible on all screens.” Quick Hits says its team “boasts global journalism experience developed at news organizations including, among others, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, i24 News, NowThis News, Associated Press, and Investigative Journal, and informed by assignments and postings throughout the U.S., U.K., Germany, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and East Africa among other locales.” Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund states, “It’s a new world in which news consumption has skyrocketed and consumers more than ever are seeking information and insights that are presented clearly, comprehensibly and succinctly by globally experienced, big-picture journalists. David and his colleagues bring decades of experience and complementary backgrounds to the task of keeping viewers informed of the critical issues of the day from a worldwide perspective.”

iHeartMedia Unveils SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program. The “SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program” is a suite of three new SmartAudio products that iHeartMedia says enable businesses to utilize its “unparalleled data and scale to re-engage with their loyal customers, and find new ones, as the nation’s economy begins to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company says businesses will also be able to use the new products to deliver tailored advertising messages based on local market data to ensure businesses are reaching their customers with messaging that fits their circumstances. The three new products in the suite are: SmartAudio COVID Community Recovery Index, SmartAudio Brand Loyalists, and SmartAudio Unlimited.  iHeartMedia president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky says, “The massive disruption created by the pandemic has caused brand loyalties to shift as consumers adapted to limited supplies and financial constraints – making them rethink what is essential. The SmartAudio data platform uses iHeartMedia’s best-in-class audience data and real-time inputs to give brands the power to reconnect with their loyal customers and find switchers as they enter the market in a post COVID-19 world.”

TALKERS News Notes. Today (5/7), Entercom’s Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports Radio” is hosting “The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Radiothon” to support children and families who are experiencing hardships from the global health pandemic. As part of the daylong event, KCSP will welcome celebrity guests at the top of each hour to help raise funds and awareness, including Chiefs safety and foundation founder Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, former Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, and more…..iHeartMedia Denver’s KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” is extending its broadcast agreement with the University of Colorado Athletics Department and its exclusive multimedia rightsholder, Buffalo Sports Properties, for a 77th season. The deal means listeners will continue to hear all Buffs sports, including football as well as men’s and women’s game broadcasts. Mark Johnson will return this fall as the “Voice of the Buffs” for his 17th season of play-by-play reporting for Buffs football and men’s basketball…..AdLarge Media announces that with the return of NASCAR on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway, Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network are delivering the races to radio stations across America. AdLarge Media chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith says, “NASCAR is back! It couldn’t be at a better time as the country is starved for sports. Long time NASCAR fans are going to be glued to the radio broadcasts of these races and new NASCAR fans are going to find out what the excitement is all about. One of the special aspects of NASCAR is the relationship between the fans and the sponsors who support the sport. I can’t wait for the radio broadcasts to get going and for our advertisers to make that connection with fans, new and old.”…..Cadence13 partners with Headspace to create a slate of new and original podcasts dedicated to mindful living. The first, Radio Headspace, will launch later this month and will feature a daily, short-form meditation podcast hosted by Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe in an effort “to help listeners cope with the heightened stress of our changing world.” Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “As our daily routines are changing and the world we live in has brought on an unprecedented uncertainty, Headspace continues to offer a more mindful experience. There’s never been a better time to bring the Headspace experience into podcasting, and we’re thrilled to be their partner in this important venture, and at this important time.”

Newsmax TV Inks Carriage Deal with Mediacom Communications. Cable operator Mediacom Communications operates primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, reaching approximately 1.4 million households and businesses.  This deal will put Newsmax TV in the company’s expanded basic package it calls Variety TV.  Newsmax SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Mediacom is one of the most respected operators in the industry and we’re pleased to partner with them in delivering Newsmax TV across their heartland footprint.”  This pact means Newsmax now has distribution agreements with each of the top 10 pay TV operators in the U.S and Comscore reports Newsmax total household cume viewership is up over 200% from mid-2019, and viewership in the first quarter of 2020 outpaced the prior quarter by 74%.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Unemployment Figures/The Economy, States Re-Opening, Black Jogger Slaying, and Presidential Race/Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the expected release of the latest unemployment figures and the state of the U.S. economy; the numerous states planning to re-open their economies; the viral video revealing the shooting death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia; and the presidential race and the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the preeminent financial advisors on radio in America today, Ric Edelman – founder of Edelman Financial Services and Edelman Financial Engines – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Edelman has been a major talk radio professional for nearly 30 years, currently airing on 80 stations coast-to-coast, as well as a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s also produced several award-winning specials for public television and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 10 books on personal finance, including a best-selling children’s book on money. Harrison engages Edelman in a remarkably candid discussion about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intricacies of the “lives versus livelihood” debate dominating the national conversation.  In the process, they take a deep dive into the psychology of America’s consumer culture and the nature of personal debt as it applies to the nation’s emotional profile. Don’t miss this extraordinarily timely and informative conversation!  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 on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Dave Levora is back on the air in the Quad Cities after exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOC-AM during the “employee dislocation” that took place back in January.  He’s co-hosting mornings on Regional Media’s KQCJ-FM as the station flips from adult hits to alternative as “Planet 93.9.” He tells Regional’s Illinois News Now that he was finished with radio until the company’s Fletcher Ford offered him the chance to build a radio station on his terms…..The Toledo Blade reports that country WKKO “K-100” weekend personality Craig Snyder is recovering from COVID-19 at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. He tells the Blade that the doctors say he is getting better.  He’s been in the ICU for two weeks and was in a different facility for a week and a half prior…..Entercom Boston helped raise funds to provide 156,684 meals for people in need through the Greater Boston Food Bank. The “Feed New England Radiothon” took place on Tuesday (5/5) and was presented by local grocery chains Shaw’s and Star Market. Helping in the cause were celebs including pop star Joe Jonas, singer and songwriter Charlie Puth, singer and songwriter Noah Cyrus, legendary Boston comedian and actor Lenny Clarke, and New England Patriots safety and three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty.

Monday, February 10, 2020

| February 10, 2020

Monday Memo: THIS Time for Sure! A week after Rush Limbaugh’s news stunned us, many affiliates are still asking what to do.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a suggestion. Read it here.

Presidential Race, Wuhan Coronavirus/Economic Impact, Attacks on Cops, Trump Budget-Border Wall Funding, and the Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the Iowa Caucuses and the buildup to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus and its effect on the Chinese economy and the world’s financial markets; the two planned attacks on New York City police officers; President Trump’s budget proposal that includes heightened military and border wall spending and reduced foreign aid and safety net spending; and Sunday night’s Academy Awards show were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group to Sell Ohio Papers to Cox Enterprises Inc. The Apollo Global Management-controlled Cox Media Group is agreeing to sell its Ohio dailies – the Dayton Daily News, the Springfield Sun-News, and the JournalNews to its former owner, Cox Enterprises Inc. (CEI is a minority owner of Cox Media Group).  If you recall, CEI sold the majority of CMG to Apollo in a deal that closed in December.  However, the courts reversed the FCC’s ruling to rescind the cross-ownership ban, forcing CMG to either sell the newspapers or take them off a daily print schedule in order to comply with the ban.  Apollo Global Management co-lead partner of private equity David Sambur says, “Apollo is committed to strengthening local media.  When faced with the unfortunate requirements of an antiquated regulation, we would not accept an outcome that reduced local news coverage for the people of Dayton, Springfield and Butler County.  We applaud the FCC for working with us and providing us the flexibility to find a stable, long-term buyer who is committed to providing the citizens of Ohio with award winning journalism.”  Following the sale, Rob Rohr will continue his role as vice president and general manager of CMG broadcast outlets news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, country WHKO, and rock WZLR plus WHIO-TV.  Following the sale, the Ohio newspapers will be under the interim operational leadership of Jana Collier, who currently serves as vice president of content at CMG Ohio.  The sale of the papers to CEI is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Eclectic Gathering.  A diverse group of communications figures gathered last night (2/9) for a dinner symposium on media and politics organized by Newsmax at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Among the topics discussed were the 2020 presidential race, the state of talk radio, and the history of tabloid journalism in Western culture.  Pictured (l-r): Bernadette Duncan, author/professor; Michael Harrison, founder TALKERS;  Cable Neuhaus, legendary journalist/correspondent; Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax; Iain Calder, former president/editor, National Enquirer; Steve Lapa, president, Lapcom Communication Corp.; Herb Mallard, international issues blogger; and Nicole DiCocco, executive director, H.O.P.E. Foundation for a Better Tomorrow.

Entercom and NBC Agree to Share Content in Philly.  This content-sharing partnership between Entercom’s all-news KYW-AM and NBC’s WCAU-TV “NBC 10” and WWSI-TV “Telemundo62” is multiplatform across all broadcast channels, websites, and social media.  As part of the agreement, KYW Newsradio and WCAU and WWSI “will work together to better serve the community via improved access and coverage of live, local breaking news, general news, weather, sports, politics and entertainment in both English and Spanish languages.”  Content from the partnership will also be shared across Entercom Philadelphia sister stations WPHT-AM, WIP-FM, WTDY-FM, WOGL-FM, and WBEB-FM.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re thrilled that the region’s most experienced and innovative radio team is joining forces with the most forward-thinking team in local television.  This strategic partnership will provide the Philadelphia area with the most immediate, accurate, and compelling news, weather, traffic, and entertainment reports.”

WWO Blog: Agencies Want More Reach and Better Attribution from Podcasting. According to the latest blog post from Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard, a new study of advertisers and agencies suggests that in order for podcasting to become a $2 billion per year advertising medium, it will have to achieve 44% reach and improved attribution.  In the study, agencies and brands say the responses from the 95 executives surveyed centered around improved measurement and attribution.   Besides that, “Some indicate content will need to step up: ‘Larger scale content…a big breakthrough in the content space.’ Others note podcast discovery and search needs improvement.  A number feel big marketers coming into the podcast space will be a major accelerator.  Several point to the major opportunity to monetize ‘the longer tail shows which are being relatively ignored.'”

TALKERS News Notes. Former Illinois U.S. Representative Joe Walsh has ended his race for the Republican nomination for president.  Walsh was hosting the evening program for Salem Radio Network and a local afternoon show at Salem’s WIND-AM “AM 560 The Answer” prior to his late-August announcement he’d challenge Donald Trump for the nomination.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes in his column, Walsh has no plans to attempt to return to the talk radio business.  He told the Daily Herald, “I don’t like President Trump, so I have no home on conservative talk radio.”  Steve Cortes took over the WIND-AM show and WIND-AM morning drive co-host Dan Proft is hosting the syndicated evening show…..Legendary actor Robert Conrad – who hosted a talk radio show on the Southern California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio network in his later years – died on Sunday (2/8) at the age of 84.  His radio program was called “The Lounge with Robert Conrad.”  Of course, he starred on such television hits as “The Wild, Wild West” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”

Post Impeachment, Steve Bannon Transitions Radio Show. With the impeachment trial of President Trump behind the nation, Stephen K. Bannon transitions his “War Room: Impeachment” radio program into the new two-hour daily radio show “War Room: 2020” and “War Room: Pandemic” on The John Fredericks Radio Network.  Joining Bannon on the programs are former Trump for President campaign communications director Jason Miller and Brexit comms chief Raheem Kassam.

PPM Analysis: AC Part 2. In this second look at the adult contemporary Holiday 2019 PPM survey results, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of data from the past six Holiday PPM surveys from Nielsen Audio.  See the story here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. The NAB announces that top 40 radio legend John Records Landecker will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the 2020 NAB Show during the April 20 Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner at the Encore in Las Vegas.  NAB EVP of industry affairs Steve Newberry says, “John Records Landecker has had a profound impact on radio and has inspired generations of new talent.  His induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame symbolizes the personal connection between DJs and their audiences and how innovative personalities can influence radio programming.”…..At the Buffalo operations of Townsquare Media, Chris Crowley adds operations manager for the cluster to his duties.  Crowley will continue to serve as brand manager for country WYRK and adult contemporary WMSX.  Simultaneously, urban AC WBLK afternoon personality Yasmin Young is promoted to brand manager for the station…..Pacific Media Group announces David Baronfield is the new market manager for its Oahu station group, beginning February 18.  The Oahu cluster includes CHR KDDB “102.7 Da Bomb,” rhythmic AC KUMU, alternative KPOI “ALT 105.9,”and Hawaiian KQMQ “Da Pa’ina.”  He was most recently director of sales and Hagadone Media Group Hawaii.  Pacific Media Group president and CEO Chuck Bergson says, “After an extensive nationwide search, David was the perfect person to step in as the leader of the Honolulu stations.  He is a proven and accomplished leader who has extensive experience in the radio business, has excelled in medium and large markets across the country serving in all aspects – programming, engineering, promotions, and sales.  David has been successful in the Hawaii business community, developed key relationships, and has an understanding of what makes Hawaii such a special and unique place to live and do business.  In the end, what made David different from the rest is his understanding of what makes radio ‘magic,’ and that is when it is live, local, and community-based.”