Pending Business: When Controversy Strikes. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you’ve been selling or managing talk radio for a longer than you would like to admit, there is a good chance you’ve experienced the pushback when a talent inadvertently steps over a line. When it becomes a deal breaker or a cancellation, you’re not alone. Sometimes a talent will make an honest mistake and your management will step in to right the ship. Sometimes not, and we all know how that ends.” Read more here.
Monday Memo: The Resourceful Podcaster, Parked. The pandemic shutdown forced radio and TV broadcasters into working remotely. Many in radio continue to. “They’re podcasters with transmitters” consultant Holland Cooke quips. In this week’s column, his scrappy tip for giving podcasts the polish that broadcast listeners expect. Read it here.
iHeartRadio Tops Podtrac’s July 2022 Top Podcast Publishers Chart. The Top Podcast Publishers chart for the month of July has been published by Podtrac. The chart, based on unique monthly audience (United States), places iHeartRadio in the #1 spot with a UMA of 29.5 million. Wondery comes in second place with a UMA of 21.2 million, followed by NPR at #3 with a UMA of 17 million. Other podcast publishers of note making the Top 20 chart include: PodcastOne at #8 (UMA 6.1 million), FOX Audio Network at #11 (UMA 4.4 million), and Cumulus Podcast Network at #15 (UMA 3.6 million). See the complete chart here.
Joe Benigno Returning to WFAN, New York in Part-Time Capacity. During an appearance on the afternoon drive “Carton & Roberts” show on WFAN, New York on Friday (8/5), former midday talk host Joe Benigno revealed he’s going to be returning to WFAN to host a regular Saturday morning show on the station as well as a Monday segment with midday hosts Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney. He says he’ll also do some fill-in work on “The Fan.” Benigno, who co-hosted the midday show with Evan Roberts, retired from the Audacy sports talk station last November.
Inflation Reduction Act, CPAC 2022, China’s Taiwan Threats, Alex Jones Trial, Gaza Fighting, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19/Monkey Pox Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Senate’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act that moves to the House this week and President Joe Biden’s claim of victory for American families should it become law; the CPAC 2022 weekend convention highlighted by a keynote speech by former President Donald Trump; China ramps up military exercises near Taiwan in the aftermath of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the island; the Texas jury in the Alex Jones defamation case levies $45.2 million in punitive damages against him; the fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S. and the global spread of Monkey Pox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WKNR Contest Puts $30,000 Ad Campaign Up For Grabs. This marks the third consecutive year that Good Karma Brands sports talk WKNR “850 ESPN Cleveland” will give away a $30,000 WKNR advertising schedule to one local business. To qualify for “Moving Business Forward,” the establishment must be owned by a veteran, minority member, or woman. The promotion runs through this Friday (7/29) and is open to Northeast Ohio businesses incorporated and active for at least two years with annual revenue under $15 million in fiscal year 2021. Entrants must submit an under 300-word statement saying why their business deserves to win. Judging criteria will be on passion for the business; innovation during – and response to – the COVID-19 pandemic; employee loyalty; impact on business’ neighborhood/community; and overall business culture. According to Good Karma Brands Cleveland vice president/market manager Amy Crossman, “We are excited to partner with Keybank and the Cleveland Cavaliers to continue this powerful program for the local business community. We look forward to connecting our passionate sports fans with these deserving Cleveland-based businesses to help them thrive in the future.” The winner will have use of a private suite for one Cavs game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. WKNR will buy $2,500 in gift cards, divided among veteran, minority, and women-owned businesses, to be given away throughout the year.
NAB Appoints Hall to Leadership Foundation Board. Talk host/journalist/producer/author Tamron Hall is appointed to the National Association of Broadcasters’ Leadership Foundation. In addition, Hall assumes the newly-created position of industry ambassador, where she will work with NABLF on campaigns and fundraising efforts. NAB Leadership Foundation president Michelle Duke comments, “Tamron Hall exemplifies the values of NABLF through her commitment to service, advocacy, and diversity. Her strong record of public service and leadership make her uniquely-qualified to serve as a champion for the Foundation and for broadcasting. We look forward to her partnership and working with her to make our industry better.” Hall adds, “I am so excited to help the NAB Leadership Foundation continue its mission of attracting and developing the next generation of innovative broadcast executives. More than ever, we need to ensure that the broadcast industry has a pipeline of future leaders that reflect our diverse audiences. It’s been an honor to work with the Foundation in the past; I look forward to furthering this work as a member of the Board.” As industry ambassador, Hall will help NABLF honor broadcast radio and television stations’ community service efforts through the Foundation’s annual Celebration of Service to America Awards, which she hosted two years ago.
KO’s “Countdown” Continues as an iHM Podcast. Beginning August 1, former longtime ESPN and MSNBC anchor; author; and three-time Edward R. Murrow Award winner Keith Olbermann will launch a daily iHeartMedia podcast series. “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will include a news-driven mix featuring a “Special Comment” political analysis and his popular MSNBC “Worst Person In The World” segment. As part of the podcast, the one time sports anchor at Los Angeles all-news outlet KNX will do a regular sports bit, as well as a daily call to help a suffering dog. In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Olbermann declares that podcasts have, “replaced radio and to a large part television. Why not present something that is there every day for people? My goal is that you’ll be able to listen and get everything that happened. It won’t be, ‘here we are reacting to last week’s news.’ I’m doing the work for the work. I stopped predicting my next career development around 1997.” Former “Today” anchor Katie Couric and Fox News host Megyn Kelly launched post-television audio broadcasting careers. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien signed a deal with SiriusXM earlier this year to start a podcasting venture. Olbermann covered the 1980 Olympics “Miracle on Ice” and anchored the 2009 Super Bowl pre-game show.
Hobbs To Helm MundoNow’s Óyenos Audio. Multicultural podcasting veteran Stephen Hobbs is named chief audio officer of MundoNow’s Latino podcast network, Óyenos Audio. Hobbs will oversee the development of new original scripted series and audio entertainment concepts that will focus on topics including true crime and inspirational stories. MundoNow chief executive officer Rene Alegrias remarks, “Latinos expect smart, highly sophisticated podcasts that provide a culturally-accurate connection to their heritage. Óyenos will provide this and it will be driven by the renowned Stephen Hobbs. In the world of multicultural podcasting, Stephen’s caliber and experience is unmatched.” MundoNow chief revenue officer/partner Andrew Polsky notes, “I immediately recognized the impact this platform can make in expanding meaningful podcasting for the underserved bilingual/bicultural market. This impact will be maximized with the hiring of Stephen. I’ve worked with him before on multiple brand partnership executions. I’m excited to collaborate with him again to not only elevate Óyenos, but the offering of Latino streaming content as a whole.” Hobbs states that bilingual digital media company MundoNow, recently rebranded from Mundo Hispanico, is “exceptionally well-positioned to become a leader in multicultural podcasting. It has the audience, it has the growth strategy under superior leadership from Rene and Andrew, and it has the production capacity. My job is to create content that will have listeners on the edge of their seats, or perhaps making an emotional connection.” Hobbs co-founded reVolver Podcasts; was Univision’s vice president of podcasts and experiential; and during his three-year tenure at Spanish Broadcasting Systems launched AIRE Radio Network. MundoNow generates ten million unique visitors each month, along with 70+ million pageviews and more than a quarter-billion served ad impressions.
TALKERS News Notes. In a Facebook post, Sammy Simpson reveals, “I am going to be transitioning out of the brand/content manager role at Capitol Broadcasting [Raleigh]. The company has started the search for a new sports [talk] program director and I would encourage you to apply or help spread the word if interested in a truly great opportunity.” Simpson joined Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh two years ago to oversee sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan”; sports talk WCMC-HD2 “Buzz Sports Radio”; and sports talk WDNC “620 The Ticket.” The cluster also includes adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5” and triple A WCLY “That Station.” … Meanwhile, in another sports talk-related Facebook post, we learn that Waterloo Media Austin flips Spanish contemporary KLZT-HD2 (1.2, #22, June 2022, 6+) to sports talk as “102.7 ESPN Austin.” In addition to ESPN programming, the on-air lineup will include: Jason Dick and CJ Morgan (from alternative cluster-mate KROX); Ed Clements (from co-owned news/talk KLBJ-AM); and Bryan Bymark (from rock cluster-mate KLBJ-FM). … Per USA Today‘s Mike Organ, Nashville media personality Mark Howard has died at the age of 65. In 2004, Howard became co-host of “The Wake Up Zone” on Nashville sports talk WGFX “The Zone 104.5”; he left the show in 2020. The Connecticut native most recently worked as a part-time host at cross-town Cromwell Group sports talk WPRT-FM “The Game 102.5.” Howard spent several years hosting a Tennessee Titans post-game show and co-hosted Nashville Predators pre-game and post-game programs. … The first five recipients of the Friends of Georgia Radio’s “Georgia Radio Legends” honors are: Media Ventures Partners founder (the late) Charles Giddens; Georgia Association of Broadcasters president/National Alliance of State Broadcasters Association president Bob Houghton; Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB legislative reporter Sandra Parrish; Atlanta Public Schools public radio news/talk WABE host Lois Reitzes; and University of Georgia radio studio host/WSB-AM & WSBB director of marketing & research Neal “Hondo” Williamson. They will be recognized at a Jeff Foxworthy-hosted event next month (8/27) in Alpharetta.
Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Tracking data of podcasts for Podtrac-measured shows indicates that downloads are down 9% (July 18 – 24) over the previous week, but up 53% over the corresponding period last year. All categories are down week-to-week, with “History” and “Society & Culture” showing the most significant week-to-week decline (-12%). Meanwhile, “Health & Fitness” registers the strongest year-to-year growth, a robust +179%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth (July 19, 2021 – July 24, 2022) was up 53%, while week-over-week download growth (July 18 – 24, 2022) was off 9%. For the 52-week period (July 19, 2021 to July 24, 2022), “Health & Fitness” is +179%; “Comedy” is +100%; “Sports” is +64%; “True Crime” is +54%; “Science” is +52%; “Business” is +51%; “News” is +43%; “Society & Culture” is +39%; “History” is +32%; and “Arts” is flat. Week-over-week download dips (July 18 – 24, 2022) included: -12% (“History”); -12% (“Society & Culture”); -10% (“News”); -10% (“Sports”); -10% (“True Crime”); -9% (“Science”); -7% (“Business”); -7% (“Comedy”); -6% (“Arts”); and -6% (“Health & Fitness”).
SiriusXM, NFL Extend/Expand Their Broadcast Agreement. Under terms of the new five-year extension, SiriusXM becomes the exclusive third-party audio provider of every National Football League game across North America. NFL chief media and business officer Brian Rolapp remarks, “SiriusXM continues to be an important part of the NFL family. [It provides] fans access to live game audio, as well as all news and information around their favorite teams.” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein notes, “The popularity of the NFL, and the passion of their fans, is extraordinary. Since 2004, the NFL has been an important component of SiriusXM’s programming lineup as we deliver those fans exceptional access to all their favorite teams. We couldn’t be more pleased to now be expanding our relationship with the league, ensuring our listeners will continue to get comprehensive access to the NFL.” Subscribers will continue getting access to every NFL game through Super Bowl LXI (2027) on SiriusXM radio and on the SXM App. The SXM App offers 32 NFL team channels, each dedicated to carrying the official radio broadcast for each NFL team. The satcaster will offer additional team-focused content, including coaches shows, and press conferences to subscribers.
America Amplified “Election 2022” Launches This Week. Funded by the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the America Amplified “Election 2022” initiative helps public media stations in 25 states, including Michigan Radio, ensure that citizens are properly informed to participate in this fall’s local, state and congressional elections. Corporation For Public Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Pat Harrison comments, “Voting is the foundation of a democracy. We want to ensure that all eligible citizens have the information they need to exercise their right to vote. With more than 1,500 locally managed and operated stations, public media is ideally situated to engage all citizens. America Amplified’s listening-first approach will help build trust in the process.” Michigan Radio program director Matt Shafer Powell remarks, “Joining America Amplified gives Michigan Radio the chance to build on our long-standing commitment to engaging and informing our community. We are excited to bring additional resources to better understand what our communities need to know about election processes and election security.” Among the initiative’s community engagement activities is an online tool that allows the public to submit questions related to the election voting process. Questions will be answered using nonpartisan election information sources.
Michael La Crosse to Lead Programming at iHeartMedia Sacramento. Programming pro Michael La Crosse is named SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group that includes news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE and five music outlets. La Crosse will continue to oversee the iHeartMedia Portland market as vice president of programming and will serve as program director for adult contemporary KBEB “92.5 The Breeze.” iHeartMedia National Programming Group EVP Maynard says, “Michael is an outstanding programmer and human. He has worked closely with Sacramento and many other iHeartMedia markets over the past few years and I couldn’t be more excited to formally expand his leadership responsibilities and influence.” La Crosse comments, “I’m very humbled to get the chance to work with the amazing team in Sacramento. With a brand-new station like ‘KISS 107.9’ and a station like NewsRadio KFBK, that is celebrating its 100th anniversary, our stations are as diverse as Sacramento itself.”
Ernie Brown Moves to Morning Drive on WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. News and talk radio pro Ernie Brown moves from his late morning daypart to morning drive on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth. Brown joins Hal Jay as co-host of “WBAP’s Morning News” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am. WBAP program director Bruce Collins says, “Ernie is exactly what we were looking for. He’s the ultimate professional broadcaster that knows how to relate to the audience and understands the biggest stories of the day that resonate with our target audience. We’re excited to have him as our new morning show leader.” Brown comments, “We’ll talk about the issues that matter to WBAP listeners: inflation, gas prices, grocery prices, supply chain shortages, your money, covid, and of course the Cowboys! I’ve worked at great stations and organizations all over the country including KOGO in San Diego, ‘America’s Radio News’ in Washington, D.C., Western Journal – Phoenix, and KOMO in Seattle and hosted a national late night talk show called ‘America at Night.’ This is an incredible opportunity to get to work with Hal Jay and the talented WBAP morning team. I want to thank Cumulus DFW RVP/market manager Dan Bennett and PD Bruce Collins.”
Podtrac Announces Top Podcast Publishers for June 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers for June of this year from Podtrac based on unique monthly audience (UMA) has been released and iHeartRadio holds down the top spot with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 30.3 million. At #2 is Wondery with a UMA of 23.8 million. NPR follows at #3 (UMA 18 million), The New York Times is #4 (UMA 11 million), and NBC News is #5 (UMA 9.1 million). You can see the complete ranking of the top 20 here.
Audacy Unveils Updates to App and Website. The company announces that it has begun to make updates to its digital platform in the form of new features on the Audacy app and website. The company says, “We’ll be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks and months, with each release focused on positively impacting Audacy’s digital, podcasting, data, analytics, and ad tech capabilities. At the heart of these updates lives truly interactive radio. We’re giving our listeners even more control over streaming radio with additional interactivity to both live and on-demand content. We’re also improving the discovery and curation of our radio and podcast content, presented seamlessly together within an evolved interface and user experience.” Initial updates include: 1) enhanced rewind in which listeners can rewind live news, sports, and news/talk stations and hear it all again; 2) curated discovery of content in which listeners are immersed into a personalized, interactive experience that is customizable, based not just on their favorite stations or podcasts, but also on their topical interests across news, sports and music; and 3) enriched podcast listening giving listeners access to nearly 3 million podcasts plus exclusive binging of Audacy Originals. The app also now presents radio and podcast content together, allowing listeners to consume the latest content from the shows they love along with the topics they’re interested in.
NAB Reveals 2022 Marconi Award Finalists. The finalists for the NAB’s 2022 Marconi Awards in numerous categories have been revealed. In the category of Legendary Station of the Year, three spoken-word stations made the cut: Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco; Audacy’s all-news KRLD-AM, Dallas; and Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year nominees include: Ramsey Media’s Dave Ramsey, Premiere Networks’ George Noory, and Premiere’s Dan Patrick. News/talk and sports talk personalities making the finalist round include, in the Major Market Personallity of the Year category: Mike Felger and Tony Massorotti, WBZ-FM, Boston; Greg Hill, WEEI-FM, Boston; and Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel, WSCR-AM, Chicago. In the Large Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: C4 and Bryan Nehman, WBAL-AM, Baltimore and Tony Katz, WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. In the Medium Market Personality of the Year category, finalists include: Harlen the Sports Guy & Pigskin Bob, KYKX-FM, Tyler, Texas and Kevin Miller, KIDO-AM, Boise, Idaho. The five finalists in the News/Talk Station of the Year category are: Audacy’s KNX-AM, Los Angeles; Hubbard Radio’s KTMY-FM, Minneapolis-St. Paul; Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton; iHeartMedia’s WLW-AM, Cincinnati; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. And the five finalists in the Sports Station of the Year category are: Cumulus Media’s KNBR-AM, San Francisco; Beasley Media Group’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Audacy’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia; WMFS-FM, Memphis; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.
Mike Missanelli to Co-Host Eagles Postgame Show. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that longtime Philadelphia sports media personality Mike Missanelli, who exited Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in May of this year, is working with JAKIB Media Partners to co-host a Philadelphia Eagles post-game show beginning this fall. The paper says that Missanelli and former NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Seth Joyner are joining Derrick Gunn and Devan Kaney on JAKIB’s YouTube channel. The program will stream after each Eagles game this fall. As the Inquirer notes in its story, JAKIB Sports streams three daily live programs including “Birds 365,” hosted by John McMullen and WIP host Jody McDonald; “Sports Take,” hosted by Gunn, Barrett Brooks, and Rob Ellis; and “The National Football Show” hosted by Dan Sileo.
Audacy: Study Confirms Ad Engagement Increases with Each Audio Exposure. The results of an audio study conducted by independent market research consultancy Alter Agents in partnership with Audacy and media agency Spark Foundry, show that ad engagement climbs with each audio exposure across industry categories, audio platforms and genres. Audacy says that this distinctive content peak study shows that “exposing audiences to audio messages consistently offers resounding benefits in brand equity and sales. Audio seizes attention and builds intention, frequency after frequency. It offers brands opportunities for engagement and impact throughout the life of a campaign.” Audacy and Spark Foundry devised a custom neuroscience study in partnership with Alter Agents to gauge audiences’ second-by-second engagement (i.e., Immersion) with audio content and advertising, across advertiser categories, audio platforms, and genres. Spark Foundry provided samples of its clients’ advertisements in the retail, financial services and QSR industries. Over the course of a week, participants (national sample of P18-54) were exposed to a randomized rotation of audio content and advertisements up to 15 times. The team measured brand KPIs (e.g., brand opinion and intention to purchase) through a follow-up survey. Audacy SVP of research and insights Idil Cakim says, “The study, based on an incredibly rigorous design that combines neuroscience and survey methodologies, proves the strength of audio in the media mix. Audio’s ability to scale its effect through higher frequencies shows its unique ability to engage and drive value.”
Squad SCOTUS Protest, January 6 Hearings/Georgia Probe/Bannon Trial, Biden Approval Ratings, Midterms/2024 Race, The Economy, House Same-Sex Marriage Bill, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, and Heatwave/Climate Change Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The Supreme Court Roe v Wade protest at which U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and others were arrested; the ongoing January 6 hearings, the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 election results, and the contempt of congress trial of former White House strategist Steve Bannon; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings; the November midterm elections and speculation about the 2024 presidential nominees; the state of the U.S. economy as inflation and falling financial markets affect Americans; the U.S. House passes a bill protecting same-sex marriages; the rising rate of BA.5 subvariant COVID-19 cases; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the record-setting European heatwave were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazin
iHM Jacksonville Boosts Lawrence To Senior VP/Sales. Two-and-a-half-year iHeartMedia Jacksonville vice president/sales Stacey Lawrence advances to senior vice president/sales of that Florida cluster. Lawrence will report to iHeartMedia North Florida area president Paul Rogers, who comments, “When I joined the market [in March 2021], I took a long time to evaluate our team, including our management team. I wanted to learn their values, their work ethic, and observe their commitment to our team, our customers, and to iHeart. Stacey flat-out earned it, and her strong working relationship with vice president/digital sales Brooke Adams is going to be crucial and what takes us over the top.” Lawrence remarks, “I’m thrilled to step into my new role with this incredible team in Jacksonville. Although I’ve been with iHeartMedia less than three years, it did not take me long to realize this was where I belonged. [It’s] a forward-thinking company that is customer-centric at its core. Jacksonville is exploding and I plan on leading this team to their fullest potential. I look forward to making a difference in our community and helping businesses achieve their marketing goals through our world- class, multi-channel offerings.” Lawrence spent 14 years with Hibu (formerly YellowBook USA). She later held sales management positions for two Jacksonville TV stations, including Graham Media Group’s WJXT-TV. Among the stations in iHM Jacksonville is Spanish news/talk WFXJ “Acción 97.3.”
Moore Becomes MAB’s Main Man. Most recently the vice president of programming for iHeartMedia New Hampshire, Tim Moore is named president/chief executive officer of the Maine Association of Broadcasters. Moore succeeds Suzanne Goucher, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year. MAB board chair/WMTW-TV, Portland president/general manager David Abel states, “The Board was looking for someone with deep experience in Maine broadcasting and extensive relationships throughout the state; Tim stood out among some very qualified candidates. There is much to be done to position the MAB for the future and we are excited to have Tim lead that effort.” According to Moore, “I’ve loved the MAB for years and believe in the mission to advocate for broadcasters on every level. My thanks to David Abel; incoming chair Corey Garrison; and the entire board of directors for placing their faith and trust in me. I’m beyond excited to lead the MAB into the future and cannot wait to get started.” Moore began his Maine radio career in Bangor at WKSQ. He later went to Portland as operations manager of WHOM and WJBQ. A former MAB board chair, Moore is a member of the MAB Hall of Fame and was awarded the inaugural (2010) “Broadcast Achievement Award.” The Maine Association of Broadcasters was formed in 1947 to “cultivate a friendly spirit of cooperation in matters of common interest” to radio and television stations throughout the “Pine Tree State.”
Wexler Wins NFPW’s Top Spot For Best Radio Interview. Just hours after Jim Himes spent a marathon day and night at the U.S. Capitol following the January 6 (2021) riot, Connoisseur Media Bridgeport news/talk WICC’s Lisa Wexler interviewed the Connecticut congressman live on her 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show. That January 7 interview enabled Wexler to win first-place for “Best Radio Interview” in the National Federation of Press Women’s Awards. Wexler comments, “Interviewing congressman Jim Himes after he experienced all that transpired on January 6 felt like history in the making. I urge all to listen to it now, with the benefit of hindsight.” Connoisseur Media senior vice president Kristin Okesson remarks, “The role of radio is as vital as it’s ever been, and Lisa Wexler is a fantastic example of what makes the medium so critical right now. Lisa has developed a deep connection to her audience through her no-nonsense interview style and down-to-earth storytelling. Through these stormy past few years, Lisa was there to help guide her listeners through. She remains a reassuring voice during an uncomfortable time in our nation and the world. Connecticut and WICC are lucky to have Lisa Wexler behind the microphone.” NFPW is a nationwide organization of women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum, including radio, television print, electronic journalism, freelancing, new media, books, public relations, marketing, graphic design, photography, and advertising. Winners from throughout the country were honored this past Saturday (6/25) during the National Federation of Press Women communications contest ceremony in Fargo, North Dakota. Nearly 2,000 entries were judged in a wide variety of categories. Only first-place winning entries at the state level are eligible to enter the national contest. All entries were published or broadcast between January 1 – December 31 (2021). “The Lisa Wexler Show” took first place for the Jim Himes interview at the Connecticut Press Awards.
“Share Of Ear” Q1 2022 Findings. Among this week’s Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group blog highlights is that among registered voters, terrestrial radio has a 75% share of ad-supported audio. Meanwhile, AM/FM radio’s audience is 13 times bigger than Pandora and 19 times that of Spotify. Trending ad-supported audience shares from Q1 2020 to Q1 2022, terrestrial radio sees little change (78% to 76%). As podcast shares bump up from 7% to 11%, Pandora’s shares are down 25% (8% to 6%). Also in single-digits are Spotify (4%) and SiriusXM (3%). Terrestrial radio leads total ad-supported shares among key buying demographics; podcast shares are greater than Spotify and Pandora combined. In the car, AM/FM radio shares have been in the high-80s the last six years. Most Americans only listen to terrestrial radio and never listen to Pandora and Spotify. Over six years, the proportion of terrestrial radio listening occurring through online streaming has nearly doubled (8% to 15%). More radio listening is occurring via stream (15%) than the entire AM dial. With a 43% share, terrestrial radio leads ad-supported listening on the smart speaker. Edison Research’s quarterly “Share of Ear” study surveys 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio.
TALKERS News Notes. The first-ever “Black Effect Podcast Festival” is set to take place August 28 at the Avant Gardner in Brooklyn. Premiere Networks’ “Breakfast Club” co-host Charlamagne Tha God will join the festival, along with some of the Black Effect Podcast Network’s most popular personalities for a day of live podcast tapings and discussions aimed at aspiring podcasters in the black community. According to Charlamagne Tha God, “The Black Effect Podcast Network was created to amplify black voices for new and established content creators and storytellers, giving them a space to showcase their creative vision in the ever-growing podcast game. I’m excited to celebrate the first-ever Black Effect Podcast Festival, where talented black creators and aspiring podcasters will come together for a day to uplift and inspire one another. This festival is for the culture and is one of many events the network will host for the black community.” Launched in September 2020 and curated by Charlamagne Tha God, the Black Effect Podcast Network has debuted 32 shows. Black Effect Podcast Network partners include AT&T, BetterHelp, Hulu, Molson Coors, Nissan and State Farm … Former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is coming back to the organization to be part of this year’s radio broadcasts on iHeartMedia Charlotte. A first-round pick by the Panthers in 2012, Kuechly will be in the booth for six home games and the road trip to his hometown of Cincinnati. He comments, “I just love the Panthers. I want to be attached to the team and the game. I think it could be a lot of fun.” Kuechly played eight seasons in Carolina and retired following the 2019 season. Other members of the Panthers radio team are Anish Shroff; Jordan Gross; Jake Delhomme; Kristen Balboni; and Jim Szoke … Among the three specials ABC Audio will provide to affiliates this July 4th weekend is ABC News Radio’s three-hour Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” Nathanson and ABC News correspondents venture across the country thrill-seeking and learning new skills.
Podtrac Releases Weekly Podcast Data. Downloads for Podtrac-measured shows (June 20 – 26) are up 1% over the previous week and gain 70% versus the corresponding period last year. Whereas “Health & Fitness” displays the strongest week-over-week growth (+9%), “Comedy” registers the weakest week-to-week loss (-4%). The category with the strongest year-over-year improvement is “Health & Fitness,” climbing 183%. Across all Podtrac-measured podcasts, download growth for the 52-week period (June 21, 2021 – June 26, 2022) was up 70%, while week-over-week (June 20 – 26, 2022) download advancement was up 1%. Year-to-year download growth was +183% for “Health & Fitness”; +116%, “Comedy”; +87%, “True Crime”; +83%, “Sports”; +64%, “News”; +62%, “Business”; +60%, “Society & Culture”; +47%, “Science”; +44%, “History”; and +12% for “Arts.” Download week-over-week gains are made by “Health & Fitness” (+9%); “Arts” (+3%); “News” (+3%); “Society & Culture” (+3%); and “Sports” (+2%). “History” remains even, while “Comedy” is -4%; “Science” and “True Crime” are both -3%; and “Business” is -2%.
Mike “Bax” Baxendale, Morning Talk Show Co-Host at ‘Rock 102,’ Springfield is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Often referred to by Michael Harrison as a “talk radio pound-for-pound champion” Mike “Bax” Baxendale – who has reigned over Western Massachusetts radio ratings and revenue for the past 27 years on an extraordinary level – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Known to his loyal legion of listeners simply as “Bax,” Baxendale has been enormously successful as a key member of the evolving WAQY “Rock 102” morning team since 1995 and is still going strong. First, he enjoyed an amazingly long run with talented co-host John O’ Brien (Bax & O’ Brien) and now the momentum continues with co-hosts Steve Nagle and Dave Coombs (“Bax, Steve and Dave”). See photo (l-r) Bax, Steve Nagle and Dave Coombs. Bax has become, according to Harrison, “a quintessential example of the notable breed of radio talker operating within the context of a duo or team on a music FM station where politics is mostly local, unpredictably non-partisan and not the only focus of interest.” Harrison continues, “This hard-working broadcaster talks politics, music, sports, and a wide scope of day-to-day issues and his range covers silly to serious, irreverent to respectful.” Harrison and Bax talk about the business realities faced by duos and teams on radio as well as the differences between how talk show hosts on music radio stations approach their audiences in terms of subject matter and attitude and those who perform on traditional news/talkers. Harrison refers to his own talk roots in FM music radio. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Podtrac Releases Top Podcast Publishers and Podcasts for May. Releasing its Top Podcast Publishers and Top Podcasts for the month of May based on U.S. unique monthly audience, Podtrac reports that iHeartRadio is #1 with a unique monthly audience of 29.4 million. NPR comes in at #2 with a unique monthly audience of 18.9 million. Other publishers in the top 20 include Daily Wire at #7 (repped by Cumulus Podcast Network), PodcastOne at #8 FOX Audio Network at #11, Blaze Media at #13, and Cumulus Podcast Network at #16. For the top 20 podcasts based on unique monthly audience, Podtrac ranks “The Daily” from The New York Times at #1, followed by “NPR News Now” at #2. “The Ben Shapiro Show” is ranked #5. Other radio-related shows include iHeartRadio’s “Stuff You Should Know” at #8, “FOX News Radio Hourly Newscast” at #11, and “The Dan Bongino Show” at #13. See the complete charts here.
Glades Media Names 25-Year Rush Limbaugh Engineer as Chief Operating Officer. Radio pro Brian Johnson – who served for 25 years as the radio broadcast engineer for “The Rush Limbaugh Show” – is the new chief operating officer for Glades Media. The company co-founders – Robert Castellanos, chairman and chief executive officer, and James Johnson, chief financial officer – will continue their roles. Castellanos says, “For the past year, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Brian and seeing first-hand what an outstanding broadcaster he’s become. Brian’s passion for radio and people is evident in how he approaches every opportunity and challenge. I look forward to building upon our business partnership as we continue navigating the broadcast media landscape.” Johnson spent 25 years as Limbaugh’s personal engineer, a role that began when the conservative radio icon moved to Palm Beach in 1996. Johnson comments, “It was a blessing to work side by side with the greatest broadcaster in our business. I’m eager to apply that experience and insight into my new role at Glades Media.” Johnson also owns BMZ Broadcasting, LLC and leases WLMX-FM to Glades Media.
Bret Burkhart Joins Audacy’s All-News KCBS-AM, San Francisco. Bay Area news pro Bret Burkhart is joining Audacy’s all-news KCBS-AM as a news anchor. Burkhart joins the station after spending the last 23 years at Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO-AM and most recently was an anchor during the station’s morning and midday shows. Audacy San Francisco SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman states, “We are incredibly fortunate that Bret is continuing his already illustrious career as an anchor for his hometown KCBS. He brings to KCBS a comprehensive and complex skill set that we will all benefit from. Bret knows politics, the Bay Area, what makes a good story and how to tell it, and we look forward to welcoming him aboard.” Burkhart comments, “KCBS is the gold standard for news around the Bay Area and beyond and I feel so fortunate to be joining an amazing group of broadcasters and storytellers.”
Adams Radio Launches Voluntary Employee Donation Drive to Benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America. The company says that this voluntary employee donation drive is designed to “help create awareness and raise funds for the Broadcasters Foundation of America, a 501(c)3 charity that provides aid to fellow broadcasters in acute need from life-altering illness, accident, or other disaster.” The plan allows all Adams Radio Group employees the opportunity to set up automatic payroll deductions, in any amount, as donations to the Broadcasters Foundation. Adams president Ron Stone states, “When I learned that the sole mission of the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide financial assistance to our colleagues who, through no fault of their own, are in desperate need, I knew we had to get involved. These broadcasters are our colleagues. I would ask every radio group to consider helping the only charity that is dedicated solely to helping our colleagues.” BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We’re very grateful to Ron for launching a voluntary employee donation drive to benefit the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation. With help from broadcasters like Ron, we can continue to provide aid to those in our industry who need it most.”
Cumulus Media Extends ABL Credit Facility. The company states that its indirect wholly owned subsidiary – Cumulus Media New Holdings Inc. – is entering into an amendment of its existing $100 million revolving credit facility. The amendment, among other things, extends the maturity from 2025 to 2027 subject to certain springing maturity conditions. As of June 8, 2022, there were no amounts outstanding under the Revolving Credit Facility. Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “By extending the ABL through 2027, we are locking in a long-term, favorable source of liquidity – enhancing our already strong balance sheet and increasing our financial flexibility as we continue to evolve from a one-dimensional radio broadcaster to a multi-dimensional audio media company. This action follows the expiration of the $25 million tender offer pursuant to our $50 million share buyback program and demonstrates our continuing commitment to making operational and financial decisions that enhance shareholder value.”
iHeartMedia Rebrands WBZT-AM, West Palm Beach as “1230 The Gambler.” The West Palm Beach sports talk station is rebranding as “Sports Radio 1230 The Gambler” and is using content from VSiN, The Sports Betting Network iHeartMedia’s WBZT-AM will air 22 hours of live VSiN programming daily in addition to Miami Marlins baseball games and University of Florida football and basketball matchups. Additionally, ‘The Gambler’ will feature “The Greek Zone” live from South Florida, weekday afternoons from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Station PD Brian Mudd comments, “We’re thrilled to bring this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk to local sports fans. Sports betting as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN and our very own Greek, is a perfect choice for ‘The Gambler.’”
Primary Elections/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Hearings, the Economy, Attempted Kavanaugh Attack, Gun Violence-Legislation, Russia-Ukraine War, Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/8). The results of Tuesday’s primary elections, the ouster of San Francisco’s liberal DA, and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; today’s beginning of the January 6 Committee hearings; the soaring price of gasoline & food and concerns about a recession; a California man is arrested near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home intending to do him harm; the recent spate of gun violence and attempts to craft gun control legislation; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and is effect on the global economy; and the severe heatwave forecast for the Southwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.