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Monday, December 20, 2021

| December 20, 2021

Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.

Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of  $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to  $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.

KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”

KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”

Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”

Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Tips for Getting Through Down Days

| December 13, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — As we close out the 2021 sales calendar, how do you feel?

Relieved? Optimistic? Defeated? Encouraged? Discouraged?

If you are in the sold-out-for-now cycle and selling as much as possible into Q1, life as a seller is good for now. Don’t look back, hands on the steering wheel, focus on the road ahead…you made it. If this recovery is just another uphill climb with no daylight in sight, don’t touch that dial.

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December 7, 1941: When “Radio News” Came of Age

| December 7, 2021

On the “Day of Infamy,” radio news had to grow up in a big hurry

By Mark Wainwright

 

SYRACUSE — In the midst of today’s 24/7/365 news cycle, when “breaking news” is an hourly occurrence, it’s worth remembering that broadcasting was very different 80 years ago.

The concept of news on the radio barely existed in the early days of the medium. While radio had been covering important happenings since its beginning — Roosevelt’s “Fireside Chats,” political conventions, elections, major sports events and such — news, as we know it, was a low priority. It wasn’t until radio’s “Golden Age”in the 1930s that regular updates of the day’s news began to take hold. Americans typically depended on newspapers to get their daily news fix, even more so when “breaking news” happened. Radio wasn’t really equipped to handle these situations, so it fell to the wire services and newspapers to break the news. Those old movie scenes of reporters running in and yelling “stop the presses!” or of street-corner newsboys hawking “extra, extra, read all about it!” were not just dramatic license.

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Monday Memo: Humans’ Hubris

| December 6, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Sightseeing in Washington? If you’ll be visiting stately memorials to Thomas Jefferson or FDR or Martin Luther King Jr. – or if you’ll be strolling the cherry blossoms in April – wear your galoshes. Nearby the rising Potomac Tidal Basin, The New York Times reports that in the archives beneath the National Museum of American History “floodwaters are intruding into collection rooms” where the Smithsonian is storing The Star Spangled Banner, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, the scripts from M*A*S*H, and other priceless pieces of the puzzle that is us.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

| November 29, 2021

Monday Memo: We’re Late. “Like the bookstores and stockbrokers and travel agents that were early casualties,” consultant Holland Cooke sees radio and TV stations as “middlemen the Internet is squeezing-out.” In this week’s column, HC warns that “we-who-power-the-towers are late, if we still regard digital content as an adjunct” and he urges that “we should only do what only we can do.” Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Exercise. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that “the radio business can learn a lot about the core changes facing 21st century commercial media in general by watching how the outdoor advertising industry is adjusting to the drastically new conditions of the modern era. Next time you’re moving through traffic take notice of the variety of messages on the out-of-home media around you. Billboards of all sizes, and all kinds – poster boards, vinyls, newer digital, stationary, mobile, building signage, airport boards, bus stop enclosures – all are blatant reminders that the medium is the message and the creative is changing.” Read more here.

Terry Ford to Program Cumulus Media’s ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia, South Carolina. Sports talk radio pro Terry Ford joins Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” as program director. In this role, Ford will also oversee the cluster’s sister sports talk station WISW-AM “ESPN 1320.” Ford was most recently with Clarity Communications’ sports talk WZNN-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Sports 96.1” as host and program director. During his career he’s served as late night host at Audacy’s WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and as a host on the Yahoo Sports Radio network. Ford says, “I am truly excited to become the next program director of such a quality sports brand as ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia. ‘The Game’ has sharp upper management support, a rock-solid infrastructure, and a talented staff, so this was an easy decision for me. I want to thank Cumulus Columbia market manager Tammy O’Dell for offering me this fabulous opportunity. In my many conversations with Tammy, you could hear her love and passion for ‘107.5 The Game.’ I also want to thank Cumulus SVP of sports, programming and audience Bruce Gilbert. It was Bruce who put me on Tammy’s radar. I can’t wait to land in Columbia and get started!”

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Says No More Advertising for Salem. Numerous consumer publications, including Business Insider, are reporting that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has pulled ads for his MyPillow products from the air at Salem Radio Network after complaining on his 96-hour livestream “Thanks-a-Thon” over the holiday weekend that the broadcast network has not had him on any of the talk shows in a “long, long time.” The Business Insider piece says Lindell “expressed annoyance that Salem apparently never took the time to explain why, in his opinion, the mainstream media had shunned him. He said that ‘woke’ retailers had also ‘canceled’ him and described their actions as ‘a joke.’” The story notes that retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s stopped selling his products after Lindell began his campaign spouting voter fraud theories. Salem has not publicly commented on the matter.

Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation 6th Annual Event Features Churchill Author Interview. The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, which supports efforts to defend free speech and help young people enter the news and talk radio formats, held its 6th annual event on November 19 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out program was themed “Celebrating the Leadership of Winston Churchill – Defender of Free Speech & Western Civilization” and featured keynote remarks by professor Andrew Roberts (pictured at right being interviewed by broadcaster James Rosen), author of the 2018 international best-seller, Churchill: Walking With Destiny. Roberts spoke about how Churchill used the power of oratory and the medium of radio to rally the free world to confront a variety of tyrannical ideologies and threats to freedom. Vince Benedetto, president of the Bold Gold Foundation and Bold Gold Media Group, addressed the rising importance of the Foundation’s work in an age of increased censorship and cancel culture.   The event also honored local business leader and entrepreneur, Rob Grimm, with the 2021 Atlas Award for Citizenship.

Good Karma’s ‘101.7 The Truth’ Announces Black-Owned Business Giveback. The Milwaukee talk station owned by Good Karma Brands announces a partnership with Associated Bank called Black-Owned Business Giveback, a promotion to help support Black-owned businesses by awarding them a free radio advertising campaign on WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth.” Each month, the first 10 businesses to register at BlackBusinessGiveback.com wins a campaign that includes one 30-second commercial that airs 50 times over the month. The promotion will run through the end of 2022. Station general manager Cherie Harris comments, “We are thankful for our partnership with Associated Bank for the Black-Owned Business Giveback Promotion. Our Black-owned businesses are a vital part of the community’s growth and economic development, and we want to be sure they are given every opportunity to succeed.” The 10 chosen businesses will be invited to work with ‘The Truth’ team to write and produce their customized radio spots. At the conclusion of the campaign in November 2022, over 100 businesses will be awarded a free advertising campaign valued at $2,000.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Asks for Help on Giving Tuesday. Tomorrow – November 30 – is Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving, and the Broadcasters Foundation of America asks that you think of them on this day of philanthropy. For over 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided medical aid and disaster relief to broadcasters and their families across the United States. This year, the Foundation will give away more than $1.8 million in monthly and emergency grants. Your gift will help them reach every broadcaster in need. One broadcaster says, “We would be lost without the generosity of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Because of your support, chronic illness has not taken everything from me. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!” On behalf of everyone at the Broadcasters Foundation of America, thank you and have a safe and happy holiday season. Donate here.

MIW Presents Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence Webinar. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization, together with vCreative, are recognizing and celebrating women in radio “whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their radio stations and groups.” The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence,” takes place Thursday (12/2) from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s Operations: Becky Degener, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Webinar participants will hear how these professionals strategically embrace emerging technologies; integrate new products into existing workflows; and hire and train teams. You can register for the webinar here.

COVID-19/Omicron Variant, Financial Markets/Inflation, Crime Spike/Mass Looting, January 6 Investigation, China Military Aggression, Thanksgiving/Football, and the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about the new Omicron variant; the world’s financial markets react to the news of the Omicron variant and the high retail prices facing consumers; the rising crime statistics in major cities and the ongoing spate of smash-and-grab flash mobs; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the Committee’s seeking information from former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; China’s continuing aggressive posture toward Taiwan; the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend; and this week’s start of the trial of accused Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.