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Thursday, October 14, 2021

| October 14, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Borrowed Future Premieres Today; Teachers Given Free Access to Share with Students. The student load documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions is being released today (10/14) and the company is offering every teacher in the U.S. free access to the film. Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream is produced by Dave Ramsey and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play. Ramsey Solutions says the film uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry and exposes how it’s built to work against borrowers. Dave Ramsey – CEO of Ramsey Solutions, host of “The Ramsey Show,” and executive producer of the film – comments, “It’s ironic to me that the dumbest decisions we make as a society are related to education, of all things. Student loans are not the only way to get a degree. Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.” The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a debt-free college graduate, and high school students who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans – until now. Borrowed Future is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. See more about Borrowed Future here.

Audacy Offers $45 Million in New Notes to Fund ‘Small Digital Acquisition.’ A subsidiary of AudacyAudacy Capital Corp – plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $45 million in aggregate principal amount of the Issuer’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Audacy says it is in the process of completing a small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million and expects to fund this acquisition through a draw on the Issuer’s revolving credit facility. This acquisition is expected to close in October 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Audacy intends to use the net proceeds from this offering (after deducting discounts and commissions and paying offering-related expenses) to repay outstanding amounts under the Issuer’s term loan to offset the impact of the revolver draw. This offering is not conditioned upon the consummation of the acquisition, nor is the acquisition conditioned on the consummation of this offering. The Additional Notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $425 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. The Additional Notes will have identical terms (other than issue date and offering price) as the Existing Notes. The Additional Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. The Additional Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

NAB’s Marconi Awards to Happen Virtually; Radio Show to Merge with NAB Show Permanently. With the cancellation of the in-person NAB Show this fall, the
National Association of Broadcasters announces the presentation of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and the State of the Industry Address by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will take place virtually on November 10 at 2:00 pm ET via NAB.org/watch. At the same time, NAB announces that going forward, the annual Radio Show will be integrated into the NAB Show beginning in April 2022 in Las Vegas. NAB says, “This change provides more opportunities in one location for radio professionals and elevates radio in the larger media ecosystem represented at NAB Show.” NAB adds that the integrated event in Las Vegas will feature signature awards, networking events and a comprehensive conference program, including popular sales and marketing sessions presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “It’s important that we continue to bring radio professionals together to network, celebrate audio and engage in meaningful discussions around the future of our industry.” Salem Media Group president of broadcast media and NAB joint board chair David Santrella states, “In today’s world where radio companies are essentially multimedia companies, the value in attending NAB Show cannot be overstated. We are now streaming and podcasting and even producing video. NAB Show provides unparalleled access to the critical tools, knowledge and connections we need to grow and thrive in today’s media business.”

Nielsen: AM/FM Radio Listening Near its Highest Point in a Year. Results from Nielsen’s ongoing Audio Consumer Sentiment survey that addresses current American feelings about the COVID pandemic and how it impacts their lives have been released and they indicate that nearly nine in 10 (86%) say they are spending the same amount or more since the Delta variant emerged. Despite the Delta variant and increasing COVID cases in the summer, more than eight in 10 (82%) don’t think their own financial situation will change in the coming months. Also, radio’s average quarter-hour (AQH) audience trend is up 4% year over year, with 7.5 million people age 12+ listening during an average quarter-hour in PPM Markets in September 2021. Radio’s reach trend is stable. Radio reached 121.5 million consumers in PPM markets during an average week in September 2021. In Continuous Diary Measurement markets, Radio’s reach and AQH audience have been remarkably stable during the past year. The study finds that seven in 10 working Americans now work outside the home – an 80% jump since April 2020. The gain in those who work outside the home is a key statistic for audio since consumers spend more time with radio when they travel in vehicles to get to work or shop. There were also big gains in the area of transportation. Overall, nearly a third (31%) are spending more than an hour in their vehicles yesterday compared with 14% in April of last year. That’s a two-fold increase, and heavy radio listeners are far more likely to spend more time in their vehicles. In September, 55% of heavy radio listeners spent more than an hour in their vehicle yesterday.

Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show’ to Celebrate 40 Years on Air. In November, Warren Eckstein will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his radio program “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein.” His program is syndicated nationally via Radio America. In addition to his work as a pet behaviorist and TV-radio personality, Eskstein founded the Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund – a  not-for-profit organization in memory of his late wife, Fay. Its mission is to fund hundreds of small animal organizations across the U.S. The Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund aims to be the outsourced fundraising arm for small animal rescues when other financial resources are unavailable. Speaking about his show, Eskstein says, “Unlike most talk radio shows, my focus is on the listeners and callers. I rarely do interviews, because for 40 years, pet guardians are calling with questions they need answers to. My show has listeners with four generations of pets. We’ve laughed together and cried together. There is a level of trust the show has built with my audience – they know I will never endorse a product unless I personally use it for my pets. My reputation is on the line with every show.”

CBS News Honored with Four Honors from New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards. The winners of the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards have been announced and CBS News earned four honors in this year’s competition. “The Debrief with Major Garrett” took home the Gold Award in the News Podcast category; “Mobituaries with Mo Rocca” earned a Silver Award in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; “My Life of Crime” from “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty was a finalist in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; and “Century of Sound” was a finalist in the Best Nonfiction Series category.

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown promotes Thomas Green to director of custom imaging and appoints Royce Stevenson to the custom imaging manager role that Green held prior to his promotion. With Benztown since 2019, Brooklyn, New York-based Green is the audio producer for National Geographic’s FYC Podcast “The Making Of.” Stevenson joins Benztown from Audacy’s KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” where he was most recently assistant brand manager and music director…..KMG Utopia Studios, TalkShoe, and Mark Krantz Productions announce that award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano and his daughter Daniella Pantoliano are kicking off season two of their popular podcast, “No Kidding? Me Too!” at Advertising Week NY 2021 with a live Q&A on Monday, October 18 at 4:30 pm ET and a virtual session on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:00 pm ET. The two will conduct an intimate interview with Kelly Carlin – author, performer, and life coach – the only child of comic legend George Carlin. She’ll share her family’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and healing. Joe Pantoliano says, “We are thrilled to bring this important conversation to Advertising Week. It is important for us to collaborate with brands and advertisers on the increasing intensity of brain Dis-Ease, the co-occurring nature of addiction, and how to discover a recovery process. This is a perfect opportunity to raise the volume on recovery.”…..Stitcher announces its acquisition of “The Bellas Podcast” hosted by sisters, WWE Hall of Fame Inductees, TV personalities, and best-selling authors Brie and Nikki Bella. Before going on hiatus in spring 2021, “The Bellas Podcast” was part of the Endeavor Audio network. As it relaunches, hosts Brie and Nikki will produce the show with support from Stitcher.

Former Baltimore Talk Host Alan Christian Dies at 81. The Baltimore Sun has the obituary for Alvin Eugene Christian Jr., a.k.a. Alan Christian, who hosted talk radio programs on Baltimore radio stations during the 1970s and 1980s.  Christian died on October 5 at age 81 after suffering from heart complications. During his career, Christian hosted talk shows on WBAL-AM, WERQ-AM, and WFBR-AM. His radio career launched in 1967 when he joined Metromedia Radio News to cover the Pentagon and the 1968 presidential campaign before being promoted to Washington bureau chief. He joined WCBM-AM in 1971 and moved to WBAL in 1974 to host “The Alan Christian Show.” At the end of his radio career, he hosted a weekly show on WERQ from 1992 to 1993 before retiring.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, SS COLA, COVID-19, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Jon Gruden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; Social Security announces cost-of-living increases for monthly recipients; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; China’s continuing military aggression against Taiwan; and NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, October 11, 2021

| October 11, 2021

Monday Memo: “America Is Running Out of Everything.” Dealers want to buy your car. Paper towels and toilet paper are getting scarce again. Need to replace the dishwasher you KO’d during the shutdown? “Lotsa luck,” says consultant Holland Cooke, as conveyor belts that shut-down during the shutdown are slow-to-start. “Like the pandemic that precipitated it, the supply chain interruption is a years-long event that will interrupt and change listeners lives.” In this week’s column, HC outlines the opportunity for radio and its advertisers. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Who Cares? Sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about avoiding that very response from your prospect. Imagine you’ve prepared a proposal with your best pitch points and “every #1 position you can muster is so baked into your pitch you can recite the numbers in your sleep. If your station is not in the business of ratings, you find another #1 strategy. Your talent bios show a spectrum of photos that range from influential guests to family photos that warm the coldest hearts… but has your proposal passed the ‘Who Cares?’ test when it comes to all these perceived salient points? Have you considered what is truly relevant to this advertiser?” Read more here.

Sterling: Actions That Get You Booked. If your goal is to get booked on a talk radio program, consider the wise counsel in this piece from nationally syndicated talk host Walter Sterling. It will help you avoid mistakes that turn hosts off to you. Sterling says, “A compelling, appealing guest is very valuable to every radio show. It doesn’t matter if you are famous or have lived in the White House. To get booked on major radio shows requires a few fairly simple actions. Once a host ‘likes’ you it won’t take long for you to quickly become a go-to guest.” Read more here.

Audacy Adds Mark Willard to Midday Show. The new “Willard and Dibs” midday show – starring Mark Willard and incumbent midday host Dan Dibley – debuts on Audacy’s KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” today (10/11). Willard comes to Audacy from his most recent position with Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports talker KNRB. “95.7 The Game” brand manager Matt Nahigian says, “I am absolutely thrilled that Mark is joining us. He is a great talent that understands this fan base as well as anyone in the market. He solidifies a new lineup that I think the Bay Area is going to love.”​ Willard comments, “I’m beyond excited to join ‘95.7 The Game’ and continue to talk about our home town teams with the fans I love. I look forward to getting started at such an exciting time in Bay Area sports.” Willard also currently serves as a studio host for Pac-12 Network and hosts the “Inside Giant Moments Podcast.”

‘Because of Anita’ Podcast Debuts from Audacy. This new podcast from The Meteor and Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios is the premiere of an exclusive first conversation between professor Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Fordon the third episode of the “Because of Anita” series. Hosted by The New York Times’ Dr. Salamishah Tillet and Cindi Leive, co-founder of The Meteor, the four-part series examines the impact of Hill’s testimony, from 1991 to 2021 and “looking at how far we’ve come, or haven’t, in making the world and the workplace safer for all. It digs into the aftermath of the hearings and their enduring impact 30 years later on everything from our political systems to our journalism to our ideas about violence, safety, race, and gender.”

Biden’s Infrastructure & Reconciliation Bills, COVID-19, Border Crisis, January 6 Investigation, Trump Rally, Columbus Day Controversy, Virginia Governor Race and Southwest Woes Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion Infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion Reconciliation bill; the declining rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Merck’s anti-viral pill; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; former President Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Iowa and his intentions in 2024; the controversy over Columbus Day versus Indigenous People’s Day; the high-profile Virginia Gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin; and Southwest Airlines cancels 2,000 flights were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Actions That Get You Booked

| October 11, 2021

By Walter Sterling
Syndicated Talk Show Host

 

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Oh — A compelling, appealing guest is very valuable to every radio show. It doesn’t matter if you are famous or have lived in the White House. To get booked on major radio shows requires a few fairly simple actions. Once a host “likes” you it won’t take long for you to quickly become a go-to guest

Read More

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

| April 7, 2021

Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”

WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”

Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”

Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.

‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”

New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”

‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”

COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.