Lotus Communications’ Seattle All-News Officially Announces New Calls and Slogan. Last Friday (1/28), TALKERS magazine reported the changes included in a Seattle Times piece about the former KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Now, Lotus Communications makes it official. The all-news outlet takes on the new call letters KNWN-AM/FM and adopts the slogan “Northwest Newsradio.” The company says that the change was a condition of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s sale of the station – and sister AC KPLZ-FM “STAR 101.5” and talk KVI-AM – to Lotus. Sinclair continues to own and operate KOMO-TV. Lotus says, “Our commitment as the market’s leader in local and global news will not change. The same voices and outstanding news coverage that the Northwest has depended on will remain, as well as the station’s news and weather content sharing partnership with KOMO television.” Station general manager Gary Greenberg adds, “We honor the 95-year history of KOMO radio and its importance to our region. Lotus is fully committed to growing KNWN as the Northwest’s news and information leader by further engaging our community, advertisers and listeners.”
FOX News Channel Marks 20 Years as Top Cable News Channel. Citing data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Media says that its FOX News Channel “has accomplished another historic feat, marking its 20th consecutive year as the number one cable news network in total day and primetime. Since January 2002, FNC has remained the most-watched cable news network across both dayparts with total viewers and in the 25-54 demographic. FNC continued its ratings dominance for the month of January and was the only cable news network to show year-over-year growth in total day viewers, while MSNBC and CNN are experiencing massive declines, both shedding nearly three quarters of their audience.” FOX says that FNC continued to grow its audience share, occupying more than half the audience in total day viewers (55%) and the 25-54 demo (56%) and in primetime across both categories (56% P2+ and 56% A25-54). FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott comments, “I am immensely proud of this landmark achievement as it is a testament to the dedicated teams across FOX News Channel, who are the backbone in making us number one for 20 consecutive years with the most loyal and politically diverse audience in cable news.”
SiriusXM Reports Q 2021 Net Revenue Up 4%. Reporting its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial results, SiriusXM says its Q4 revenue was $2.28 billion – an increase of 4% over the same period in 2020 – and its full-year revenue was $8.7 billion – up 8% over all of 2020. Net income for the fourth quarter was $318 million, compared to Q4 2020’s net loss of $677 million. Net income for the full-year of 2021 was $1.31 billion compared to 2020’s net income of $131 million. (The fourth quarter and full year 2020 was impacted by a $976 million non-cash impairment charge associated with Pandora.) SirtiusXM CEO Jennifer Witz says, “2021 was an outstanding year across the board. We added more than one million net new SiriusXM self-pay subscribers for the 10th time in the past 11 years; this growth continues to be sustained by a fifth straight year of improving churn. Once again, we outperformed all of 2021’s public guidance, and now our strong financial position enables us to declare a special cash dividend to our stockholders. Our performance last year is a testament to our strong execution – and staying true to our vision of connecting listeners to the content they love. We collaborated with renowned and emerging creators across our platforms to deliver curated premium content both in- and out-of-car; and delivered value to our advertisers with effective solutions to reach a massive audience of more than 150 million listeners.” The company reports data for two segments – the SiriusXM segment and the Pandora segment that includes podcast platform Stitcher. SiriusXM says that in 2021, Stitcher and the company’s off-platform advertising businesses contributed $348 million of revenue, representing nearly 23% of the Pandora segment’s total revenue. Off-platform revenue, excluding Stitcher, increased approximately $60 million or 36% compared to 2020.
Good Karma Brands and WTMJ-AM, Milwaukee Giving Officer Shot in Line of Duty Trip to Super Bowl XVI. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ-AM and parent company Good Karma Brands are sending Milwaukee police officer Herbert Davis III, a Cincinnati Bengals fan who was shot multiple times while on duty on January 27, to the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Davis was doing a welfare check on a person reportedly slumped over in their car. That person got into a struggle with Davis and shot him before stealing his cruiser and driving away. Davis says he’s taking his father with him to the game since his father instilled his love for the Bengals in him. WTMJ vice president Steve Wexler said on the WTMJ afternoon program, “It’s just a token of our appreciation for your service, your commitment, and your inspiration that you’ve brought to all of us.” Good Karma is giving Davis two tickets to the game, airfare to LA, a hotel room and several thousand dollars in spending money.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM late night talk host Nick Digilio launches a new podcast called “The Nick D Podcast” on the Radio Misfits Podcast Network. Digilio tells Rick Kaempfer of Illinois Entertainer, “The podcast will be a lot like the WGN show. Tons of guests that were regulars on my show on WGN, and we cover the world of pop culture. We’ll do all the regular features that we did on the show. I’ll do movie reviews. And I get to swear a little. If you were a fan of the radio show, you’ll like this podcast.”…..Comic Byron Kennedy launches the podcast, “Hot Chicken & Cage-Free Conversation,” the first three episodes of which feature country artists Jimmie Allen, Brett Eldredge, and Lainey Wilson. The podcast is a production of Benztown and McVay Media Podcast Networks and is billed as a “wildly unscripted podcast that will feature special guests ranging from musical artists to industry power players, professional athletes, actors, fellow comedians and more.”…..FOX Sports Radio says it will begin its 22nd annual Super Week coverage on Monday (2/7). Twenty-three hours a day of FSR’s weekday lineup will originate from Los Angeles, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; “The Dan Patrick Show”; “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox”; “The Doug Gottlieb Show”; “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard and Rob Parker”; “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon”; and “The Ben Maller Show.” The network will also present a special live, remote broadcast from Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on Saturday (2/12) featuring “Up On Game with LaVar Arrington, TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress”; “The Joy Taylor Show”; and “Steve Hartman & Geoff Schwartz.”
January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, Ukraine Tensions, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Deadly Violence Against Cops, Beijing Olympics, Spotify Case, and Whoopi Goldberg Suspended Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/1). The House Select Committee’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s statement he may pardon those convicted if elected; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, mandates, and school policies; the diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the battle for control over Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rash of deadly attacks on police in numerous U.S. cities; the political sideshow accompanying the Beijing Winter Olympics; Spotify’s handling of musicians pulling their music from the service over podcaster Joe Rogan’s program; and Whoopi Goldberg is suspended from ABC’s “The View” after Holocaust remarks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS magazine Offices Closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The offices of TALKERS magazine will be closed from the end of business today (11/24) through the weekend. TALKERS will reopen on Monday (11/29). The staff of TALKERS hopes that everyone enjoys a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!
NOW POSTED: This Thanksgiving Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Thanksgiving Weekend,” looks back at this past week of 11/22 – 11/26. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Dr. Murray Sabrin, professor emeritus of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; “SuperTalk 99.7” WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
WWO: Radio and Podcast Revenues to Rise in 2022. This week’s blog post from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group, assesses leading revenue forecasts and key trends to watch for in the coming year. The piece predicts that 2020 AM/FM radio revenue will grow 6% to 8% while podcast revenue will grow 31%. Of the big 10 categories that represent 60% of local revenue for radio stations, the five to watch are: auto, TV/cable, healthcare, home improvement, and communications/cellular. Travel and entertainment should also surge. At the network level, look for continued growth in pharmaceutical, financial, business-to-business brands, recruitment, consumer packaged goods, restaurants, insurance, and auto. The post predicts that when it comes to ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio will remain dominant, AM/FM radio streaming will surpass Pandora and Spotify, podcasts will continue to explode, and Pandora will collapse.
Sarah Quinn Named Marketing Director for iHeartMedia Greensboro. Radio and marketing pro Sarah Quinn joins iHeartMedia Greensboro, North Carolina as marketing director for the cluster that includes news/talk WPTI-FM and seven music brands. Quinn comes to iHeartMedia from Alpha Media’s Canton, Ohio operations where she was marketing and promotions director and an air personality. iHeartMedia Greensboro SVP of programming Zac Davis says, “We had some great candidates from different backgrounds apply for this integral position, but Sarah possessed a unique skill set that really stood out to us. Her beliefs and work ethic align well with what we’re doing here in Greensboro and she’s going to hit the ground running!”
Alliance for Women in Media Unveils New Mentoring Program. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the launch of a new program – “AWM Connects presented by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Ziploc Accessory Bags.” This new program is “an exciting new virtual mentoring program that will connect young/new professionals with senior level executives throughout television, radio, and digital media.” The event takes place on December 15 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and includes an opportunity for mentees and mentors to interact. Mentees will also be connected with mentors for a one-on-one conversation following the conclusion of the event. Mentors will be members of the AWM and AWM Foundation Board of Directors as well as high-level executives specifically selected to match up with the mentees that apply for the program. Mentees interested in participating in this inaugural program should apply by December 1. AWM president Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media has been connecting, educating and recognizing women in all forms of media for 70 years and this is the next opportunity to fulfill our important mission. We strongly encourage up and coming women in radio, television and digital medias to apply for an opportunity to experience this unique mentoring program and stay engaged with AWM as we move into the next 70 years.”
South Carolina Radio Station Holds ‘On-Air Job Fair.’ WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller (pictured at right with Jay Logan of the local Reagan Flooring company) recently held an “On-Air Job Fair” to assist in matching up employers with open positions with people looking for work. Eller tells TALKERS magazine that one employer needed as many as 30 people to care for clients with disabilities and special needs. Another was seeking flooring installers. An international company in the healthcare field had manufacturing and other specialized jobs available. She says she’s been hearing local stories from businesses, industries, and service providers about the increasing lack of employees for jobs, many of which offered good starting salaries and benefits. She adds, “Although this is a nationwide problem, the lack of workers has been impacting our economy for months. Restaurants had shorter hours or were closing on more days. People needing home and other repairs had long waits. The stories were endless, and I knew that I had to do something to help.” Connecting with the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce, she asked the Chamber to promote the idea to its members and in return, she would provide a business with 10 minutes of free air time to discuss their business or organization, the types of services it provides and the employees and skills needed for the positions. She had one requirement: employers had to give a phone number so that people could call and discuss the position because she believes many people are intimidated by filling out job applications online. She says the job fair was a success as employers received calls after their air time from potential employees and other businesses began calling to find out when the next job fair would be held. Eller says, “We will monitor the demand in the community. I am passionate about serving the needs of my listeners and advertisers, and I would love to see this happen again.”
TALKERS News Notes. San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is sitting in for Premiere Networks afternoon drive talk host Sean Hannity on today’s program. Pags tells TALKERS, “I’m extremely thankful and thrilled to crack the mic for broadcasting superstar Sean Hannity. Huge shoes to fill.”…..Edison Research announces the debut of The Infinite Dial 2021 UK, sponsored by Bauer Media and Spotify, debuting in a webinar on Thursday, December 2. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “We are excited to add the UK to the list of countries around the world investigating digital audio, podcasting, and social media usage via The Infinite Dial franchise. Thanks to Bauer Media and Spotify for bringing this beneficial research to the media community in the UK.”…..PodcastOne announces the launch of “Melissa Gorga On Display,” a new pop culture podcast hosted by the reality star and influencer. Gorga, who has spent a decade on the immensely popular Bravo series “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” brings to the podcast her expertise in all things marriage, motherhood, fashion and, of course, reality television. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There is absolutely no denying the immense popularity of Melissa Gorga and the impact her presence has had on pop culture around the world. Her podcast is exactly what audiences want in a celebrity-hosted podcast, and listeners will not be disappointed.”…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, in partnership with EagleBank and 4giving, announces the conclusion of its inaugural Week of Giving holiday charity campaign aimed at raising money and awareness for local charities. The WTOP Week of Giving Campaign ran for one week from Monday, November 8 through Friday, November 12 and raised $9,054 for local charities. WTOP also matched donations made as part of an internal employee match program encouraging employees, as well as their friends and family, to donate during the Week of Giving. WTOP general manager Joel Oxley says, “We’re so honored to be able to give back to our community in this way and thankful for the giving spirit of our loyal audience. We couldn’t help these charities and the people they support without them.”
Inflation-Gas Prices/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, California Looting Spree, Charlottesville Jury Awards Damages, COVID-19, Ohio Opioid Verdict, Ahmaud Arbery Case, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The soaring prices of food and gasoline and the broken supply chain; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the subpoenas issued for Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone and media figure Alex Jones; the rising number of smash-and-grab mall looting cases in California; a jury in Charlottesville awards $26 million in damages stemming from the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and the battle over mask & vaccine mandates; an Ohio jury finds CVS, Walgreens and Walmart liable in the opioid epidemic; the jury considers the evidence in the trial of three men in the death of Ahmaud Arbery; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Nexstar Names Gliha VP/CFO. In two weeks (8/9), Jefferies LLC managing director Lee Ann Gliha will become Nexstar Media Group’s executive vice president/chief financial officer. She will take over CFO responsibilities from Thomas E. Carter, who was promoted to president/chief operating officer late last year and was Nexstar’s executive vice president/chief financial officer since 2009. According to Carter, “[Lee Ann is] an accomplished finance leader who understands the rapidly evolving media ecosystem and brings extensive industry relationships to her new role at Nexstar. This background will be invaluable to [our] senior management team, board of directors, and our experienced finance team. [She] will be instrumental in advancing our strategic objectives with the goal of further enhancing shareholder value.” Gliha comments, “Throughout its 25-year history, Nexstar has been at the forefront of every major innovation in local broadcasting, while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Nexstar’s corporate and local management teams have built the preeminent local broadcasting and digital media company in the country and consistently delivered impressive financial results for shareholders. I am thrilled to be joining Nexstar – I look forward to growing and evolving the business and driving new value for shareholders.” Prior to working at Jefferies LLC, Gliha was Live Nation’s executive vice president/corporate finance.
Westwood One Sets Affiliate Sales Moves. Boosted to vice president of affiliate sales for 24/7 formats at CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One is Neal Weiner, while Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate sales for the music & entertainment division. Senior vice president of affiliate sales Stuart Greenblatt comments, “With more than a quarter-century with Westwood One, Neal knows this business inside and out; Sue’s new role brings her full circle back to Westwood One. There are no better people to assume these roles and drive Westwood One’s affiliate sales.” Weiner remarks, “We have fantastic new offerings in the pipeline for helping our affiliates to operate smoothly and efficiently and to sound amazing. I’m honored to assume this role at such an exciting time.” Falco notes, “Westwood One is synonymous with great programming and super-sized talent. I’m thrilled to be back on the team with such a well-respected brand.” Weiner’s 26-year tenure at Westwood One has included working with 24/7 formats; music and entertainment shows; sports; and prep services. He began his radio career at then Westwood-owned KQLZ “Pirate Radio,” Los Angeles. Falco most recently spent ten years as United Stations’ director of affiliate sales. Prior to that, she had a six-year run at Westwood One as part of both the news/talk and country affiliate sales teams.
Audacy Introduces Podsauce. The one-hour Dax Holt and Alesha Reneé-hosted multi-platform podcast discovery show assists podcast partisans find new series; it will begin this Thursday (7/29). Audacy Digital executive vice president/general manager Pam Russo contends, “With over two million active podcasts and nearly 50 million episodes worldwide, finding a podcast to listen to can be overwhelming. That’s where ‘Podsauce’ comes in. Through Alesha and Dax’s passion for this exploding medium, coupled with in-depth conversations with the people behind the content, ‘Podsauce’ will give consumers a taste of [the] top shows – both in our portfolio and beyond – and spotlight the very best in the world of podcasting.” Holt spent 11 years at TMZ where he won two Emmy nominations. He hosts the “Hollywood Raw” podcast. Actress/TV personality Reneé has appeared on “Girl Code,” “Guy Code,” “E! News,” “HotWyred,” “The 5ive,” and “106 and Park.” In addition, she has been the host/spokesperson for McDonald’s “Men of McCafe.” Select sound bites titled the “Podsauce Minute” will be heard on Audacy’s 235 broadcast stations.
SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Of $2.16 Billion. That’s an increase of 15% compared to this time last year. SiriusXM’s 2021 Q2 net income of $433 million is up $190 million versus 2020’s $243 million. The substantial increase included $140 million in insurance recoveries related to its SXM-7 satellite. Chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “We are increasing all of our financial guidance. The quarter was bolstered by record self-pay churn of just 1.5%, and we achieved strong monetization in our advertising business with an increase in ad revenue of 82% from the prior year period and 20% from the second quarter of 2019. We have long been the leader in shaping the future of audio for listeners, and we continue doing so by providing curated and premium content in innovative formats.” Earlier this month, the satcaster announced that a daily Megyn Kelly-hosted show (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) will begin on September 7. Witz notes, “In addition, video of the best moments from the show will be available in our app to subscribers and a podcast version of the show will be distributed broadly on SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, and other major platforms. Seth Rogen will do his first-ever podcast with us starting in the fall.”
Salem Radio Network Extends Gorka. The multi-year agreement enables Sebastian Gorka to continue his 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (ET) Salem Radio Network “America First” program that began in January 2019. Salem senior vice president for spoken-word Phil Boyce states, “Dr. Gorka has proven to be a natural on the radio. His insight into current events, his courageous stands on the issues, and his unique sense of humor have blended together to make this one of the best shows in the Salem lineup.” Gorka adds that, “Despite an incredibly hard 18 months for America, conservative talk radio is stronger than it has ever been. I am so grateful to Salem, my superb team and our amazing listeners for their loyalty and enduring love of country. I am overjoyed at the chance to continue our shared mission to tell the truth and make America even stronger than before.” Gorka grew up in London and learned talk radio listening to radio stations there. A three-time author, he hosts a weekend Newsmax TV show.
RTDNA Announces “The Year Of The Team.” Maintaining this year’s news leadership conference will feature “fresh and focused hands-on training and more intimate/inspirational discussions,” the Radio Television Digital News Association’s “The Year of the Team” retreat will be held in Denver on September 23 – 24. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “When approaching our annual conference this year, we listened to what our members said they wanted in a post-pandemic world in terms of professional development. We have developed a curriculum that helps them restore, rejuvenate, refresh and find ways to be more productive, more satisfied, and more well-rounded as they practice the craft of journalism. It’s going to be a holistic reset and refresh of everything we do as journalists and everything we are as human beings.” News leaders will reportedly celebrate the “Year of the Team” with representation and resilience. Attendees will be able to participate in interactive and immersive sessions taught by subject matter experts on a variety of topics relevant to representation and resilience – including self-care and inclusive language.
COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccine Denial/Hesitancy Top News/Talk Story for Monday July 26. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/26). That was followed closely by the highly contentious January 6 Committee debate between the parties. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com.See this week’s complete chart here.
TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland-based Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff have exited Sun Broadcast Group as chief operating officer and vice president/operations, respectively … As first reported by Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), former standup comedian Patti Vasquez’s “Driving It Home With Patti Vasquez” (5:00 pm – 6:00 pm) will be added to Newsweb Chicago news/talk WCPT’s weekday roster next Monday (8/2). Vasquez formerly did evenings at cross-town Nexstar news/talk WGN … Former eight-year traffic pilot/reporter at (now Audacy-owned) St. Louis news/talk KMOX John Larrabee, 73, passed away earlier this month (7/10) at his Moscow Mills (Missouri) home. His other radio credits include stops in New York City (WXLO) and Hartford (WDRC-AM and WPOP), as well as programming St. Louis’ KSLQ and KADI.
Newsmax To Unveil “Eric Bolling The Balance.” Touting it as a (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm) weekday show “for everyday Americans, covering the issues that truly matter,” Newsmax will introduce “Eric Bolling The Balance’’ tomorrow (7/28). According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “Viewers know and trust Eric Bolling as one of the most tenacious guys in news. Insiders know he’s a true veteran who is driven to follow the facts and deliver the news.” Before joining Newsmax last month, Bolling hosted a weekly talk show on Sinclair Broadcasting and hosted “The Five,” “Cashin’ In,” and “Fast Money.” He is a former commodities trader and board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
RTDNA/Newhouse School: 2020 A Dangerous Year for Journalists. The annual survey of broadcast newsrooms from the RTDNA and the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University notes that during the past year, the job of seeking and reporting the truth became increasingly dangerous. “Journalists were threatened, assaulted and arrested at an alarming rate while on the job. We faced unprecedented levels of verbal and physical violence at the hands of civilians, police and the leaders we are meant to hold accountable.” This is the first year that the survey included a section on media safety. The survey’s research team says it wanted to understand how repeated, targeted acts of violence have impacted newsrooms across the country and learned that one in five television news directors reported attacks on employees. 86% of news directors changed newsroom procedures to protect employees. They purchased bullet-proof vests and gas masks and more often sent security teams with reporters. As far as radio is concerned, the study concludes, “Not surprisingly, the level of attacks at radio stations and on radio news people is much lower. Four percent of radio news directors and general managers reported attacks on newsroom employees. It was primarily a problem in major markets, with one million and more people, where 13.8% of news directors and general managers reported attacks on employees.” You can see the complete survey here. Commenting on the study, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Broadcast journalists play an essential role in documenting pivotal moments in American history from the front lines. That has never been more important than during the past year. NAB is gravely troubled by this study reporting the unprecedented level of harassment, intimidation and violence directed at journalists covering the historical events of 2020. These unacceptable attacks on our nation’s free press undermine our very democracy by preventing journalists’ ability to report the facts and keep the public informed. We are grateful to the dedicated broadcast journalists bringing the truth to Americans during these dangerous times.”
Nick Craig to Host Mornings on WAAV-AM, Cape Fear. Beginning May 3, Nick Craig begins hosting “Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig” on Cumulus Media’s news/talk/sports WAAV-AM, Cape Fear, North Carolina “980 The WAAV.” The station says the show is “a live and local morning show hosted by fresh conservative talk personality Nick Craig. The show focuses on the day’s biggest stories including Wilmington and the Cape Fear region. The show will feature a wide variety of topics, guests, and listener interaction.” Cumulus Wilmington VP and market manager Eric McCart comments, “We’re excited to have Nick join our 980 WAAV Cumulus family! He brings a fresh new energy and excitement to weekday mornings that our listeners will really enjoy. If it’s happening in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region, it’s happening on Wilmington’s Morning News with Nick Craig!” Craig adds, “Traveling on the road paved by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, I’m excited to bring the next generation of conservative talk to the Wilmington region and beyond. To be part of a legacy talk station like WAAV and Cumulus Media is quite the opportunity at my age. Looking forward to using these platforms to engage and interact with traditional talk listeners and the next generation.”
Ron Slay Joins WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Afternoon Drive Show. Nashville sports talker WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” announces that former University of Tennessee basketball star Ron Slay is joining the “3HL” afternoon drive program alongside current hosts Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport. Paul Mason is program director for the Cumulus Media station, and he says, “Our listeners have made it clear that they want us to hire Ron Slay. I am happy to say we listened, and we are thrilled Ron Slay will be joining Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport on ‘3HL.’ ‘3HL’ is already a great show and I look forward to seeing it go to even higher levels.” Slay comments, “I am both delighted and eager to join the ‘104.5 The Zone’ and ‘3HL’ families. I hope to bring joy, energy, and insight to Nashville sports enthusiasts each day.”
SiriusXM Reports 2021 Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 5%. Satellite radio and digital audio broadcaster SiriusXM releases its financial data for the first quarter of 2021 and reports total revenue of $2.06 billion, a 5% increase from the $1.95 billion reported during the same period a year ago. However, net income for the quarter was $219 million, a decline of 29% from the $293 million reported in Q1 of 2020. SiriusXM added 126,000 self-pay subscribers to hit its all-time high of 31 million self-pay subscribers. New chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “I am pleased to announce SiriusXM has started the year impressively – we added 126,000 self-pay net subscribers, an 83% increase as compared to the period a year ago, saw a first quarter record-low churn rate of 1.6%, and are reporting a new record-high quarterly adjusted EBITDA figure. These strong results reflect the value we bring to our listeners through the breadth and depth of our content. Our advertising revenue grew 24%, driven by robust monetization of both on- and off-platform opportunities, as well as the growing podcast market. While we are benefiting from the broader reopening of the economy and the acceleration of consumers’ digital adoption, the meaningful long-term investments we’ve been making are also paying off. This includes creating and delivering compelling content, strengthening our digital product experiences, and scaling a full suite of end-to-end distribution and monetization solutions for content creators and publishers. We are extremely focused on achieving our 2021 goals and reinforcing our long-term position as North America’s premier audio entertainment company. Across SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, we have added new channels, shows, hosts, and podcasts, enhancing the expertly curated audio entertainment experience across all formats from music to sports… We are working with highly regarded creators on new podcasts; earlier this week we announced the acquisition of 99% Invisible, the acclaimed and popular podcast from Roman Mars and his creator team. This was our first year as the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, and we have expanded our streaming rights with both the NBA and MLB. We also created special music and talk programming that honored both Black History and Women’s History months back-to-back.”
RAB Announces ‘Radio Works for Automotive’ Presentations. As part of RAB’s Business Accelerated initiative, it is presenting a two-part live series for May’s featured automotive category, one of radio’s most important advertising categories. The first presentation titled, “What’s Driving the Auto Industry?” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 19. As Americans return to school and work, the demand for vehicles grows. Parts shortages, as well as chip scarcity, are hindering inventory on lots and yet, auto sales remain high despite the supply-demand imbalance. In this presentation, hear from experts in both automotive and auto dealership industries including Tyson Jominy, vice president, data and analytics, J.D. Power, and Dick Parrish, dealership management consultant, NADA, who will share insights into the auto industry’s growth and challenges. The second live presentation will feature broadcasters discussing automotive client success stories to help sellers prospect and support their clients. The session, titled “Radio Works for Automotive Part 2,” takes place at 1:00 pm ET on May 26. The presentation will also be available for on-demand viewing. Both presentations are free for RAB members. You can register here.
TALKERS News Notes. The Media Sales Institute announces its strategic alliance with Media Staffing Network that will bring MSN’s media recruiter’s expertise to the MSI curriculum at the 2021 NABOB MSI, being held at the Atlanta University Center and hosted by Morehouse College from October 25 to November 4, 2021. Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn comments, “With our tutelage, we can better prepare the MSI graduates to address the position for which they are applying. Sadly, many colleges and universities are not as up to date on what a recent graduate should include on their resumes. Nor do they teach their students how to best stand out and showcase their value when they have little to no work experience.”…..iHeartMedia and media personality Chelsea Handler have entered into a deal for a new podcast called “Dear Chelsea” to be produced as a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast. The comedian, best-selling author, and television host will give listeners the opportunity to submit questions about life and get candid answers on the podcast. “Dear Chelsea” – also featuring Handler’s co-host and longtime assistant Brandon Marlo – debuts on May 6. Handler says, “iHeartRadio has been a great place for me to share all of my wild, unvarnished thoughts. I’m excited to start this journey with ‘Dear Chelsea’ to help people figure out what they need in life – I’m more than happy to be that kick in the pants or shove that will give someone a new perspective on a situation and help them to make a decision.”…..SiriusXM announces it is again offering listeners nationwide comprehensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby this Saturday (5/1). SiriusXM, through its broadcasting agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network, airs all Triple Crown races – the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network and produced in collaboration with HRRN.
Biden Addresses Congress, COVID-19, Police Violence, Fed Search Giuliani’s Home and Office, John Kerry Iran Allegation, Feds Investigate Direct Energy Attack, and Boris Johnson Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). President Joe Biden’s address to Congress and his wide-ranging $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the exploding cases in India; the spate of high-profile cases of deadly police violence against citizens; the FBI’s search of former NYC mayor and former Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s home and office in an investigation of his ties to Ukraine; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry shared Israeli military intelligence with Iran; the Pentagon’s investigation into a mysterious “direct energy attack” near the White House; and the scandal over Boris Johnson’s refurbishing of 10 Downing St. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.