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.
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.
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.”