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Monday, June 27, 2022

| June 27, 2022

Monday Memo: Inflation Hacks. Inflation is changing listeners, advertisers and OUR lives, in almost every way. Consultant Holland Cooke vows that, “Rather than joining the blame-game unison, I will be using this column for the entire month of July to offer solutions, dozens of ways you can share on-air, and use yourself.” He begins a week early, with “a renegotiation hit list.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Roe v Wade. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade could present opportunities for talk radio. He asks, “As the ruling to reverse Roe v Wade works through societal and financial issues, could 50 years of history be reversed? Could the impact change the next 50 years of talk radio? He suggests three possible shifts. Read about them here.

 

TEACHING NEW GENERATIONS ABOUT “RADIO.”  New C. Crane Emergency Radio a Big Hit at TALKERS 2022 Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Walter Sterling of “Sterling on Sunday” scored a home run with his grade-school-aged daughter Samantha (shown above) upon returning from TALKERS 2022 with a magical device known among communications wizards as the CCRadio Solar.  The first 200 registrants to arrive at the June 10 TALKERS 2022 convention were surprised and delighted to find a real special premium, individually handed to them by iconic radio manufacturer/distributor C. Crane for their conference goodie bag. Each attendee received an amazing CCRadio Solar radio unit – valued at $99.99 retail – and the result was raves all around. The CCRadio Solar is a small digital portable radio that is successful as an emergency radio, but the form and format function invite its owner to use it daily. When placed in a sunny window, it’s perfect for the morning news. Audio quality is a surprise; it’s accurate, pleasing and has two modes. A miser mode to conserve battery power in a true emergency and a high-power mode for an even better audio experience. Reception is good for the size. The almost brick-size depth and unique UV resistant rubber perimeter is concave on the bottom which makes it inherently stable. The flashlight is above average in brightness and color because of the selected high-quality LED. The hand crank folded (that’s right, it can be cranked for power) and inlaid on in the back is the only visible clue that it’s an emergency radio. The included lithium-ion battery can be recharged by wind-up, solar panel, your USB port, or optional AC power adapter (not included). When the lithium-ion battery is fully charged, the radio will run more than 50 hours or charge your phone from the approximately 50% level to 100% level. It can also be powered by three “AA” alkaline batteries (not included) for approximately 50 hours in low power mode or 35 hours in high power mode. C. Crane founder Bob Crane tells TALKERS, “I brought the first CCRadio Solar home and my wife absconded with it until our designer/illustrator had to beg to get it back for documentation. To get it back from him was also overly arduous. I have never seen a radio so coveted. It is about hand-size and it stays charged in a sunny window with an oversize solar panel which means it may not need a power assist for years.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “The radio industry owes a great debt of gratitude to C. Crane for keeping the appliance known as a ‘radio’ alive in the consumer electronic marketplace and ever-innovative for decades after the business itself abandoned the idea that it would be a good thing to promote and support the appliance as being at least as important a device as a can opener. Shame on the NAB as well as the rest of us for committing this potentially lethal negligence.”  To learn more about this fabulous device and enjoy a TALKERS discount on C.Crane purchases, please click here.

 

New TALKERS 2022 Video Posted: Today, TALKERS magazine posts the latest in an ongoing series of video presentations from the TALKERS 2022 convention held on June 10 at Hofstra University on Long Island. Today’s video addition features RAB president/CEO Erica Farber moderating a panel session titled, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World.” Panelists include Erik Hellum, chief operating officer, Townsquare Media, New York/RAB Chad Lopez, president, Red Apple MediaJulie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks, and Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group, New York/RAB.  Introduction provided by Gary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group.  You can watch the video here.

Introducers Play Vital Role at TALKERS 2022. Last week, TALKERS began highlighting the talk media professionals who introduced the panel discussions and presentations at the recent TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University. Today, we continue to give a little digital ink – as well as our tremendous thanks for their outstanding efforts – to those who took the time to prepare brief speeches that provided informative and relevant information prior to the conference presentations. Pictured below is Rich Zeoli, morning drive host at WPHT, Philadelphia, who introduced the panel titled, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.”

 

“NPR News Now” Tops Triton Digital’s May Podcast Report. The latest (May 2022) U.S. podcast report from Triton Digital findsNPR News Now” leading for average weekly downloads. In descending order, the top ten in that category includes: “NPR News Now”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “Crime Junkie”; Dateline: NBC”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; “Up First”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; “My Favorite Murder”; “Fresh Air”: and “Last Podcast On The Left.” Meanwhile, the top 10 podcasts by average weekly users are: “Crime Junkie”; “Up First”; “Morbid: A True Crime Podcast”; Dateline: NBC”; “The Ben Shapiro Show”; “NPR News Now”; “Smartless”; “My Favorite Murder”; “The Dan Bongino Show”; and Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend.” Rankers indicate Stitcher Media is the top network based on average weekly users. That top 10 includes: Stitcher Media; Audacy Podcast Network; Audioboom; NPR; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; NBCUniversal News Group; Warner Media; Kast Media; and Paramount. Extremely similar to this list is the top 10 networks by average weekly downloads: Stitcher Media; NPR; Audacy Podcast Network; Wondery; Cumulus Podcast Network; Audioboom; NBCUniversal News Group; Paramount; Warner Media; and Kast Media. The top three highest indexing shows for women 18+ are: “Watch What Crappens” (Stitcher Media); “Something Was Wrong” (Wondery); and “The Viall Files (Kast Media). The top three highest indexing shows for men 18+: “The Pat McAfee Show 2.0” (Stitcher Media); “The Fighter & The Kid” (Kast Media); and “2 Bears 1 Cave with Tom Segura & Bert Kreischer” (Stitcher Media). Based on downloads, top podcast genres were: “News” (27%); “True Crime” (20%); “Comedy” (18%); “Society & Culture” (7%); and “Sports” (6%). More than nine of ten (93%) episodes were downloaded on mobile devices; 1.8% occurred on a desktop or laptop. Numbers do not include all shows and exclude those not participating in this particular measurement system. The entire report is available on TritonRankers.com.

 

Legislation Gains Steam To Allow Cannabis Ads on Radio. Language on a House Appropriations committee bill advanced last Friday (6/24) would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters accepting cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state or jurisdiction in which the station is licensed. NAB spokesman Alex Siciliano comments, “We are pleased to see this bipartisan language has advanced in the House. As the vast majority of states have legalized cannabis in some form, today marks a long overdue step toward finally allowing broadcasters to receive equal treatment regarding cannabis advertising that other forms of media have had for years. While we welcome [Friday’s] progress, local broadcasters will continue to work with all policymakers towards a broader resolution of this competitive disparity and in support of our unique service to local communities.” New York State Broadcasters Association president David Donovan adds, “We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee chair Rosa DeLauro; subcommittee chair Mike Quigley; and members of the committee for recognizing the unfairness of the present situation with respect to cannabis advertising. The provision in this appropriations bill is a major step forward for leveling the playing field for local broadcasters. We believe the law of the state in which a station is licensed should determine whether a station can accept cannabis advertising, if they so choose. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the administration to help restore parity between local broadcasters and other media outlets.” In states that have approved cannabis for medical and/or adult use, local radio and television stations have been unable to accept advertisements from legally-authorized cannabis distributors. Meanwhile, cable; satellite; internet; print; magazine; billboards; and social media platforms are free to accept and transmit these ads.

 

Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Award Winners Announced. Honorees were cited by the Society of Professional Journalists in a video presentation last Thursday (6/23). In Sigma Delta Chi’s category of “Radio Breaking News Reporting, Market 1-100 or Network Syndication,” CBS News Radio’s staff won for “Assault on the U.S. Capitol.” Other winners included: Chicago Public Media-owned public radio news/talk WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, Susie An, and Alden Loury for “Fertile Soil For Abuse: A Reckoning at Covenant Fellowship Church” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Large Market”) and Virginia Tech public radio news/talk WVTF, Roanoke’s Sandy Hausmang for “COVID-19 in Virginia Prisons” (“Radio Investigative Reporting, Small Market”). NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang won for “Immigration Hard-Liner Files Reveal 40-Year Bid Behind Trump’s Census Obsession” (“Radio Feature Reporting, Large Market”), while Wichita State University public radio news/talk KMUW’s Suzanne Perez won for her piece on 3,000 Kansas kindergartners (“Radio Feature Reporting, Small Market”). Elsewhere, University Radio Foundation public radio news/talk WFAE, Charlotte’s David Boraks was victorious in the “Radio Documentaries, Large Market” category for “Asbestos Town.” Reports regarding healthcare mistreatment in Maine State Prisons by Maine Public Radio’s Susan Sharon and Mark Simpson won in “Public Service in Radio Journalism.” The award for “Narrative Podcast” went to NBC NewsAyman Mohyeldin and Preeti Varathan for “American Radical.”

 

Lee Named to Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame. On October 5, Kristi Lee – the co-host and news director of Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” – will be among six Hoosiers to be inducted into the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame Class of 2022. Indiana Broadcasters Association executive director Dave Arland notes, “The 2022 Hall of Fame Class is comprised of well-known broadcasters who pushed the boundaries of innovation and made the Indiana communities they served better, more informed places to live. For decades, our newest group of Hall of Famers have provided critical eyes, ears, and voices for listeners and viewers in Indiana and beyond. They have told wonderful stories and are each also active members of their communities. We are honored to add our 2022 honorees to the honor roll of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame.” Lee – who has covered sports for ESPN and the Indiana Pacers – comments, “I am humbled and honored to be included amongst these prestigious honorees. As a lifelong Hoosier, I have been lucky enough to spend my entire career in my home state. I cannot imagine a more meaningful award.” Over 100 stations carry “The Bob & Tom Show.”

 

BetMGM Becomes Exclusive Sportsbook of the BetQL Network. The partnership is a multi-year agreement that expands the current relationship between BetMGM and Audacy. Audacy chair, president and chief executive officer David Field comments, “We are delighted to expand our strategic partnership with BetMGM, highlighted by their new exclusive position with the BetQL Network. Barely a year old, the BetQL Network has a bright future ahead of it as legalized sports betting continues to expand over the next decade.” BetMGM chief revenue officer Matt Provost notes, “We’re excited to further our strategic partnership with Audacy and to bring our market-leading sports betting and gaming entertainment content to millions of listeners nationwide across the entire BetQL Network platform.” Since its launch last June, the BetQL Network has expanded from two markets to 31. Beginning in September, BetMGM will have category exclusivity of the network’s full slate of programming, including flagship “You Better You Bet” and “BetQL Daily,” “The Daily Tip,” and “BetMGM Tonight.” Audacy will produce content for live audiences at various MGM Resorts across the country. Audacy first announced a partnership with BetMGM in March 2021. The BetQL Network is a live, linear digital channel that distributes approximately 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms and YouTube.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Ramifications on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade will be discussed tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday, 6/28) on Boston public radio news/talk WGBH’s “Community Conversation: The Roe v. Wade Ruling”  (2:00 pm – 3:30 pm). WGBH general manager/news Pam Johnston comments, “The Supreme Court’s opinion on Roe v. Wade will impact our lives in Massachusetts in ways we haven’t even begun to understand yet and opens up a host of questions for people across the Commonwealth. We invite people to gather at the ‘GBH Studio inside the Boston Public Library to discuss and unpack these critical and far-reaching issues.” WGBH hosts Callie Crossley, Margery Eagan, and Paris Alston will be joined by Reproductive Equity Now executive director Rebecca Hart Holder and Suffolk University professor Renee Landers … Taking effect this Friday (7/1) will be a ten-year extension between Learfield and the University of Oklahoma athletics department. Learfield executive vice president/university partnership group Mike Hamilton notes, “We’re extremely proud to have the opportunity to continue representing the Sooner brand. We appreciate Oklahoma University Athletics’ longtime trust in us. The unprecedented agreement commencing in July speaks to the forward-thinking, strategic decisions necessary in today’s rapidly evolving college sports landscape.” Oklahoma University vice president/director of athletics Joe Castiglione comments, “As with any challenge and change our industry experiences, we intentionally seek cutting-edge collaborations to move us forward in the marketplace. [Learfield’s] leadership continues to help our administration navigate through areas such as evolution in the content game and digital innovation.” Sooner Sports Properties’ newly-named vice president/general manager Kelly Collyar remarks, “We are genuinely excited about this extension and how it will transform the way our brand partners integrate with our fans. Through the expansion of categories and assets, sponsorship will truly take on a new meaning at Oklahoma University.” Meanwhile, pending finalization of a deal first reported by The Grand Forks Herald, radio rights to University of North Dakota athletics broadcasts will be awarded to iHeartMedia, which currently airs Fighting Hawks sports. According to the report, Leighton Broadcasting also bid on the radio package … Several major media and entertainment companies such as Comcast, Discovery, Disney, Meta, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Monday, May 9, 2022

| May 9, 2022

Pending Business: Howdy Partner. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes today about the strange use of the word “partner” for the advertiser on a radio program. Lapa says, “Do our advertisers (customers) really want a partnership in the true sense of the word? Or do our advertisers want what everyone else wants: maximum value at the best price?” Aside from the inaccurate nomenclature, Lapa wonders if the “partner” designation affects the sales effort. Read his column here.

 

Monday Memo: “Gas cards? OR…Bitcoin?” “Imagine asking a contest winner to choose THAT?” consultant Holland Cooke asks. In this week’s column, he recalls “when radio stunts were fun,” and how a contest “will sound as big as you make it sound.” Read more here.

 

Audacy First Quarter Net Revenue Up 14%. For the first quarter of 2022, Audacy reports net revenue of $275.3 million, an increase of 14% over the same period in 2021. The company also saw its net loss shrink from $21.6 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $11 million in Q 1 of this year. Audacy provides financial data by segment and reports that spot revenue (national and local) was $173.9 million, while its digital segment (including podcasting) rose 16% to $53 million from the $41.6 million reported in the first quarter of 2021. Audacy also breaks down net revenue by format type and reports music radio revenue was $140.4 million; sports radio revenue was $53 million; and all-news & news/talk revenue was $48.3 million. Audacy president and CEO David Field comments, “I am pleased to report that Audacy posted strong first quarter results, delivering 152% growth in Adjusted EBITDA led by double digit revenue growth in both digital and spot radio. With our scaled, leadership position across broadcasting, podcasting and digital audio and our differentiated premium content offerings, we are well positioned to drive rapid evolution and innovation across the organization to capitalize on the outstanding growth opportunities in the dynamic audio marketplace. In Q1, we launched the Audacy Digital Audience Network, an addressable aggregate of 60 million listeners across our app, streaming content, and podcast lineup, enabling precision targeting at scale coupled with real-time optimization and reporting. We are looking forward to a number of exciting additional product and content launches and enhancements over the course of 2022 that will accelerate our audience growth and bolster our advertiser appeal.”

 

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports Q1 Net Revenue Increase of 15.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Beasley Broadcast Group – parent company of Beasley Media Group – states that net revenue was $55.7 million, an increase of 15.6% over the same period in 2021. The company is also reporting an operating loss of $2.7 million in Q1 compared to an operating loss of $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2021. The increase in operating loss is primarily the result of an increase in operating expenses, which reflects additional cost of sales related to the revenue increase, other expenses related to sports and marketing, and additional expenses related to the company’s digital agency build out. Beasley’s net loss for the quarter fell to $3.7 million compared to the net loss of $10.7 million reported for the same period a year ago. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “First quarter results highlight ongoing progress toward our goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels. Net revenue rose 15.6% inclusive of a 35.5% rise in digital segment revenue, which accounted for 14% of total net revenue in the quarter, marking further success of our digital transformation strategies. Comparing our revenue performance to the first quarter of 2019, revenue was down $2.0 million, or 3.4%, as the 2019 results benefited from events and other revenue that has not fully recovered from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total outstanding debt as of March 31, 2022 was $300 million, as we did not have any scheduled debt payments during the quarter, and we had $50.7 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand at quarter end. We made an interest payment of approximately $12.9 million in February and repurchased $5 million of our 8.625% senior secured notes at a discount early in the second quarter. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth, provide synergies or improve financial results. Looking ahead to the second quarter and second half of 2022, our focus remains on driving further revenue diversification and audience expansion, improving margins, benefiting from the return of the political cycle, maintaining a strong and flexible balance sheet, reducing net leverage and growing free cash flow. We expect progress on each of these fronts as we continue to close the gap on our pre-pandemic revenue and SOI levels and grow from there. I am extremely proud of our team members across the company for everything they have done and are doing to help us move past the challenges presented by the pandemic. We have clearly accomplished a lot and I believe we have many more opportunities ahead to build the company and enhance stockholder value.”

 

Ramsey Solutions Wins Webby Award for Borrowed Future Documentary. The documentary film Borrowed Future – produced by Ramsey Solutions – will be recognized as the Best Video Documentary in the Longform category of the 2022 Annual Webby Awards. Known as the “best of the Internet,” the Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet. Borrowed Future was originally released as a podcast in 2019 and reveals the inner workings of the predatory student loan industry that keeps borrowers trapped in debt. Directed by David DiCicco, the story follows college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a college graduate who paid cash for college, and a group of high schoolers who haven’t made their choice yet. Leading voices like Mike Rowe, Seth Godin and Dave Ramsey are also featured. For weeks, the film held top spots on multiple streaming platform charts: #1 documentary on Google Play, #2 documentary on Apple TV and #5 documentary (rent or buy category) on Amazon Prime Video. Dave Ramsey says, “There’s no doubt we stirred up a holy ruckus with this documentary, and I’m so proud of the team that put it together. The student loan industry is downright evil. We definitely can’t bank on student loan forgiveness, and it’s about time America said, ‘I’ve had it!’” Webby Awards executive director Claire Graves comments, “Borrowed Future has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet. This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.” The 26th Annual Webby Awards will take place in New York City on May 16. See more about the film here.

 

Brandon Tatum Joins Salem Radio Network for Syndicated Radio Program. Conservative media figure and former Tucson police officer Brandon Tatum is joining the Salem Radio Network to fill the slot Larry Elder held until his retirement from radio in early April. He will assume duties as host of the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET program on May 16. The third hour of the program will be repurposed into a podcast. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Salem conducted a nationwide search, and some very big names were interested in taking this important slot. Brandon brings a unique talent to Salem, and has a strong following among the nation’s youth, with his involvement with Turning Point USA. His compelling story is riveting.” Tatum has been serving as director of urban outreach for Turning Point USA and hosts the popular program “The Officer Tatum Show” on social media platforms including YouTube. Tatum says, “Words cannot describe what a blessing it is to be a part of the Salem family. I am incredibly humbled and honored to continue the legacy of the great Larry Elder. My mission in life is to serve God with the gifts he has given me. Being the voice of and for the people is one of those gifts.” Additionally, Tatum co-founded Blexit with Candace Owens, an organization “dedicated to changing the narrative in the black community through education, community outreach, and empowerment.” Carl Jackson, who has been subbing as guest host in Elder’s absence both last summer when he ran for governor, and more recently after Elder’s decision to retire from radio, will continue as a regular sub for Tatum.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Philadelphia sports media legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Didinger announces he’s retiring from his weekend radio program on Audacy’s WIP, Philadelphia. The station reports that Didinger said on yesterday’s program that he co-hosts with Glen Macnow, “Sunday, May 29th will be my final show. I am ready to transition from Ray Didi to grandpop.” Audacy says Didinger covered the NFL for The Philadelphia Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News for over 25 years and in 1995 his name was added to writer’s honor roll in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. Didinger also worked as a senior producer at NFL Films, as an Eagles TV analyst on NBC Sports Philadelphia…..SiriusXM announces that Jessica Casano-Antonellis joins the company as SVP and head of communications, reporting to chief marketing officer Denise Karkos. In this role, she will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s communications function, including strategic communications, brand reputation management and media relations. Karkos adds, “Jessica is a valued and respected leader who brings a wealth of strategic communications experience in the media, entertainment and technology industries to SiriusXM. She will be an incredible asset to the company and will play a key role as we continue to tell the story of SiriusXM as a leader in audio entertainment.”…..Former KQQZ, St. Louis station owner Bob Romanik – whose self-given nickname was “The Grim Reaper of Radio” – has died at age 72 while in hospice. According to his obit in the Belleville News-Democrat, Romanik served as an East St. Louis police officer and chief of police in both Washington Park and Valmeyer, Illinois during his career. He was a notorious raconteur who liberally used racial epithets on the air and referred to his programming as W.A.R. or White Awareness Radio. In 2020, after attempting to conceal his ownership of KQQZ and failing to show up for FCC hearings on the matter, the Commission permanently dismissed his application for renewal.

 

The Economy, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Investigation, and Musk & Twitter Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The sinking Dow and NASDAQ, the high price of food & gas, and the ongoing supply chain woes; the reactions to the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v Wade; the rising rate of COVID cases in some parts of the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the ongoing lockdowns in China; Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s propaganda; the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the Justice Department’s investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; and Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

| April 20, 2022

Drew Anderssen Jumps to Audacy’s KRLD-AM, Dallas. After a long career with Cox Media Group in Tulsa, Orlando and, most recently, at news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, news/talk programming pro Drew Anderssen joins Audacy as brand manager of KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” and the Texas State Networks. In this role, Anderssen will oversee content strategy, talent, operations and branding for the station and networks. Audacy regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “We’re delighted to bring Drew aboard to lead KRLD and TSN. For over two decades, Drew has proven to be a winning brand leader across multiple formats, which we trust will serve him well as he takes the reins of DFW’s news and information brand.” Anderssen comments, “I’m thrilled to join Audacy and work with the phenomenal team at KRLD and the Texas State Networks. This was a tremendous opportunity to return to the city where I grew up and fell in love with radio, and work with such a prestigious brand and decorated team.  I’m grateful to Susan Larkin, Jeff Sottolano, Brian Purdy and Gavin Spittle and I can’t wait to hit the ground running in the Lone Star State.”

 

Round One of March PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s March 2022 sweep covered March 3 – March 30. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS tacks on one-tenths for a 4.1 share (6+, weekly AQH share) finish to remain ranked #7. Red Apple Media’s crosstown news/talk WABC/WLIR-FM adds nine-tenths to finish with a 3.8 share good for the #8 rank. iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles news/talk KFI is up seven-tenths for a 4.7 share finish that boosts it to the #5 rank while Audacy’s crosstown all-news KNX-FM rises six-tenths to wrap the survey with a 3.9 share and the #7 rank. In Atlanta, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM dips by half a share for a 6.9 share finish and falls from #2 to #3. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

 

Ramsey Press Publishes Dr. Jon Delony’s New Book. Titled, Own Your Past, Change Your Future, the latest book from Ramsey Solutions’ Dr. Jon Delony “reminds readers there’s a better, healthier way to live.” Ramsey Press says, “Normalizing stress has left us more disconnected than ever. In fact, Americans have gotten so used to loneliness that 82% of people said they don’t even feel close to or known by the friends they spend the most time with. What we’ve failed to realize is loneliness and chronic stress debilitate our physical and mental health. Dr. John Delony reminds readers they are worth being well, meeting them in the trenches of their anxiety and loneliness with easy-to-understand concepts that ultimately lead to healing.” Dr. Delony adds, “We’re living life like every second is the Super Bowl, and we’re doing it all by ourselves. Humans were not designed to shoulder immense pressure alone. Enough is enough. We’ve got to get back to basics and connect with others in ways that are deep and meaningful.”

 

George Plaster to Leave WNSR for Main Street Media. According to a report in the Tennessean, sports media personality George Plaster is leaving Southern Wabash Communications’ sports talk outlet WNSR “Nashville Sports Radio” to launch a streaming program via Main Street Media. When the streaming platform debuts this summer, Plaster’s show will stream from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily. Main Street Media founder Dave Gould says, “We couldn’t be more excited about having George join Main Street Media. George is a Nashville sports icon, and we believe our audience will really enjoy listening to him and the shows we have planned.” The report indicates that Plaster’s co-host and former Vanderbilt University football coach Watson Brown will join him in the move. Plaster says, “I’m excited about the opportunity to join Watson Brown in this new venture. I am really impressed with Main Street Media; it’s an incredible media story. I also want to say a big thank you to Ted Johnson and the WNSR staff for a really fun sports talk experience. I can’t wait to get started at Main Street Media.”

 

‘Sounds of Sinatra’ Host Sid Mark Passes at 88. The man who hosted the nationally syndicated Frank Sinatra radio show based at Audacy’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 22 years has died. Sid Mark died at age 88 on Monday (4/18). Sid Mark’s “Sounds of Sinatra” was syndicated for 43 years and was carried by radio stations airing different formats, including full-service AM outlets and news/talk stations. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “He presented the music of Frank Sinatra from the standpoint of a friend as well as a fan. As the host of the longest running, single artist, syndicated radio program in America, Sid was the leading authority on Frank Sinatra and his entertainment legacy. His personal relationship with Sinatra began in the mid 1960s and allowed Sid to offer more than just the remarkable music but insights into Sinatra’s career with personal anecdotes and stories behind the timeless music.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Travel Mask Mandate/COVID-19, Biden Approval Ratings/Midterm Elections, the Economy/Inflation, January 6-Ginni Thomas Controversy, School Curriculum Battles, and Musk vs. Twitter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/19). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, NATO’s reaction, and the economic impact of the war; a judge rules the air travel mask mandate is illegal, the concerns about the BA.2 variant, and the brutal lockdowns in Shanghai and Hong Kong; President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings and the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections; the state of the U.S. economy and high gas & food prices; the controversy over Ginni Thomas’ purported role in the January 6 Capitol attack; the Florida-led fight over sex-gender issues and critical race theory in public school curricula; and Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter and take it private were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

| February 10, 2022

WRVA, Richmond Talk Mainstay Jeff Katz is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the elite local hosts in talk radio, Jeff Katz – heard 3:00-6:00 pm daily on WRVA, Richmond – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Katz has been a radio talk show host since the early 1990s on major stations in Boston, Hartford, Charlotte, Philadelphia and currently in Richmond since 2013. He grew up in Philadelphia and was aiming for a career as an attorney until his father suffered a heart attack that set him on a different path so that he could help support his family. Katz graduated at the top of his police academy class and then served as a police officer in Philadelphia until he traded in his badge for a microphone and started his broadcasting odyssey. He’s a fan favorite in Richmond and his program has repeatedly been chosen as the best afternoon radio show by the readers of Richmond Magazine and STYLE Weekly. In 2020, the Richmond Times-Dispatch named Katz the “Best Afternoon Radio Show” in Central Virginia. Over the years, Jeff has volunteered thousands of hours to help members of the local community with a special focus on law enforcement officers and disabled children. He and his wife are parents of a disabled child and that experience has had a tremendous impact on their lives and on Katz’s work. Michael Harrison describes Katz as “one of talk radio’s true humanitarians and an inspirational role model for us all.” President Trump honored Katz by presenting him with the President’s Award for Volunteer Service. In addition, FBI Director Christopher Wray honored him as the recipient of The Director’s Community Leadership Award for 2019. Don’t miss this fascinating conversation in which Harrison and Katz discuss the state of the radio business, politics, parenting, law enforcement and the art of “keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Ramsey Solutions Presents ‘Money & Marriage’ Livestream Event. Ahead of Valentine’s Day on Monday, Ramsey Solutions is presenting a livestream event called “Money & Marriage.” The press release says, “Marriage isn’t for the faint of heart. Whether it’s lack of communication, financial stress or a difference in parenting, marital strain is inevitable. But Ramsey Solutions wants to equip couples with the tools to build a stronger relationship.” The Friday 7:00 pm ET event will feature Rachel Cruze and mental health expert Dr. John Delony “for an evening of laughter and intentional conversation. Couples can enjoy this date night from home, all while covering topics ranging from fear avoidance to the importance of practicing connection.” Cruze says, “What you have to understand, first and foremost: it’s nearly impossible to win with money when you’re not on the same page as your spouse. Coming together practically and emotionally not only unifies you but gets you to your goals faster.” Tickets for the event can be had here.

Richardson and Gallant to Replace Charlie Pallilo at KFNC-FM, Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s Matt Young reports that Gow Media is naming Vanessa Richardson and Paul Gallant hosts of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on sports talk KFNC-FM. This comes a day after longtime market sports personality Charlie Pallilo announced he is no longer with the station. Richardson is a former KPRC-TV sports anchor and reporter and Gallant previously served as a host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KILT-AM “SportsRadio 610.” Richardson will be the only woman working in sports radio in Houston. She says, “I’ve wanted to host a show for a long time and I’m SO excited to do that on ESPN radio in Houston.”

Tee Gentry and Beasley Announce Renewal Deal. Programming pro Tee Gentry and Beasley Media Group announce they have signed a multiyear renewal deal for Gentry to continue with the company. Gentry, who has been with the company for the past 26 years, currently serves as Beasley’s vice president of brand strategies and regional operations manager of its Augusta, Georgia and Fayetteville, North Carolina radio clusters. Beasley chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Tee is one of the most brilliant programmers that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. During his many years with the company in markets like Augusta, Fayetteville, and Tampa, he’s only had success. We’re lucky to lock Tee in for another multiyear deal!” Gentry says, “It’s an absolute privilege to work with [regional VP] Kent Dunn and the incredible people in Augusta and Fayetteville. They are what local radio is all about! I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Beasley Media Group family for years to come.”

Salem Radio Network’s Larry Elder Featured in Newsweek Feature Story. The February 18 issue of Newsweek features the cover story, “The Rise of Black Conservatives: Will the GOP’s Bet Pay Off?” that includes Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder, among other Black conservatives such as media figure Candace Owens, Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Sears, and Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Elder, who was the highest vote-getter in the recent recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom, is quoted in the piece saying, “Donald Trump, to a greater degree than any Republican presidential candidate that I’ve seen, went to the inner city and tried to get Black votes. The message is this: Don’t act as if Black people cannot be convinced. They can be. Don’t condescend. Tell the truth. Talk about the issues, talk about how these issues benefit you.” Elder is also quoted saying the GOP needs to continue to work to attract Black voters. “Do I think that the Republican Party has done a poor job of marketing itself to Black voters? I do. They have written off Black people or they’ve assumed they’re going to vote for the Democratic Party.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk legend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – heard nationally on SiriusXM Radio – will again join ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim on the “First Take” program on Wednesday February 16. ESPN says Russo will then return for weekly appearances every Wednesday beginning March 2. In January, Russo and Smith debated Barry Bonds’ Hall of Fame campaign and the episode turned out to be the show’s most-watched episode ever. ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “We couldn’t be more excited to add another marquee name in Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to our weekly rotating lineup and further build this momentum going forward, providing viewers with the best possible debates, topics and content.”…..Cumulus Media and DCP Entertainment announce that the new season of DCP’s podcast “democracy-ish” on the Cumulus Podcast Network will feature Wajahat “Waj” Ali  as the new co-host alongside veteran host Danielle Moodie. Cumulus says, “The podcast hosts aim to keep it real, blunt, and entertaining as they discuss how to achieve a multiracial democracy, cover all the ground left behind by mainstream media, and seek to make sense of the nonsense.”…..Award-winning reporter Nate Hegyi joins New Hampshire Public Radio as host and senior producer of “Outside/In,” the program that delves into the natural world and how we use it. Hegyi most recently worked as a reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a consortium of NPR member stations covering the region. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “‘Outside/In’ is well on its way to becoming a leading national source of engaging, empowering environmental journalism. With Nate as host, the show can build a community of people across the United States and beyond who care deeply about the natural world and humankind’s responsibility for it.”…..WMFE and WMFV, the NPR affiliates serving the Orlando area and nine counties across Central Florida, name longtime public media journalist and consultant Judith Smelser president and general manager. Smelser has served as WMFE/WMFV’s interim president and general manager since September 2021 and has a long history with the station as an award-winning reporter from 2004-2007, and then news director until 2011, before she was recruited away by Colorado Public Radio in Denver.

COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Inflation, Cheney-Kinzinger Censure, Ukraine Tensions, Social Media & Cancel Culture, Beijing Olympics, and Super Bowl LVI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/9). The rate of COVID-29 cases in the U.S., plans to pull back mask mandates in numerous states, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the U.S. is set to record the highest rate of inflation in 40 years; the GOP’s internal squabble over the RNC’s intent to censure Senators Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for criticizing Trump’s January 6 actions; the diplomatic tensions between Russia and the West over the Russian military presence at the Ukraine border; the politics of social media platform rules and Spotify’s tightrope walk over Joe Rogan’s popular podcast and its critics; the controversies at the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the buildup to Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2022

Dave Ramsey Releases New Book, Baby Steps Millionaires. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey has published his most recent book, Baby Steps Millionaires (Ramsey Press, 2022). A press release for the book says, “In his first trade book in eight years, Ramsey proves that anyone can become a millionaire — no matter their starting point. The No. 1 national bestselling author and host of ‘The Ramsey Show’ tells real stories about ordinary people who spent years busting through barriers and digging out of debt so they could build wealth. Now, they’re millionaires.” The book takes a deeper look at how Ramsey invests and builds wealth — and teaches readers how they can do the same. It also includes Ramsey Solutions’ The National Study of Millionaires, the largest study of millionaires ever done in North America. Dave Ramsey says, “This is a book 30 years in the making. I’ve coached millions of people on ‘The Ramsey Show’ over that last 30 years, and people come up to me all the time saying they’re millionaires because they followed the Ramsey Baby Steps. The stories of real Baby Steps Millionaires will show you this is really possible — because these millionaires are just like you!”

Sun & Fun Media Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1996 by chief executive officer Rob Koblasz, Sun & Fun Media is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sun & Fun is a leading network radio company offering radio stations a unique suite of products and services designed to increase sales, improve ratings, and reduce expenses for 100% barter. It serves more than 1,400 stations across the U.S in nearly all 50 states. Sun & Fun says it is the radio industry’s go-to supplier of virtually all products and services needed by radio stations for barter, including vacations, incentives, gift cards, vehicle wraps, branded station merchandise, and bill pay for NTR events, television and billboard advertising for stations, research, consultants, transmitters and other equipment, software and more. The company has even paid electric bills on barter, as well as worked with large radio groups to cover costs for corporate managerial meetings and office holiday parties. Koblasz, who is also CEO for Key Networks, says, “Over the last 25 years, Sun & Fun Media has built a dream team of former radio GMs and network executives who deliver big for our clients time and time again. Our team has an extensive radio background. We understand the needs of stations and the challenges they face, and we’re able to provide turnkey solutions to improve their top-line revenue and reduce their expenses. We are proud to have set the standard as a barter partner to radio stations across the country. We thank our team members for their outstanding service and commitment to our customers, and our loyal customers who continue to grow with us.

iHeartMedia Reveals Plans for Development in the Metaverse and Web3. Audio giant iHeartMedia says it is taking “an important next step in extending its presence into web3 and the metaverse, beginning with plans for the creation of iHeart events and experiences for listeners and music fans” on online gaming platform and game creating system Roblox and “committing to launch tokenized communities for its users and creators.” It also says it will “use its industry-leading consumer reach of over 90% of Americans every month and strong engagement to create the awareness and demand necessary to bring new metaverse and web3 platforms to the mass market.” If you’re not familiar with these terms, XRToday defines metaverse as “a simulated digital environment that uses augmented reality, virtual reality, and blockchain, along with concepts from social media, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world.” Wikipedia defines web3 as “an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchains, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics.” iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Although there are a number of great new products for the metaverse and web3 from a wide array of creators, with our unparalleled audience reach, multiple platforms, and our trusted broadcast and podcast hosts, iHeartMedia is uniquely positioned to build the consumer awareness, understanding and demand necessary for those new products and platforms from both us and others to succeed. We see this as a unique opportunity to serve our listeners’ needs, provide an important new layer of growth for the company, and help develop the advertising and consumer potential for the metaverse and web3.” The press release says that this year, “iHeartMedia plans to bring immersive musical moments to the over 47 million daily active users on the Roblox platform and launch its first tokenized community, building a new token that will incentivize and reward the iHeart creator community in new ways and give iHeart’s fans unique access to offerings across its multiple platforms, and a series of collectible non-fungible tokens (NFTs), building on the success of its previously launched iHeartRadio Music Festival NFTs in partnership with Green NFT platform OneOf in September 2021.

Premiere Networks’ Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Enjoying Rapid Growth. According to data presented by Premiere Networks, the nationally syndicated radio program “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” continues to experience rapid growth and success across multiple platforms since its debut in June 2021. Premiere says, “In addition to marking one of the biggest launches in talk radio history on more than 400 stations nationwide, the program’s total AQH audience increased 40% from June to November among PPM markets in the key demo of Adults 25-54. The powerhouse duo is also driving No. 1 rankings in many markets, including KTRH-AM, Houston; KOGO-AM, San Diego; KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City; KFBK-AM, Sacramento; WTKK-FM, Raleigh-Durham; and WISN-AM, Milwaukee. Additionally, ‘The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show’ closed out 2021 by setting a new podcast record with 10.3 million monthly downloads in December. The popular program is also connecting and engaging with fans online, with unique visitors to www.ClayandBuck.com growing 239% since its launch in June 2021.”

Compass Media Networks Promotes Alexander to Senior Director of Research. The company announces that Kareem Alexander is promoted to senior director of research. Compass Media Networks says that Alexander, who’s been with the company since 2015 and previously held the director of research title, will oversee and manage the research, data, and analytics of Compass Media Networks’ 16 national advertising networks and audience measurements of the affiliate base. Compass president of sales & marketing Paul Gregery comments, “Kareem always goes above and beyond to deliver timely research and data for our sales staff and advertisers.”

AURN and Superadio Networks Offer Free MLK Jr. Weekend Programming. This weekend is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and American Urban Radio Network and Superadio Networks are offering free programs to honor and celebrate Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The informative and provocative one-hour special celebrating the life and legacy of King is titled, “King…Realizing the Dream.” It was originally produced in 2002 and chronicles the life of the Baptist minister and freedom fighter and explores how we as a society have carried on King’s legacy. The special includes excerpts from his inspiring speeches and examines the messages behind the words by those who walked with him to contemporary leaders who have carried the torch for justice and equality. This offering also includes a series of one-minute MLK vignettes titled, “Inspiring Moments,” and “Remembering the Dreamer.”

Loker Promoted to VP of Politics/Senior Executive Producer at FNC. Producer Jessica Loker is promoted to vice president of politics and senior executive producer of “FOX News Sunday” at FOX News Channel. In this role, Loker will oversee all political newsgathering and logistics in addition to managing “FOX News Sunday,” the network’s one-hour Sunday public affairs program that airs on FOX Broadcasting and FNC. Alan Komissaroff will continue overseeing all political coverage as the SVP of news & politics. FOX News Media president & executive editor Jay Wallace says, “Jessica’s exceptional skills and extensive understanding of politics in Washington and beyond have made her an asset to our news division. We look forward to her continued contributions to the network.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast from Audacy’s Cadence13 called “Fly on the Wall” is launching. The program stars former “Saturday Night Live” alums Dana Carvey and David Spade who sit down with past and present cast, hosts, writers, and musical guests to reminisce about their favorite moments, memories, and sketches from the iconic sketch comedy program. Each week, Carvey and Spade invite listeners to be a “fly on the wall” as they sit down for in-depth conversations with a who’s who of SNL, as well as other special guests and friends, to take listeners behind the scenes and share never-before told stories about their careers and time on the show. Guests include: Chris Rock, Tom Hanks, Darrell Hammond, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, Martin Short, Melanie Hutsell, Ana Gasteyer, Tim Meadows, Laraine Newman, Rob Lowe, and Will Forte…..AdLarge announces that the “Honeydew Me” podcast joins the company’s podcast sales network portfolio. Expanding the focus on female health, wellness, and self-love, “Honeydew Me” podcast – hosted by Emma Norman and Cass Anderson – pushes old boundaries and breaks antiquated rules and expectations by openly discussing women’s sexual wellness, and normalizing conversations, questions and experiences. AdLarge co-founder Cathy Csukas says, “Emma and Cass have created something that is uniquely compelling, informative, and honest. They have provided a space to openly and authentically address female health and insecurities in a casual and safe environment. Proven by their explosive engagement on social media and with the podcast, it’s abundantly clear these are questions women everywhere want to find answers to.”…..Public media’s WNYC welcomes two new staffers as Steve Smith joins as the culture & art editor and Ann Givens assumes the public safety editor role. Smith was most recently with NPR as a senior editor on the arts, culture and books desk. Givens comes to WNYC from The Trace, a nonprofit news outlet dedicated to covering guns and gun violence in America.

COVID-19, Voting Rights, Facebook Anti-Trust Complaint, U.S.-Russia Relations, 2022 Midterms/Trump & the GOP, January 6 Investigation, and Boris Johnson Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). The soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and the face-off between Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul; President Joe Biden’s Atlanta speech promoting the Voting Rights Act; Facebook loses its bid to have the FTC’s anti-trust complaint against it tossed; the U.S., NATO and Russia’s planned meeting over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; the battle for control of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is called out for attending Downing Street party that violated COVID protocols were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.