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Thursday, May 26, 2022

| May 26, 2022

Walter M. Sterling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The host of the syndicated 10:00 pm – 1:00 am weekend talk show “Sterling on Sunday” – Walter M. Sterling – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Actually the roles are reversed and Sterling interviews Harrison in a two-segment excerpt from his program this past Sunday night (5/22). Sterling had Harrison on to discuss the impact of digital age technology – specifically the smart phone – on the wiring of the human nervous system. “This is a watershed leap in the evolution of Homo Sapiens,” says Harrison. “While grappling with the question of what it is to be American, society is going to have to increasingly deal with the vastly deeper issue of what it is to be human.” Walter M. Sterling is the on-air persona of historically influential radio programming innovator and management advisor Walter Sabo. Don’t miss this provocative and illuminative conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

Salem Media Group Signs Julie Hartman to Multiplatform Deal. This new pact with recent Harvard University grad Julie Hartman comes three months after she began doing a weekly podcast with Salem Radio Network personality Dennis Prager, titled, “Dennis and Julie.” Hartman’s new deal with Salem Media Group involves her doing projects for the Salem Podcast Network, Salem News Channel, and Salem Radio Network. Senior vice president of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Julie represents a new generation of young media professionals, and we are adding some to the Salem platform, proving that even at Harvard you can come out a conservative if you keep your wits about you. Her story is compelling and even riveting and will probably be a book and a movie someday.” In September, Hartman will begin hosting two shows every weekend on Salem News Channel, three podcasts a week on the Salem Podcast Network, and substitute hosting on various Salem Radio Network programs. Hartman says, “I am honored that Salem Radio Network has entrusted me with this responsibility. Finding Dennis Prager’s work and getting to know him has illuminated my life’s vocation. Because of him, I’ve been able to collaborate with many other remarkably talented people at Salem. My generation needs courageous, independent, truth-telling voices. My goal is to be among the best of them.”

 

 

FOX News Media to Launch ‘The Senate Project’ Debate Series with Lindsey Graham and Bernie Sanders on June 13. A new debate series called The Senate Project – being created by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate – premieres on June 13 in a debate between Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Bernie Sanders. Moderated by FOX News Channel’s Bret Baier, the 12:00 noon ET broadcast will be a one-hour policy debate between the two senators streaming on FOX Nation. The second debate, hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, will be held in July at George Washington University, carried live and on demand across C-SPAN platforms, including streamed on C-SPAN Now. A third debate will be held by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation in Utah this fall. The press release states, “The goal of The Senate Project debate series is to reintroduce the culture of seeking common ground and consensus that has been the essence of the Senate since it was conceived in 1789. We hope it will inspire policymakers to not only make the case for their points of view, but to then work towards the example set by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Orrin Hatch for bipartisan bridge-building.”

 

 

WSJS-AM, Winston-Salem Transitions to News/Talk/Sports. Triad sports talk station WSJS-AM, Winston-Salem (along with its four FM translators) is transitioning to a news/talk/sports format, effective June 6. Truth Broadcasting says, “In the legacy of Wally Williams, Wayne Willard, George Lee, Glenn Scott, Gene Overby and Smith Patterson, WSJS is returning to a local news/talk/sports format with Jeffrey Griffin behind the microphone as the host of “Triad Today” (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Midday programming will include familiar voices and award-winning programming from Brian Kilmeade, Todd Starnes and Charlie Kirk.” The station is continuing local sports talk “The Drive with Josh Graham” in afternoon drive. Truth Broadcasting COO Michael Carbone says, “It’s an incredible thrill, as well as a responsibility, to return the voice of the people to WSJS. A local talk station belongs to the listeners – our neighbors – to share their thoughts, their favorite things, favorite teams, their passion for the Triad, their celebrations, their issues, their dreams. We will restart that conversation and let the voices of the city color our days again.”

 

 

FANTASTIC SPEAKER LINEUP AND AGENDA for TALKERS 2022. TALKERS is presenting the 25th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest and most important convention, TALKERS 2022, on Friday, June 10, 2022 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio.

TALKERS 2022 will be a “who’s who” of the talk media industry…

Red Apple Media CEO/WABC, New York owner John Catsimatidis is set to keynote with special guest addresses to be provided by iconic Key Networks personality Bill O’ Reilly and FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel star Brian Kilmeade.

See the complete agenda here.

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2021 and 2016 events – and enjoy the remarkable resources that its Lawrence Herbert School of Communication brings to the table.”

As was the case last year, this event will be held in a COVID-19 compliant environment based upon the circumstances at the time of the convention. As is its tradition, TALKERS 2022 will boldly address key issues – some existential – facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture of rapidly accelerating technological and societal change as well as identifying the remarkable opportunities inherent in these developments. It will also provide participants with unique and powerful networking opportunities. Attendance at the conference is limited to members of the working media and directly associated industries as well as students enrolled in accredited learning institutions. All attendees will be required to register in advance on the phone with credit cards. Attendance will be limited, and the conference is again expected to be an early sellout. Full details about the agenda (more than 50 in-person, luminary speakers) sponsorship opportunities and hotel information will continue to be posted in TALKERS in the days ahead. The all-inclusive registration fee covering convention events, exhibits, food, and services for the day is $349. Because space will be limited and a sellout is anticipated, all registrations are non-refundable.

To register or to obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Travel and Hotel Information for TALKERS 2022. The full-service Long Island Marriott Uniondale is serving as the closest and best hotel for TALKERS 2022. To reserve rooms, please click here. All New York area airports are a car ride away from the hotel and Hofstra: JFK (18 miles), LaGuardia (24 miles), MacArthur (34 miles), Newark (47 miles). Free and convenient parking information at Hofstra will be posted here shortly.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago market media pro Bob Sirott – host of Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio morning show – will receive the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans at a luncheon today (5/26). The organization says that since its inception in 1971, more than 40 Chicago journalists have received the Dante Award, which recognizes media professionals who pursue truth in their work. Sirott says, “Looking at the long, impressive list of previous Dante Award winners, it makes me realize that the highly respected selection committee who decides who gets this award realized they had given this to every media person in Chicago except me. They simply ran out of names.”…..Salem Media Group announces that it will present at the LD Micro Invitational XII in Westlake Village, California on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 pm ET. LD Micro began in 2006 as an independent resource to the microcap world…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in its capacity as the official network radio partner of the NCAA, will air the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals and Championship Games over the Memorial Day weekend holiday. For the first time, Westwood One will broadcast the Women’s National Semifinal and Championship games in addition to the Men’s contests.

 

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Presents 47th Annual Gracie Awards. Pictured above at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California is the board of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Tuesday’s 47th Annual Gracie Awards Gala was hosted by Holly Robinson Peete and “recognized exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment.” Local and student winners will be honored at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 22 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images for AWM

 

Texas School Massacre/Gun Control, Primary Races/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and U.S.-China Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The aftermath of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers and the battle over gun control legislation; Tuesday’s primary races in Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, & Georgia and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the high cost of food & gas, the shortage of baby formula, and the tech stock selloff; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the rest of the world; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the high rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S.; and U.S.-China relations in the wake of President Joe Biden’s visit to Asia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 9, 2022

| May 9, 2022

Pending Business: Howdy Partner. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about the strange use of the word “partner” for the advertiser on a radio program. Lapa says, “Do our advertisers (customers) really want a partnership in the true sense of the word? Or do our advertisers want what everyone else wants: maximum value at the best price?” Aside from the inaccurate nomenclature, Lapa wonders if the “partner” designation affects the sales effort. Read his column here.

 

Monday Memo: “Gas cards? OR…Bitcoin?” “Imagine asking a contest winner to choose THAT?” consultant Holland Cooke asks. In this week’s column, he recalls “when radio stunts were fun,” and how a contest “will sound as big as you make it sound.” Read more here.

 

Audacy First Quarter Net Revenue Up 14%. For the first quarter of 2022, Audacy reports net revenue of $275.3 million, an increase of 14% over the same period in 2021. The company also saw its net loss shrink from $21.6 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $11 million in Q 1 of this year. Audacy provides financial data by segment and reports that spot revenue (national and local) was $173.9 million, while its digital segment (including podcasting) rose 16% to $53 million from the $41.6 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. Audacy also breaks down net revenue by format type and reports music radio revenue was $140.4 million; sports radio revenue was $53 million; and all-news & news/talk revenue was $48.3 million. Audacy president and CEO David Field comments, “I am pleased to report that Audacy posted strong first quarter results, delivering 152% growth in Adjusted EBITDA led by double digit revenue growth in both digital and spot radio. With our scaled, leadership position across broadcasting, podcasting and digital audio and our differentiated premium content offerings, we are well positioned to drive rapid evolution and innovation across the organization to capitalize on the outstanding growth opportunities in the dynamic audio marketplace. In Q1, we launched the Audacy Digital Audience Network, an addressable aggregate of 60 million listeners across our app, streaming content, and podcast lineup, enabling precision targeting at scale coupled with real-time optimization and reporting. We are looking forward to a number of exciting additional product and content launches and enhancements over the course of 2022 that will accelerate our audience growth and bolster our advertiser appeal.”

 

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q1 Net Revenue Increase of 15.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Beasley Broadcast Group – parent company of Beasley Media Group – states that net revenue was $55.7 million, an increase of 15.6% over the same period in 2021. The company is also reporting an operating loss of $2.7 million in Q1 compared to an operating loss of $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2021. The increase in operating loss is primarily the result of an increase in operating expenses, which reflects additional cost of sales related to the revenue increase, other expenses related to sports and marketing, and additional expenses related to the company’s digital agency build out. Beasley’s net loss for the quarter fell to $3.7 million compared to the net loss of $10.7 million reported for the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “First quarter results highlight ongoing progress toward our goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels. Net revenue rose 15.6% inclusive of a 35.5% rise in digital segment revenue, which accounted for 14% of total net revenue in the quarter, marking further success of our digital transformation strategies. Comparing our revenue performance to the first quarter of 2019, revenue was down $2.0 million, or 3.4%, as the 2019 results benefited from events and other revenue that has not fully recovered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total outstanding debt as of March 31, 2022 was $300 million, as we did not have any scheduled debt payments during the quarter, and we had $50.7 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand at quarter end. We made an interest payment of approximately $12.9 million in February and repurchased $5 million of our 8.625% senior secured notes at a discount early in the second quarter. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth, provide synergies or improve financial results. Looking ahead to the second quarter and second half of 2022, our focus remains on driving further revenue diversification and audience expansion, improving margins, benefiting from the return of the political cycle, maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet, reducing net leverage and growing free cash flow. We expect progress on each of these fronts as we continue to close the gap on our pre-pandemic revenue and SOI levels and grow from there. I am extremely proud of our team members across the company for everything they have done and are doing to help us move past the challenges presented by the pandemic. We have clearly accomplished a lot and I believe we have many more opportunities ahead to build the company and enhance stockholder value.”

 

Ramsey Solutions Wins Webby Award for Borrowed Future Documentary. The documentary film Borrowed Future – produced by Ramsey Solutions – will be recognized as the Best Video Documentary in the Longform category of the 2022 Annual Webby Awards. Known as the “best of the Internet,” the Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet. Borrowed Future was originally released as a podcast in 2019 and reveals the inner workings of the predatory student loan industry that keeps borrowers trapped in debt. Directed by David DiCicco, the story follows college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a college graduate who paid cash for college, and a group of high schoolers who haven’t made their choice yet. Leading voices like Mike Rowe, Seth Godin and Dave Ramsey are also featured. For weeks, the film held top spots on multiple streaming platform charts: #1 documentary on Google Play, #2 documentary on Apple TV and #5 documentary (rent or buy category) on Amazon Prime Video. Dave Ramsey says, “There’s no doubt we stirred up a holy ruckus with this documentary, and I’m so proud of the team that put it together. The student loan industry is downright evil. We definitely can’t bank on student loan forgiveness, and it’s about time America said, ‘I’ve had it!’” Webby Awards executive director Claire Graves comments, “Borrowed Future has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet. This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.” The 26th Annual Webby Awards will take place in New York City on May 16. See more about the film here.

 

Brandon Tatum Joins Salem Radio Network for Syndicated Radio Program. Conservative media figure and former Tucson police officer Brandon Tatum is joining the Salem Radio Network to fill the slot Larry Elder held until his retirement from radio in early April. He will assume duties as host of the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET program on May 16. The third hour of the program will be repurposed into a podcast. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Salem conducted a nationwide search, and some very big names were interested in taking this important slot. Brandon brings a unique talent to Salem, and has a strong following among the nation’s youth, with his involvement with Turning Point USA. His compelling story is riveting.” Tatum has been serving as director of urban outreach for Turning Point USA and hosts the popular program “The Officer Tatum Show” on social media platforms including YouTube. Tatum says, “Words cannot describe what a blessing it is to be a part of the Salem family. I am incredibly humbled and honored to continue the legacy of the great Larry Elder. My mission in life is to serve God with the gifts he has given me. Being the voice of and for the people is one of those gifts.” Additionally, Tatum co-founded Blexit with Candace Owens, an organization “dedicated to changing the narrative in the black community through education, community outreach, and empowerment.” Carl Jackson, who has been subbing as guest host in Elder’s absence both last summer when he ran for governor, and more recently after Elder’s decision to retire from radio, will continue as a regular sub for Tatum.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia sports media legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Didinger announces he’s retiring from his weekend radio program on Audacy’s WIP, Philadelphia. The station reports that Didinger said on yesterday’s program that he co-hosts with Glen Macnow, “Sunday, May 29th will be my final show. I am ready to transition from Ray Didi to grandpop.” Audacy says Didinger covered the NFL for The Philadelphia Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News for over 25 years and in 1995 his name was added to writer’s honor roll in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Didinger also worked as a senior producer at NFL Films, as an Eagles TV analyst on NBC Sports Philadelphia…..SiriusXM announces that Jessica Casano-Antonellis joins the company as SVP and head of communications, reporting to chief marketing officer Denise Karkos. In this role, she will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s communications function, including strategic communications, brand reputation management and media relations. Karkos adds, “Jessica is a valued and respected leader who brings a wealth of strategic communications experience in the media, entertainment and technology industries to SiriusXM. She will be an incredible asset to the company and will play a key role as we continue to tell the story of SiriusXM as a leader in audio entertainment.”…..Former KQQZ, St. Louis station owner Bob Romanik – whose self-given nickname was “The Grim Reaper of Radio” – has died at age 72 while in hospice. According to his obit in the Belleville News-Democrat, Romanik served as an East St. Louis police officer and chief of police in both Washington Park and Valmeyer, Illinois during his career. He was a notorious raconteur who liberally used racial epithets on the air and referred to his programming as W.A.R. or White Awareness Radio. In 2020, after attempting to conceal his ownership of KQQZ and failing to show up for FCC hearings on the matter, the Commission permanently dismissed his application for renewal.

 

The Economy, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Investigation, and Musk & Twitter Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The sinking Dow and NASDAQ, the high price of food & gas, and the ongoing supply chain woes; the reactions to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v Wade; the rising rate of COVID cases in some parts of the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the ongoing lockdowns in China; Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s propaganda; the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, April 4, 2022

| April 4, 2022

Larry Elder Exits Salem Radio Network Talk Show. Longtime Salem Radio Network personality Larry Elder exits his role as host of his eponymous nationally syndicated talk program, effective immediately. Salem Media Group says that Elder has decided to move on from the Salem Radio Network after a six-year run hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET program and that it expects to announce a replacement for Elder in this slot very soon. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Larry is an icon as a radio talk show host and is a powerful voice as a leading black conservative, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I hope there will be future opportunities for us to work together.” Boyce adds that this was “completely, 100% Larry’s decision.” Salem continues to be a major platform for Elder’s documentaries like Uncle Tom, released two years ago, and will be providing a platform for the sequel, Uncle Tom 2, coming out in a few months. SalemNow.Com will be hosting that movie, as it did in the past. During Elder’s three-month hiatus to run for governor California in the recall election of Gavin Newsom, Orlando-based personality Carl Jackson hosted Elder’s program. Jackson will resume hosting the show for the foreseeable future. Jackson says, “It was an honor for me to sit in Larry’s chair last summer for a few months, and it will be another honor to continue his tradition on the radio now.”

 

Monday Memo: Good News. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “pandemic/inflation/Ukraine-weary listeners NEED some” and, in his view, “many syndicated shows earn news/talk radio a reputation for negativity” which local content can balance, “something listeners will appreciate, and advertisers will notice.” In this week’s column, HC links to video examples that illustrate. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: The Talk Radio Metaverse. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa asks you to imagine a political debate game in the metaverse in which “players pick political parties, moderators, topics, questions, debaters, venue and media coverage.” Now imagine this town hall debate in the metaverse will include advertisers and sponsors. He says, “The gaming wizards are a new generation more comfortable with commercial integration and the flexibility of working towards content that is profitable at all levels. There is a lot to be learned here. If you can open your thinking to the future, you could be in for a fun and energetic exchange in your next sales meeting.” Read more here.

 

Andrea Darlas to Host Arts & Entertainment Podcast for WLS-AM, Chicago. Chicago media personality Andrea Darlas is hosting a new podcast for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM called “Show and Tell with Andrea Darlas.” The weekly local arts and entertainment podcast will showcase the hottest cultural experiences in the Chicago area, including new plays, musicals, museum exhibits and more. Darlas is currently senior director of constituent engagement for the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, based at the Illini Center in Chicago. She was a news anchor and reporter at WGN Radio for more than 22 years and a news reporter and weekend break/features reporter for WGN-TV for 10 years. She currently is a regular contributor to WGN-AM, WLS-AM, WCPT-AM, WCIU-TV, and the nationally syndicated home improvement TV show “House Smarts,” as well as other radio and TV shows/programs across Chicago. Cumulus Media says this new podcast will present “Chicago arts and entertainment news and information at its best, curated by one of the most trusted and well-known media figures in Chicagoland. Each week, listeners get a backstage pass to every experience and show Darlas covers, with insights and information typically reserved for arts and entertainment insiders. Darlas will interview actors and actresses, curators and docents, organizers and artists, producers, directors, stars – and everyone in between. Darlas comments, “I am so excited to bring my love for theatre, musicals, museums, arts and culture – and all things Chicago – to the legendary Big 89! I want the WLS listeners to have their very own immersive ‘backstage pass’ to the arts and entertainment community – in the greatest city in the world!”

 

 

Bill O’Reilly Appears at Live Event for Affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Bill O’Reilly – whose program “The Bill O’Reilly Update” is syndicated by Key Networks – appeared at the Genesee Theatre in suburban Waukegan, Illinois on March 31 for a live Q&A event produced by affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): Dennis Green, COO, Key Networks; Jeff Hill, director of sales, Cumulus Media Chicago; O’Reilly; Marv Nyren, vice president/market manager, Cumulus Chicago;  Stephanie Tichenor, program director, WLS-AM; and Bruce St. James, morning host, WLS-AM.

 

Midday Shows Flip at WMVP-AM, Chicago. Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” is flipping its midday programs, effective today. The Good Karma Brands station is moving “Carmen & Jurko” – Carmen DeFalco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot and the station will air Mike Greenberg’s ESPN Radio program “Greeny” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. WMVP program director Danny Zederman says, “We are very excited for the future and the new station lineup.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden Investigation, COVID-19, Gas Prices/Inflation, January 6 Committee, Deadly Sacramento Shooting, Jackson Confirmation Vote, and the Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and accusations of war crimes against Vladimir Putin’s military; the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures; relaxing mandates across the U.S. and concerns about new sub-variants sparking a new wave of cases; the still-high price of gas at the pump and the high cost of consumer retail goods; the January 6 committee’s recent testimony from Jared Kushner; the shooting in Sacramento that left six dead and 12 wounded and precipitated calls for gun control from President Joe Biden; this week’s confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

| February 8, 2022

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 3.3%. Reporting its financial data from the fourth quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group reveals net revenue was $70.7 million, an increase of 3.3% over the same period in 2020 that the company says primarily reflects “a year-over-year increase in audio and digital advertising revenue and other revenue due to the continued recovery of the commercial advertising market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by a decrease in political revenue.” For the whole of 2021, Beasley reports net revenue of $241.4 million compared to net revenue of $206.1 million for all of 2020. The company reports operating income of $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to operating income of $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease largely reflects higher operating expenses related to its digital agency build out, and the return of certain expenses that had been reduced in 2020 due to temporary measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Beasley delivered a strong finish to a solid year of operating and financial performance, as the strength of our content and continuing improvement in advertising trends, combined with the ongoing success of our digital transformation and revenue diversification strategies, continue to fuel our recovery. Throughout the year, we made significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as reflected by the 17% increase in full-year net revenues to $241 million. Top-line growth was the primary factor contributing to a 75% year-over-year increase in Station Operating Income to $42 million. Overall, we believe these results demonstrate the strength and relevance of our industry-leading audio content and our teams’ extraordinary efforts to serve our listeners, customers and communities through challenging circumstances. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 47.3% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 15% of total fourth quarter revenue. Notably, our digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the third consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 20% over third quarter 2021 levels and 39% over the prior year period. Total outstanding debt as of December 31, 2021 was $300 million and we had $51.4 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth or provide synergies and increased free cash flow.”

Melissa Rapp Named SVP of Affiliate Sales for Key Networks. Media sales pro Melissa Rapp is named senior vice president, affiliate sales for Key Networks. Rapp was most recently with SDS as vice president of sales. During her career she’s also served with vCreative and MediaSpan Online Services and has held sales positions at several radio stations. Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “As we continue to build a best-in-class organization at Key Networks, we are delighted to welcome Melissa Rapp to lead our affiliation efforts. Melissa has extensive contacts in the industry, understands broadcasters’ needs and has the confidence from affiliates that she will deliver best-in-class products and services for their stations.” Rapp comments, “I’ve known Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz and COO Dennis Green for many years, and I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with them. My passion has always been to help stations be more efficient and serve their communities with the best possible product. It’s a great time to be in radio and a grand time to represent the premium talent and programming at Key Networks!”

Carl Jackson Podcast Joins Salem Podcast Network. The host who filled in for Larry Elder during his hiatus from radio to run for governor of California in September’s recall election is getting his podcast added to Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network. Carl Jackson’s eponymous podcast launched yesterday (2/7) with new episodes dropping each weekday. In addition to subbing for Elder, Jackson has also been regularly heard on WORL-AM, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer.” Salem VP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Carl Jackson has an amazing story, and every day on this podcast he will be telling it. When Larry Elder took his leave of absence to run for California governor, Carl took over and never missed a beat. He is smart, articulate, and fearless.” Jackson comments, “I’m absolutely humbled and excited to be a part of the team on the Salem Podcast Network. This opportunity is proof that the American Dream is alive and well when you work hard. I look forward to reaching a new audience with this podcast that will help me fight to save America as we know it.”

NRG Media Promotes Jim Smith to COO. Media executive Jim Smith is promoted to chief operating officer at NRG Media, LLC. Smith has served the company as chief financial officer for the past 14 years. NRG says Smith will continue to oversee the financial component of NRG Media as the company’s CFO but will add leading the operational oversight of NRG’s nine markets and 38 radio stations throughout the Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin to his duties. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “Jim understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio and plays an instrumental role in leading the company through operational challenges created by the pandemic over the last two years.”

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ Tops Edison Research’s Podcast Chart. This chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. from Edison Research is based on Edison’s Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, which Edison says is the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks and is also the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads. For the fourth quarter of 2021, Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” ranked #1, followed by The New York Times’ “The Daily” at #2 and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. Edison says its podcast chart “is derived from data collected continuously Q1 2021 – Q4 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information.” Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Spotify, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more. You can see the complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM news anchor Mariam Sobh is launching a new podcast titled, “News with a Bite,” in collaboration with former WGN-AM programmer Todd Manley of EarSight Studios. Feder writes, “In addition to highlighting news headlines with Sobh’s commentary, the podcast features sketches, comedy songs and in-depth interviews with a variety of guests.”…..AdLarge announces the addition of the “Late Night Drive with Ellie Schnitt” podcast to its ad sales portfolio. The podcast expands on health and wellness content, specifically focusing on mental health, love, and navigating adult life. Schnitt is the former host of the popular Barstool Sports podcast, “Schnitt Talk.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association will enshrine Rick Alloway, Gary Kerr and Neil Nelkin into its Hall of Fame at a celebration scheduled for August 9 in Lincoln, during the 87th Annual NBA Convention. Rick Alloway worked for KFOR, Lincoln from 1972-1984 as an announcer, producer, promotions director and operations manager. Nelkin’s career includes work as an announcer, talk show host, program director, operations manager, station manager and co-owner. He continues to stay active in Omaha radio, at both NRG Media and at Walnut Media.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, SCOTUS Redistricting Decision, Spotify-Joe Rogan Controversy, January 6 Investigation/Trump Documents Question, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The diplomatic tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the loosening of mask mandates, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the Supreme Court sides with the Alabama GOP over its new congressional map; the ongoing controversy over Spotify’s PR maneuvers with podcaster Joe Rogan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and allegations that former President Donald Trump tore up documents related to the day’s events; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 4, 2022

| February 4, 2022

NOW POSTED: This 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, “Off to the Races,” looks back at this past week of 1/31 to 2/4. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Ricard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Grace Curley, talk show host, WRKO Boston; Tom Shattuck, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Steven Ebert, commentator, AM 970 The Answer, New York/attorney, Cassin & Cassin LLP; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast 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.

Andrew Wilkow’s Program Moves to Salem News Channel. Conservative media personality Andrew Wilkow is joining Salem Media Group’s OTT platform Salem News Channel (SalemNewsChannel.com) effective February 15. The “Wilkow!” program – billed as “a combination of breaking news from the day, and what to make of it from the host’s perspective” – will air weekdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Wilkow has hosted a regular program on The Blaze TV for the past seven years. This move to Salem News Channel ends that relationship. Wilkow also hosts “Wilkow Majority” on SiriusXM and that show will continue. Wilkow says, “I cannot wait to move ‘Wilkow!’ onto the Salem News Channel. The 5:00 pm hour is the starting point of the evening news cycle. Our plan is to give the viewer an hour of live TV that combines perfectly executed political analysis and whatever breaking stories are happening. This is not going to be a clone program. Starting February 15, we are going to bring passion and fire to the 5:00 pm hour every day.” Salem says the program will originate out of Salem’s New York City studio in Lower Manhattan and will be the first of many TV-only hours being produced by SNC. The Salem News Channel is also home to video simulcasts of Salem Radio Network’s shows including: Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Sebastian Gorka, and Larry Elder. Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce adds, “Andrew is a perfect fit for SNC and all of the hosts already there. Andrew has carved out a name for himself on the Sirius Patriot Channel. His many followers will have a great time watching him on our new TV network.”

KYW Newsradio Names Kevin McCorry News Director. Radio news pro Kevin McCorry joins Audacy’s all-news KYW-AM/WPHI-FM, Philadelphia as news director, effective February 28. In this role, McCorry will oversee editorial coverage across the station’s broadcast, digital, and podcasting departments and will be responsible for planning and executing in-depth original multiplatform reporting projects. McCorry was most recently managing editor at crosstown public media outlet WHYY. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “KYW Newsradio’s influence and legacy is unmatched in Philadelphia, and its community-focused journalism has only grown stronger over the years. We’re happy to welcome Kevin and so excited to see and hear his impact on the continuing evolution of our modern multimedia newsroom.” McCorry comments, “I’m thrilled to lead KYW’s news team as it starts a new chapter and grows its capacity for ambitious, original, multimedia journalism. As a Philly native, I know that KYW Newsradio holds a special place in the hearts and habits of many people in our region, and the talent in this newsroom is immense. The bottom line for any news operation is trust, and I’m beyond excited to continue to build KYW’s trust among more of our region’s listeners and readers by bringing my passion for smart, fair, in-depth news and storytelling to this esteemed organization.”

iHeartMedia Presents Fourth Annual ‘iHeartRadio Podcast Awards.’ Last night, the fourth annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards took place virtually. The program was exclusively video streamed on iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel and Facebook page and broadcast across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app. Pop star Dua Lipa presented the Podcast of the Year award to Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes for their “You’re Wrong About” podcast. (Podcast of the Year was determined by popular vote via Twitter. The rest of the categories were determined by a panel of judges.) Other winners of note include: “The Daily” from The New York Times in the Best News Podcast category; “The Bill Simmons Podcast” from The Ringer/Bill Simmons in the Best Sports Podcast category; and “Pod Save America” from Crooked Media in the Best Political Podcast category. You can see all the winners here.

Edison Research and Ad Results Media to Present 3rd Annual Podcast Super Listeners Study Results. On February 16, Edison Research and Ad Results Media will present the results of the third annual “Super Listeners” study. “Super Listeners” are defined as consumers who listen to five or more hours of podcasts weekly and are the people most likely to hear podcasting ads, and to have an opinion about them. During the webinar, Ad Results Media partner and CEO Marshall Williams and Edison Research WVP Tom Webster will walk attendees through an exclusive look at those who spend the most time listening to podcasts including: how Super Listeners feel about the number of ads in podcasts and the length of ad breaks; their attitudes about host-read ads versus pre-recorded ads versus sponsorships; how podcast advertising affects intent to purchase and other brand fit measures; plus more. You can register for the webinar here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands’ sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” is putting Chicago sportscasters Peggy Kusinski and Dionne Miller together to host a new, weekly program that will air on the station on Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. WMVP director of content Danny Zederman says, “We are really excited to have Peggy and Dionne on our team and know the fans will enjoy this duo. I think it’s going to be great.”…..Tomorrow (2/5), FOX Sports Radio personality Joy Taylor, co-host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and host of “The Joy Taylor Show” weekend program, is teaming up with Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL and the Semi-Pro Football San Diego Rebellion, to give female youth in Los Angeles the opportunity to learn the game of flag football. The program is being presented by The Joy Taylor Foundation and Dr. Welter’s Grrridiron Girls organization, the free flag football camp will be held at St. Frances X. Cabrini Catholic School in Los Angeles for girls ages 8-18. Dr. Welter, who has hosted over 30 Grrridiron Girls football camps to date, will lead on-the-field training, teaching the fundamentals of flag football while inspiring self-confidence, sisterhood and empowerment. In addition, Taylor will host “The Joy Taylor Show” live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PT at the camp. All participants will have the opportunity to hear from Taylor and ask her questions about her career in sports…..iHeartMedia unveils a new podcast hosted by pop star Dua Lipa titled, “Dua Lipa: At Your Service,” which was conceived and produced by Studio 2054 Productions. The weekly interview-style podcast will feature a special guest alongside Dua Lipa for “refreshing and thought-provoking conversations brimming with tools, tips, recommendations and inspiring stories.” The first episode will be available February 11 in English on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard. The podcast will also be available to listeners in Spanish, Portuguese and French. Upcoming guests will include Elton John, Megan Thee Stallion, Russell Brand, Bowen Yang as well as South Korean rapper CL, author Lisa Taddeo, British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, novelist Hanya Yanagihara, Iraqi human rights activist Nadia Murad, and more.

Museum of Innovation and Science Hosts WGY-AM Exhibit. The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, New York is presenting an exhibit of the history of WGY-AM from its birth in 1922 to 1980 to coincide with the station’s 100th anniversary. A story by Northeast Public Radio’s WAMC, Albany details the exhibit. The station was put on the air by Schenectady-based General Electric. The museum’s Chris Hunter, VP of collections and exhibitions, says, “So, it was about 10th commercial station licensed in 1922. And because it was formed by GE’s publicity department, and not so much the engineers that formed a lot of the other early radio stations, they really placed a premium on entertainment and, kind of, the development of broadcasting.” The exhibit, called WGY: Radio’s Laboratory Celebrates Its Centennial, will be at the museum through May 8. It contains about 50 photos from its first 58 years, including the one above showing FDR doing one of his fireside chats. Hunter says, “So this one of Roosevelt’s early fireside chats. They became really famous once he became president and he gave these personal talks every weekend, kind of comforting people through the Great Depression and World War II, but he kind of perfected the format while New York State Governor here on WGY.” Photo: miSci

COVID-19 Mandates, Masks, Vaccines & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 31 to February 4. The combination of COVID-19 mandates, mask & vaccine policies and the politics surrounding the pandemic came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy, including the financial markets activity, soaring retail and oil prices, and the national debt, followed by rising violent crime in U.S. cities and the spate of police officers being killed at #3. 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.