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Thursday, October 17, 2019

| October 17, 2019

PodcastOne and Edison Research Reveal Data on Podcast ‘Super Listeners’ at IAB Upfront. The topline findings from the first-ever Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research were revealed yesterday (10/16) at the IAB Podcast Upfront in New York and the complete findings will be made available via a webinar on Tuesday, October 22.  PodcastOne and Edison say, “This study showcases the power of podcasting’s most active consumers, including how they react to advertising, the role ads play in their listening experience, and what the industry must be cautious about in maximizing advertising impact.”  The podcast “super listeners” are defined as “those who spend at least five hours listening to podcasts each week.”  This smaller number of consumers that account for a high degree of demand are the people most likely to hear podcasting ads and to really have an opinion about them.  Some of the highlights of the study indicate that advertising in podcasts increases favorability for specific brands.  For example, 60% of “super listeners” appreciate podcast advertisers for supporting their favorite podcasts and 44% say their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned in a podcast they regularly listen to.  This favorability impacts the thing advertisers care about most, conversions.  70% considered a new product or service as a result of hearing a sponsorship or ad on a podcast they regularly listen to and 43% say that when price/quality are equal, they prefer to buy products from companies that advertise on podcasts they regularly listen to.  However, the study also warns that too many ads will leave a negative impression as 50% of “super listeners” say it is important or very important to limit their exposure to ads and 49% of say there are more ads now than there were a year ago.  Right now, only 24% say there are too many ads in podcasts, compared to 62% for TV, 47% for AM/FM radio and 45% for streaming audio.  The webinar will feature PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris and Edison Research SVP Tom Webster as they walk attendees through an exclusive look at podcasting’s heaviest listeners, their attitudes towards advertising, and how they view podcasting in the greater media landscape.  Register here.

Westwood One to Distribute ‘The McLaughlin Group’ Programs. Though we lost program creator and original host John McLaughlin in 2016, the political roundtable talk show “The McLaughlin Group” has been airing on Maryland Public Television since January of this year with a scheduled rollout to public television stations across the country in January 2020.  Now, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One announces it is exclusively distributing and selling a new podcast and weekend radio show with “The McLaughlin Group.”  The podcast becomes available on the Westwood One Podcast Network on November 1, and the radio show will debut the weekend of December 7-8.  New host, political writer and commentator Tom Rogan, is joined by original panel members Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, and Clarence Page.  Additionally, new generation of panelists will join the group engaging in conversations about politics, culture, and foreign policy issues. Listeners will get content from the TV program as well as original bonus content in both the radio show and the podcast.  Cumulus Media EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “We’re proud to provide access to this legendary show as we gear up for what will certainly be one of the most heated election years in American history.  ‘The McLaughlin Group’ was a pioneer among political talk shows and this distinguished iteration lead by Tom Rogan offers important commentary at a significant time.”  “The McLaughlin Group” is produced by BL Sports & Media Group.

TALKERS News Notes. The nominations for the Digital Hollywood Awards are announced and PodcastOne proudly reveals that its programs have earned a total of 51 nominations in the event’s inaugural year.  The awards will be announced at the Digital Hollywood Conference on November 14, 2019.  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz states, “From the day PodcastOne was founded, we were committed to providing advertisers and listeners programming in all genres. Our showing at the Digital Hollywood Awards, with 51 nominations, shows that we accomplished that goal.”  See all the nominations here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WSCR-AM “The Score” sports talk host Jason Goff is joining NBC Sports Chicago to host pre-game and post-game shows for Chicago Bulls games.  Goff lost his gig at “The Score” after Entercom SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro decided some of the station’s hosts were becoming too political, writes Feder…..Award-winning television producer and writer Shonda Rhimes is partnering with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio that will develop a full slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts set to release over the next three years as part of the iHeartPodcast Network.  Rhimes will oversee the development and chief digital and design officer Sandie Bailey will manage day-to-day operation.  Rhimes says, “Podcasting continues to see tremendous growth and I’m excited to partner with iHeartMedia as Shondaland expands its storytelling journey into this medium which has seemed to usher in a unique sense of boldness, intimacy and connection.  With iHeartMedia we aim to share stories that are engaging, insightful, and reflect a robust world-view while staying true to the authentic storytelling voice that has become synonymous with Shondaland.”

Executive Moves at Urban One. The company promotes VP and deputy general counsel C. Kristopher Simpson to senior vice president and general counsel.  At the same time, Urban One announces it is bringing Tony Spinelli aboard as chief information officer.  The company says Simpson will now oversee legal operations across the company’s five divisions.  Throughout his tenure with Urban One, Simpson has provided counsel to the board of directors, executive management, and corporate finance/treasury teams.  He’s also served as counsel on various acquisitions and divestitures across Urban One’s divisions, managed its outside counsel, and worked with its investment advisors on various refinancing projects.  Urban One says Spinelli – who comes to the company after 25 years in the financial services industry – will manage all aspects of the company’s technology infrastructure.  He most recently led the digital startup, Fractal Industries.

2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-Syria Policy, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Controversy, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies, U.S.-China Trade Talks/Hong Kong Bill, and Brexit Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/17). The aftermath of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate; the Trump Administration’s Syria policy and the withdrawal of American troops for Northeastern Syria; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related controversy over Hunter and Joe Biden’s and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings; longtime U.S. Rep. Elijah Cumming dies at 68; the status of U.S.-China trade talks and China’s warning about the U.S. Congress’ Hong Kong bill interfering in their internal affairs; and reports of a Brexit deal on the table were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Country Jock Bob Kingsley Passes at 80. Country radio air personality Bob Kingsley passed away today (10/17) at his home in Weatherford, Texas after a battle with bladder cancer.  He was 80.  Kingsley’s “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” is produced by his KCCS Productions and syndicated globally by Westwood One.  A celebration of life is planned for November 14 at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Kingsley several years back when he served as special features editor for Inside Radio.  Read that piece here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cumulus Media’s hot AC WDVD, Detroit, midday personality and assistant program director Kendall Taylor adds music director duties for the station.  Cumulus Detroit director of FM programming Lance Tidwell says, “Since I started last December, Kendall has been such an important team member and she contributes so much to WDVD.  She brings great ideas and follows them with great organization and execution to what we do on WDVD.  I am thrilled to have her to help improve communication with our important label partners and bringing her own perspective to what we do musically at WDVD.”…..Entercom announces the three dates and lineups for its “Not So Silent Night” alternative music festival.  The RADIO.COM event will happen in New York, hosted by WNYL “ALT 92.3” on December 5; in San Diego, hosted by KBZT-FM “ALT 949” on December 8; and in San Francisco, hosted by KITS “ALT 105.3” on December 7.  Acts booked include: Mumford & Sons, Cage the Elephant, Vampire Weekend, Twenty-One Pilots, Neon Trees, and more…..Modelo beer teams up with rapper Anderson .Paak for the “Modelo Fighting Chance Concert Series,” produced by iHeartRadio, in an effort to raise money for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help refugees, immigrants, and Americans in need achieve their full potential.  Anderson .Paak will perform in San Francisco on November 13, Atlanta on November 15, and New York on November 17…..Skratch N Sniff’s Halloween Mix 2019, “Puddle of Blood” features guest host Wes Scantlin from Puddle of Mudd in which he’ll play his favorite Halloween tunes in the mix with tracks from the new album, Welcome to Galvania.  The radio special syndicated by Compass Media Networks is available for alternative and rock stations for air Friday, October 25 through Halloween…..Pictured below at last night’s “iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John” at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles is pop icon Elton John (left) with WAXQ, New York “Q104” morning personality Jim Kerr (right).  The event celebrated the release of John’s autobiography, ME (2019, Henry Holt) as Kerr spoke with John about his life and career.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

| February 7, 2019

Midwest Communications Paying $21.6 Million for Peoria Stations. When broker KALIL & Co. announced the deal between Alpha Media and Midwest Communications on Tuesday, it did not include the price. Now that the contract is showing up in the FCC database, we know that Midwest will pay Alpha $21.6 million for the six-station cluster in the Peoria market that includes: news/talk WMBD-AM, hot AC WSWT-FM, country WXCL-FM, classic hits WPBG-FM, classic hip hop WNGY-FM and oldies WIRL-AM.

Media Exec Peter I. Morris Named CEO of PodcastOne. Media and business executive Peter I. Morris joins PodcastOne as chief executive officer in a new role in which he’ll manage all day-to-day operations while exploring growth opportunities, strategic partnerships, and new content initiatives.  He joins the management team led by executive chairman Norm Pattiz and president Kit Gray.  Morris comes to PodcastOne with 10-plus years of experience in senior management, business development, and business affairs across film, television, and digital media. He was most recently EVP of Barstool Sports.  He’s also served as EVP of entertainment at IMAX, and head of business affairs & strategy and general counsel at Funny or Die.  Morris says, “Personally, I’m a huge fan of podcasts and a strong believer in the power of the fan communities this medium champions.  The opportunity to work with a legend like Norm Pattiz at PodcastOne, a market leader, is one I couldn’t pass up.  I look forward to leading PodcastOne’s evolution and next chapter of growth.”

Entercom’s Radio.com Strikes Deals with CNN and Bloomberg. This content sharing deal between Entercom and CNN and Blomberg Media provides for Entercom’s RADIO.com platform to air 10 live simulcasts of CNN and Bloomberg programs, in addition to making podcasts from Turner Podcast Network available on the platform.  Simulcast content will include: CNN International, CNN en Español, and HLN from CNN and Bloomberg Radio National as well as New York, D.C., Boston, Bay Area, and London editions.  Entercom chief digital officer JD Crowley says, “We are thrilled to welcome CNN and Bloomberg to RADIO.COM as we increase our premium content offerings.  Through our deep roster of industry-leading radio stations and premium live and on-demand content, RADIO.COM is quickly becoming an important part of the daily audio habit for the tens of millions of listeners we reach per month.  These agreements further cement RADIO.COM’s position as the premiere destination for on-demand audio news, entertainment, music and sports content on a national scale.”

ABC News to Launch ‘The Investigation’ Podcast. Beginning next Tuesday (2/12), ABC News is tackling the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in podcast form.  The new podcast, “The Investigation,” is hosted by ABC News correspondent Kyra Phillips and the ABC News investigative team, led by senior executive producer Chris Vlasto.  ABC says it will provide a weekly, behind-the-scenes look at Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and will focus on the lead-up to the highly anticipated report and explore its aftermath, analyzing the potential fallout and political consequences.   ABC Radio vice president and general manager Steve Jones comments, “We’ve provided extensive coverage of the Mueller probe on our daily podcast ‘Start Here,’ but there’s so much more that Kyra Phillips and our investigative team can provide, that launching a dedicated podcast made spectacular sense.  ‘The Investigation’ will break news, offer context, and make our growing ABC Radio podcast network even more attractive for advertisers hoping to reach an informed and engaged audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Last Saturday evening, Hubbard Radio’s Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM officially moved from its Idaho Ave studios in Northwest DC to its new studios on Wisconsin Ave in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  Check out the video of the station making the flip from the old studio to the new one here…..WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia announces a special Saturday program to address the political scandals affecting Democratic politicians that have the state in the national discussion.  WJFN is operated by conservative talk radio personality John Fredericks and he has been determined to broaden the conversation about Virginia politics by adding Democratic talk hosts to the program schedule.  This weekend, Democrat Susan Platt, who hosts the “Find Your Roar” hourly interview program Saturdays at 9:00 am and Democrat Gene Rossi, host of the “Gene Rossi Show” on Saturdays at 12:00 noon, will team up for a special, two-hour show from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm to address the scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring.  Fredericks says, “At WJFN, our mission is to provide listeners with timely updates, behind-the-scenes details, and clear analysis about the world of Virginia politics.  In the past week, Virginia has been rocked by three distinctive scandals related to race relations and sexual conduct.  These are serious and sensitive subjects involving prominent public officials.  Many Virginians are reeling from these revelations.  In such highly charged moments, we recognize our responsibility to accurately inform our listeners as they put these events into context.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Newsweb Radio’s progressive talk outlet WCPT is losing the host of its 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily program as Los Angeles-based Norman Goldman’s program will end in the near future. Goldman has told his listeners that the show will end because it is losing money and has “no more money to lose.”…..A new podcast called “Mama Said with Jamie and Jenna” is launching on the LadyGang on PodcastOne Network.  The program features “Sopranos” actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and musician Jenna Parris as Sigler, a working and traveling mother, and Parris, a stay-at-home mom and avid researcher, bring together their different perspectives and delve into parenthood with celebrity guests…..iHeartMedia’s news/talk WERC, Birmingham is partnering with the Alliance of American Football club the Birmingham Iron to air all 10 of the team’s games.  The inaugural season of the new football league begins on Sunday (2/10).  Veteran broadcaster Thom Abraham serves as the play-by-play voice with former Alabama All-American Mike Johnson as the color commentator.

Trump-Russia Investigation, House Intel Committee Investigation, State of the Union Address, 2020 Presidential Hopefuls/Elizabeth Warren Native American Issue, AOC’s Green New Deal, Virginia’s Political Chaos, Border Wall Battle, Chicago Cubs Racism Troubles, Venezuela Unrest, James Brown Murder Allegation, and NBA Trade Deadline Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/6). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff’s expansion of his committee’s investigation into President Trump; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address; the Democrats intending to run for president in 2020 and the related story of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be Native American; freshman Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” legislative agenda; the issues of racism and an allegation of sexual assault dogging Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, attorney general Mark Herring, and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the racist emails associated with Joe Ricketts, patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs; the political unrest in Venezuela; the allegation that both James Brown and the legendary performer’s wife were murdered; and the deals taking place at the NBA’s trade deadline 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. In Atlanta, Cumulus Media names Corey Dylan co-host of the “Caddy & Corey” morning show on country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” alongside Cadillac Jack.  Dylan has worked in radio at hot AC WMTX, Tampa and news/talk WFLA-AM, Tampa.  She most recently has been on television’s TMZ and HSN as a guest host.  WKHX program director Brian Thomas comments, “I feel so fortunate for Corey to join Cadillac Jack in mornings.  Her multi-media experience will create one of the best country shows in radio.”