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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

| July 28, 2021

WSB-AM & WSBB To Host Its 21st Annual Care-A-Thon. Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, 7/29) at 5:00 am and extending through 6:00 pm Friday (7/30), Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB’s 37-hour event benefits the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The “Care-A-Thon” helps fund family support services and research at the facility’s fellowship program. It will feature stories of hope and inspiration from patients, families and staff from throughout Georgia. WSB-AM & WSBB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen comments, “Community service is at the heart of what we do at WSB-AM & WSBB. Our entire team looks forward to this event year after year because of the uplifting and emotional positivity it generates in all of us – including our generous listeners.” On-air talents including Scott Slade, Clark Howard, Erick Erickson, Eric Von Haessler, Mark Arum, and Brian Kilmeade will focus on the positive impact the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has on patients and their families. Listeners can donate by phone (888-750-2772); texting WSB-AM & WSBB “Atlanta’s News & Talk” (24587); or online (wsbradio.com/careathon/).

WKXW’s “Help Wanted, Help Needed” Airs Tomorrow Night. That’s the title of the latest in a series of town hall broadcasts by Townsquare Media Middlesex-Somerset-Union news/talk WKXW “New Jersey 101.5.” The one-hour program begins tomorrow  (Thursday, 7/29) at 7:00 pm and is presented to help New Jersey deal with the ongoing pandemic. Eric Scott – who hosts WKXW’s early-morning news show “New Jersey’s First News With Eric Scott,” as well as its monthly “Ask the Governor” – will lead the conversation in helping New Jersey businesses and workers navigate the ongoing labor shortage. He states, “The economic recovery is underway, yet many businesses are struggling to hire; many workers face challenges reentering the workforce.” Scott and his guests will explore what can be done to help both businesses and workers who are struggling in a post-pandemic world. The program’s on-air expert panel will feature: Rutgers University professor/economist Dr. James W. Hughes; New Jersey Business & Industry Association chief government affairs officer Chrissy Buteas; and New Jersey Policy Perspective senior policy analyst Peter Chen. In addition, the program will feature experts from New Jersey’s struggling restaurant, hospitality, and daycare industries. Scott and his guests will answer call-in questions throughout the hour.

NPR Boosts Lara To CCO. Executive director/media relations Isabel Lara is elevated to NPR’s chief communications officer. NPR president/chief executive officer John Lansing comments “[Lara] is known across the organization for her deep commitment to NPR’s staff and mission. Her tenure at NPR is evidence of a communications expert who understands the unique needs of a media organization. She is always ready to take on a complex communications challenge and find strategic solutions that will benefit our brand and future.” Lara notes, “NPR and its member stations bring millions of listeners the news they need about the world and their communities, as well as art, music and science stories that enrich and give meaning to their lives. It is a privilege to support the people who work around the clock to ensure this. Transparent, accurate, and timely messaging is vital in a media organization. I am eager to continue working with our very strong and effective internal and external communications teams in this new role.” With NPR since 2014, Lara previously worked at The National Education Association; Smithsonian; and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation/Univision.

UNC Football and Men’s Basketball Shifting To WPTF. Under a multi-year agreement with Learfield’s Tar Heel Sports Properties, Curtis Media Group Raleigh news/talk WPTF “AM 680 – FM 98.5” will become the flagship for the University of North Carolina radio network. Curtis Media Group president/chief operating officer Trip Savery remarks, “As the largest privately-owned radio group in North Carolina, we understand the power of the Carolina brand. We are very pleased to welcome Carolina alumni and fans to listen to Tar Heel football and basketball on WPTF this fall.” UNC associate athletic director for external communications Robbi Pickeral Evans adds, “We are excited about this partnership with Curtis Media Group, which will help us tell the great stories of Carolina athletics in the Triangle area and across the state. We know that Carolina fans are excited about the year to come; Curtis Media’s wide reach will help us connect and stay connected with our supporters.” The first gameday broadcast on WPTF will be September 3, when UNC plays Virginia Tech. The station will broadcast coaches’ shows for football and men’s basketball, and the weekly show “Primetime in the ACC.” Longtime Tar Heels radio voice Jones Angell will return to call the games. WPTF takes over as UNC’s flagship from iHeartMedia-owned crosstown news/talk WTKK “106.1 FM Talk.”

Top News/Talk Radio Story for Tuesday July 27: January 6 Congressional Committee Hearings. The launch of the January 6 Congressional Hearings dominated conversation on the nation’s news/talk radio stations yesterday (7/27), followed by the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Vaccine Hesitancy/Denial, and debate over mask mandates. This was followed by conversation about the Olympics and U.S.- China Relations. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Per Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), changes at Salem Media Group Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer” as of August 16 include Charlie Kirk (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Sebastian Gorka (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Shaun Thompson (4:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Sean Hannity (moves from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight); and Sebastian Gorka (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am) … To recognize unique circumstances, the Radio Mercury Awards is presenting two new categories: “Purpose-Driven Spot” or campaign to celebrate efforts that advance cause-related and societal issues, and “Insightful Voices Spots” that portray the values, culture, and lifestyle of specific audiences in an authentic voice. Call-for-entry deadline for all categories is (Monday) August 23; the awards ceremony takes place (Wednesday) November 17 … To be streamed on August 25, “All Audio Is Not Alike: What Each Type Brings To Listeners And Advertisers” is the next webinar in the Radio Advertising Bureau‘s “Business Accelerated” program. To be presented by Signal Hill Insights president Jeff Vidler, the webinar will offer data from the company’s “Radio On The Move 2021 Update” survey of Canadian listeners … Welcoming seven new affiliates, Robert & Mary Carey-hosted “RMWorldTravel” now airs weekly on over 480 stations across the country. As part of its “Let’s Go America Tour,” the show will soon do remote broadcasts from Chicago for the 150th anniversary of the Palmer House Hotel; Washington, DC; and from the Four Seasons Maui. There will be ten stops on the tour through late-February 2022 … Added to the affiliate roster of Radio America’s “The Dana Show” are: WMBD, Peoria, Illinois; WRTA AM & FM, Altoona, Pennsylvania; WNWS, Jackson, Tennessee; WTIB, Williamston, North Carolina; WRHT, Morehead City, North Carolina; and WKST, New Castle, Pennsylvania. She replaces Rush Limbaugh in three Pennsylvania markets: WPSN, Honesdale; WNTI, Somerset; and  WNTJ, Johnstown … Former WFSU, Tallahassee state government reporter Blaise Gainey will join Nashville Public Radio news/talk WPLN, Nashville on August 16 as political reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner comments, “Blaise’s experience covering the Florida legislature, and his reporting interests outside of that, will be a huge asset to WPLN News listeners.”  Gainey notes, “I can’t wait to become fully immersed in Tennessee government and start relaying news to Middle Tennessee listeners about what’s taking place at the Capitol.”

Cumulus Media, WynnBET Agree To Multi-Platform Sponsorship Deal. The multi-year advertising and sponsorship pact includes broadcast, podcast, digital, social, and on-site elements. It will enable Wynn Resorts to promote its WynnBET sports betting app on Cumulus Media radio stations and Westwood One. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Mary Berner comments, “With Wynn’s focus on exceptional quality and high-touch customer experiences, we believe WynnBET will be a leader among the sports betting apps. We are excited to deploy our unique assets to grow its business. The sports betting market is now the fastest-growing advertising category – this innovative partnership solidifies Cumulus’ position in this exciting arena.” Wynn Interactive chief executive officer Craig Billings remarks, “This partnership with Cumulus Media provides WynnBET the ability to deliver specific, customized messaging to targeted markets throughout Cumulus’ network of hundreds of stations. In addition, WynnBET will have a significant advertising presence on Westwood One’s nationally syndicated programming, including football pre-game and play-by-play. We will work with Cumulus to create some exciting, branded content over the life of the partnership.” Under the terms of the deal, WynnBET becomes one of Cumulus Media’s largest advertising and marketing partners.

SiriusXM’s NFL Training Camp Tour Kicks Off Today. The annual SiriusXM series will feature 32 two-hour shows, one for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. SiriusXM hosts will interview players, coaches and franchise executives as they deliver breakdowns of every roster. The tour commences today (Wednesday, 7/28) with a visit to New York Jets training camp. Hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan broadcast from Florham Park, New Jersey (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Tomorrow, Miller and Kirwan will be in Flowery Branch, Georgia for an update from the training facility of the Atlanta Falcons. This Saturday (7/31) at 1:00 pm (ET), the satcaster will air a special edition of “Training Camp Today: Back Together Saturday.” Hosted by Bill Lekas, it will feature appearances by NFL Network talent and guests from team camps across the country. The show will lead into James Lofton and Alex Marvez broadcasting from the Los Angeles Chargers camp in Costa Mesa, California (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, ET). Meanwhile, SiriusXM NFL Radio will broadcast induction ceremonies of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Classes of 2020 (Saturday, 8/7) and 2021 (Sunday, 8/8) from Canton, Ohio. Coverage of the Centennial Class of 2020 Enshrinement was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; an historic class of 20 will be enshrined. Eight more of football’s finest will be inducted in the Class of 2021 ceremony.


 

The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. Having 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting into over 53 countries – The Sons of Liberty and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747 www.sonsoflibertymedia.com.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

| July 27, 2021

WOR, New York Personality Mark Simone is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime Big Apple radio star Mark Simone, who hosts the daily 10:00 am – 12:00 noon show on WOR, New York, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Simone, described by Harrison as the “ultimate embodiment of the expression ‘man-about-town’” for his numerous speaking engagements as a toastmaster and emcee has been a radio mainstay for decades in the nation’s number one market having performed on the rosters of such legendary outlets as WABC, WNEW, WMCA and WPIX, prior to joining WOR. For two years, he was the co-host of a three-hour daily comedy show with the legendary Steve Allen on the NBC Radio Network. He co-hosted a two-hour nightly talk show with Tom Snyder on the CBS Radio Network. In addition to discussing local and national politics, Simone is a music and entertainment historian who has hosted over 250 PBS entertainment specials and he has lectured at Hofstra University on the career and cultural legacy of Frank Sinatra. A regular guest on national cable TV, Simone and newspaper columnist Linda Stasi have co-hosted their “What a Week” segments for over 18 years on New York 1 TV, the highly-watched, all-news channel in NYC. Harrison and Simone discuss radio, politics, music, and technology in a fast-paced conversation that will engage both professional practitioners and dedicated fans of today’s cross-platform media environment. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Nexstar Names Gliha VP/CFO. In two weeks (8/9), Jefferies LLC managing director Lee Ann Gliha will become Nexstar Media Group’s executive vice president/chief financial officer. She will take over CFO responsibilities from Thomas E. Carter, who was promoted to president/chief operating officer late last year and was Nexstar’s executive vice president/chief financial officer since 2009. According to Carter, “[Lee Ann is] an accomplished finance leader who understands the rapidly evolving media ecosystem and brings extensive industry relationships to her new role at Nexstar. This background will be invaluable to [our] senior management team, board of directors, and our experienced finance team. [She] will be instrumental in advancing our strategic objectives with the goal of further enhancing shareholder value.” Gliha comments, “Throughout its 25-year history, Nexstar has been at the forefront of every major innovation in local broadcasting, while maintaining the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Nexstar’s corporate and local management teams have built the preeminent local broadcasting and digital media company in the country and consistently delivered impressive financial results for shareholders. I am thrilled to be joining Nexstar – I look forward to growing and evolving the business and driving new value for shareholders.” Prior to working at Jefferies LLC, Gliha was Live Nation’s executive vice president/corporate finance.

Westwood One Sets Affiliate Sales Moves. Boosted to vice president of affiliate sales for 24/7 formats at CUMULUS MEDIA’s Westwood One is Neal Weiner, while Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate sales for the music & entertainment division. Senior vice president of affiliate sales Stuart Greenblatt comments, “With more than a quarter-century with Westwood One, Neal knows this business inside and out; Sue’s new role brings her full circle back to Westwood One. There are no better people to assume these roles and drive Westwood One’s affiliate sales.” Weiner remarks, “We have fantastic new offerings in the pipeline for helping our affiliates to operate smoothly and efficiently and to sound amazing. I’m honored to assume this role at such an exciting time.” Falco notes, “Westwood One is synonymous with great programming and super-sized talent. I’m thrilled to be back on the team with such a well-respected brand.” Weiner’s 26-year tenure at Westwood One has included working with 24/7 formats; music and entertainment shows; sports; and prep services. He began his radio career at then Westwood-owned KQLZ “Pirate Radio,” Los Angeles. Falco most recently spent ten years as United Stations’ director of affiliate sales. Prior to that, she had a six-year run at Westwood One as part of both the news/talk and country affiliate sales teams.

Audacy Introduces Podsauce. The one-hour Dax Holt and Alesha Reneé-hosted multi-platform podcast discovery show assists podcast partisans find new series; it will begin this Thursday (7/29). Audacy Digital executive vice president/general manager Pam Russo contends, “With over two million active podcasts and nearly 50 million episodes worldwide, finding a podcast to listen to can be overwhelming. That’s where ‘Podsauce’ comes in. Through Alesha and Dax’s passion for this exploding medium, coupled with in-depth conversations with the people behind the content, ‘Podsauce’ will give consumers a taste of [the] top shows – both in our portfolio and beyond – and spotlight the very best in the world of podcasting.” Holt spent 11 years at TMZ where he won two Emmy nominations. He hosts the “Hollywood Raw” podcast. Actress/TV personality Reneé has appeared on “Girl Code,” “Guy Code,” “E! News,” “HotWyred,” “The 5ive,” and “106 and Park.” In addition, she has been the host/spokesperson for McDonald’s “Men of McCafe.” Select sound bites titled the “Podsauce Minute” will be heard on Audacy’s 235 broadcast stations.

SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Of $2.16 Billion. That’s an increase of 15% compared to this time last year. SiriusXM’s 2021 Q2 net income of $433 million is up $190 million versus 2020’s $243 million. The substantial increase included $140 million in insurance recoveries related to its SXM-7 satellite. Chief executive officer Jennifer Witz comments, “We are increasing all of our financial guidance. The quarter was bolstered by record self-pay churn of just 1.5%, and we achieved strong monetization in our advertising business with an increase in ad revenue of 82% from the prior year period and 20% from the second quarter of 2019. We have long been the leader in shaping the future of audio for listeners, and we continue doing so by providing curated and premium content in innovative formats.” Earlier this month, the satcaster announced that a daily Megyn Kelly-hosted show (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) will begin on September 7. Witz notes, “In addition, video of the best moments from the show will be available in our app to subscribers and a podcast version of the show will be distributed broadly on SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, and other major platforms. Seth Rogen will do his first-ever podcast with us starting in the fall.”

Salem Radio Network Extends Gorka. The multi-year agreement enables Sebastian Gorka to continue his 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm (ET) Salem Radio Network “America First” program that began in January 2019. Salem senior vice president for spoken-word Phil Boyce states, “Dr. Gorka has proven to be a natural on the radio. His insight into current events, his courageous stands on the issues, and his unique sense of humor have blended together to make this one of the best shows in the Salem lineup.” Gorka adds that, “Despite an incredibly hard 18 months for America, conservative talk radio is stronger than it has ever been. I am so grateful to Salem, my superb team and our amazing listeners for their loyalty and enduring love of country. I am overjoyed at the chance to continue our shared mission to tell the truth and make America even stronger than before.” Gorka grew up in London and learned talk radio listening to radio stations there. A three-time author, he hosts a weekend Newsmax TV show.

RTDNA Announces “The Year Of The Team.” Maintaining this year’s news leadership conference will feature “fresh and focused hands-on training and more intimate/inspirational discussions,” the Radio Television Digital News Association’s “The Year of the Team” retreat will be held in Denver on September 23 – 24. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “When approaching our annual conference this year, we listened to what our members said they wanted in a post-pandemic world in terms of professional development. We have developed a curriculum that helps them restore, rejuvenate, refresh and find ways to be more productive, more satisfied, and more well-rounded as they practice the craft of journalism. It’s going to be a holistic reset and refresh of everything we do as journalists and everything we are as human beings.” News leaders will reportedly celebrate the “Year of the Team” with representation and resilience. Attendees will be able to participate in interactive and immersive sessions taught by subject matter experts on a variety of topics relevant to representation and resilience – including self-care and inclusive language.

COVID-19, Delta Variant, and Vaccine Denial/Hesitancy Top News/Talk Story for Monday July 26. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Delta variant being the dominant strain, and vaccine hesitancy in many parts of the U.S. combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio yesterday (7/26). That was followed closely by the highly contentious January 6 Committee debate between the parties. 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 updated and published every Friday at Talkers.com.See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Cleveland-based Danno Wolkoff and his wife Laura Wolkoff have exited Sun Broadcast Group as chief operating officer and vice president/operations, respectively … As first reported by Robert Feder (RobertFeder.com), former standup comedian Patti Vasquez’s “Driving It Home With Patti Vasquez” (5:00 pm – 6:00 pm) will be added to Newsweb Chicago news/talk WCPT’s weekday roster next Monday (8/2). Vasquez formerly did evenings at cross-town Nexstar news/talk WGN … Former eight-year traffic pilot/reporter at (now Audacy-owned) St. Louis news/talk KMOX John Larrabee, 73, passed away earlier this month (7/10) at his Moscow Mills (Missouri) home. His other radio credits include stops in New York City (WXLO) and Hartford (WDRC-AM and WPOP), as well as programming St. Louis’ KSLQ and KADI.

Newsmax To Unveil “Eric Bolling The Balance.” Touting it as a (4:00 pm – 5:00 pm) weekday show “for everyday Americans, covering the issues that truly matter,” Newsmax will introduce “Eric Bolling The Balance’’ tomorrow (7/28). According to Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, “Viewers know and trust Eric Bolling as one of the most tenacious guys in news. Insiders know he’s a true veteran who is driven to follow the facts and deliver the news.” Before joining Newsmax last month, Bolling hosted a weekly talk show on Sinclair Broadcasting and hosted “The Five,” “Cashin’ In,” and “Fast Money.” He is a former commodities trader and board member of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  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 of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, March 12, 2020

| March 12, 2020

Broadcasting Conferences Postponed/Cancelled; TALKERS Conference on for June 5. Radio industry watchers are by now aware that the National Association of Broadcasters has cancelled April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.  That convention may be rescheduled for later in the year.  Radio trade publication AllAccess has postponed its Worldwide Radio Summit originally scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles to an unspecified future date.  Obviously, these decisions come on the heels of recommendations by health officials to avoid large crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At this point in time, the TALKERS magazine conference scheduled for June 5 in New York City will go on as planned, however according to publisher Michael Harrison, “That situation will ultimately be determined within the next month based on the facts at that time.”  The date of the conference is a full 12 weeks from tomorrow, and it is our hope that the coronavirus pandemic will be under control by then, making such a gathering a safe one to attend.  Please continue to monitor TALKERS magazine for new information about the conference agenda.

Saga Communications Reports 2019 Q4 and Full Year Financial Data.  Releasing its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2019 and for the full year of 2019, Saga Communications reports net operating revenue of $31.8 million for Q4, down 3.5% from the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Saga reports net operating revenue of $123.1 million, a decrease of 1.4% over the full year of 2018.  The company adds that station operating expense decreased $711 thousand to $23.1 million and operating income decreased $575 thousand to $5.4 million.  Net income decreased $454 thousand to $3.8 million for the quarter.  Saga reports it had $44 million in cash on hand as of December 31, 2019 and $47 million as of March 9, 2020.  The company’s total bank debt was $10 million as of the end of the year.

COVID-19 Declared Pandemic, Trump Suspends European Travel, NBA Suspends Season, Dow Plummets, Saudi Arabia Launches Oil War, and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/11). The World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a now an official pandemic; President Trump’s address to the nation and his suspension of travel from Europe; the National Basketball Association suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus; the Dow sinks even further as the world’s financial markets continue to be hit by the effects of the coronavirus; Saudi Arabia’s oil war against Russia and its effect on global oil prices; and the race between Democrats Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders for the nomination were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is cancelling two of its upcoming remote broadcasts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first cancellation is a live appearance by the ensemble cast of the show – including host Tom Griswold, on March 26 – for the Opening Day of the Cincinnati Reds baseball season.  That appearance was to have featured a live broadcast with Cumulus Cincinnati affiliate WOFX-FM.  The show has also canceled an April 3 live broadcast at a Charleston, West Virginia casino as part of affiliate WKLC-FM’s celebration of its 40th year as a classic rock station…..Talk host and digital media producer Alex Jones was arrested for DWI in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday morning.  This came about four hours after police were summoned to a home for a disturbance being reported by Jones’ wife.  The Austin Statesman reports that Jones’ wife told authorities the two had had a physical confrontation earlier in the day but were at that time having a verbal fight.  After Jones left the house, she called authorities told them he was driving and “was possibly drinking.”  Jones was later released on $3,000 bond…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” is adding NBC Sports Chicago anchor/reporter Chuck Garfien to its staff as a White Sox expert.  Garfien will appear on the “Kap & Company,” “Carmen and Jurko,” and “Waddle and Silvy” shows.  Feder also writes today that all next week, Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder will sit in for Big John Howell on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM afternoon show.  The duo – formerly in middays at crosstown WGN-AM – began producing a podcast for WLS last month.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Through a deal with Canadian syndicator Orbyt Media, Premiere Networks is bringing its hip-hop morning show “The Breakfast Club” to radio in Canada.  The show – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God – debuts on Stingray Group’s CFXJ-FM, Toronto on Monday (3/16)…..On-air pro Taylor Dickson joins Townsquare Media’s alternative WRRV, Middletown, New York (Hudson Valley market) as morning drive co-host and music director.  WRRV brand manager Bill Dunn says, “Taylor was a rock star in our internship program a few years ago and I remember her asking all the right questions.  She’s worked hard to get to this point and has a very bright future ahead of her.”…..Morning personality Stephen Clark announces he’s leaving his position with Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit to pursue his career in country music.  He tweeted, “Two years ago, shortly after I announced my retirement from Channel 7, WOMC came to me with an offer to do the morning show in hopes of moving into a competitive position.  I had plans to focus more on my music in Nashville….but, hey, I like a challenge.  With the awesome team of JoAnne, Jason, Julia and me, in just two years we are now consistently in the top tier of morning shows… but I still have a music career to focus on and getting up every morning at 4:30 doesn’t mesh well with the late-night nature of live music.”…..Entercom announces the band Local Natives will perform at the RADIO.COM Live event series at the HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles tonight (3/12) at 8:00 pm ET.  RADIO.COM SVP and general manager Pam Russo says, “The RADIO.COM Live event series is excited to welcome Local Natives to the stage.  Our listeners from coast-to-coast will get a preview of the band’s performance before they go on tour in May.”