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Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

NOW POSTED: This 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, “The Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. 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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

 

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

 

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

 

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Promotions Positions Open at Audacy. There are two positions open on the Promotions + Experiences team at Audacy. The company says it is “looking to add two talented, versatile promotions pros to our central Promotions + Experiences team. These individuals will focus on promotional partnerships with concert partners, activating select live performance venues, and play a vital role in live events across the company’s portfolio of brands.” You can learn more and to apply for the Promotion Director, Concerts & Experiences position here and do the same for the Promotion Manager, Concerts & Experiences position here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

| March 9, 2021

WJFK-FM, Washington at Center of Washington Football Team Investigation Controversy. As Mike Florio reports in Yahoo! Sports, Entercom’s sports talk WJFK-FM, Washington reported on Friday (3/5) that the NFL-ordered investigation into the culture of the Washington Football Team organization – especially regarding allegations of sexual harassment from women – led by attorney Beth Wilkinson has concluded that owner Daniel Snyder should be forced to sell the team. However, yesterday (3/8) the station issued a retraction because the NFL says the story is untrue and it has not yet received the Wilkinson report. The question is whether WJFK-FM received a stolen copy of the report or if Wilkinson herself tipped the radio station. In its statement, WJFK-FM said, “We do believe in the authenticity of the documents we reviewed, and that they are from the Wilkinson investigation, but we are unable to confirm that the report was a final draft or that it had been delivered to the League Office. As soon as we are able to report anything further on this, we will let you know — both as to what occurred in our Friday report and regarding the Wilkinson investigation generally.”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces Nomination Period Is Open. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee is now accepting suggestions for 2021 nominees through March 31. Suggestions for Radio Hall of Fame nominees can be made in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more); Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Networks/Syndication (10 years or more); Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Music Format On-Air Personality; and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We’re looking forward to celebrating the lifelong talents and career milestones of some of radio’s greatest! The first part of our annual process is fielding suggestions from listeners and industry members alike. It’s our priority to provide everyone the opportunity to be a part of this process.” Inductees will be honored at the annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with plans to be held live in Chicago at a date to be announced later this year.

AdLarge Promotes Two Executives. Two AdLarge vice presidents are being promoted to senior vice president. Donelle Brown rises to SVP of marketing insights & client relations and Ilwira Marciszek becomes SVP, head of revenue operations and digital sales. In her new role, Donelle Brown will continue to drive marketing strategy and messaging across terrestrial and digital audio channels, as well as overall company branding and communications. Ilwira Marciszek will continue to focus on sales operations, tech, and partner relationships that drive revenue for the company. AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas says, “[Co-CEO] Gary [Schonfeld] and I are so fortunate to have not only one but two phenomenal leaders on our team that have played such a significant role in the success of this company. Their enthusiasm and diligence have been instrumental in our growth in both radio and podcasting. We could not be prouder to recognize their hard work, talent, and dedication.”

Edison Research: Ownership of Smart Speakers Up 22%. According to data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2021, 33% of all Americans now own a smart speaker, a 22% increase from 2020, with those working from home even more likely to own one of the devices. Forty-nine percent of Americans who work from home own at least one smart speaker such as an Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or other brand. Edison will reveal more data from the research project at Thursday’s 2:00 pm ET webinar. It says The Infinite Dial 2021 report “provides the most up-to-date research on U.S. digital audio and podcast consumption, while reflecting the effects of a global pandemic and quarantine restrictions on audio and other digital media behaviors.” You can register here.

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Unemployment Town Hall. News/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a digital-exclusive town hall this Thursday (3/11) at 7:00 pm to address the issue of out-of-work residents struggling to get unemployment benefits. The half-hour program will be hosted by New Jersey 101.5 morning news anchor and director of special projects Eric Scott featuring New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo answering previously submitted questions from residents. Scott says, “Despite New Jersey distributing over $30 billion in jobless aid since the pandemic began, there are still tens of thousands who have received no benefits. Our goal is to connect those individuals with the help they need to get their claims processed.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk host Larry Elder is the subject of a piece in the monthly magazine Chronicles, published by the Charlemagne Institute – dedicated to “defending and advancing Western Civilization.” Salem Radio Network’s Elder is profiled in the piece and author Roger D. McGrath praises Elder’s recent documentary film Uncle Tom…..According to a story in the New York Post, Greg Kelly is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to serve as early afternoon host while Curtis Sliwa is on a leave of absence while he runs for mayor of New York. Kelly is currently also host of the “Greg Kelly Reports” program seen at 7:00 pm ET on Newsmax TV…..iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler will participate in a question and answer session during Deutsche Bank’s “29th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference 2021” tomorrow (3/10) at 1:00 pm ET.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Stimulus Bill, Voting Rights Issues, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Migrant Surge, Capitol Riot Investigation, Derek Chauvin Trial, Harry & Meghan Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/8). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., worries about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the Biden COVID stimulus bill goes back to the House for a final vote; Joe Biden’s voting rights bill and bills being written to curtail voting accessibility in several states; the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; the Minneapolis trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin; and the Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, February 26, 2021

| February 26, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Feeding an Environment of Fear,” looks back at this past week of February 22-26, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Gary Sutton, talk show host, WSBA, York, PA; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Dr. Renee Kohanski, podcaster, Clinical Correlation, Medscape‘s MDEdge Psychcast / forensic psychiatrist; Rush Limbaugh, late talk radio icon; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. 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 (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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, MD; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer 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.

iHeartMedia 2020 Q4 Revenue Down 8.8%; Full Year Revenue Declines 20%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter and for the full year of 2020, iHeartMedia fares a little better than its two major competitors (based on the number of radio stations owned) Cumulus Media and Entercom Communications. Fourth quarter revenue was $935.5 million, a decline of 8.8% from the same period in 2019. For the full year, revenue was $2.9 billion, down 20% from the full year 2019. Although the company reports net income of $2.9 million in Q4 2020, that’s down 95% from the $62.1 million net income reported in Q4 of 2019. For the full year 2020, iHeartMedia reports a net loss of $1.9 billion. It reported net income of $11.2 billion in 2019. iHeartMedia says that strong sequential improvement is continuing since the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. It also reports that digital revenue increased 26% year-over-year, including a 91% increase in podcasting revenue. Company chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased that the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn – and it’s particularly rewarding to see the impressive performance from our areas of strategic investment, like podcasting, SmartAudio, digital, and Ad Tech. In addition, with our new reportable segments, we will be able to provide additional insights into both our largest segment and our fastest-growing segment, and help highlight the key metrics and impressive performance of each.” iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our swift response to the COVID pandemic and our diligent management of expenses throughout the year enabled us to successfully achieve approximately $250 million of savings in 2020. This cost management enhanced our operating leverage and helped us to achieve adjusted EBITDA of $265 million in the fourth quarter, which was an improvement of 64% over the third quarter. The continued sequential improvement of our revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow over the past three quarters has us well positioned for continued recovery into 2021, and our commitment to make the majority of the $200 million of COVID-19 related savings permanent will further enhance the company’s operating leverage as revenue recovers.”

iHeartMedia Unveils New Business Operating Structure. Saying that this new structure reflects the “increasing size and importance” of its digital businesses, iHeartMedia announces that its two divisions – the Digital Audio Group and the Multiplatform Group – will publicly report their financial data separately and will have dedicated management. The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the iHeartRadio digital service and its podcasting business while the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group includes its broadcast radio assets. The company says that as of the fourth quarter of 2020, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s consolidated revenue and 23% of its earnings, and during that quarter grew revenue by 53% year-over-year and Adjusted EBITDA by 74% year-over-year. The company expects the Digital Audio Group will continue to grow as an increasing proportion of its business in the future. It adds that separate reporting of these two operating segments will provide “improved visibility into the underlying performances, results and margin profiles of these distinct audio-driven businesses.” Here’s how it breaks down: The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the podcasting business; the iHeartRadio digital service; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJarUnified and Voxnest, and will also include the recently-announced Triton Digital upon completion of the acquisition. Leading the division will be Conal Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as the president of digital revenue and Jessica Jerrick as EVP of digital distribution and platform partnerships. Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group – representing almost 75% of the company’s revenue – includes the 860-plus radio stations in 160 markets; the company’s live and virtual events business; and its national sales organization (which will use iHeartMedia’s full array of products, from broadcast radio and events to its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products, which allows informed digital-like planning against targeted audiences with the benefit of broadcast scale and impact, as well as using all of the products from the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group). Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network, will also join this group. Leading the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as chief revenue officer.  Julie Talbott joins this group as president of Premiere Networks; Hartley Adkins becomes president of the Markets Group; Jeff Howard remains president of national sales and Tony Coles as president of BIN: Black Information Network. Bob Pittman says, “These new reportable segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of both the iHeart Digital Audio Group and the iHeart Multiplatform Group, while accelerating our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all of our platforms. Creating these two business reportable segments will allow us to provide the investment community with increased visibility into the financial results of each segment – enabling them to better appreciate the strong growth and success of our digital businesses, including our industry-leading podcast business, as well as the continued strength of our broadcast radio and marquee events businesses.”

Entercom Announces New Programming Leadership Structure. This enhancement of Entercom’s programming leadership structure for its central programming team leaves Pat Paxton in his current position as chief programming officer. He says, “This enhanced leadership team will supplement our premium content offering throughout our portfolio and ensure we have the premier collection of personalities engaging deeply with our audiences nationwide. It will also allow us to best integrate the innovation of new products and content so we are continuously growing the impact and reach of our offering and super serving our 170 million listeners each month.” In this new structure EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano continues to manage Entercom’s sports, all-news, and news/talk brands. He is also being charged with growing Entercom’s content insights and analytics capabilities and overseeing its network and syndicated content development. Dave Richards joins the central programming leadership team as senior vice president of programming, rising from his SVP of programming of KISW, Seattle for the last 19 years and having developed programs like “The Men’s Room” and concepts like KISW’s annual “Live Day.” In his new role, Richards will be responsible for original content ideation, talent development, and coaching. He’ll spearhead Entercom’s efforts to support its expanding business portfolio, which includes RADIO.COM, Cadence13, and Pineapple Street Studios, through the generation of cross-platform content. Michael Martin continues to serve as SVP of programming and music initiatives and oversees Entercom’s relationships with artists, management, and record labels and lead its efforts to collaborate with the artist community on event, digital, and social opportunities. The company also announces the following members of its executive committee, who will collaborate to develop and oversee programming strategy across the company: Pat Paxton; Jeff Sottolano; Michael Martin; Dave Richards; Pam Russo, SVP and general manager, RADIO.COM; Bill Smee, VP of news; Matt Volk, VP of sports; Nikki Nite, VP of programming and brand manager, Entercom Austin; and Reggie Rouse, urban format captain, Entercom, and brand manager, Entercom Atlanta.

Round Three of January 2021 PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland jumps from the #6 rank to #3 on the strength of 1.4 share increase that helped it finish the January survey with a 6.2 share. Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte tacks on 1.6 shares for a 6.6 share finish and a jump from #5 to #3. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK, Sacramento regains the #1 rank after adding 2.4 share to wrap the survey with a 10.2 share. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM also claims the #1 rank after adding 1.9 shares to post a 7.9 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report for this round or markets (as well as his Takeaways from the first two rounds) here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago is honoring the memory of former morning drive host Bob Collins, who would have been 79 on Sunday (2/28). Collins died in a small plane collision in 2000. On today’s Bob Sirott morning show, staffers WGN toasted Collins this morning (2/26) at 7:48 and, according to tradition, poured from the bottle of Jack Daniel’s found in Collins’s office. Also on the air with Sirott today were retired WGN morning host Spike O’Dell (who succeeded Collins) and retired agribusiness reporter Orion Samuelson.…..The nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” hits the 100 affiliate station mark a year after its launch. Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says that – in addition to being heard on stations like KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; and KSEV-AM, Houston – from the November election through February 22, the Dan Bongino Show podcast “boasted more than 51 million downloads on Apple, Spotify and other major platforms, rising 27% during that period.” Bongino says, “Growing up a fan of conservative talk radio makes this moment extra special for me. To be able to reach people across the country with a strong pro-liberty, pro-freedom message is the honor of a lifetime. Special thanks as well to the affiliates partnering with us in this venture.”…..A new sports radio imaging service called Game Plan is being offered to stations from SPLAT! and is syndicated by Sun Broadcast Group. SPLAT! says GAME PLAN is “a new kind of sports radio imaging service, designed specifically to sharpen the competitive edge of local stations, while simultaneously complementing the power of network sports brands. With GAME PLAN, a local station’s imaging sounds just as bold and powerful as their network imaging, maybe even better.”…..Entercom and Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” to continue to serve as the Pirates’ flagship radio station. Under the terms of the new deal, all Pirates weekday afternoon games will air on “93.7 The Fan” and sister news/talk KDKA-AM/W261AX.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines and Variants Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 22-26, 2021. The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines and the concern about variants creating another wave of cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the education crisis. Following at #3 was the confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nominees for attorney general, interior secretary, and White House budget office, tied with Donald Trump’s planned speech at CPAC on Sunday. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Friday, August 28, 2020

| August 28, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, “Another Week in the Year of Fear!” looks back at this past week of August 24-28, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDale Jackson, talk show host / program director, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Walter Sterling, nationally syndicated talk show host / WABC, New York; and Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle/CRN Digital Talk Radio Network This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Buck Sexton Show Expands on WOR, New York. The Premiere Networks-syndicated Buck Sexton show is growing from two to three hours on iHeartMedia’s “710 WOR, The Voice of New York.” The program begins airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Monday (8/31). Sexton says, “I’m thrilled to be extending my presence on the far-reaching airwaves of WOR. I look forward to expanding my nightly conversation with fellow New Yorkers and Tri-Staters about the issues that matter most to us.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy adds. “Since COVID-19 hit us, Buck has been broadcasting from his apartment in mid-town Manhattan and has never missed a day. He has done an outstanding job giving New Yorkers everything they need to know to survive this pandemic, along with his thoughts on the political stories of the day.”

Beasley Promotes Tee Gentry to Regional OM for Augusta and Fayetteville. Longtime company programmer Tee Gentry is promoted to regional operations manager for Beasley Media Group’s radio stations in Augusta, Georgia – including news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands – and Fayetteville, North Carolina’s six music brands. Gentry has been serving as operations manager for the Augusta cluster. Gentry has spent the majority of his 25-year radio career with Beasley Media Group, serving more than 20 years as operations manager and PD at country WKXC-FM, Augusta and three years in Tampa as operations manager and PD at country WQYK-FM. Beasley VP and general manager Kent Dunn says, “Tee has done a tremendous job over the past 20 years at Beasley Media Group. He has done a great job leading our Augusta team and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Fayetteville team.”

The RNC, Presidential Race, the USPS and Defunding Police Controversies Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. This week’s Republican National Convention, the presidential race and the controversies over the U.S. Postal Service and the move to defund police departments tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was race relations, urban violence, the suburban housing controversy, and the NBA demonstration. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, meds, masks, and the CDC testing flap tied at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talk host Norm Hitzges revealed to listeners on Thursday that he is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer. The 76-year-old Hitzges – who co-hosts the “Norm and D Invasion” program on Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” with Donovan Lewis – says he’ll continue to work while going through the treatment, according to a story in the Dallas News…..In Asheville, North Carolina, WISE-AM sports talk host Pat Ryan is battling a recurrence of colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. WLOS-TV reports that Ryan was first diagnosed and treated in 2018. He learned last month that more chemotherapy is needed. But Ryan tells WLOS that doing his daily, afternoon drive show on the Saga Communications station rejuvenates him and helps with the cancer treatment…..Salem Radio Network says it will have a front row seat to President Trump’s first campaign stop after last night’s acceptance speech as SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston travels aboard Air Force One to Manchester, New Hampshire today (8/28). Clugston is also credentialed for all four debates (three presidential, one vice presidential) sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates this fall…..iHeartMedia, Inc chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler are participating in a question-and-answer session during the BofA Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference taking place on September 10 at 11:40 am ET. iHeartMedia says a live webcast of the session will be available to the general public through a link on the Investors homepage of its website (https://investors.iheartmedia.com/). A replay of the video webcast will be available in the Events & Presentation section of iHeartMedia’s Investors homepage.

45th Annual Gracie Awards to Stream Virtually on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 45th annual Gracie Awards program will air live on AWMF’s Facebook page on September 10 at 7:00 pm ET. The virtual event will recognize esteemed honoree Katy Perry, who will receive the Gracies Impact Award, presented to an artist who has made a positive impact on society through their music. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will deliver a special tribute to frontline journalists who covered breaking news regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, and women in television, radio, and digital media being honored for their contributions this year include: Naomi Watts, Michelle Williams, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee. AWMF adds that Danai Gurira, Norah O’Donnell, Fiona Shaw, Andrea Mitchell and Gayle King will appear in the virtual show along with country artist Mickey Guyton who will perform twice throughout the night, and Grey’s Anatomy’s “Silent All These Years” episode will receive the Grand Award for the incredibly powerful episode which brought attention to sexual assault survivors. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “There’s no doubt that this year has been indescribable – but one thing that has stayed consistent is the level of content that continues to be generated by and for women. We understand that people are going through unprecedented times and it’s our commitment to bring the world in for the first time and see the magic of the Gracie Awards as we celebrate some of the brave and poignant, storytellers of our time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Flipping from Gospel to adult contemporary is Beasley Media Group’s WGUS-FM, Augusta, Georgia “Sunny 102.7.” Core artists include: Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Journey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, and more…..Entercom is kicking off “DTS Sound Space Sundays” with a special broadcast of Foster the People’s performance at “KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017.” The broadcast will air at 9:00 pm ET August 30 via RADIO.COM. An exclusive new interview with band frontman Mark Foster will follow the performance. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We’re looking forward to opening our archives and sharing this classic Foster the People performance with a national audience via RADIO.COM. HD Radio has served as a great partner over the years and we’re excited to spotlight their sister brand, DTS, through our Sound Space and Sound Space Sundays content.”

Thursday, August 6, 2020

| August 6, 2020

iHeartMedia Second Quarter Revenue Declines 47%. In line with the other broadcast companies that have reported Q2 2020 data so far, iHeartMedia’s revenue of $488 million represents a 47% decrease compared to the same period in 2019. Breaking it down into segments, iHM reports that broadcast revenue declined 57% ($561 million to $244 million), networks revenue was down 38% ($156 million to $96 million), digital revenue increased 2% ($91 million to $93 million – led by a 103% increase in podcasting revenue), sponsorship and events declined 65% ($42 million to $15 million), and audio & media services dropped 33% ($59 million to $39 million). iHeartMedia is reporting an operating loss of $159 million in Q2 of 2020 compared to an operating income of $182 million in the second quarter of 2019. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “The challenges that we have faced due to COVID-19 were unprecedented and had a severe, negative impact on our revenue in the second quarter. Despite those financial challenges, we retained our strong relationship with the consumer as the #1 audio company in America and the #1 media company in America by reach. As the advertising marketplace is recovering, we are working hard to ensure that we have the products and services to fully capitalize on the opportunity while proactively taking steps to fortify our balance sheet and our liquidity. Finally, I want to thank our employees for their commitment and creativity under such difficult and challenging circumstances.” Company president, CFO and COO Rich Bressler adds, “In response to COVID-driven market weakness, we acted rapidly and decisively to further streamline our cost structure and capital-spending programs, while continuing to implement pre-COVID cost savings programs through our modernization initiatives. These actions played an important role in minimizing the negative impact on our free cash flow results against the backdrop of the significant revenue declines we saw in the second quarter. We believe that these actions, in combination with our proactive capital structure management provides the company with sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness.”

Round Three of July PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s July 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s July 2020 survey period covered June 18 – July 15. You can see all the 6+ data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on one-tenth to finish the July survey with a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte dips one-tenth to a 5.9 share but rises one spot to the #3 rank. Despite losing a full share and finishing with a 5.5 share, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOAI, San Antonio remains ranked #2 in the market. In Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds three-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.4 share good for the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City jumps by half a share to claim the #5 rank with a 5.8 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states,“With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

Giuliani Suggests Salem’s Hewitt and Elder Serve as Debate Moderators. On behalf of the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign, Trump attorney Rudolph Giuliani submitted a list of potential presidential debate moderators to the Commission on Presidential Debates that includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated hosts Larry Elder and Hugh Hewitt. The list of moderators the campaign would find acceptable also includes David Muir of ABC News and Norah O’Donnell of CBS News. Salem Media Group SVP spoken word programming Phil Boyce says, “We are so proud to see Hugh Hewitt and Larry Elder mentioned as possible moderators of a presidential debate. Frankly all of our SRN national hosts are capable of doing this, and these two especially are. We hope they get the nod.” Hewitt served as co-moderator of four 2016 Republican Primary debates co-produced by CNN and the Salem Radio Network.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on some news from Nexstar’s WGN-AM, saying that the station is not talking with market legend Garry Meier about replacing Roe Conn in afternoon drive when his contract ends this year as previously reported. His sources say serious talks with Meier never got off the ground. In other WGN news, Feder says that if John Records Landecker’s fill-in stint for morning host Bob Sirott goes well next week, Landecker may be in line for the permanent evening show position…..Cadence13 – a part of Entercom’s podcast network – is partnering with NBA star Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures to create The Boardroom Podcast Network. The network will launch with two podcasts. In “The Boardroom: Out Of Office,” Kleiman hosts and digs deep into guests’ career trajectories, the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and the stories they’ve gathered along the way. In September, Durant launches the monthly podcast “The Etc’s with Kevin Durant.” He says, “I’m really excited to be launching both of these podcasts and this partnership with Cadence13. We’re really invested in making both of these pods different than anything else out there, and I’m personally looking forward to having in-depth conversations about some of my favorite topics.”

NAB’s Gordon Smith Suffers Stroke. A statement from the National Association of Broadcasters reveals that its president and CEO Gordon Smith suffered a stroke and was admitted to the hospital. The statement adds, “He is responding well to treatment, is stable and alert, and is resting comfortably. His prognosis is good, and he is expected to make a full recovery.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Presidential Race, Portland Protests, TikTok Deal/U.S.-China Relations, Beirut Explosion, and Pro Sports Leagues’ Struggles Among Top News/Talk Story Yesterday (8/5). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; the November presidential election and President Trump’s statements about the validity of mail-in ballots; the controversial BLM protests in Portland; the deal to allow Microsoft to acquire TikTok and the tenuous U.S.-China relations; the investigation into the ammonium nitrate-caused explosion that rocked Beirut; and pro sports leagues struggle with positive COVID-19 cases were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Venerable Multimedia Personality Shadoe Stevens Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Los Angeles-based radio and TV personality Shadoe Stevens is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Stevens is an extraordinarily talented and creative individual who has succeeded to one degree or another in just about every phase of performance media in a career that has spanned five decades. He remains on the leading edge with the debut of a 12-part podcast series titled, “MentalRadio,” that pulls out the stops on imaginative writing, complex production, and audio theatrics. During the course of his career, Stevens has served as program director and/or air talent at legendary radio stations including LA’s KROQ and KMET. He was the first successor to Casey Kasem as the voice of “American Top 40” which he hosted for seven years. He’s been a television announcer and personality on such shows as “Hollywood Squares” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He was also producer, writer, and talent on hundreds of successful radio and television commercial campaigns – highlighted by his celebrated creation and performance of the outrageous character, Fred Rated, for the Federated Group home appliance chain. As an actor, he appeared on such TV programs as “Baywatch,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Dave’s World,” “Max Monroe: Loose Cannon,” and he performed in the movie “TRAXX,” plus more. Harrison and Stevens recount their days in Los Angeles radio (both served as PD of KMET), the intricacies of Stevens’ colorful career, and the unlimited potential of modern podcasting as a platform for 21st century audio theater. Radio and media freaks will really enjoy this interview! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle radio and music business legend Pat O’Day died on Tuesday (8/4) at age 85. As a DJ, O’Day was arguably the most popular air personality in the market in the mid-1960s when he was the afternoon jock on KJR-AM. He eventually became PD of the station, then general manager in 1968. O’Day ran a lucrative teen dance events business. He was also a concert promoter, founding the firm Concerts West. O’Day also eventually became a station owner. Read more about his colorful career here…..Rochester classic rock WAIO-FM “Radio 95.1” announces its new afternoon drive show is “The Big Show,” hosted by Earl David Reed, Megan Carter, and Pat McMahon. Reed is a nationally recognized stand-up comedian. Carter most recently served as the afternoon host on iHeartMedia’s sister CHR “KISS 106.7.” McMahon has been with iHM Rochester for six years. Program director Joe Bonadonna says, “Earl, Megan and Pat clicked from the minute we put them together. They are the three friends you want with you when you’re getting a garbage plate, grabbing a Genny Light or spending the day at Seabreeze.”…..Entercom promotes Emily Ward to general sales manager for the Chattanooga station group that includes CHR WKXJ-FM “103.7 Kiss FM,” adult hits WLND-FM “98.1 The Lake,” WRXR “Rock 105,” country WUSY “U.S. 101,” and country WUSY-HD2 “Real 961.” Ward has been serving the cluster as local sales manager and digital sales manager.

Friday, May 8, 2020

| May 8, 2020

LiveXLive Acquiring PodcastOne in All Stock Deal. The digital media firm LiveXLive Media, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne in an all stock deal. The press release states that the transaction is valued at $18.1 million based on LiveXLive’s closing price on May 7, 2020. LiveXLive will acquire 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc. and issue to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.45 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which would be subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter. The proposed acquisition is expected to close by June 2020, subject to certain closing conditions. PodcastOne recorded gross revenue of $27.5 million in calendar year 2019. LiveXLive chairman and CEO Robert Ellin says, “We’re excited to expand our business into the fast-growing podcast category, complementing our music platform of streaming audio, on-demand video, and live event performances. The acquisition will add to and diversify our revenue with a strong advertising component. Once acquired and integrated, we will have a significant opportunity to cross-sell and cross-promote to our respective subscribers, advertisers, and sponsors as well as provide our collective artists and on-air talent with an expanded platform to increase their social media and online presence.” PodcastOne founder and executive chairman, Norman Pattiz is joining LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains as executive chairman of PodcastOne. Pattiz comments, “All of us at PodcastOne are excited about joining the LiveXLive team and taking advantage of obvious future synergies between our businesses. I look forward to working with Rob Ellin to close the acquisition and achieve the growth we both envision. PodcastOne is a premium producer, distributor, and revenue-generator for audio-on-demand programming. PodcastOne’s well-established podcasting business is an excellent complement to LiveXLive’s  ‘live social music network,’ delivering premium livestreams, digital audio, and on-demand music.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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.  The new episode titled “Demographic Genocide?” looks back at this past week of May 4-8, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSRic Edelman, financial advisor / talk show host; Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Kate Delaney, talk show host, GCN; Barry Farber, talk show host, CRN; Dick Morris, pundit / author; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

iHeartMedia’s Q1 Revenue Down 1.9%. After a strong financial performance in January and February, the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll in March and iHeartMedia finished the first quarter of 2020 with revenue of $780 million, down 1.9% over the same period in 2019 (and down 4.8% excluding political). The company reports an operating loss of $1.7 billion, “driven primarily by non-cash impairment charges” that “reduce intangible asset and goodwill book values established in May 2019 upon required application of fresh start accounting where the macroenvironment was significantly different than today.” Adjusted EBITDA was $140.3 million, down 10.6% year-over-year. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $69.9 million, a decrease of $43.8 million or 38.6%. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “As America’s #1 audio company, with unparalleled reach both nationally and locally, we play a critically important role in providing companionship, connection and key information to all the communities we serve, and we are incredibly proud of our employees’ commitment to that mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although businesses and brands across the country have been impacted, we are working closely with them on their marketing needs and are focused on helping them generate the consumer demand to reopen or ramp up. Our multiplatform offering, our unparalleled reach and our unique data and analytics position us well to benefit as a company from this returning advertising demand.”  Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Given the current economic environment, iHeart has taken actions that we believe expand the company’s financial flexibility and provide sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness. We believe that iHeart’s fundamentally strong free cash-generation model, substantial current cash balances, incremental benefits from our cost savings initiatives, and flexible capital structure will enable us to build effectively on our audio market leadership and position us favorably to capitalize on the eventual recovery in advertising demand. With our experienced management team and our unparalleled assets, we are confident in our business and continue our focus on driving shareholder value.”

Edison Research: U.S. Moms Relying More on Tech. This latest installment of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2020” study includes data from The Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, and a recent online survey conducted during COVID-19 restrictions. The report highlights how moms with kids under the age of 18 in the household continue to hold tight to their tech tools while sheltering at home, and they are relying on their technology and media to get through the day. Edison VP Melissa DeCesare says, “This virus has turned life upside down and parents have the added pressure of guiding children through this unsettling time.  Moms are masters at balancing tasks in normal circumstances, but they have found even more capacity to multi-task in this pandemic. Additional responsibilities like distance learning and managing the family dynamic while in isolation are increasing the need for media and technology in the home. This year’s study shows us that moms are meeting these challenges by relying on media, devices and technology to help them get through this new normal.” Some of the findings are: Moms are using their devices more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working remotely, helping children with distance learning, and keeping in touch with friends and family are driving heavier use of all digital devices; Moms are facilitating distance learning with 54% of moms saying they are spending a lot of time helping their children with distance learning; Moms are using social media with 39% agreeing that social media is the main source for staying up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic in their community and 56% of moms say that they are grateful for social media during the pandemic; and while it is unknown how long this new normal will last, nearly 4 in 10 moms think their current media habits will stay with them even after it is over. See more here.

Three Entercom Podcasts Nominated for Peabody Awards. The nominations for Peabody Awards have been announced and three podcasts from Entercom’s Podcast Network are included among the nominees. “Headlong: Running from COPS” and “The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow” from Pineapple Street Studios, and “Gangster Capitalism, Season One: The College Admissions Scandal” from Cadence13’s C13Originals studio were nominated. Winners will be announced at a later date. Pineapple Street Studios co-founders Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky say, “For our small shop to get two Peabody nominations is just an incredible testament to the care, thought, and creativity the entire Pineapple Street Studios team puts into the work. Working with world-class talents like Dan Taberski and Ronan Farrow is an honor and we’re thrilled by the recognition for our incredible staff and these two critically important shows, which we were so proud to put out into the world.” The Peabody Awards honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media. See all the nominations here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 4-8. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the projections for future cases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. healthcare system.  Coming in at #3 was a tie between the economy, the debate over re-opening, and criticism of the airlines, followed by the presidential race, politics, and the Michelle Obama film at #4. See the entire chart here. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. A special, virtual town hall meeting produced by SiriusXM is taking place today on the Business Radio channel featuring host Dan Loney of Wharton Business Daily that addresses the questions on Americans’ minds about how and when to safely reopen the economy. Guests on the program include: Hyundai Motor Company’s Jose Munoz, Ford Motor Company COO Jim Farley, Kahn Academy CEO Sal Kahn, Cleveland Federal president Loretta J. Mester, Board of Scientific Counselors chair Dr. Thomas Inglesby, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff, chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, DHL CEO Greg Hewitt, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao…..The Talk Shows USA syndicated program “The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” adds new affiliate stations to its roster. They are: WRTA-AM/FM, Altoona, PA; WGNC-AM, Gastonia, NC; WPAY-FM, Garrison, KY; KBST-AM, Big Spring, TX…..Jenn White is named as the new host of the WAMU-FM, Washington-based, NPR program “1A.” White has been serving at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, Chicago hosting the midday “Reset with Jenn White” program.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A Memorial Day weekend show from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville celebrates the start of summertime. “Summer Kickoff with Dustin Lynch” is a salute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and some military veterans will join Lynch in the tribute. Fellow artists will share their favorite holiday memories and summer activities throughout the special, including: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Carrie Underwood. The four-hour-long special will be available for stations to air over the holiday weekend beginning Saturday, May 23 through Monday, May 25, any time between 6:00 a.m. and 12 midnight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

| April 29, 2020

iHeartMedia Orders Employees to Take Two Unpaid Weeks of Vacation. Audio giant iHeartMedia is taking another step to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on on its business by requiring certain staffers to take two week’s unpaid vacation this year.  Here’s an excerpt from the memo sent to all company employees by CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler: “We’re sure you have seen news stories about states’ extended stay-at-home orders and questions about the continuing impact of COVID-19 on businesses across the country, and that includes our business as well. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions which you’re aware of to address the economic impact on our company, and we have done our best to find ways to reduce that impact while avoiding layoffs. Unfortunately, the longer than anticipated shutdown of businesses means that we must do more, with the goal of keeping our business healthy while still avoiding permanent layoffs. Therefore, after reviewing all of our options, we are taking a difficult step but one that we hope will be our last action impacting employee compensation: Requiring that employees who make over $50,000 a year in base compensation – excluding bonuses, overtime or commissions — and who have not already volunteered to take a salary reduction of 5% or more, to take two weeks of unpaid vacation in calendar year 2020, with the first vacation week taking place between now and June 30 and the second vacation week taking place between July 1 and September 30. These two unpaid vacation weeks in total are the equivalent of an approximately 4% salary reduction for the year and must be scheduled with your manager to ensure appropriate staffing at all times.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. As its cousins all-news and public radio news/talk have done, commercial news/talk stations have for the most part earned more listening credit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty-four percent of news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up and 20% were unchanged compared to the February 2020 survey. Big gainers included: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento up 1.9 shares for a 10.3 share and the #1 rank in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland up 1.8 shares for a 6.7 share and the #3 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati up 1.8 shares for a 10.1 share and the #1 rank. Looking at year-over-year changes, 64% of news/talk stations were up from March 2019 with a number of outlets making huge gains.  They include: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adding 5.8 shares to finish March 2020 with a 12.9 share; KFBK, Sacramento rising 4.1 shares for a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus climbing 3.9 shares for a 9.4 share in March 2020; and Entercom’s KFTK-FM, St. Louis going up 3.3 shares to a 5.5 share. There were five news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their PPM markets in March, see which ones in Mike Kinosian’s report here.

NRG Media’s Omaha Stations Presenting Live COVID-19 Town Hall. News/talk KOIL-AM and sister sports talk stations KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2” are presenting a COVID-19 town hall broadcast titled, “Omaha – The New Normal,” this evening (4/29) from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The program will feature key figures in politics, education, athletics, the medical field, and the non-profit industry.  NRG Media says company personalities Mike’l Severe and Matt Tompkins “will take a deep dive into the new normal with Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon; Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts; Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert; Omaha Public Schools superintendent Cheryl Logan; University of Nebraska Medicine chief of internal medicine Dr. Mark Rupp, director of athletics at Creighton University, Bruce Rasmussen; and more.” NRG Media Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle says, “As broadcasters, it’s our job to keep our listeners and the community informed. Our town hall guests did not hesitate when to participate and we are so appreciative. Providing the answers to the questions we are all asking is very much needed in Omaha. I’m just thankful we were able to put this together.”

‘Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon Takes Place Tomorrow.  Radio stations wishing to take part in tomorrow’s radiothon can do so by visiting RadioCares.org here. It’s being organized by Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  The “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon” will benefit Feeding America and its 200-member network of food banks.  It will air across Cumulus’ 424 stations as well as on Westwood One’s programming.  Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips and Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone spearheaded the organization of the event.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, States Begin ‘Re-Opening,’ Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, Pence at Mayo Clinic, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; several states begin “re-opening” their economies; the preparedness of the health care system to deal with the pandemic and the country’s testing capabilities; Vice President Mike Pence is criticized for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic; questions about China’s role in the coronavirus becoming a pandemic; the November presidential election and the accusation of sexual assault by Joe Biden’s former senate staffer; and President Trump’s ordering meat processing plants to remain open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group Unveils New Employee-Designed Logo. The new corporate logo for Cox Media Group that you see here is the result of the company’s Design Our Logo Challenge. Hundreds of entries were submitted by employees, before the field was narrowed to three. The finalists were thoroughly vetted through a rigorous series of internal and external research studies, before the winning logo designed by CMG-TV Jacksonville art director Kim Colombero.  CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “The Design Our Logo Challenge was a great success and we were amazed at the level of participation from our people.  While we had hoped to launch our new logo in a bigger, public celebration – we simply could not wait any longer to unveil it and share the news with our winning designer.”  Colombero adds, “I was both thrilled and humbled to learn that my submission had made it to the final three, let alone that it had been chosen as the winning logo.  I am so proud to work for a company that is so inclusive and actively celebrates employees and their work.”

TALKERS News Notes. Research firm Jacobs Media announces it is doing a second national tracking study the week of May 11 on how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is impacting Americans’ lives, “from the way they shop, to how they are working (or not), to how they consume media.”  The first such study took place in mid-March. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs comments, “The impact of COVID-19 has disrupted broadcast radio, but timely data is key to the industry understanding the new landscape and adapting to it. This second tracking study will provide broadcasters with the quantitative ‘radar’ they need to shape their tactics and strategies.”…..The Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring a “Day of Giving Back” tomorrow (4/30) in which it is soliciting donations to its fund to support journalists affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The SPJ says, “In these days of COVID-19 exacerbating an already volatile time for the news industry, many journalists are finding themselves furloughed, laid off and left to wonder how they will make ends meet and what will be left of their careers. This is at a time when the news they provide not only informs our lives but saves lives as well.”  The Journalists Emergency Fund will provide assistance of up to $500 to help with bills and other living expenses and as this fund is supported through generous donations, these grants do not have to be paid back. You can donate here.…..The Connecticut stations owned by iHeartMedia have launched a website with dedicated resources to help residents navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. WeAreConnecticutStrong.com provides community resources, a listing for local businesses and their hours, hiring and job postings, exclusive interviews with Connecticut leaders, as well as a listing of local nonprofits and charitable causes.  The portal is available across all 11 radio station websites.  iHeartMedia president for the Hartford region Steve Honeycomb says, “We want to be as accessible as possible to help convey local business messaging through our local radio stations.  Small businesses across Connecticut are the cornerstone of the state’s economy and we want to be able to help spotlight them on WeAreConnecticutStrong.com as well as on our airwaves.”…..Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was honored with four 2019 Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Contest awards.  The station won the following: Outstanding News Operation; First Place for Best Spot News for “Chicago Public School Teachers Strike”; First Place for Best Sports Report for “69 Cubs”; and First Place for Best Newscast…..iHeartMedia announces it is holding its Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 2:30 pm ET virtually via live webcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Buffalo oldies outlet WECK-AM adds another FM frequency to its multicast.  Radio One Buffalo says translator W261EB at 100.1 FM joins the feeder signal 1230 AM and fellow translators W263DC, Tonawanda at 100.5 FM and W275BB, Cheektowaga at 102.9 FM.  WECK president and CEO Buddy Shula says, “WECK has always been a stand-alone AM radio station, and as we all know, AM radios have had issues with static and interference over the past decade with more electronic devices vying for frequency space. Our third FM signal in metro Buffalo is truly unique.  I am not aware of any AM station in the U.S. that has three FM translator frequencies in the metro, along with the main AM station. It is our chance to provide Buffalo’s #1 oldies station on FM just about everywhere in the Buffalo DMA.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

| March 31, 2020

iHeartMedia Institutes Furloughs; Pittman and Execs Take Pay Cuts. In a company-wide memo issued late Monday (3/30), iHeartMedia chairman & CEO Bob Pittman and COO & president Rich Bressler announced temporary changes in the company’s compensation policies in order to ameliorate the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.  Here’s the email:

“Team, Our number one concern in this unprecedented time is the safety and well-being of our employees. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our company continues to be a primarily work-from-home operation and we have also added some coronavirus-related resources and healthcare benefits if you should need to take advantage of them.

Last week we wrote to you about the economic downturn our country is facing as the result of the pandemic and the need to respond to it to preserve the health of our company. During this unsettled time, we also know the biggest economic concern among our employees is understandably about preserving jobs – and we want you to know that it’s our main concern as well.

Although we have had to make hard decisions to address the economic impact of the downturn, our management team has found ways to reduce our company’s expenses without resorting to permanent layoffs.

As the CEO of the company, Bob will voluntarily take no salary for the remainder of the year and has given up his annual incentive bonus, and Rich and our senior management team will take reductions ranging from 30% to over 70% of their total compensation for the remainder of the year.

In addition, we have implemented: Reduction of all expenses that can be postponed without impacting our service and commitment to our communities; Temporary suspension of the 401(k) match; No overtime without pre-approval; Temporary suspension of new raises; and Strict limitations on – or complete elimination of – Travel and Entertainment (T&E) expenses.

We believe all of these reductions give us more room to protect jobs.

Given our pullback from live events and our shift to a work-from-home model, there are a few jobs that are not essential until our business operations revert back to usual. This week we are taking the difficult step of implementing a 90-day furlough, or temporary unpaid leave of absence, for jobs affected by these changes. To be clear, while this will involve a small total number of employees, they are valued colleagues and we did not take this step lightly. We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can.

This is not a layoff or a reduction in force (RIF). With a furlough, while it is an unpaid leave of absence, the affected employees stay in our employ, allowing us to continue offering these employees full health benefits, and we want to make sure we take care of them as best we can during this time. And with state unemployment benefits, supplemented by the added special benefits that are part of the new federal stimulus legislation, hopefully these employees will not feel any significant financial impact during this limited period of time.

We’ve never lived through anything like this and, as managers, we’ve never had to make more difficult decisions. However, please know we are listening, studying and considering all options before we make the important decisions that affect you and the company. We may miss on some of these decisions – and we will pivot when we find better ones – but throughout it all, we truly appreciate your support for us, for your colleagues and for the company.  Please be safe and take care of your health and your families.  Bob and Rich”

Adams Radio Takes WGL-AM, Fort Wayne Dark. After shutting down the programming on sports talk WGL-AM, Fort Wayne “FOX Sports 1250 The Ticket,” Adams Radio Group files a Silent Special Temporary Authority license request with the FCC.  The filing states: “As an AM radio station, WGL has been unable to generate sufficient financial resources to sustain operations, a situation that has been made even more difficult as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  WGL must suspend operations to allow management time to review options for a resumption of service.”  Adams posted to the station’s website: “We regret to inform you that we will be discontinuing ‘FOX Sports’ on WGL AM 1250.  With the current situation, we must devote all of our efforts to our larger signal stations.  Thank you very much for listening.”

Sports Radio and the Coronavirus Pandemic – Now What? Consultant and radio programming pro Andy Bloom writes today in a piece for TALKERS magazine that in order for sports leagues and teams to “keep their brands pertinent” during the absence of live games, they should work with their local broadcast rights holders (that’s you, sports radio stations) to keep their brands relevant and create revenue opportunities. Bloom says that while eSports is still a niche appealing to a young demo, it could expand as eSports is a live competition that can be executed during mandatory social distancing.  If you are creative, the revenue opportunities are many.  Read his column here.

Podcasts by Federated Media Debuts. A new podcast division is launched by Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Federated Media called, Podcasts by Federated Media.  Director of digital content Krystal Vivian states, “Federated Media has a long history of producing world-class audio on the radio, which provided a great foundation when we started podcasting in 2016.  Since then, we’ve created several successful podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listens. Launching this division is our next step in continuing our mission of creating great audio that’s really fun to listen to.”  The company currently offers 46 podcasts – more than 20 are original, seven are branded shows, and the rest are culled from radio show content.  The division also provides program development and production assistance for businesses wishing to create branded podcasts.

Coronavirus Status in the U.S., Trump’s Handling of Pandemic, Projected U.S. Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, the U.S. Economy, U.S.-China Relations, and Investigation of Senators Stock Sales Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The numbers of confirmed U.S. cases and deaths from COVID-19; scrutiny of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic; the potential U.S. death toll from COVID-19 from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx; the world’s financial markets respond to the pandemic; the state of the U.S. economy in the era of social distancing; U.S.-China relations as some American politicians seek to blame China for the pandemic; and the Justice Department investigates four U.S. Senators who executed massive stock sales prior to the market slide were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Entercom Communications Corp. changes its 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders from a physical, in-person meeting on May 5 to a virtual one, live via webcast, at 8:30 am ET on the same day…..Starting April 6, WGN-AM, Chicago late morning personality John Williams assumes the role of host for the “Wintrust Business Lunch,” the hour-long business news program heard weekdays at 12:00 noon on the Nexstar Media station.  Williams adds the noon hour onto his current 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He takes over for current Wintrust host Ji Suk Yi, who assumes hosting duties for the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program…..On-air pro Bill Morgan joins Alpha Media’s news/talk WHBC-AM, Canton, Ohio as host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  His show is being produced by Jon Bozelka, who will serve as co-host…..Cadence13 announces the debut of a new podcast hosted by entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang called, “Yang Speaks.”  Cadence13 says, “The show will air weekly and feature thought-leaders on a variety of topics, including technology, entertainment, policy, sports, pop-culture and anything on Yang’s mind, with a general outlook towards the future of our economy and society.”  Former Yang campaign manager and senior advisor to the podcast Zach Graumann says, “The ideas of our campaign have always deserved more airtime than a 60-second answer on a debate stage or a 3-to-5-minute TV hit.  We’re excited to launch ‘Yang Speaks’ and have in-depth longform conversations with some of the smartest and most interesting people in the world, and to discuss the ideas that can make our future and society a more human place for all of us.”…..Lemonada Media is launching “In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” a weekly podcast series featuring healthcare expert and former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt.  Cadence13 says Slavitt will broadcast from his own “bubble,” with production assistance from his teenage son, Zach, and will chat with important guests and friends, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for his premier episode.  Additional early guests will include Chelsea Clinton, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Beto O’Rourke, writer Tina Fey, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, and former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy…..Nielsen Audio announces it is combining to diary markets in Connecticut.  Effective with this year’s Spring 2020 survey Bridgeport and Stamford-Norwalk markets will be combined into the new Metro Fairfield County market, ranked at #72…..SAG-AFTRA develops a program to provide dues relief for SAG-AFTRA members during the COVID-19 global pandemic.  Under the program, SAG-AFTRA members who are in a position to pay their dues in full are urged to do so upon receipt of their May semi-annual dues bill.  Members experiencing financial hardship resulting from work stoppages related to COVID-19 will be granted a due date extension and an installment plan for those payments.  As part of that relief, no late fees will be assessed and there will be no adverse impact on members’ work eligibility during this time.  SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said, “As working people, we know the great difficulties our members are facing.  In order to relieve some of the financial stress so many people are dealing with at this time, the finance committee worked to provide much needed relief.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Seattle station group of Hubbard Radio – country KNUC, CHR KQMV, adult contemporary WRWM, and talk KKNW – Alex Brewster is the new chief engineer, effective April 15.  He was most recently assistant chief engineer for Entercom Seattle and Portland.  Hubbard Seattle interim market manager Scott Mahalick comments, “It’s wonderful to have a world-class engineering leader join Hubbard Seattle and help make our engineering department shine.”…..Joining Townsquare Media’s classic rock KLTD, Killeen-Temple, Texas as afternoon drive personality and production director is Aaron Zytle.  He comes to Townsquare from his most recent position as morning host at iHeartMedia’s rock KBRQ, Waco…..Programming pro Steve Ardolina exits Townsquare Media where he was New Jersey regional operations manager and brand manager & director of programming for the Monmouth-Ocean stations.

Friday, March 27, 2020

| March 27, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled, “Lives versus Livelihood?” looks back at this past week of March 23-27, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, physician/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, scamicide.com; Trevor Smith, radio content producer, Aloha Productions, Australia; Bobbie Winston (La Femme Bobbie), American ex-pat/artist, Brazil; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio CompanyDavid Clayton-Thomas, musician, songwriter/former lead vocalist, Blood, Sweat & Tears.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Adams Radio Reducing Salaries to Avoid Layoffs. In his announcement that Adams Radio Group staffers have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to avoid layoffs, CEO Ron Stone says, “I could not be prouder of our employees.  Every employee of Adams Radio stepped up to do their part to ensure that no Adams employee would lose their position.  We are a family. Our goal is singular.  To ensure everyone in our company gets through this crisis with the least amount of harm.  This test of our country’s ability to weather a storm is unlike anything any of us have seen, but we will get through this together, and be stronger for it.  What seems like a huge sacrifice today, is miniscule compared to what our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed.  At least we are not weathering winter without coats or boots like Washington’s army at Bunker Hill.  We are not killing our brothers in a civil war.  And we are not living for weeks in foxholes in horrible winter conditions during the Battle of the Bulge. Things could be much worse.  I sincerely hope that any company, media or otherwise, will consider overall reductions in compensation on a temporary basis rather than terminate employees.  Our most important asset is our people, and we should do all we can to keep them whole.  I am so thankful for a staff that not only wants to participate in helping our company weather this storm, they are working tirelessly in our communities to keep our local businesses front and center in the minds of listeners.”

Backbone Offers Broadcast from Home Capability Free for 45 Days. In order to help the radio industry serve the public, digital remote broadcast provider Backbone is offering its Backbone CoHost with LUCI Global apps to radio stations for free for 45 days.  The company says, “We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air.  Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty.  This should be easy and affordable, and it can be.  There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.  Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available ‘Party Line’ conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts.  These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms.  LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware, including COMREX and TIELINE.  CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger.  There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car.  It all works with whatever device you’re carrying, and over any decent Internet access you can find.”  Backbone is offering a fully functional, unlimited demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing phone and radio customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30.  Find out more here. To start a free 45-day trial, email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

Dom Giordano Launches “Home Learning Tips” One-Minute Feature on WPHT, Philadelphia.  Recognized throughout the state of Pennsylvania as a master teacher prior to beginning his stellar, decades-long radio career on some of Philadelphia’s leading news/talk outlets, WPHT mid-morning host Dom Giordano has launched a series of one-minute tips on home schooling for parents to utilize in productively keeping their kids busy while they are home during the coronavirus crisis.  The feature runs once per hour between 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm every weekday.  Giordano tells TALKERS, “After hearing from listeners about the challenges of working with their kids at home due to schools being closed, I offered my station a one-minute daily combination pep talk and ideas to help their kids at home for parents.  The theme is you are your child’s first and best teacher.  I’m tapping into my credibility with listeners and my years as an education/parenting analyst and columnist.”

Cumulus’ Dallas Talk Stations Hosting Special Mark Cuban Broadcast Today. Dallas news/talk stations WBAP and KLIF-AM are presenting an on-air town hall with businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, titled, “Assisting DFW Businesses During the Coronavirus.”  The Cumulus Media stations will simulcast the program from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  The WBAP/KLIF Town Hall will be hosted by Brian Estridge and Rick Roberts and topics addressed will include: How can businesses survive during these times?; How would the government’s Coronavirus Spending Package assist?; and How can consumers help their local community businesses?

Weighing the Economy Versus Lives Is Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The ethical dilemma of whether to save the country’s economy by reopening businesses or keep them shut to limit the deaths and the toll on the health care system was the most-talked-about story on news/talk this week and sitting atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the stimulus deal being crafted in Congress and the activity on the world’s financial markets.  Coming in at #3 is the status of the U.S. health care system, followed by the presidential race and politics at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

iHeartMedia and Salem Media Group Withdraw Guidance on First Quarter of This Year. Not surprisingly, two of the radio industry’s corporations – iHeartMedia, Inc. and Salem Media Group Inc. – are announcing they are withdrawing their financial guidance originally provided on their 2019 fourth quarter earnings calls.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the duration and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the U.S. economy, we believe it is appropriate to withdraw our full-year 2020 guidance.  While we cannot determine the full extent of COVID-19’s impact on our business at this time, we are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and look forward to discussing our business in greater detail as part of our first quarter 2020 earnings results investor call.”  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “iHeartMedia had a strong January and February before the effects of COVID-19 began to unfold into a global pandemic in early March.  The challenges that COVID-19 has created for advertisers and consumers has impacted iHeart’s revenue in recent weeks, creating a less clear business outlook in the near term.  To maintain maximum financial flexibility during this period, we have drawn $350 million on our $450 million senior secured asset-based revolving credit facility (“ABL Facility”).  We believe that the additional funds from drawing on our ABL Facility, in combination with our cash balance, provides us with a prudent level of liquidity at this time. We fully appreciate the unprecedented challenges posed by this crisis, however, we remain confident in our business, our employees and our strategy. With our experienced management team and our leadership position in the audio sector, we are committed to navigating this period while serving our audiences and other constituents.”  Salem Media Group, Inc. says in a statement, “Based on current indications, Salem expects total first quarter 2020 revenue will be less than previously projected as a result of decreased revenues from advertising, programming, events and book sales.  Due to continuing uncertainties regarding the ultimate scope and trajectory of COVID-19’s spread and evolution, the effects of the pandemic on Salem’s audiences, programmers and advertisers, and current and potential future governmental restrictions that may be adopted in the markets in which Salem operates, it is impossible to predict the total impact that the pandemic may have on Salem’s business.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage is appointed by President Trump to the board of directors of the Presidio Trust for a term expiring May 4, 2023.  Along with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust manages the Presidio of San Francisco, the former military fort that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  The host of the Westwood One-syndicated “The Savage Nation” holds a doctorate in ethnobotanical research from the University of California and both a Master of Science in botany and a Master of Arts in anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM station manager Todd Manley is producing a new podcast via his EarSight Studios that pairs Windy City communications consultants Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin for “The Crisis Cast.”  The episodes will be hosted by former WBBM-AM/WFCS-FM anchor Mariam Sobh.  EarSight expects to produce three to five podcasts per week…..Today (3/27), Cox Media Group’s Atlanta stations – led by news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM – is hosting a virtual food drive to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank as part of the Stronger Together ATL campaign.  Atlanta Community Food Bank continues to provide meals for children, families and seniors as access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 crisis, by working with more than 600 nonprofit partners and the new Text for Help program…..The Cumulus Media news/talk teams at WBAP and KLIF-AM in Dallas were well represented at this year’s Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Contest.   Reporter Clayton Neville won First Place for Spot News by a Reporter for his coverage of the August 2019 El Paso Shooting.  The WBAP news team was awarded Second Place for Spot Coverage by a Station for coverage of the North Dallas Tornadoes in October.  For the 6th year KLIF morning drive anchors Dave Williams and Amy Chodroff won First Place for News Anchor Team and WBAP’s Brian Estridge won First Place for Sports Play-by-Play.

PPM Analysis: Classic Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on classic rock.  It was a mixed bag in February for classic rock stations in the PPM markets, with 44% of stations losing weekly, 6+ AQH share and 46% gaining.  Year-over-year, 50% of classic rockers lost share while 43% saw an increase.  Three classic rock outlets – all owned by iHeartMedia – ranked #1 in February: KRFX, Denver “The Fox” (5.7), WRFX, Charlotte “The Fox” (7.9), and WAQX, New York (in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market) (7.4).  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro AJ Dukette joins Saga Communications’ classic hits WYNZ, Portland “Rewind 100.9” to host mornings, taking over for the recently retired Chuck Igo.  Saga vice president of programming Bob Lawrence says, “When learning that Chuck was retiring, we began an extensive search for the right person to fill his shoes and then – Voila! – AJ appeared late last week.  We could not be more thrilled to welcome such a talented, Portland icon.”…..Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual Mountain Jam Festival scheduled for May 29-31 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York has been cancelled.  Acts scheduled to perform included Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio Band, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Head and the Heart, Grace Potter, and many more…..Empire State Realty Trust and iHeartMedia announce their partnership to “reach those sheltering at home” with WHTZ, New York Z100’s radio waves and Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights.  Tonight at 9:00 pm, the tower of the Empire State Building will illuminate the New York City skyline and beam iHeartMedia’s Z100 with a light show synced to the modern era anthem of New York City, Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”  The light show will replay on Saturday, March 28, and then again from Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2.  On Sunday, March 29, the Empire State Building will “shine in a dynamic heartbeat” from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm in support of the “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

| March 11, 2020

WABC PD David LaBrozzi Added to Bold “Super Panel” Designed to Address Existential Industry Question at TALKERS Convention. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of WABC, New York/Red Apple Media, Inc. director of programming, content & branding David LaBrozzi to what is being described as a “bold super panel” to tackle the existential industry question, “Can Radio Be Saved and, If So, How?” at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention in New York on Friday June 5. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “This 90-minute session will feature an extraordinary lineup of seven individuals reflecting a wide perspective on the past, present and potential future of radio’s role in society.” In addition to LaBrozzi, the panel consists of (in alphabetical order): MediaVision CEO, Lee Abrams; RAB president and CEO, Erica Farber; Radio Hall of Fame chairman and Soundmind LLC partner, Kraig Kitchin; SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, Joe Madison; and former CBS Radio/Entercom executive VP of programming, Chris Oliviero. One more panelist will be named shortly along with an introducer. Michael Harrison will serve as moderator. For more information about the forthcoming TALKERS Convention see story below.

Sean Hannity to Head All Star Lineup of Speakers at 23rd Annual TALKERS Convention Set for NYC on Friday June 5. In what has become an annual tradition, Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his role as one of the key speakers at the forthcoming TALKERS Convention. He will also again host the morning networking event, “Breakfast with Hannity.” Hannity will engage in the popular presentation, “A Fireside Chat with Sean Hannity” hosted by Michael Harrison.” VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This year’s 23rd annual convention is a celebration of TALKERS magazine’s 30th anniversary and we are pleased to report that we’ve lined up an extraordinary roster of about 60 speakers and a powerful agenda to make it a truly meaningful life changing and career enhancing event for each and every one of our attendees. Details about the agenda and sponsorship opportunities will continue to be posted here on Talkers.com daily. This year the event is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan. Speakers are being recruited from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry — including talent, programmers, managers and owners and the agenda focuses on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age including fundamental changes in the platforms upon which it is carried and distributed. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. Attendance is only open to members of the media industry and communications students and an advance sellout is expected. Non-refundable registrations can only be obtained via telephone with credit card. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To make reservations at the “official” hotel of the event, the Hilton New York Fashion District (located across the street from the venue) and receive a discount (while rooms last) please click here.

Unique Trophy: Red Apple Launch Party for WABC at NYC Opening of ‘Cats.’  The 77WABC launch party to celebrate the much-anticipated closing on the former Cumulus Media-owned station by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media took place Monday evening (3/9) at the legendary outlet’s studio in New York City.  During the packed event that included 77WABC air personalities and executives as well as representatives from the ad buying community, Catsimatidis was welcomed into radio industry ownership with the presentation of the “Beacon” – a recently replaced 77WABC tower obstruction light.  During a brief speech, Catsimatidis reassuringly told the gathering, “We only buy companies, we do not sell them.  We are here to stay!”  Pictured above are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis Jr., John Catsimatidis, the “Beacon,” Red Apple Media/77WABC president Chad Lopez, and Margo Catsimatidis. Photo: Jillian Nelson

iHeartMedia Issues Coronavirus Memo to Staff. Company CEO Bob Pittman and COO Rich Bressler sent a memo to the entire iHeartMedia staff regarding the coronavirus epidemic.  Here’s what it said: Team, at iHeart, our two most important priorities are serving the communities across America in which we live and work and protecting the health and safety of our employees. iHeart reaches nine out of 10 Americans – more than any other media company — and our reach comes with the responsibility to be a voice for information, context and trusted companionship.  Like you and like our listeners nationwide, we see increasing daily media coverage about the coronavirus (COVID-19), and as a company we want to make sure we do the right thing.  In addition to the work we do around the specific health risk, as media industry leaders we are also concerned that anxiety and excessive worry over the virus can have its own negative impact.  We also know that some of you and your family members are feeling this anxiety personally.  The latest information suggests that coronavirus can be very serious if you’re older or sick, just as the flu can.  But, like the flu, its effects seem to be relatively mild for the majority of people who catch it, with the exception of older people, those with respiratory ailments or those with compromised immune systems.  To put the coronavirus into some perspective, the country did not experience the same anxiety-fueled reaction around diseases like measles, Zika, SARS, West Nile, Ebola or Bird Flu, to name a few examples, and health professionals say those were all likely more dangerous than the coronavirus although maybe not as widespread.  For your own personal health and the health of those around you, if you’re sick, please stay home and don’t expose yourself to others; that’s the same request we have if you have the flu or a bad cold or any other contagious disease – plus wash your hands often and follow CDC recommendations about disease prevention and guidelines about when to stay at home after travel to any “hot spot” countries or contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.  Right now, the potential for panic is an additional concern we need to address.  We know that for people to remain calm they need information on a continuing basis about what’s going on.  We also need to make sure we disseminate accurate and timely information to help the health professionals manage this outbreak, and to that end we will also be airing daily coronavirus updates on our stations to help supply that necessary information to our communities.  At iHeart, we will continue to operate with our usual business practices, and we will adjust them as needed.  Because we want to make our workplaces as safe as possible, we ask that you quickly contact HR4U@iheartmedia.com or (855) 722-4748 if you or anyone in your offices has contracted, or come into direct contact with, coronavirus and we will deal with each situation individually and appropriately.  As a company we adapt and react quickly, and in this situation, that’s never been more critical.  Our focus is on serving our communities, our listeners and our employees, and we are dedicated to using our assets for the public good in every single community we serve.  As leaders in our communities and in media we have a responsibility to help put the coronavirus in perspective by disseminating information and context for our listeners, and we feel this will have the additional benefit of calming anxiety and the ill effects on society that could result from that.  We’re monitoring the situation closely, and as we learn more, we’ll keep you informed.  Thanks for your strong commitment to serving our communities, our listeners and our partners at a time when they need us more than ever.

Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication. The nationally syndicated weekly program “Gun Talk,” hosted by Tom Gresham, is celebrating its 25th year on the air.  Gresham says of his guns and shooting sports program, “‘Gun Talk’ radio is perhaps more important today than when it started 25 years ago.  Whether it’s helping the first-time gun buyer sort out what she needs to buy or exposing politicians who claim to be supporters of the Second Amendment while putting restrictions on this right, there’s plenty to talk about.  Responsible gun ownership is strong, and I’m glad to be part of the movement.”  “Gun Talk” airs live each Sunday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET.  In addition to his radio show, Gresham has created and hosted “Personal Defense TV” and “Gun Talk TV” and has written magazine articles and books about firearms safety and training.

PPM Analysis: Ratings ‘Extra.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this “extra” look at radio station performances based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey.  Which stations gained the most weekly, 6+ AQH share compared to the Holiday 2019 survey and which stations lost the most shares?  See it all here.

The Coronavirus Epidemic, the Democratic Primary, Financial Markets React to the Coronavirus, Putin Power Grab Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The status of the COVID-19 epidemic and the debate over the best policies to contain it; Tuesday’s primary elections and Joe Biden’s lead in the Democratic primary race; the world’s financial markets’ reactions to the coronavirus epidemic; and Vladimir Putin’s move to secure his role as leader of Russia through 2036 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast from ESPN Audio, starring Jalen Rose and David Jacoby, is planning another live recording of the program at the historic Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Tuesday, April 21.  ESPN says the “Jalen & Jacoby” podcast first began as a passion project for the guys under ESPN’s Grantland banner.  As the podcast developed into a hit in the summer of 2011, it grew to include a YouTube show, then to a national ESPN radio show.  From the radio show, “Jalen & Jacoby” grew – yet again – into a late-night TV show before landing in the afternoon on ESPN2 and, where it airs currently at 4:00 pm ET on ESPN.…..The University of Washington athletics department and exclusive multimedia rightsholder Huskies Sports Properties, announces today a new, five-year broadcast agreement with iHeartMedia sports talk KJR-AM, Seattle to run through the 2024-2025 athletic season.  The deal means KJR will provide comprehensive coverage for all Huskies sports including men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football game broadcasts.  Promotional support will happen on KJR-AM and sister stations classic hits KJR-FM, adult hits KJAQ-FM “96.5 JACK-FM,” and sports talk KFNQ-AM…..The “Joy on Paper” radio show hosted by Patzi Gil and dedicated to the world of books, celebrates its 5th anniversary on March 17.  Last year, on the program’s fourth anniversary, Gil’s guests were the writing couple Andrew Grant and Tasha Alexander, both popular authors.  This year they’ll return with breaking news that Andrew Grant is now two writers in one – the talented author of the Paul McGarth series will join his brother Lee Grant (a.k.a. Lee Child) to carry on the Jack Reacher series.  Gil says, “I don’t know how I will introduce him now.  But, whether he is Andrew Grant or Andrew Child, he is a fabulous writer and I am proud that he and Tasha will be joining me.  Tasha is the New York Times best-selling author of the ‘Lady Emily’ mystery series.”

Emmis Communications Announces Non-Broadcasting Acquisition. The acquisition of Lencore Acoustics Corporation – a Long Island-based business in the sound masking industry – gives Emmis Communications Corporation a foothold in a non-broadcasting business.  According to the press release, “Sound masking technology introduces barely perceptible background sound into a space to make environments more comfortable, ensure speech privacy, and increase workplace productivity.”  It adds that Lenore does business in nearly every U.S. state, and Europe (London).  Lencore’s 33 employees become Emmis staffers immediately.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “Today’s announcement is the product of a long process, looking for the right place to infuse the Emmis hallmarks of sales and marketing excellence.  Emmis’ experience in building best-in-class operations, coupled with its unique people-first culture is the perfect fit to complement the talented Lencore team, and will give them the resources and support necessary to grow the business.  We believe that the continued move toward open-concept offices makes effective sound masking solutions more and more important.  We’re excited about where this business can go.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Multimedia pro Joey Fortman is named morning drive personality and digital media specialist for Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOIT, San Francisco.  In addition to her past experience as a radio personality, Fortman is the founder of “Reality Moms,” a multimedia digital influencer agency.  Bonneville Bay Area director of programming operations Brian Figula says, “Joey Fortman is a very unique talent who excels at both on-air and digital content creation.  She is the perfect fit to connect our listeners to our advertisers and sell their products on-air and via our fast-growing digital channels.”…..The husband-and-wife duo of Robby Bridges and Rochelle Gagnon are joining MacDonald Garber Broadcasting’s CHR WKHQ, Traverse City, Michigan to host the morning show. Additionally, Bridges will serve as station program director and Gagnon will take on promotions director duties.  The duo recently served at iHeartMedia’s WDVD, Detroit.  Bridges says, “We’d like to thank Trish and Peter Garber, Diane Hansell and Gary Berkowitz for this awesome opportunity to join their team to create big, fun, live and local radio in one of America’s premiere vacation cities.”…..Central Florida Educational Foundation promotes Dean O’Neal to vice president of operations in which he’ll oversee the organization’s seven Christian radio stations.  O’Neal was most recently program director for non-commercial Christian contemporary WPOZ-FM, Orlando “Z88.3.”  As the same time, Therese Romano is named PD for WPOZ.