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Thursday, October 14, 2021

| October 14, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Borrowed Future Premieres Today; Teachers Given Free Access to Share with Students. The student load documentary produced by Ramsey Solutions is being released today (10/14) and the company is offering every teacher in the U.S. free access to the film. Borrowed Future: How Student Loans Are Killing the American Dream is produced by Dave Ramsey and is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play. Ramsey Solutions says the film uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry and exposes how it’s built to work against borrowers. Dave Ramsey – CEO of Ramsey Solutions, host of “The Ramsey Show,” and executive producer of the film – comments, “It’s ironic to me that the dumbest decisions we make as a society are related to education, of all things. Student loans are not the only way to get a degree. Young people need to know all their options instead of settling for student loans because it’s ‘normal.’ Normal is broke.” The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loans, a debt-free college graduate, and high school students who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans – until now. Borrowed Future is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. See more about Borrowed Future here.

Audacy Offers $45 Million in New Notes to Fund ‘Small Digital Acquisition.’ A subsidiary of AudacyAudacy Capital Corp – plans to offer, subject to market conditions and other factors, $45 million in aggregate principal amount of the Issuer’s 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. Audacy says it is in the process of completing a small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million and expects to fund this acquisition through a draw on the Issuer’s revolving credit facility. This acquisition is expected to close in October 2021, subject to customary closing conditions. Audacy intends to use the net proceeds from this offering (after deducting discounts and commissions and paying offering-related expenses) to repay outstanding amounts under the Issuer’s term loan to offset the impact of the revolver draw. This offering is not conditioned upon the consummation of the acquisition, nor is the acquisition conditioned on the consummation of this offering. The Additional Notes are being offered as additional notes under an existing indenture, dated April 30, 2019, pursuant to which the Issuer previously issued $425 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.500% senior secured second-lien notes due 2027. The Additional Notes will have identical terms (other than issue date and offering price) as the Existing Notes. The Additional Notes will be fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior secured second-lien basis by each direct and indirect subsidiary of the Issuer that guarantees the Issuer’s senior secured credit facility. The Notes and the related guarantees will be secured on a second-priority basis by liens on substantially all of the assets of the Issuer and the guarantors. The Additional Notes will be offered in a private offering exempt from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and will be offered and sold only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers.

NAB’s Marconi Awards to Happen Virtually; Radio Show to Merge with NAB Show Permanently. With the cancellation of the in-person NAB Show this fall, the
National Association of Broadcasters announces the presentation of the 2021 NAB Marconi Radio Awards and the State of the Industry Address by NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith will take place virtually on November 10 at 2:00 pm ET via NAB.org/watch. At the same time, NAB announces that going forward, the annual Radio Show will be integrated into the NAB Show beginning in April 2022 in Las Vegas. NAB says, “This change provides more opportunities in one location for radio professionals and elevates radio in the larger media ecosystem represented at NAB Show.” NAB adds that the integrated event in Las Vegas will feature signature awards, networking events and a comprehensive conference program, including popular sales and marketing sessions presented by the Radio Advertising Bureau. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “It’s important that we continue to bring radio professionals together to network, celebrate audio and engage in meaningful discussions around the future of our industry.” Salem Media Group president of broadcast media and NAB joint board chair David Santrella states, “In today’s world where radio companies are essentially multimedia companies, the value in attending NAB Show cannot be overstated. We are now streaming and podcasting and even producing video. NAB Show provides unparalleled access to the critical tools, knowledge and connections we need to grow and thrive in today’s media business.”

Nielsen: AM/FM Radio Listening Near its Highest Point in a Year. Results from Nielsen’s ongoing Audio Consumer Sentiment survey that addresses current American feelings about the COVID pandemic and how it impacts their lives have been released and they indicate that nearly nine in 10 (86%) say they are spending the same amount or more since the Delta variant emerged. Despite the Delta variant and increasing COVID cases in the summer, more than eight in 10 (82%) don’t think their own financial situation will change in the coming months. Also, radio’s average quarter-hour (AQH) audience trend is up 4% year over year, with 7.5 million people age 12+ listening during an average quarter-hour in PPM Markets in September 2021. Radio’s reach trend is stable. Radio reached 121.5 million consumers in PPM markets during an average week in September 2021. In Continuous Diary Measurement markets, Radio’s reach and AQH audience have been remarkably stable during the past year. The study finds that seven in 10 working Americans now work outside the home – an 80% jump since April 2020. The gain in those who work outside the home is a key statistic for audio since consumers spend more time with radio when they travel in vehicles to get to work or shop. There were also big gains in the area of transportation. Overall, nearly a third (31%) are spending more than an hour in their vehicles yesterday compared with 14% in April of last year. That’s a two-fold increase, and heavy radio listeners are far more likely to spend more time in their vehicles. In September, 55% of heavy radio listeners spent more than an hour in their vehicle yesterday.

Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show’ to Celebrate 40 Years on Air. In November, Warren Eckstein will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his radio program “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein.” His program is syndicated nationally via Radio America. In addition to his work as a pet behaviorist and TV-radio personality, Eskstein founded the Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund – a  not-for-profit organization in memory of his late wife, Fay. Its mission is to fund hundreds of small animal organizations across the U.S. The Hugs & Kisses Animal Fund aims to be the outsourced fundraising arm for small animal rescues when other financial resources are unavailable. Speaking about his show, Eskstein says, “Unlike most talk radio shows, my focus is on the listeners and callers. I rarely do interviews, because for 40 years, pet guardians are calling with questions they need answers to. My show has listeners with four generations of pets. We’ve laughed together and cried together. There is a level of trust the show has built with my audience – they know I will never endorse a product unless I personally use it for my pets. My reputation is on the line with every show.”

CBS News Honored with Four Honors from New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards. The winners of the New York Festivals 2021 Radio Awards have been announced and CBS News earned four honors in this year’s competition. “The Debrief with Major Garrett” took home the Gold Award in the News Podcast category; “Mobituaries with Mo Rocca” earned a Silver Award in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; “My Life of Crime” from “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty was a finalist in the Narrative/Documentary Podcast category; and “Century of Sound” was a finalist in the Best Nonfiction Series category.

TALKERS News Notes. Imaging firm Benztown promotes Thomas Green to director of custom imaging and appoints Royce Stevenson to the custom imaging manager role that Green held prior to his promotion. With Benztown since 2019, Brooklyn, New York-based Green is the audio producer for National Geographic’s FYC Podcast “The Making Of.” Stevenson joins Benztown from Audacy’s KDGS-FM, Wichita “Power 93.5” where he was most recently assistant brand manager and music director…..KMG Utopia Studios, TalkShoe, and Mark Krantz Productions announce that award-winning actor Joe Pantoliano and his daughter Daniella Pantoliano are kicking off season two of their popular podcast, “No Kidding? Me Too!” at Advertising Week NY 2021 with a live Q&A on Monday, October 18 at 4:30 pm ET and a virtual session on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:00 pm ET. The two will conduct an intimate interview with Kelly Carlin – author, performer, and life coach – the only child of comic legend George Carlin. She’ll share her family’s struggle with mental health, addiction, and healing. Joe Pantoliano says, “We are thrilled to bring this important conversation to Advertising Week. It is important for us to collaborate with brands and advertisers on the increasing intensity of brain Dis-Ease, the co-occurring nature of addiction, and how to discover a recovery process. This is a perfect opportunity to raise the volume on recovery.”…..Stitcher announces its acquisition of “The Bellas Podcast” hosted by sisters, WWE Hall of Fame Inductees, TV personalities, and best-selling authors Brie and Nikki Bella. Before going on hiatus in spring 2021, “The Bellas Podcast” was part of the Endeavor Audio network. As it relaunches, hosts Brie and Nikki will produce the show with support from Stitcher.

Former Baltimore Talk Host Alan Christian Dies at 81. The Baltimore Sun has the obituary for Alvin Eugene Christian Jr., a.k.a. Alan Christian, who hosted talk radio programs on Baltimore radio stations during the 1970s and 1980s.  Christian died on October 5 at age 81 after suffering from heart complications. During his career, Christian hosted talk shows on WBAL-AM, WERQ-AM, and WFBR-AM. His radio career launched in 1967 when he joined Metromedia Radio News to cover the Pentagon and the 1968 presidential campaign before being promoted to Washington bureau chief. He joined WCBM-AM in 1971 and moved to WBAL in 1974 to host “The Alan Christian Show.” At the end of his radio career, he hosted a weekly show on WERQ from 1992 to 1993 before retiring.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, SS COLA, COVID-19, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, January 6 Investigation, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Jon Gruden Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; Social Security announces cost-of-living increases for monthly recipients; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; China’s continuing military aggression against Taiwan; and NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

| October 13, 2021

New York Festivals Announces 2021 Radio Winners. The 2021 Storytellers Gala award-winners from the New York Festivals Radio Awards have been announced. NYFestivals says the world-class audio work created by global storytellers from 30-plus countries was honored at the Storytellers Gala virtual event held yesterday (10/12). New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury honored content creators across all platforms and in all genres and awarded in total 3 Grand Awards, 48 NYF Gold Radio trophies, 46 Silver and 49 Bronze. This year is the 11th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show, the ultimate marketplace for people passionate about media, entertainment, and technology. The 2021 Grand Awards were: “I’m Not A Monster” from BBC Panorama & FRONTLINE PBS in the News Programs: Best Nonfiction Series category. The 10-part series explores journalist Josh Baker’s four-year odyssey to uncover the complex truth about an American family’s journey from Indiana to the Islamic State’s caliphate and back again to the US; The Hobbit, By J.R.R. Tolkien, Read by Andy Serkis in the Audio Books: Best Narration – Solo category. The new Hobbit recording was inspired by an extraordinary charity effort that raised over £300k for Coronavirus charities. This led to actor Andy Serkis narrating this newest recording of The Hobbit. Serkis, who voiced “Gollum” in the film recorded this magical performance of the classic text with affinity for the Tolkien world; and “Weightless” in the Podcasts: Drama Podcast category. The podcast tells the story of a character who has reached a critical moment in his life and deceives himself by telling a story that abounds with emotions, memories, and sensations. “Weightless” uses sound elements and song samples from different periods of the character’s life to illustrate his epic journey. See the complete list of winners here.

BIA Advisory Services: Radio Revenue ‘Getting Close’ to Pre-Pandemic Levels. This comes from BIA Advisory Services SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik in a press release for the firm’s 2022 U.S. Local Advertising Forecast, released today (10/13). Fratrik says the forecast sees a rise in local radio advertising revenue next year and is expected to generate $12.7 billion split between over-the-air ($11 billion) and digital ($1.7 billion). By 2026 radio digital revenues are expected to reach $2.4 billion, while OTA goes up and down with the even political years and ends at $11.7 in 2026. “Radio isn’t faring as well as local broadcast TV, and it doesn’t get the same bump as TV in political years,” says Fratrik. “But it is getting close to its pre-pandemic levels as people continue to return to work commutes and traveling by car.” For ad revenue for all media in the U.S., the 2022 forecast says that for the first-time mobile advertising spending will surpass direct mail as the top media advertising platform in 2022. The overall local U.S. advertising market is expected to reach $161.5 billion – a 10.1 % year-over-year growth – buoyed by overall strong economic tailwinds coming out of 2021. The forecast says that traditional media revenue will account for $84.6 billion and digital media will be close behind at $76.8. BIA also says it anticipates $7.5 billion of the sum will come from political advertising during a strong election season.

Salem Podcast Network Launches ‘The Doug Collins Podccast.’ A new podcast hosted by former Georgia Republican Congressman Doug Collins is being added to the shows distributed by Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network, effective October 25. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “For years, I was so impressed with Doug Collins as a Congressman. When we had the opportunity to bring him over to the Salem Podcast Network, we moved fast. He will be a great addition to our lineup and will help us save the country we all love.” Collins is publishing his first book in November that looks at the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, titled, The Clock and The Calendar. Collins comments, “I am excited to be hosting a podcast that will give conservatives the tools they need to go out into the marketplace of ideas and stand up for what we believe in. Our country desperately needs to hear how a little idea that started with our Founding Fathers — the pursuit of happiness — has shaped our country into who we are today: the best nation in the world. This podcast will explore all topics ranging from politics to life advice and will blend them together for a well-rounded discussion that people can listen to and use to get the most out of life.”

Buck Sexton Honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York. Last Friday evening (10/8), Premiere Networks personality Buck Sexton (left), co-host of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” was honored by The Metropolitan Republican Club, the largest GOP club in New York (est. 1902), at the 118th annual Metropolitan Dinner held at The Union League Club of New York City. Other honorees included Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who received the Teddy Roosevelt Award, and Steve Forbes (right), chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, who received the Ronald Reagan Award For Individual Liberty. Photo: Jessica Glick Photography

2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Award Nominees Announced. The nominees for the 2022 edition of iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio Podcast Awards have been announced. The ceremony is set to take place on January 13, 2022 at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles and “will honor the very best in podcasting throughout 2021, celebrating the most innovative talent and content creators in the industry.” iHeartMedia goes on to say, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the podcast industry saw a record number of podcasts being created and listened to, continuing to push the industry forward with more than 160 million people having listened to a podcast this year alone.” Nominees include “Code Switch,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” “Crime Junkie,” “Louder Than a Riot,” “Office Ladies,” “SmartLess,” “Stuff You Should Know,” “The Daily,” “The Midnight Miracle” and “You’re Wrong About.” Voting runs December 13 through January 2, 2022. See more info and a complete list of nominees here. Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia’s digital audio group says, “We are excited to be back live for year four of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to recognize all the amazing content and talent that the podcasting medium has produced this past year. Podcast listening has continued to soar across the U.S., seeing a nearly 60% increase in monthly listeners since our first awards show was announced in 2018, filling this industry with more diversity and innovation than ever before. We look forward to honoring these major advancements in-person during the 2022 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards this January.”

TALKERS News Notes. Conservative news organization Newsmax announces that it has opened a Middle East bureau that’s being led by veteran news anchor Daniel Cohen based in Tel Aviv. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “The Middle East is extremely important regarding geo-political issues and for American interests. We’re pleased to have Daniel Cohen, a savvy, experienced news anchor with a keen ability to communicate complex matters to the public, as our person in the region.” Cohen most recently was morning co-anchor on Los Angeles’ “Good Day LA” on KTTV-TV “FOX 11.”…..PodcastOne adds to its slate of True Crime genre podcasts with the addition of “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” and “This is MONSTERS.” PodcastOne will spearhead the production, sales, distribution and marketing for both shows. Created by Ohio-based bankers Mike Ferguson and Mike Gibson in January of 2017, “True Crime All the Time Unsolved” is a weekly series that guides listeners through the most interesting unsolved true crime stories to ever happen. “This is MONSTERS” began as a pandemic project YouTube show from Washington state-based construction worker Jiles whose interest in some of the gnarliest crimes in history sparked an idea to share that fascination with a worldwide audience resulting in a show, and now podcast, that is heard by millions around the globe…..Audacy’s C13Originals announces a partnership with Campside Media and the launch of “Fallen Angel,” an investigative documentary podcast series about Victoria’s Secret, co-hosted by veteran longform journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, who also serves as writer, and Justine Harman, former features director of Glamour. “Fallen Angel” investigates the origin story of Victoria’s Secret, one of the world’s most iconic brands, and its effect on American culture for nearly 40 years, as told by women who witnessed what really happened behind the curtain. Through insider, first-person accounts from former Victoria’s Secret models, “Fallen Angel” reveals shocking horror stories of how their quest to be part of the elite group of models walking the runway led them down a dangerous path of eating disorders, poor health, depression, anxiety, and other issues.

Supply Chain Crisis, Oil Prices/Inflation, Debt Ceiling/Biden Spending Bills, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Jon Gruden Case, and ‘Squid Game’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The broken global supply chain’s effect on the U.S. economy; near-record high oil prices and the inflation affecting retail prices; the battle in Congress to raise the debt ceiling and the negotiations over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns from the Raiders due to racist emails; and Netflix’s controversial hit series “Squid Games” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

| October 7, 2021

Audacy Named Tim Clarke SVP, Digital Audio Content; Mike Thomas Returns to Boston to Lead Company’s Six Stations. Media executive Tim Clarke is promoted to the corporate senior vice president, digital audio content position with Audacy after serving as SVP and market manager for the company’s six Boston stations for the past six months. Taking over for Clarke at Audacy Boston is former WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” programmer Mike Thomas. In Clarke’s new role, he’ll be responsible for audio content across the Audacy digital platform that includes the Audacy app, Audacy.com, and Audacy’s station websites. Clarke will drive strategy and execution for new exclusive and original content for the platform and will have oversight of Audacy’s new exclusive digital music stations. He will also be responsible for the digital audio experiences of Audacy’s portfolio of broadcast stations, local and national station affiliates, and podcast partners. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “Tim is a rising star in our industry, and we’re excited to add his talents and capabilities to our digital business. He brings rich experience leading content and consumer strategies that we trust will enable him to help us further elevate our mission of delivering dynamic digital audio content through a listener-friendly platform every day.” Clarke joined Audacy in March of this year after serving as vice president of content and audience for Cox Media Group. Mike Thomas joins Audacy Boston from his most recent position as market manager for sports talk WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN Chicago” that’s being operated by Good Karma Brands. Prior to that, he was brand manager for Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” In this new role, he’ll oversee Audacy’s six Boston stations that include sports talk WEEI-FM, WEEI-AM “ESPN Boston,” and WVEI-AM, Worcester and three music brands. Thomas says, “Boston evokes memories of great times and celebrations. When [regional president] Mark Hannon reached out about coming back and leading such a diverse group of stations, it was exhilarating! I can’t wait to reconnect with a lot of talented people, some which I spent over a dozen years working side-by-side with and celebrating many more victories.”

Curtis Sliwa is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime WABC, New York talk show host, founder of the world-famous volunteer public safety organization the Guardian Angels, and GOP nominee for Mayor of the Big Apple, Curtis Sliwa, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sliwa, who is on leave from his radio position while running for office, won the Republican primary by a landslide although he is considered an underdog in the forthcoming general election against Democrat Eric Adams. However, Michael Harrison says, “I wouldn’t count Curtis out. He was born to be the Mayor of New York City and has enormous ‘street-cred’ and appeal – especially when the major topics in this race are crime and homelessness. He’s a real-life Spider-Man.” Harrison and Sliwa discuss these issues as well as the candidate’s strong position on animal welfare and the colorful history of New York broadcasters such as the great Barry Farber running for mayor and other elective offices. Don’t miss this mega-cool conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Round Three of September 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s September 2021 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 September 2021 sweep covered August 19 – September 15. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM adds six-tenths for a 5.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but remains anchored in the #4 rank while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM adds seven-tenths for a 3.2 share finish and rises to the #15 rank. Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte rises from #10 to #8 after tacking on seven-tenths for a 4.7 share. iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento is ranked #1 in the market after adding 1.1 shares for a 9.8 share finish while sister talk KSTE loses two-tenths for a 3.4 share finish and falls to the #12 rank. And in Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s news/talk KSL-AM/FM soars from #3 to #1 after adding 1.4 shares for an 8.4 share finish while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KNRS-AM/FM shoots up from #7 to #4 after adding 1.3 shares for a 6.3 share finish. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as his reports on the first two rounds) here.

Buffalo Talk Host Tom Bauerle Back on Air After Breakthrough COVID Case. According to a story in The Buffalo News, WBEN-AM afternoon drive talk host Tom Bauerle returned to the air this Tuesday (10/5) after being off for a few weeks due to his getting a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Bauerle told his listeners that he was vaccinated with two doses of the Moderna shot and was tested daily while working as an extra on the set of the film Cabrini that’s being shot in Buffalo. Bauerle, who is against vaccine mandates because he thinks mandates are “un-American,” admitted to his listeners that while he was sick, he thought to himself, “Wow. I’m glad I got Moderna. How bad would it have been if I didn’t get Moderna?” He also said, “I’ll never know if the symptoms were mild because I got the shot. I’ll never know that.”

Salem Media Portland Names Sue Wilson Marketing/Promotions Director. Programming and marketing pro Sue Wilson returns to Salem Media Group as marketing/promotion director for the company’s Portland cluster that includes news/talk KPAM “AM 860 The Answer” and religious outlets KPDQ-AM/FM and KFIS-FM. Wilson was director of programming for the company’s Cleveland operations from 2001 through 2007. She served with Rubber City Radio as VP/operations for 12 years and launched Sue Wilson Creative in 2018. She says, “General Manager Dennis Hayes has built this amazing team in Portland that I’m so excited to be a part of. I’m grateful to him and [PD] Chris Kelly, and look forward to helping them create new, innovative ways to market and promote these incredible brands.” She begins her position later this month.

Audacy’s WEEI, Boston Renews Broadcast Deal with Red Sox. Boston sports talk outlet WEEI-FM and MLB’s Boston Red Sox announce a multiyear radio broadcast contract extension for the Audacy sports talk station to continue to serve as the Red Sox flagship radio station, as it has since 1995. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Tim Clarke states, “Few things embody the city of Boston better than the Red Sox, and we’re delighted to extend our partnership with the team. The team has delivered some of the most memorable moments in baseball over the course of the last two decades and we’re proud to continue giving our audience a front row seat to everything surrounding the team.” As part of the partnership, WEEI will continue to air a weekly front office report with as part of “The Greg Hill Show,” featuring a rotation of interviews with Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and general manager Brian O’Halloran. Additionally, afternoon show “Merloni and Fauria” will welcome manager Alex Cora every week.

WABC, New York Honors Goya on Hispanic Heritage Day. New York City news/talk WABC presented an all-day event yesterday (10/6) honoring Hispanic Heritage Day by celebrating the numerous contributions the Hispanic community has made to New York City’s businesses, governmental communities, and culture. The celebration honored Goya, the largest and most successful Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, for donating over 40,000 pounds of food to victims of Hurricane Ida and over 4.5 million pounds of food since the start of the pandemic. Goya CEO Bob Unanue was presented the Humanitarian Award. Officials from the State of Louisiana called in via Zoom to thank Goya for supporting the residents during Hurricane Ida. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis said, “The Hispanic culture in New York City is among the most vibrant and fastest growing. As an immigrant myself, I understand what it means to take pride in your culture, your heritage, your ethnicity, and the path by which we all became ‘New Yorkers.’ We are proud of the contributions made by our Hispanic brothers and sisters, whether it is the thousands of Hispanic-owned businesses or the millions of New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage who work, live, play, and pray here in the greatest city on earth.” Pictured above are (from l-r): Red Apple and 77 WABC Radio president Chad Lopez, Unanue, and Margo and John Catsimatidis.

Debt Ceiling, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, COVID-19, Texas Abortion Bill, January 6 Investigation/Trump Election Denial, and China-Taiwan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). The battle in Congress over the raising of the debt ceiling; the debate between Democratic factions over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion Infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion Reconciliation Bill; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; a federal judge blocks the highly restrictive and controversial Texas abortion law; the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s continuing claim of the “stolen” election; and China’s aggressive military actions toward Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.