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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

| November 24, 2021

TALKERS magazine Offices Closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The offices of TALKERS magazine will be closed from the end of business today (11/24) through the weekend. TALKERS will reopen on Monday (11/29). The staff of TALKERS hopes that everyone enjoys a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

NOW POSTED: This Thanksgiving Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Thanksgiving Weekend,” looks back at this past week of 11/22 – 11/26. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksDr. Murray Sabrin, professor emeritus of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; “SuperTalk 99.7” WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WWO: Radio and Podcast Revenues to Rise in 2022. This week’s blog post from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group, assesses leading revenue forecasts and key trends to watch for in the coming year. The piece predicts that 2020 AM/FM radio revenue will grow 6% to 8% while podcast revenue will grow 31%. Of the big 10 categories that represent 60% of local revenue for radio stations, the five to watch are: auto, TV/cable, healthcare, home improvement, and communications/cellular. Travel and entertainment should also surge. At the network level, look for continued growth in pharmaceutical, financial, business-to-business brands, recruitment, consumer packaged goods, restaurants, insurance, and auto. The post predicts that when it comes to ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio will remain dominant, AM/FM radio streaming will surpass Pandora and Spotify, podcasts will continue to explode, and Pandora will collapse.

Sarah Quinn Named Marketing Director for iHeartMedia Greensboro. Radio and marketing pro Sarah Quinn joins iHeartMedia Greensboro, North Carolina as marketing director for the cluster that includes news/talk WPTI-FM and seven music brands. Quinn comes to iHeartMedia from Alpha Media’s Canton, Ohio operations where she was marketing and promotions director and an air personality. iHeartMedia Greensboro SVP of programming Zac Davis says, “We had some great candidates from different backgrounds apply for this integral position, but Sarah possessed a unique skill set that really stood out to us. Her beliefs and work ethic align well with what we’re doing here in Greensboro and she’s going to hit the ground running!”

Alliance for Women in Media Unveils New Mentoring Program. The Alliance for Women in Media announces the launch of a new program – “AWM Connects presented by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Ziploc Accessory Bags.” This new program is “an exciting new virtual mentoring program that will connect young/new professionals with senior level executives throughout television, radio, and digital media.” The event takes place on December 15 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm and includes an opportunity for mentees and mentors to interact. Mentees will also be connected with mentors for a one-on-one conversation following the conclusion of the event. Mentors will be members of the AWM and AWM Foundation Board of Directors as well as high-level executives specifically selected to match up with the mentees that apply for the program. Mentees interested in participating in this inaugural program should apply by December 1. AWM president Becky Brooks says, “The Alliance for Women in Media has been connecting, educating and recognizing women in all forms of media for 70 years and this is the next opportunity to fulfill our important mission. We strongly encourage up and coming women in radio, television and digital medias to apply for an opportunity to experience this unique mentoring program and stay engaged with AWM as we move into the next 70 years.”

South Carolina Radio Station Holds ‘On-Air Job Fair.’ WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner Anne Eller (pictured at right with Jay Logan of the local Reagan Flooring company) recently held an “On-Air Job Fair” to assist in matching up employers with open positions with people looking for work. Eller tells TALKERS magazine that one employer needed as many as 30 people to care for clients with disabilities and special needs. Another was seeking flooring installers. An international company in the healthcare field had manufacturing and other specialized jobs available. She says she’s been hearing local stories from businesses, industries, and service providers about the increasing lack of employees for jobs, many of which offered good starting salaries and benefits. She adds, “Although this is a nationwide problem, the lack of workers has been impacting our economy for months. Restaurants had shorter hours or were closing on more days. People needing home and other repairs had long waits. The stories were endless, and I knew that I had to do something to help.” Connecting with the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce, she asked the Chamber to promote the idea to its members and in return, she would provide a business with 10 minutes of free air time to discuss their business or organization, the types of services it provides and the employees and skills needed for the positions. She had one requirement: employers had to give a phone number so that people could call and discuss the position because she believes many people are intimidated by filling out job applications online. She says the job fair was a success as employers received calls after their air time from potential employees and other businesses began calling to find out when the next job fair would be held. Eller says, “We will monitor the demand in the community. I am passionate about serving the needs of my listeners and advertisers, and I would love to see this happen again.”

TALKERS News Notes. San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo is sitting in for Premiere Networks afternoon drive talk host Sean Hannity on today’s program. Pags tells TALKERS, “I’m extremely thankful and thrilled to crack the mic for broadcasting superstar Sean Hannity. Huge shoes to fill.”…..Edison Research announces the debut of The Infinite Dial 2021 UK, sponsored by Bauer Media and Spotify, debuting in a webinar on Thursday, December 2. Edison Research president Larry Rosin says, “We are excited to add the UK to the list of countries around the world investigating digital audio, podcasting, and social media usage via The Infinite Dial franchise. Thanks to Bauer Media and Spotify for bringing this beneficial research to the media community in the UK.”…..PodcastOne announces the launch of “Melissa Gorga On Display,” a new pop culture podcast hosted by the reality star and influencer. Gorga, who has spent a decade on the immensely popular Bravo series “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” brings to the podcast her expertise in all things marriage, motherhood, fashion and, of course, reality television. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “There is absolutely no denying the immense popularity of Melissa Gorga and the impact her presence has had on pop culture around the world. Her podcast is exactly what audiences want in a celebrity-hosted podcast, and listeners will not be disappointed.”…..Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington, in partnership with EagleBank and 4giving, announces the conclusion of its inaugural Week of Giving holiday charity campaign aimed at raising money and awareness for local charities. The WTOP Week of Giving Campaign ran for one week from Monday, November 8 through Friday, November 12 and raised $9,054 for local charities. WTOP also matched donations made as part of an internal employee match program encouraging employees, as well as their friends and family, to donate during the Week of Giving. WTOP general manager Joel Oxley says, “We’re so honored to be able to give back to our community in this way and thankful for the giving spirit of our loyal audience. We couldn’t help these charities and the people they support without them.”

Inflation-Gas Prices/Supply Chain, January 6 Investigation, California Looting Spree, Charlottesville Jury Awards Damages, COVID-19, Ohio Opioid Verdict, Ahmaud Arbery Case, and Thanksgiving Holiday Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The soaring prices of food and gasoline and the broken supply chain; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the subpoenas issued for Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone and media figure Alex Jones; the rising number of smash-and-grab mall looting cases in California; a jury in Charlottesville awards $26 million in damages stemming from the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and the battle over mask & vaccine mandates; an Ohio jury finds CVS, Walgreens and Walmart liable in the opioid epidemic; the jury considers the evidence in the trial of three men in the death of Ahmaud Arbery; and the Thanksgiving holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

| November 9, 2021

Audacy Third Quarter Net Revenue up 23%. Reporting its 2021 third quarter financial data, Audacy says net revenue was $329.4 million, an increase of 23% compared to the same period in 2020. Spot revenue was $220.6 million, up 21% compared to Q3 of 2020 and digital revenue was $61.4 million, up 30% compared to the same period a year ago. Operating income for the quarter was $29.2 million, compared to an operating loss of $0.3 million in the third quarter of 2020. Audacy president and CEO David J. Field says, “I am pleased to report that Audacy continues to rebound from the pandemic, as third quarter revenues grew 23% over the prior year and 8% sequentially over the second quarter, while EBITDA grew 58% year over year. While many ad categories remain highly impacted as a result of the pandemic, it is great to see an increasing number of categories back above 2019 spending levels. During October, we announced the acquisition of WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming and ad tech business, which we have relaunched as AmperWave, enabling us to accelerate our digital product roadmap and enhance our growth potential… And our podcast studios had a strong quarter of creative, premium original content development including the first release from our 2400Sports studio, our first C13 Features ‘movie for your ears’ in partnership with Endeavor, and the ‘Succession’ companion podcast hosted by Kara Swisher in partnership with HBO Max. We continue to rapidly evolve and fundamentally elevate the organization through a series of strategic acquisitions, organic growth initiatives, structural improvements, talent additions and premium content development and are well positioned to accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunities in the dynamically growing audio marketplace.”

Cumulus Audio Active Group: October PPM Audiences Increase. This week’s Cumulus Media Audio Active Group blog focuses on recent information from Nielsen Audio that “as COVID infections fall, public concern over COVID wanes, and commutes to work and school resume,” American AM/FM radio listening “has increased to new highs in the October 2021 48 Portable People Meter markets.” Other noteworthy data includes: 1) Consumers are on the road in their cars; Geopath reports U.S. October 2021 miles traveled were 7% greater than October 2019; Apple Maps says October 2021 driving search volumes surged 59% past pre-COVID levels; 2) U.S. AM/FM radio had its strongest reach performance since COVID, recovering 99% of the March 2020 PPM cume audience in PPM markets; 3) Nielsen October 2021 PPM AQH audiences rose to 96% of March 2020 levels, the second best showing since the pandemic; and 4) Morning audiences exploded to their highest levels in 20 months; Versus a year ago, women 25-54 AQH increased 20% and teen AQH rose a massive 74%. See more from the blog here.

SiriusXM’s Joe Madison Announces Hunger Strike Over Voting Rights Bill. Morning drive talk host Joe Madison says he’s beginning a hunger strike in protest of voting rights not getting passed in the Senate. Madison – a.k.a. The Black Eagle – hosts the morning show on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. He says, “As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today by abstaining from eating until Congress passes, and President Biden signs, the Freedom to Vote Act or the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Both bills were recently passed by the House of Representatives and both have stalled in the Senate. Madison adds, “I call it basically starving for voting rights. And that began on this date. And I repeat just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy. Yes, my life matters. My health matters, but our right to vote matters more.”

Hot Radio Guest Speaks at Major Libertarian Gathering. Emeritus finance professor Dr. Murray Sabrin of Ramapo College in New Jersey – one of conservative and liberty-minded talk radio’s most popular “go-to” guests for three decades – recently spoke at the Mises Institute “Supporters Summit” in St. Pete Beach, Florida and outlined his provocative and innovative strategy for medical freedom. Sabrin is the author of Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life: The Case for a Single Payer System, where the individual/family is the single payer not the government. In Sabrin’s proposal, medical freedom consists of cash payment for routine care, a super health savings account for more expensive treatment and a catastrophic insurance policy. Also, Sabrin advocates a massive expansion of nonprofit medical centers to replace the $700 billion Medicaid program. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who advocates Medicare for All, a government single payer system, to a debate so the American people can hear two diametrically opposing views on the future of medical care in America. To book Professor Sabrin as a hot guest, contact Victoria Jones of DC Radio Company at 917-865-3991 or victoria@dcradiocompany.com.  To view Dr. Murray Sabrin’s 20-minute speech at the Mises Institute event, please click here.

Outkick Partners with Skyview Networks for Ad and Affiliate Sales, Content Distribution. The new relationship between OutKick’s sports talk network and Skyview Networks will have the latter providing network ad sales, affiliate sales and content distribution to Outkick, beginning with the “Outkick 360” program starring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. Outkick founder Clay Travis says, “We’re thrilled to work with Skyview to expand OutKick’s brand and reach. Beginning with the ‘OutKick 360’ show, we’re working with the best talent to bring authenticity, perspective and fun back to sports radio. Radio is at the core of OutKick, and we could not ask for better partners than Skyview to grow our network.” Skyview COO and president Steve Jones adds, “We’re excited to be working with the OutKick team in launching a new sports network that provides radio stations dynamic and entertaining programming that will drive ratings and revenue. OutKick’s engaging and knowledgeable hosts with their fan-first sports perspective matched with sports wagering analysis to capture gaming revenue sponsorships fit perfectly with Skyview’s #1 local play-by-play sports position in network radio.”

Audacy Names Brian Benedik Chief Revenue Officer. Media executive Brian Benedik is named chief revenue officer for Audacy, effective December 1. Benedik was most recently VP/global head of revenue for augmented reality developer Niantic. In his new role with Audacy, he’ll lead all aspects of revenue generation across corporate, national, regional and local levels and develop fully integrated, multiplatform sales solutions and breakthrough strategies to attract new revenue streams. Audacy COO Susan Larkin comments, “We’re thrilled to welcome Brian to Audacy and our executive leadership team. His resume speaks for itself, with key roles at audio publishers like Spotify, iHeart Radio, Audible and Katz Media, where his strategic vision enabled the former to quickly elevate from a newcomer in our industry to a multi-billion-dollar leader in the audio streaming space. Brian’s considerable expertise and experience will amplify our revenue generation efforts as Audacy continues its upward trajectory.” Benedik states, “The audio industry is booming with innovation and consumers are enjoying wonderful content experiences across a number of platforms. The Audacy re-imagination efforts are beyond impressive and the portfolio of assets across radio, streaming, podcast, live events, sports play-by-play and sports betting are best in class. I’m looking forward to working with David Field, Susan Larkin and the Audacy executive team to drive value to marketers and our loyal users.”

Biden’s Low Approval Ratings, Supply Chain/Inflation/Gas Prices, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, COVID Travel Ban Lifted, China’s Military Aggression, and Astroworld Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). President Joe Biden’s approval ratings slip to an all-time low of 38% with Americans saying he’s not focusing on the most important issues; the effects of the broken global supply chain, soaring retail prices and record high gas prices; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Appeals Court halt of Biden’s vaccine mandate, and the controversial case of Aaron Rodgers; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the U.S. lifts the international travel ban; China’s war games using U.S. ship mock-ups; and the investigation into the deadly Astroworld concert in Houston were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.