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Thursday, May 26, 2022

| May 26, 2022

Walter M. Sterling is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The host of the syndicated 10:00 pm – 1:00 am weekend talk show “Sterling on Sunday” – Walter M. Sterling – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Actually the roles are reversed and Sterling interviews Harrison in a two-segment excerpt from his program this past Sunday night (5/22). Sterling had Harrison on to discuss the impact of digital age technology – specifically the smart phone – on the wiring of the human nervous system. “This is a watershed leap in the evolution of Homo Sapiens,” says Harrison. “While grappling with the question of what it is to be American, society is going to have to increasingly deal with the vastly deeper issue of what it is to be human.” Walter M. Sterling is the on-air persona of historically influential radio programming innovator and management advisor Walter Sabo. Don’t miss this provocative and illuminative conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

Salem Media Group Signs Julie Hartman to Multiplatform Deal. This new pact with recent Harvard University grad Julie Hartman comes three months after she began doing a weekly podcast with Salem Radio Network personality Dennis Prager, titled, “Dennis and Julie.” Hartman’s new deal with Salem Media Group involves her doing projects for the Salem Podcast Network, Salem News Channel, and Salem Radio Network. Senior vice president of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Julie represents a new generation of young media professionals, and we are adding some to the Salem platform, proving that even at Harvard you can come out a conservative if you keep your wits about you. Her story is compelling and even riveting and will probably be a book and a movie someday.” In September, Hartman will begin hosting two shows every weekend on Salem News Channel, three podcasts a week on the Salem Podcast Network, and substitute hosting on various Salem Radio Network programs. Hartman says, “I am honored that Salem Radio Network has entrusted me with this responsibility. Finding Dennis Prager’s work and getting to know him has illuminated my life’s vocation. Because of him, I’ve been able to collaborate with many other remarkably talented people at Salem. My generation needs courageous, independent, truth-telling voices. My goal is to be among the best of them.”

 

 

FOX News Media to Launch ‘The Senate Project’ Debate Series with Lindsey Graham and Bernie Sanders on June 13. A new debate series called The Senate Project – being created by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate – premieres on June 13 in a debate between Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Bernie Sanders. Moderated by FOX News Channel’s Bret Baier, the 12:00 noon ET broadcast will be a one-hour policy debate between the two senators streaming on FOX Nation. The second debate, hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, will be held in July at George Washington University, carried live and on demand across C-SPAN platforms, including streamed on C-SPAN Now. A third debate will be held by the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation in Utah this fall. The press release states, “The goal of The Senate Project debate series is to reintroduce the culture of seeking common ground and consensus that has been the essence of the Senate since it was conceived in 1789. We hope it will inspire policymakers to not only make the case for their points of view, but to then work towards the example set by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Orrin Hatch for bipartisan bridge-building.”

 

 

WSJS-AM, Winston-Salem Transitions to News/Talk/Sports. Triad sports talk station WSJS-AM, Winston-Salem (along with its four FM translators) is transitioning to a news/talk/sports format, effective June 6. Truth Broadcasting says, “In the legacy of Wally Williams, Wayne Willard, George Lee, Glenn Scott, Gene Overby and Smith Patterson, WSJS is returning to a local news/talk/sports format with Jeffrey Griffin behind the microphone as the host of “Triad Today” (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Midday programming will include familiar voices and award-winning programming from Brian Kilmeade, Todd Starnes and Charlie Kirk.” The station is continuing local sports talk “The Drive with Josh Graham” in afternoon drive. Truth Broadcasting COO Michael Carbone says, “It’s an incredible thrill, as well as a responsibility, to return the voice of the people to WSJS. A local talk station belongs to the listeners – our neighbors – to share their thoughts, their favorite things, favorite teams, their passion for the Triad, their celebrations, their issues, their dreams. We will restart that conversation and let the voices of the city color our days again.”

 

 

FANTASTIC SPEAKER LINEUP AND AGENDA for TALKERS 2022. TALKERS is presenting the 25th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running, largest and most important convention, TALKERS 2022, on Friday, June 10, 2022 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York in association with the prestigious university’s multi-award-winning station WRHU Radio.

TALKERS 2022 will be a “who’s who” of the talk media industry…

Red Apple Media CEO/WABC, New York owner John Catsimatidis is set to keynote with special guest addresses to be provided by iconic Key Networks personality Bill O’ Reilly and FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel star Brian Kilmeade.

See the complete agenda here.

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2021 and 2016 events – and enjoy the remarkable resources that its Lawrence Herbert School of Communication brings to the table.”

As was the case last year, this event will be held in a COVID-19 compliant environment based upon the circumstances at the time of the convention. As is its tradition, TALKERS 2022 will boldly address key issues – some existential – facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture of rapidly accelerating technological and societal change as well as identifying the remarkable opportunities inherent in these developments. It will also provide participants with unique and powerful networking opportunities. Attendance at the conference is limited to members of the working media and directly associated industries as well as students enrolled in accredited learning institutions. All attendees will be required to register in advance on the phone with credit cards. Attendance will be limited, and the conference is again expected to be an early sellout. Full details about the agenda (more than 50 in-person, luminary speakers) sponsorship opportunities and hotel information will continue to be posted in TALKERS in the days ahead. The all-inclusive registration fee covering convention events, exhibits, food, and services for the day is $349. Because space will be limited and a sellout is anticipated, all registrations are non-refundable.

To register or to obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Travel and Hotel Information for TALKERS 2022. The full-service Long Island Marriott Uniondale is serving as the closest and best hotel for TALKERS 2022. To reserve rooms, please click here. All New York area airports are a car ride away from the hotel and Hofstra: JFK (18 miles), LaGuardia (24 miles), MacArthur (34 miles), Newark (47 miles). Free and convenient parking information at Hofstra will be posted here shortly.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago market media pro Bob Sirott – host of Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio morning show – will receive the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans at a luncheon today (5/26). The organization says that since its inception in 1971, more than 40 Chicago journalists have received the Dante Award, which recognizes media professionals who pursue truth in their work. Sirott says, “Looking at the long, impressive list of previous Dante Award winners, it makes me realize that the highly respected selection committee who decides who gets this award realized they had given this to every media person in Chicago except me. They simply ran out of names.”…..Salem Media Group announces that it will present at the LD Micro Invitational XII in Westlake Village, California on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30 pm ET. LD Micro began in 2006 as an independent resource to the microcap world…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, in its capacity as the official network radio partner of the NCAA, will air the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals and Championship Games over the Memorial Day weekend holiday. For the first time, Westwood One will broadcast the Women’s National Semifinal and Championship games in addition to the Men’s contests.

 

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Presents 47th Annual Gracie Awards. Pictured above at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California is the board of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Tuesday’s 47th Annual Gracie Awards Gala was hosted by Holly Robinson Peete and “recognized exemplary programming created by women, for women and about women in all facets of media and entertainment.” Local and student winners will be honored at the Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 22 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images for AWM

 

Texas School Massacre/Gun Control, Primary Races/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and U.S.-China Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The aftermath of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers and the battle over gun control legislation; Tuesday’s primary races in Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, & Georgia and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the high cost of food & gas, the shortage of baby formula, and the tech stock selloff; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the rest of the world; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the high rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S.; and U.S.-China relations in the wake of President Joe Biden’s visit to Asia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

| May 17, 2022

Radio One Names Jeff Rickard Program Director for Sports Talk WFNZ, Charlotte. Sports talk radio pro Jeff Rickard is named program director for Radio One’s WFNZ-AM/FM. Rickard most recently served as brand manager for Audacy’s WEEI-FM, Boston. Prior to that, he was PD and morning host at Emmis’ WFNI, Indianapolis. During his career he’s also served with Comcast, ESPN Radio, and Sirius XM. Radio One RVP Marsha Landess comments, “We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment. Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.” Rickard adds, “I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work. Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

 

Round One of April PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s April 2022 sweep covered March 31 – April 27. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In New York, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC-AM/WLIR-FM dips two-tenths, posting a 3.6 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) but remains ranked #8. Audacy’s crosstown all-news WINS is up one-tenth, finishing the survey with a 4.2 share and rises to #6. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles climbs four-tenths to wrap the survey with a 5.1 share and climbs to the #3 rank, while Audacy’s all-news KNX-FM loses half a share for a 3.4 share finish and falls to the #8 rank.  In Atlanta, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM sheds a half share but remains ranked #3 on the strength of a 6.4 share. Townsquare Media’s news/talk WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is ranked #1 in the Middlesex-Somerset-Union market despite losing seven-tenths and finishing with a 6.1 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.

 

FMR Associates-Eastlan: Radio Listening Rises 31% in Last Six Months. According to a study conducted in March and April for FMR Associates and Eastlan Ratings clients to determine usage levels of local AM/FM radio compared to the period six months prior, a number of positive conclusions were reached. The study reveals that in the last six months, weekly AM/FM radio listening is on the increase: 31% indicate they are listening to radio more, compared to 18% listening less. This finding is regardless of sex, age or market rank. FMR Associates-Eastlan says, “This unique finding bodes well for traditional radio growing as the pandemic comes to an end and even as more audio options such as podcasts and streaming platforms are available.” Digging deeper, the study found that the increase in weekly AM/FM listening is greatest among adults 25-44 at 37%. Men and women are equally increasing their listening time with AM/FM radio. More people going back to work, commuting and some cutting back on subscription audio or video services are among the primary factors cited for increased AM/FM consumption. Also, current weekly AM/FM radio listening is at 86% in the 25 to 64 age group. Significantly, cume listening is strong and consistent regardless of age, sex, market rank or geographic region. The statistically projectable national survey of 25 to 64 year-old adults from the thousands surveyed each month by Eastlan was demographically balanced and geographically representative.

 

Audacy’s State of Audio Explores Key Audio Trends. The second edition of Audacy’s “State of Audio” e-book that details key insights relevant to the listeners, creators and advertisers revolutionizing audio has been released. Some of the key metrics from the guide include: 1) Audio revenue outpaced video in 2021. Per the latest IAB Advertising Revenue Report, audio streaming revenue is up +59% YOY. And audio streaming growth is outpacing investments in video, social and search; 2) Audio usage has eclipsed TV, including CTV Audio reaches everyone, with 99% of US adults reporting using audio monthly. And that’s more than the total use of TV, including connected devices. (Source: Nielsen, Q4 2021); and 3) Time spent listening on AM/FM streaming and podcast content has increased +64% from 2015 to Q1 2022. (Source: Edison Research, Share of Ear Study, Q4 2015-Q1 2022). Audacy chief marketing officer Paul Suchman comments, “Audio is a trusted companion to hundreds of millions of listeners and more than any other medium, the best way creators across the globe connect with their audiences authentically and intimately at scale. Our second edition of the ‘State of Audio, The Disruptors: The Listeners, Advertisers, and Creators Revolutionizing Audio’ focuses on the people, strategies, and content shaping Audio’s meteoric rise as a must have media for marketers.” See more here.

 

KBLA, Los Angeles Debuts ‘A More Perfect Union.’ A new weekend program is launching this Sunday (5/22) on Smiley Audio Media’s KBLA, Los Angeles. “A More Perfect Union,” hosted by journalist, educator, and KBLA “Talk 1580” chief national political analyst Dr. Nii-Quartelai Quartey. Airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, the program is a “national public affairs program, featuring notable journalists, industry leaders, lawmakers, changemakers, tastemakers, and ordinary people motivated to do their part to reach beyond today’s divisions; make sense out of news of the day and offer listeners a chance to build a more perfect union.” Smiley Audio Media owner Tavis Smiley says, “Now more than ever the Black constituency must first be made aware, and then armed with information that can help advance the issues we care about and repel the ideas that are antithetical to the best interests of our community. The time is now for ‘A More Perfect Union,’ which is a weekly show designed to keep our community in the know with a moderator like Dr. Quartey, who keeps his ear to the ground and his heart attuned to the causes we care about.”

 

‘100 Years of WGN Radio’ to Air on WGN-TV. On Thursday (5/19) at 7:00 pm, the special program, “100 Years of WGN Radio: A Retrospective,” will air on WGN-TV, Chicago. The 45-minute documentary produced by WGN Radio tells the story of the station, starting with its beginnings in 1922 when it was founded by Chicagoans Thorne Donnelley and Elliott Jenkins as WDAP, to highlighting moments throughout its century of history up to present day. Viewers will see the faces of familiar voices, including Bob Sirott, John Williams, Lou Manfredini, Steve King and Johnnie Putman, Dave Eanet, Mary Van De Velde, Dave Plier, and others, reflecting on their experiences at the station and sharing memorable moments. The program will be re-broadcast on Sunday, May 22 at 2:00 pm CT on WGN-TV.

 

Tim Hartlage Returns to Salem to Lead Sales in Nashville. Radio management pro Tim Hartlage is returning to Salem Media Group to serve as general sales manager for the company’s Nashville operations. Hartlage served as GSM and then general manager for the company’s Louisville station group from 2005 to 2015. He says, “Leaving Salem in 2015 to plant a much-needed church and ministry in Louisville’s southwest area, my old neighborhood, with my wife Jennifer, was one of the toughest decisions we had ever made. Returning to Salem and joining the Nashville team as general sales manager was one of the easiest. Salem Nashville is in an incredibly vibrant market with a great reputation. It’s great to be a part of the Salem Family again. It feels like a homecoming.”

 

Buffalo Shooting/Great Replacement Theory, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, and UFO Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/16). The aftermath of the deadly Buffalo shooting and talk of the Great Replacement Theory; the financial markets, inflation, and concerns about a major recession on the horizon; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s threats against Finland and Sweden; the primary races for November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.; and today’s scheduled congressional hearing on UFOs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

| May 11, 2022

Salem Media Group First Quarter Revenue Rises 5.5%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Salem Media Group says total revenue was $62.6 million, an increase of 5.5% over the same period in 2021. Operating income was $5 million, up 14.2% from the same period a year ago. Salem posted net income of $1.7 million in Q1 of this year compared to the net income of $0.3 million reported for the same quarter in 2021. Breaking down the company’s data by segment, net broadcast revenue increased 10% to $48.4 million from $44 million in 2021, while digital media revenue increased 7.1% to $10.3 million from $9.6 million, and publishing revenue decreased 31.8% to $3.9 million from $5.7 million. Looking ahead, Salem Media Group says that for the second quarter of 2022, it is projecting total revenue to increase between 6% and 8% from second quarter 2021 total revenue of $63.8 million.

 

The Vastness of Night. “The two most effective, engaging forms of advertising are in-theatre and overnight radio,” says Walter Sterling. “Surrounded by darkness without distractions, the audience choses to receive the advertising message in the comfort of a bed, perfectly adjusted car seat, or reclining throne. Overnight radio is 25% of the broadcast day. Twenty-five percent. A locally hosted all-night show in a major city is a gift to listeners and advertisers.” You say you can’t afford an all-night talk radio host? Read more of what Walter Sterling has to say here.

 

Tom Millikan Upped to Assistant Brand Manager for WXYT-FM, Detroit. Executive producer Tom Millikan is promoted to assistant brand manager at Audacy’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit “97.1 The Ticket.” He will continue in his executive producer role for “The Morning Show with Stoney and Jansen.” Audacy Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Tom has done an outstanding job as an executive producer and has played a vital role in the success of the station. He is very deserving of this promotion and we look forward to even greater success with Tom in his new role.” Millikan comments, “Throughout my 20-plus years in radio, I’ve been blessed with countless memories of championships and pure joy. I’m living out a dream. I wanted to work in sports radio since the format exploded in the early 90s and I’ve been blessed by the tutelage of all of my co-workers and peers. I was born and raised in Detroit and Detroit sports are part of my DNA. Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”

 

ABC Audio Promotes Liz Alesse to VP. Rising from the director and executive producer of podcast programming position to vice president of ABC Audio is Liz Alesse. In this role, Alesse will oversee the organization’s entire audio business, including ABC News Radio, podcasts, and the entertainment content service. ABC News senior vice president of streaming and digital content Reena Mehta says, “She has been instrumental in growing and re-organizing our award-winning podcast team, developing successful content and monetization strategies, and partnering closely within the news division and across The Walt Disney Company to promote our work. Liz oversaw the successful launches of new podcasts, including, ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,’ ‘Close Up’ and ‘The Book Case with Kate and Charlie Gibson.’ She also spearheaded creating the ‘GMA’ Channel on Apple Podcasts, which holds the new ‘Good Morning America’ podcast and ABC Audio’s growing library of lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content. Under her leadership, the team received Webby Awards, a Gracie Award, GLAAD Special Recognition honors and more.”

 

Edison Research Q1 Top 50 Podcasts Chart; Controversy Has Not Hurt Joe Rogan. The Edison Podcast Metrics chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2022 has been released and the controversy surrounding Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” in 2021 has not harmed listening; in fact, it appears to have helped it. Edison Research director of research Gabriel Soto says, “Despite a turbulent and controversial ride for Joe Rogan at the beginning of the quarter, his show not only remains the most popular in the U.S., but it has increased in listenership – distancing itself from the number two spot.” This chart by Edison ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on Edison Podcast Metrics (formerly known as the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report). Edison says its list is “the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks in the U.S. and measures based on actual podcast listening, not downloads, and does not require an opt-in from podcast networks. Some of the other podcasts making the chart connected to radio-oriented companies include: #6 “Stuff You Should Know” (iHeartPodcasts), #9 “The Ben Shapiro Show” (The Daily Wire), #18 “The Dan Bongino Show” (Cumulus Podcast Network), #31 “The Dave Ramsey Show” (The Ramsey Network), and #39 “The Mark Levin Show” (Cumulus Podcast Network).

 

TALKERS News Notes. According to data from Nielsen, Newsmax’s live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s Pennsylvania rally pushed the network ahead of CNN in audience viewership on Friday night (5/6). Newsmax says that it pulled 738,000 total viewers between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET, with an evening prime-time average of 579,000 viewers. CNN peaked at 645,000 viewers during Anderson Cooper’s show, drawing an average audience of 545,000 on Friday night. Newsmax adds that for the past year, is has consistently held the position as the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel in the U.S. and a top-20 cable channel in daytime, according to Nielsen…..The Independent Broadcasters Association says it is delivering on its promise to provide an efficient way for members to share local talent in which all talent made available to members by members will be on a very affordable cash basis, eliminating the need for costly barter deals. IBA executive director Ron Stone comments, “One of the most costly expenditures for independent radio is paying for syndication, whether by cash, barter, or a combination thereof. Our goal is to provide our IBA members with an opportunity to choose cost-effective talent from other IBA members and eliminate the need to give local inventory to large networks that sell to the very clients we used to do business with nationally, and at far better prices than network pricing. This, I believe, is a huge opportunity to get back inventory used against us at extremely low prices.”

 

The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Mark Esper Book, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, Musk & Twitter, COVID-19, and Western Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The state of the U.S. economy, the high cost of food and gasoline, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and the U.S. House approves aid to Ukraine; former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s book,  A Sacred Oath, that paints former President Donald Trump in an unflattering light; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; and the drought affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

| May 5, 2022

Urban One First Quarter 2022 Net Revenue Rises 23%. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2022, Urban One, Inc. – parent of Radio One – says its net revenue was approximately $112.3 million, an increase of 23% from the same period in 2021. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $48.4 million, an increase of 33% from the same period in 2021. Net income was approximately $16.4 million or $0.32 per share (basic) compared to $7,000 or $0.00 per share (basic) for the same period in 2021. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III, states, “We had extremely strong first quarter performance across the platform, with advertising revenues up double-digit percentages in all of our operating segments. Digital revenues were up 49.5%, cable TV advertising revenues were up 46.9%, and radio advertising, excluding political and digital, was up 17.4%. This enabled us to grow Adjusted EBITDA by 38.9% year-over-year, and by $14.3 million or 51.6% vs. Q1 2019. Looking back at pre-pandemic revenues, when we aggregate our radio broadcasting, syndication, events and digital operations, net revenues were up 11.5% compared to Q1 2019. Second quarter core radio advertising is pacing up mid-single digits, as we start to lap the tougher comps from 2021. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen, with $166.4 million of cash and net leverage down to 4.07x.”

 

Cumulus Announces $25 Million Stock Buyback. On the heels of yesterday’s first quarter financial report and the board’s authorization of a $50 million buyback program, Cumulus Media Inc. announces its intention to commence a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer to purchase up to $25 million of shares of its Class A common stock, or such lesser number of shares of its Class A common stock as are properly tendered and not properly withdrawn, at a price not greater than $16.50 and not less than $14.50 per share of Class A common stock, to the tendering shareholder in cash, less any applicable withholding taxes and without interest (the “Offer”). Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Following yesterday’s announcement of the board’s authorization of a $50 million share buyback program, we are launching this tender as a first step in our capital return plan. This action is underpinned by our strong financial and operating momentum, our continued belief that the company is significantly undervalued and our desire to allow shareholders who seek it the ability to take advantage of the liquidity we can provide them. It is also our expectation that, even with this tender offer, we will be below our target of 3.5x net leverage by year end with significant continuing liquidity and financial flexibility for accretive M&A.” Cumulus will conduct the Offer by means of a procedure commonly called a “modified Dutch auction.” This procedure allows shareholders to select the price, within a price range specified by Cumulus, and the number of shares they are willing to sell at that price (or, should a higher price be determined as the “purchase price,” such higher price). The Offer is being made under Cumulus’s previously announced $50 million share repurchase program.

 

Saga Communications Net Revenue Increases 12% in Q1 of 2022. For the first three months of 2022, Saga Communications, Inc. net revenue increased 12% to $25 million compared to $22.3 million for the same period in 2021. Station operating income increased 17.8% to $5.6 million and operating income was $1.7 million compared to $883,000 for same period a year ago. Saga reports net income of $1.2 million compared to net income of $758 thousand for Q1 of 2021. The company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on April 8, 2022. The aggregate amount of the quarterly dividend was approximately $970 thousand. Additionally, the company paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share and a special dividend of $0.50 per share on January 14, 2022. To date Saga has paid over $78 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. Saga Communications reports that it had $55.2 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2022.

 

Russia-Ukraine War Correspondent Gregg Stebben is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Veteran media editor/reporter Gregg Stebben is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Stebben is a former longtime editor of Men’s Health magazine who served 20 years as its radio spokesperson. He is currently reporting on a volunteer basis back to the U.S. via the beamz.live platform from Poland and Ukraine where he has been interviewing refugees and local citizens in both adjacent nations in addition to doing whatever he can to provide comfort and support to the frightened, displaced people in conjunction with international humanitarian groups. Harrison caught up with Stebben on the Ukrainian side of the border on May 2. They discuss the human element of the crisis and the catastrophic impact and escalating deadly potential of the war. Harrison states, “Not only is the information being gathered by Stebben of great value, he is a shining example of independent talk radio reporting in action serving as a one-man field unit reporting on the war while supporting Ukraine as a volunteer. I find his effort truly inspirational.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

 

 

Premiere of 2,000 Mules Takes Place at Mar-a-Lago. The premiere of Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film 2,000 Mules took place last night (5/4) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida as former president Donald J. Trump presided over the event. The film was executive produced by Salem Media Group and a number of its current and former talk hosts appear in the documentary. Pictured above are (from l-r): D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka, Eric Metaxas, Trump, Larry Elder, Charlie Kirk, and Dennis Prager.

 

Triton Digital Streaming Metrics Ranker for March 2022 Released. The Streaming Metrics Ranker for the U.S. for March of this year has been released by Triton Digital. The ranker is based on Average Active Sessions and charts the top 25 performing digital audio publishers. For the daypart 6am-12am Mon-Sun, iHeartMedia leads the pack with 303,162 AAS. Some of the other radio-related companies appearing in the ranker include at #2 NPR Member Stations (81,035 AAS), #3 Audacy (69,281 AAS), #4 Cumulus Streaming Network (42,569 AAS), #7 Beasley Broadcasting Corporate (19,203 AAS), #8 Hubbard Broadcasting (15,233 AAS), #11 Salem Communications (9,591 AAS), #12 Urban One (8,577 AAS), and #13 Bonneville International 7,612 AAS). See the complete ranker here.

 

WCKG-AM, Chicago Owner Buying Time on WLS-AM to Reach Voters for U.S. Senate Campaign. Chicagoland radio station owner Matt Dubiel – whose company DuPage Radio LLC owns and operates talk outlet WCKG-AM, Elmhurst – is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican and is taking an interesting tack in his campaign. He says in a press release that “in the spirit of former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot, Illinois businessman Matt Dubiel has purchased airtime on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS 890-AM.” He will host a two-hour show every Saturday afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm until the primary election on June 28. Dubiel adds, “Nothing can replace the reach of radio. I’m consistently being shadow-banned on social media, corporate media refuses to cover my campaign, and the issues we need to discuss like CRT/SEL in schools, medical freedom, and other hot topics are virtually banned on social platforms that censor We the People, in America! The Illinois GOP even has me blocked on Twitter, and I’m running on their ticket! Hosting my own show on the radio home of Bongino, Shapiro, and Levin will allow Dubiel to speak directly to the people. The people in every county across Illinois need to know they have a guy who will actually represent them for a change. I am looking forward to talking to ALL Illinoisians about the issues that matter to them.” The 45-year-old Dubiel says he began his career in radio at 17, interning for the legendary Steve Dahl. He worked his way up through the radio ranks in Chicago, serving as a producer and talent, before transitioning into management.

 

Jeff Katz Show Honored by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Pictured above is WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive talk host Jeff Katz (right) with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left) as the governor recognizes the 6th anniversary of Katz’s “Lt. Jan McTernan Blue Friday Honors Program” that pays tribute to Central Virginia police officers by highlighting their positive contributions.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pro Jon Zaghloul is being promoted to sports director at DuPage Radio LLC’s WCKG-AM, Elmhurst, Illinois. In this new role, Zaghloul will continue to host his weekend program “Sports Talk Chicago” on the station. He says, “I am honored to be a part of this exciting new challenge with WCKG. Over the past two years with the station, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the chance to provide Chicagoans with hard-hitting sports opinions and insightful interviews. Now, it is time to expand our iconic brand, and I am actively on the hunt for both fresh, and established local sports talent to bolster our daily lineup.”…..Los Angeles Comic Con, partners with iHeartRadio to produce the podcast, “Comic Con Meta*Pod.” The show launched on Wednesday (5/4) with a “May the 4th Star Wars” special featuring “Mandalorian” actor Giancarlo Esposito, “Clone Wars” and “Bad Batch” composer Kevin Kiner, and more. The podcast is hosted by Hector Navarro and art/culture critic Joelle Monique…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” afternoon drive host Shannon Burke (left) with former New York City police chief Bernard Kerik (right). Kerik appeared on Burke’s radio show on Wednesday (5/4) and the two discussed Kerik’s former police chief role in New York City, working with Donald Trump, the January 6 Committee, and more. “Florida Man Radio” is broadcast on WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach.

 

Roe v Wade Leak/Protests, Fed Raises Interest Rates/Economy, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, and Dave Chapelle Attack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/4). The leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v Wade and the protests taking place around the country; the Fed raises interest rates a half percent and the effect of high gas and food prices; the primary elections for November’s midterm races and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its effects on Europe and the global economy; Donald Trump Jr. sits for testimony before the January 6 committee; concerns about new Omicron variants causing a summer wave of infections; and Dave Chapelle is attacked while on stage at the Hollywood Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

| April 21, 2022

Bill O’ Reilly is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Multi-platform news/talk media star and best-selling author Bill O’ Reilly is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” O’ Reilly’s 40-plus year career has been colorful, controversial, and continues to be consequential. After gaining prominence as an anchor for the mainstream TV networks ABC and CBS, he served as host of the groundbreaking celebrity gossip entertainment-industry show, “Inside Edition,” and then evolved into politics going on to be the top-rated host at FOX News Channel for approximately two decades. Today, his short-form commentaries, syndicated by Key Networks, are heard on hundreds of news/talk radio stations across the nation and he’s currently in the process of launching a new nightly, long-form syndicated program titled, “No Spin News.” Harrison and O’ Reilly discuss the state and future of modern era news/talk media in addition to looking back at what it was like for the independent-minded talker to co-host and partner with former President Donald Trump on his recent four-city “History Tour.” Be sure to meet Bill O’ Reilly at the forthcoming Talkers 2022 conference at Hofstra University on Friday, June 10. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.

 

Sean Hannity Becomes Longest-Running Primetime Cable News Host. According to FOX News Channel, primetime superstar Sean Hannity notches another industry milestone as he tops the late Larry King to assume the mantle of the longest-running primetime cable news host in U.S. television history. Today (4/21), marks 25 consecutive years, six months, and 15 days at the helm of a primetime cable news program – beating King’s run on CNN. Hannity has been a staple of FNC’s primetime lineup since the launch of the network in 1996. He was co-host of “Hannity & Colmes (with the late Alan Colmes) that debuted on October 7, 1996. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “Sean’s authenticity and insightful commentary have created one of the most enduring connections with our audience and it’s been an honor to watch him over the years. A FOX News original, he has helped innovate the industry, and we are incredibly proud of his extraordinary success.” Hannity comments, “I am extremely grateful to FOX News Media and to our loyal, dedicated viewers whom I am proud to serve every night.”

 

WHAM/WSYR Talk Host Bob Lonsberry Pens Blog Post About Personal Mental Health. Longtime WHAM, Rochester and WSYR, Syracuse talk host Bob Lonsberry’s April 20 post to his blog reveals a man searching for help to deal with mental health issues he confesses have plagued him his entire life. The blog doesn’t go into specific detail about his own struggles but does document to some degree his family history of mental illness, especially that which tormented his mother for most of her life. He begins the post saying, “This column is not intended to elicit sympathy or be seen as courageous. Not by any means. It is rather a report on the final desperate action of a man who has destroyed the lives of his family, hurt countless other individuals, failed at his religion, and probably devolved from narcissist to sociopath. This isn’t pretty or sweet, but neither is it manipulative or attention seeking. It’s just a column. Please, leave me the delusion that I’m a writer. And if me being nuts makes you more comfortable asking if you might be nuts, too, and maybe need some help, too, then good. That’s the point.” Read the blog post here.

 

Round Two of March PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s March 2022 sweep covered March 3 – March 30. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Washington, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM jumps 1.4 shares for an 8.7 share (6+, weekly AQH share) finish and climbs to the #2 rank, while Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL-FM slips two-tenths for a 3.9 share finish good for the #10 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston continues its ascent, tacking on 1.1 shares to wrap the survey with a 4.7 share and the #8 rank, while sister all-news WBZ-FM slides seven-tenths to a 5.5 share and the #6 rank. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM remains on top posting a 7.4 share to stay ranked #1. The talk in St. Louis is dominated by Audacy as heritage news/talk KMOX finishes with a 3.6 share, after shedding two-tenths, and remains ranked #11, while sister talker KFTK-FM drops eight-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #15 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first round) here.

 

Meghan Ottolini Joins WEEI-FM, Boston’s ‘Merloni & Fauria’ Show. Boston sports media personality Meghan Ottolini is getting an expanded role on sports talk WEEI-FM’s “Merloni & Fauria” afternoon drive program, effective May 4. She’s been serving as a part-time host on the show since January of 2021. Audacy Boston SVP and market manager Mike Thomas says, “Meghan is a rising star in this industry, and we are very excited to have her join ‘Merloni & Fauria’ each afternoon. Writing is a passion of Meghan’s and she will be able to continue to do that for our station’s website, enabling her to create can’t-miss content for Boston sports fans – both on air and online.” Ottolini most recently served as a multimedia reporter for the Boston Herald since 2017. Additionally, she was an on-air talent for NBC Sports Boston’s “Quick Slants” television program. She comments, “I’m thrilled to join WEEI and work alongside Lou [Merloni] and Christian [Fauria] delivering premier sports talk coverage in the best sports city in the country. This opportunity is such a privilege and I look forward to having a lot of fun in this next chapter of my career.”

 

The TALKERS magazine 2022 Heavy Hundred of Talk Radio Hosts is Published. The 2022 edition of TALKERS magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – also known as the Heavy Hundred – has been published. Since the early 1990s, TALKERS editors – with input from industry leaders – have compiled this annual feature created to recognize the hard-working talk radio personalities in America. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says of this 2022 edition, “Creating the Heavy Hundred is always a challenging task for our editorial staff. Our use of both hard and soft factors in evaluating candidates for the list only adds to the difficulty in selecting the “most important” radio talk show hosts, but it’s a project that allows us to really get a big-picture look at the key players in this format and it’s something that we take very seriously. Congratulations to all of the talk radio personalities who are recognized on this year’s Heavy Hundred!” See the list here.

 

FOX News Digital Top Performer in Multiplatform Minutes for March. According to the Comscore data for the month of March, FOX News Digital finished as the top-performing news brand in the competitive set in multiplatform minutes. FOX News Digital says this marks its fourth consecutive quarter ranking as number one in the category in the news competitive set. FOX News Digital delivered 3.5 billion total multiplatform minutes, topping closest rival CNN.com (3.35 billion). For the first quarter of 2022 (Jan.-Mar.), FOX News Digital delivered 9.2 billion total multiplatform minutes versus CNN.com’s 7.85 billion. However, In the multiplatform unique visitors metric, CNN.com was far and away on top with 136.3 million compared to FOX News Digital’s 79.2 million for March. For the first quarter, CNN.com’s multiplatform unique visitors total was 147.9 million to FOX News Digital’s 85.3 million.

 

Radio Pros Launch New Consulting Firm. The new firm is called the Smith Richards Collective and is being launched by radio executives Steve Smith and Tim Richards and digital marketing strategist Heidi McIvor-Allen. The organization says it “brings deep radio operations, programming, and digital marketing experience to radio stations and groups, with a fresh approach and innovative strategies to help stations grow their audience and revenues, while saving money.” It adds that in addition to podcast and radio talent coaching services, the Smith Richards Collective offers full-service white glove consulting for radio stations and groups, as well as an embedded full-service digital marketing agency, McIvor Marketing, which offers stations and groups a full spectrum of digital resources and support.

 

Salem New York’s ‘The Answer’ to Produce ‘The Salem Business Breakfast.’ Next Wednesday (4/27) Salem Media Group’s news/talk WNYM-AM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” is presenting “The Salem Business Breakfast” at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. It takes place from 6:00 am to 10:00 am as Joe Piscopo broadcasts the morning show live. An interactive business panel discussion will be moderated by attorney and AM 970 The Answer personality Arthur Aidala that will include: Bernie Kerik, former NYPD Police Commissioner; Steve Perillo, president & owner of Perillo Tours; Ace Watanasuparp, national director of strategic sales at Citizens Bank Home Mortgage Division & founder of Chase Restaurant Group; Jason Greene, vice president of Magniflood INC; and Melanie Landano, founder & owner of Mel’s Butcher Box.

 

TALKERS News Notes. New York City Audacy radio stations are airing the podcast episodes hosted by WCBS-FM personality Patty Steele for which she won a 2022 Gracie Award in the category National Podcast – Lifestyle Limited Series. The program is titled “The Deep 6” and the episodes that will be aired on April 24 at 6:00 am consist of her interview with her 26-year-old son Jake about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Steele, a mother of three,  reveals her struggle through the ordeal that simultaneously occurred with her breast cancer diagnosis. With five years of sobriety under his belt, Jake and his mom decided it was time to make their story public with the hope of helping others. Steele comments, “It’s important that we take the stigma away from addiction issues and talk openly about what is truly affecting our children. I’m so grateful that Jake and I are in such a good place that we’re able to share our journey.” WINS director of news and programming Ben Mevorach states, “Patty’s conversation with her son is heartbreaking, inspiring, life-affirming, and compelling. It is one of the most important podcasts to come along in a very long time. What makes it so powerful is its authenticity. You can feel the pain and unrelenting love for her son on this very personal journey. Patty is brave beyond words to share and explore all that has happened and because her story could be any parent’s story, every parent will find a part of themselves in it.”…..Pictured at left is Salem Radio Network talk radio host Mike Gallager(left) with 16-time WWE World Champion wrestler Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair (right). Gallagher bumped into Flair while taking his first “maskless” flight since the pandemic began in 2020…..Audacy is conducting 45 volunteer events nationwide to celebrate Earth Day as part of its 1Day1Thing Sustainability Initiative. The series of events, which will engage employees across the company, aim to make a positive impact on the communities in which the company serves and the planet. Projects including tree planting, park and waterway cleanups, recycling projects and habitat restoration, among others. Audacy director of sustainability Jaimie Field says, “We pride ourselves on our relentless commitment to supporting the health and success of the communities that are at the heart of our business, and we’re thrilled to unite our teams across the country to do some good for our planet. Sustainability is a focal point of our Audacy Serves initiative, and we’re looking forward to leveraging these actions this Earth Day to make a lasting impact on our environment, both today and for generations to come.”…..Good Karma Brands president Steve Politziner has been inducted into the 45th class of the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame. Each year, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission recognizes an elite group of individuals who have made major impacts to the Palm Beach County sports landscape. By bringing ESPN to the market through the power of radio, TV and events, he helped shape Palm Beach County’s sports identity, created a home for sports fans and has provided coverage to the great sports stories, teams and athletes that make up the community.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Netflix Crash/Financial Markets/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, DeSantis vs Disney, College Debt Forgiveness, COVID-19, Macron-Le Pen Race, and Arizona Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and its ICBM test and threat of nuclear weapons use; the crash of Netflix’s stock, its effect on the financial markets and the broader issue of high gas and food prices; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushes legislation to strip Disney of its decades-old special district benefit; the Biden administration’s move to provide 50,000 students with college debt forgiveness; the ruling that cancels the air travel mask mandate and the BA.2 variant; the tight race between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for president of France; and the raging Arizona wildfire were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.