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Friday, March 12, 2021

| March 12, 2021

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 “The New Abnormal” looks back at this past week of March 8-12, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston / Michael Berry Network;  Grace Curley, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio NetworkDom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia / “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason” podcast; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV / “What in the World?”; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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 (“Connect FM”), 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

Saga Communications Reports Q4 2020 Net Revenue Down 10%; Decline of 24.9% for Full Year. In reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the full year, Saga Communications, Inc says fourth quarter and year-end 2020 revenue and the related net income continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Net revenue was $28.8 million for Q4 2020, a 19.1% increase over net revenue for the third quarter, but a decline of 10% compared to Q4 2019. For the full year of 2020, net revenue was $95.8 million, a decrease of 24.9% from the $123.1 million in net revenue it posted in 2019. Back to the fourth quarter of 2020, station operating expense decreased $1.9 million to $21.1 million compared to the same period last year.  Station operating income was $9.1 million for the quarter compared to $10.5 million for the fourth quarter last year and operating income was $5 million for the quarter compared to $5.4 million for the same period last year.  Saga posted a net loss of $1.9 million for the full year 2020 that included a non-cash impairment charge of $5.2 million. Without the impairment charge the company would have reported net income of $1.7 million for the period. Saga Communications’ balance sheet reflects $51.4 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2020 and $56 million as of March 8, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of year-end 2020.

WEEI, Boston’s Dale Arnold to Leave Sports Talk Station. Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold – a staple at Entercom’s WEEI-FM since its inception as a sports talk outlet 30 years ago – will leave the station and his role as co-host of the “Dale and Keefe” midday program after today’s show. The Boston Globe has the story here. Although the soon-to-be-65-year-old Arnold on Thursday told listeners, “I’m going to retire from the radio business. I am not going to be coming back after tomorrow’s show,” he’ll continue his role as studio host for Boston Bruins hockey broadcasts on cable TV’s NESN. The Globe’s Chad Finn says it’s expected that Andy Gresh – who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence in January of this year – will be partnered with Rich Keefe for middays going forward. Arnold told listeners his decision to leave WEEI – and not accept the offer to do part-time work there – was personal. “Some of you know this and some of you don’t. My wife had to retire from her employment in September, she’s had some medical issues. And you start thinking about things. You start thinking about, you know, ‘I’d like to spend some more time with her. I’d like to have one full-time job instead of two. I’d like to have summer months to go back to my home state of Maine and enjoy myself more.’”

Salem New York Debuts Evening ‘Bring Back NYC’ Show. Hosted by regular evening personality Kevin McCullough, Salem Media Group’s New York news/talker WNYM-AM “AM 970 The Answer” is launching a new nightly broadcast that “will be a deep dive into areas of life relevant to relaunching arguably the most important city on planet earth.” Salem New York says the program will feature specific expertise designed for this unique moment in the nation’s recovery. Monday nights will feature the expertise of “Millionaire Maker” Hilary Kramer in the markets and money. Tuesday nights the journey will be guided by veteran travel expert Valerie D’Elia. Wednesday nights focus on the medical expertise of Nicole Saphier MD, FOX News senior medical contributor and physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center. The law is the focus of Thursday nights with Arthur Aidala Esq. Friday nights will play host to PR pro Cristyne Nicholas, who serves as chair of the 109-year-old Broadway Association. McCullough says, “Given the mighty struggle our city and people have faced in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, political mismanagement, criminal riots, and the longest extended closures of business in the city, we asked ourselves the question of how we could best answer the needs of the city, and I’m here to let them know, ‘help is on the way!’ What greater good can we do with the airwaves than help turn on the lights, smiles, and lives again in the city that never sleeps?”

Edison Research ‘Infinite Dial 2021.’ It’s “the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America – tracking mobile behaviors, internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers, and more.” Noting that, “‘more’ now includes radio,” consultant Holland Cooke summarizes the latest findings, and includes a download link to the report. Read it here.

Jonathan Hutton Ousted from Tennessee Titans Radio Team. Former WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” radio personality Jonathan Hutton will not be part of the radio broadcast team for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans for the 2021 season. Hutton recently left “The Zone” to become part of Clay TravisOutkick digital platform on which he’ll co-host the “Outkick 360” program with fellow former “Zone” hosts Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. On his website, Kuharsky quotes Cumulus Nashville VP and market manager Allison Warren, who says, “Jonathan Hutton has certainly been a big part of 104.5 The Zone’s Titans Radio broadcast over the years. However, regrettably Jonathan declined our offer to continue with 104.5 The Zone deciding to pursue other opportunities which has impacted his role on the Titans Radio broadcast.”

TALKERS News Notes. The anniversary of the official beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is the impetus behind the CBS News Radio series that reflects on the past year. The series will be featured on CBS News top-of-the-hour and “World News Roundup” broadcasts airing Monday through Friday of next week (3/15-19)…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off,” a six-episode series of special NCAA men’s college basketball tournament programming that launches tomorrow (3/13). Led by Nick Kostos, host of BetQL Audio Network podcast “You Better You Bet,” “BetQL Countdown to Tip-Off” will serve as breakdowns of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, featuring a mix of sports betting insight. The show will also welcome talent from across Entercom’s portfolio of sports stations, including Travis Thomas, WTEM, Washington; Mike Valenti, WXYT, Detroit; Danny Parkins, WSCR, Chicago; and Marc Malusis, WFAN, New York…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, announces the debut of “The Rock Podcast with Denny Somach.” Rock historian and radio producer Somach goes deep undercover on “The Rock Podcast” to shine new light on the soundtrack of the most exciting decades in music, bringing on guests to talk about their career experiences and using Somach’s own personal library of thousands of interviews to bring the lives of the most legendary rock stars who matter to the forefront. Upcoming guests include Nancy Wilson from Heart, Steve Lukather from Toto, Jon Anderson of Yes, and John Densmore of The Doors. PodcastOne chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Denny is a fantastic producer with a track record that goes back decades. His knowledge of music history and love of rock ‘n’ roll is second to none. I love his work and now millions will be able to access that work on PodcastOne,”…..New York City was hit early and hard by the pandemic, and during those first bewildering days and weeks, WNYC’s call-in news program “The Brian Lehrer Show” was a life raft for New Yorkers seeking information, answers, and companionship. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shutdown that forever altered New York City, the program plans two special events: a broadcast on Tuesday (3/16) at 10:00 am called “Reading Their Names” in which, for 90 minutes, 484 listeners who will read the names of 1,780 people in the New York listening region who have died from the virus. The second is “WNYC’S 2020 Time Capsule” – broadcast on Thursday (3/18) that culminates the programs assemblage of its 2020 time capsule that is a repository of listener calls, news reports, and personal submissions by New Yorkers sharing what they have been through that’s saved on a hard drive to be safely stored alongside the transmitter atop the Empire State Building. The capsule will be opened in 2031.

iHeartMedia Names Nicky Sparrow SVP of Multi-Cultural Sales. Moving from her current position as market president for iHeartMedia Jacksonville to the new corporate position SVP of multicultural sales is Nicky Sparrow. In this role, Sparrow will be responsible for leading multicultural ad sales revenue for the Markets Group division. Sparrow will apply her deep knowledge of multicultural audiences and strong relationships with multicultural ad agencies and brands to build, drive, influence, and execute strategic multicultural initiatives across the iHeartMedia sales organization. She says, “I’m thrilled for this next step in my career. I’ve been with iHeartMedia for more than 20 years, and I can’t wait to take my experience and strong relationships with partners and advertisers to further deliver and create innovative and effective multicultural opportunities for our consumers that will not only grow our portfolio of assets, but represent and truly connect with our diverse audiences.”

Stimulus Package and the Economy Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill and the state of the U.S. economy combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 8-12, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and Joe Biden’s immigration policy. Coming in at #3 was the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants and the rollout of vaccines. 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.

 

 

Producer Wanted for Syndicated Morning Show. A nationally syndicated morning show is searching for an experienced producer to help generate content and show prep. The successful candidate will have 3-5 years’ experience producing a lifestyle-based show. The individual we’re looking for will have the ability to check their ego at the door and dig deep to provide show prep and occasionally deliver on-air content. Although we’re a national show with a significant nationwide and worldwide footprint, we’re a small operation and very much a family. The successful candidate will understand the high-pressure nature of the business but also understand how to operate with minimal direction with strong personalities. This is a full-time, remote position; relocation is not required. Salary is commensurate with experience. Finalists will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Learn more about this position here and send materials to: Dtc_exec@yahoo.com.

Morning Drive News Anchor-Host at Top 25 Market East Coast Station. Looking for a news air talent who can write and read news for a local, current events issue-driven morning show. Prefer an air talent who is comfortable expressing an opinion on the hot topics of the day. Interested? Submit a demo mp3 and resume ASAP. Apply confidentially to talkradiogig@gmail.com. The radio station is an EOE and females are encouraged to apply.

The Infinite Dial 2021

| March 12, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Applause to Edison Research for their “Infinite Dial” series, “the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America…tracking mobile behaviors, internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers, and more.” “More” includes radio.

Here’s the whole thing: http://www.edisonresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/The-Infinite-Dial-2021.pdf

As previous reports have, this national telephone survey of 1,507 Persons 12+ is a useful snapshot of what’s changing, and what isn’t-much.

Read More

Monday Memo: Staples’ Savvy

| March 8, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The email subject line from Staples.com included one of the two magic words that I nag…er, “recommend” radio hosts use when they ask for callers: “Want Your Marketing Materials to Work Harder?”

You (the other magic word) can learn from Staples’ marketing, whether you’re on-air or podcasting asking listeners’ precious time, and especially if you write promo or commercial copy, or if you sell.

Read More

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. 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.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

| February 25, 2021

Nielsen Publishes ‘Podcasting Today: Insights for Podcast Advertisers.’ This new report from Nielsen presents demographic data about podcast listeners and indicates what kinds of podcasts are being consumed by listeners based on ethnicity, age, and other factors. Nielsen says, “After a decade of audience growth, podcasts have become an extremely appealing advertising platform. And with broadening appeal and strong listener engagement, brands should be looking to them as a more personalized way to connect with audiences who are maxed out on visual inputs. Importantly, podcast advertising – particularly when delivered by the podcast host – drives stronger brand recall punch than more traditional forms of advertisements. For example, Nielsen’s podcast effectiveness studies have found that host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, which subsequently creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent.”  Nielsen says that regardless of demographic breakdown, podcast listeners – both light and heavy users – are “among the most desirable audiences across the entire media landscape. That’s because of two key factors: Podcast audiences are very engaged with the content they listen to and podcast listeners have much higher household incomes than the general population. The growing base of 22 million light podcast listeners have a median annual household income of just over $80,000, while the 14 million heavy podcast listeners have a median income of $88,600.” But figuring out which podcasts will be most effective for marketers is the challenge. Nielsen says, “Unlike it does with traditional forms of media, traditional audience measurement does not provide brand advertisers with enough guidance for reliable podcast targeting. Advertising with a well-known title can certainly provide reach, but it doesn’t guarantee resonance or that listeners will take action. The world is moving away from cookies, bots, and anonymous impressions, and that elevates the importance of actual people. And when it comes to podcast advertising, there is no substitute for knowing what actual people are listening to, what they respond to and how to best engage them as a brand.”

Round Two of January PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, DC; Boston; Miami; Seattle; Detroit; Phoenix; Minneapolis; San Diego; Tampa; Denver; Baltimore; and St. Louis. The January 2021 survey period covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM adds 1.3 shares to finish the survey with a 5.9 share and jumps to the #5 rank while Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to the #2 rank on the strength of a 1.8 share jump to a 9.9 share finish. iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM, Boston claims the #1 rank after tacking on 1.7 shares to finish the survey with an 8.2 share. Sister news/talk WRKO also improves – by nine-tenths to a 5.2 share – but remains ranked #8. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle rises to the #4 rank after adding 1.1 shares for a 5.7 share finish, but Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KIRO-FM remains ranked #1 after adding two-tenths and posting a 7.4 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Premiere Networks’ Buck Sexton and Ben Ferguson to Broadcast from CPAC. The Conservative Political Action Conference takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Orlando today through Sunday and Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities Buck Sexton and Ben Ferguson will broadcast from the event. The nightly “Buck Sexton Show” and “The Ben Ferguson Podcast” will remote broadcast today and tomorrow and will feature interviews with speakers and special guests. Additionally, Ferguson will emcee a speaker series titled, “The Left’s Assault on a Free People: How Government, Big Tech and Media are Colluding to Deprive Us of Our Humanity,” on Friday at 1:40 pm, which will be followed by an appearance by Sexton on a panel titled, “Big Tech is for Sale, and Russia and China are Buying” at 2:55 pm ET.

Dan Proft to Give Up SRN Syndicated Evening Show. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan Proft will end his role as host of the Salem Radio Network evening show after the March 5 edition and will focus on his daily morning radio show on the company’s WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” He may transition the night show into a podcast to be offered via the Salem Podcast Network. Proft took over the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight syndicated program after former host Joe Walsh left to run for the White House as a Republican.

Rare Rush Limbaugh Interview from 1990 Posted on Harrison Podcast. A clean audio copy of an interview Michael Harrison conducted over the phone with Rush Limbaugh during the Summer of 1990 emerged in 2016 after spending more than a quarter century stuffed in a forgotten dust-covered box marked “misc.” in the storage bins of the TALKERS archives. It is the historic centerpiece of this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison had just launched TALKERS magazine – the talk media trade publication – in July of that year. Rush was the hottest up-and-coming talent in the business on the air with his national program that launched less than two years earlier. He was cleared at that time on about 240 stations which was a huge deal based on the standards of that era. According to Harrison, “Rush was still the new kid in town – provocative, exotic and controversial – not only politically but industrially as well. And the jury was still out – in terms of radio industry opinion – about whether or not a syndicated show could make it in prime daytime slots on the biggest stations in America. At that point, syndication was reserved largely for off-hour filler shows – mostly overnights and weekends.” Harrison adds, “I was talking with Rush for a print interview that ran in the third issue of TALKERS dated August 20, 1990 – almost 31 years ago! The recording was slapped together on Radio Shack equipment with one microphone, a cassette deck and one of those speaker boxes that were popular in that era. It was never intended for airplay – only as a transcription for reference to be used in print. And I didn’t conduct the conversation for the purposes of it actually being a show unto itself. It was just a utilitarian recording designed to be transcribed for print. I guess that’s why I eventually tossed it in a box of miscellaneous items… because, from my perspective in those days, it had served its purpose in helping produce the print product. But now, more than three decades later, it is radio history gold! Knowing what we know now, it is pretty amazing! It contains the seeds of the concepts, opinions, and seminal intelligence that set the stage for the modern era of talk radio.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Broadcsters Foundation of America Assisting Broadcasters Hit by Extreme Weather. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is providing emergency aid to broadcasters who’ve been hit hard by the recent extreme weather conditions in Texas and the surrounding states. BFoA says more than 20 requests have come in over the past five days from employees of TEGNA, Nexstar, Radio One, Entercom, FOX, and more, with the first of those checks going out to qualifying individuals today.  BFoA vice president Peter Doyle says, “Broken pipes, power outages, displacement, and more have brought devastation to many of our colleagues. The Foundation’s Emergency Grant Program is set up with a streamlined vetting process that allows us to move quickly and get checks to those in desperate need. We’re asking every broadcaster in affected areas to help us get the word out to those who may need our assistance.” Broadcasters interested in applying for aid may visit the Apply for Aid section of the Broadcasters Foundation website here and select Emergency Grants on the right, which will take them to the Emergency Grant & Disaster Information Request Form. The Broadcasters Foundation has disbursed over $1 million to qualifying broadcasters through its Emergency Grant Program. One-time emergency grants are awarded for up to $2,000 each to qualifying broadcasters recovering from a natural disaster, such as hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods, or other serious misfortune.

TALKERS News Notes. Marketing pro Brian Swarth joins Entercom in the newly created position of head of marketing, podcasts. In this role, Swarth will lead and oversee all marketing and PR for Entercom’s premium podcast division including Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios. He’ll report directly to Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran. Swarth was most recently with SHOWTIME Networks as SVP of digital media and marketing…..iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network is working with the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative to help kick off their “It’s Up To You” COVID-19 vaccine education initiative. This effort is designed to combat the high rates of vaccine hesitancy among communities of color. BIN president Tony Coles says, “Based on research, the Black community is the least likely group to be receptive to taking a COVID-19 vaccine. Our goal is to present the most accurate news and information to help curb the future impact of COVID-19 on the communities we serve, by both answering questions around vaccination and providing resources for the public to get informed.”…..Media software solutions firm vCreative announces that it has entered into a long-term agreement with Alpha Media to provide its vPPO service as well as adding the vTrade service to all Alpha Media stations nationwide…..SiriusXM is launching the new “Jess Cagle Podcast with Julia Cunningham” today (2/25). The new weekly podcast will feature interviews with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Jodie Foster, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Regina King, Jared Leto and Aaron Sorkin. New episodes drop every Thursday on the SiriusXM app, Pandora and Stitcher…..ABC News kicks off Women’s History Month with its new podcast, “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson,” co-produced with Best Case Studios and hosted by author Julia Sweig. The podcast is drawn from more than 123 hours of the former first lady’s mostly unheard daily audio diaries and presents a surprising and original portrait of Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson, told in her own words. The first two episodes of the eight-part series debut on Monday, March 1.

Cool Operations Manager Opportunity. Locally owned southern-based radio group seeking a full-time Operations Manager with strong technical and digital skills. The ideal candidate MUST have experience operating OP-X and managing satellite operations for syndicated programs. Applicant must have at least 5 years of experience. Proven experience in managing social media branding, digital marketing, and video production. Proficient in digital automation systems, digital audio editing and production is a must. EEO. Send resumes to dalton@starnesmediagroup.com

Former Arkansas Talk Host Pat Lynch Dies at 70. According to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, former KARN, Little Rock talk radio personality Pat Lynch has died at age 70. Lynch was a talk host at KARN-AM from 1983 to 2000. He later worked at KABZ-FM and KDXE-FM in the Little Rock market. He was also a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from 2000 through August of 2011. After leaving the broadcasting business, Lynch became a member of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church and went on to earn a diploma in theological studies from the Anglican School of Ministry in Little Rock.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, New Stimulus Package, Trump to Speak at CPAC-State of the GOP, Biden Cabinet Confirmation Hearings, Capitol Insurrection Testimony, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, and Tiger Woods Car Crash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24). The falling number of COVID cases in the U.S., concern about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the negotiations over Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package; the Conservative Political Action Conference and Donald Trump’s Sunday speech; the confirmation hearings for Biden nominees Merrick Garland, Neera Tanden, and Deb Haaland; the Senate testimony about the January 6 Capitol riot; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; and the Tiger Woods car crash were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.