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Monday, January 10, 2022

| January 10, 2022

Pending Business: The Early Renewal Seagull. In today’s column, radio sales pro Steve Lapa begs talk radio sellers not to fall into the “seagull” sales strategy where the seller “flies” in, drops a package, but never properly follows through. He admits that it can happen to the best sellers as they try and test the waters on an early renewal. “Despite all the work in that sales meeting, you stepped into the pothole of sales meeting facts that have no real benefit to your advertiser. Important facts to you could be nothing but white noise to the advertiser.” He offers a four-point plan for better communication with your client. Read it here.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s ‘Monsters in the Morning’ Interviews Bob Saget Days Before His Death. In what was one of his last interviews before his unexpected death yesterday (1/9) at age 65, Bob Saget chatted with Russ Rollins and his “Monsters in the Morning” cast on January 6. Rollins says, “Bob would be a guest on our show and stay for several days. He told me we made him feel so comfortable he wanted to be a cast member. One of the sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.” During the interview, Saget spoke – and joked – about the importance of comedy and laughter in all our lives. “You can make people laugh and it might not be their cup of tea, but you’re doing something great for people. That’s why I’m doing it. We all have the same joke, which is that laughter is the best medicine – no – it’s actually Percocet. Everybody has a version of that. Well, the other one is when they say, you know, if you could just make one person laugh, you’re a really crappy comic.” Hear the interview here.

Flag Family Media Names Bridgette Readel Farm Director. Agronomist Bridgette Readel joins Flag Family Media as farm director for its broadcast team. Readel has been an agronomist for the past two decades, serving clients and providers with crop performance solutions. In her role with Flag Family Media, she’ll deliver on-air updates and reports on Fargo news/talk outlets WZFG, WDAY and KTGO. In addition, her reports will be heard on Scott Hennen’s statewide “What’s On Your Mind” late morning program. Readel says, “Although I graduated from college as a high school ag teacher, I now find myself teaching adults the nature of production agriculture and truly enjoy sharing the bright and positive message of ag in North Dakota. I am thrilled to join the team at WDAY and ‘The Flag’ and share the exciting moments and news from today’s ag landscape. There are so many positive opportunities in agriculture, and I look forward to bringing those experiences home to our listeners.” Flag Family Media president and managing partner Steve Hallstrom says, “We couldn’t imagine a better way to usher in the new year than to add a seasoned professional and gifted communicator like Bridgette. A great farm director will enable us to serve our region in this important and diverse industry. The ag sector has become a fascinating world of autonomous machinery and precision technology, and Bridgette will be a huge piece of our leading-edge ag coverage.”

Marty Bender Named Growth Consultant for ‘BOB & TOM Show.’ Radio programming pro Marty Bender is taking on a new role with the “BOB & TOM Show” in which he’ll serve as a consulting member of its affiliate services team and growth partner to the nationally syndicated program and its affiliates. Bender will serve as a content/strategy partner to every affiliate of the program, helping them optimize and monetize the show in their local markets through creative, high-impact strategies that drive listenership and advertising dollars. Bender previously served as executive producer of the BOB & TOM Show and will also assist in creating new content for the program, with an emphasis on growing the video content side. Program chief operating officer John Kesler says, “Listeners consume more hours of content in countless ways, and now more than ever, they want to control when they consume it. 2022 is just the beginning of a huge change in how radio will evolve to meet listener demands. In addition to already being well-staffed and well-positioned for this evolution, we are thrilled to offer Marty Bender as a content and strategy partner to each and every one of our 100+ affiliates. As far as I know, no other syndicated radio show has ever made this service available to their affiliate stations.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Dallas cluster of Cumulus Media stations – including news/talk WBAP and KLIF, as well as sports talk KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” – raised a grand total of $1,767,990 for DFW Metroplex charities during 2021. Cumulus Dallas supported signature community events with other groups to help raise additional millions in charitable donations. WBAP’s “Christmas is Caring Radiothon” drove over $212,000 in donations benefiting the Denton State Supported Living Center serving people with special needs, and The Ticket’s “Drop Your Pants 8” event raised $108,000 in Bob Sturm’s annual effort to raises resources for the Cornerstone Clothes Closet, which helps clothe and provide showers to the homeless…..Netflix, Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios and Hyperobject Industries unveils “The Last Movie Ever Made: The Don’t Look Up Podcast,” a six-part oral history of the making of Don’t Look Up, Adam McKay’s Netflix disaster comedy. On the podcast, listeners will hear how the cast and crew – including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Rob Morgan, Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry, Timothee Chalamet, Himesh Patel, Ariana Grande, and many more – stayed sane and safe while making a movie as the country was in chaos. The first two episodes dropped on January 7 and new episodes will drop on Fridays through February 4…..WNYC announces that Janae Pierre is the new host of the daily news podcast “Consider This.” Jointly produced by WNYC and NPR, “Consider This” is a first-of-its-kind podcast that brings listeners a mix of the biggest local and national stories based on the listener’s location. WNYC editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper comments, “We’re thrilled to have Janae at the helm of ‘Consider This,’ the first podcast to blend local and national news stories. Throughout her career, she’s shown a unique talent for the kind of locally rooted but universally applicable reporting that makes up so much of what we do at WNYC. We’re excited to see how she and the team shape ‘Consider This’ for the future.” Pierre joins from WBHM, Birmingham, where she hosts “All Things Considered” and does general assignment reporting.

Audie Cornish Joins CNN. After 16 years with NPR, Audie Cornish is joining CNN and its new subscription streaming service CNN+. Cornish was most recently co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In her new role with CNN, she will serve as an anchor and correspondent for CNN+. She’ll host a weekly CNN+ show and contribute to CNN+’s slate of live programming. She will also host a new podcast for CNN Audio and will appear on CNN covering national, political and breaking news. She says, “I am very excited to join CNN and the CNN+ team. There are fresh stories to be told and new ways to tell them. CNN has a dynamic system of reporters and storytelling channels. I am thrilled to be a part of it.” Cornish will be based at CNN’s Washington, DC bureau and begins her new position in February.

COVID-19, January 6, U.S.-Russia Relations, Economy/Supply Chain, Midterm Elections, NYC Apartment Fire, and Bob Saget Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The soaring rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the Omicron variant, vaccine mandates, and school policies; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the U.S. and Russia to meet over the tense Ukraine situation; the state of the U.S. economy and the ongoing supply chain woes; the challenges Democrats face in maintaining control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections; the deadly apartment fire in the Bronx that killed at least 19; and TV star and comic Bob Saget dies unexpectedly at 65 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 10, 2021

| December 10, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Health, Wealth and Stealth,” looks back at this past week of 12/6 – 12/10. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; Paul Vandenburgh, talk show host / owner, Talk 1300, Albany, NY; Scott Hennen, talk show host / owner, WZFG, Fargo; and Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WMAL-FM, Washington Raised $393,622 During Fisher House Radiothon. Washington, DC news/talk station WMAL-FM raised $393,622 to benefit the Fisher House Foundation during last week’s two-day WMAL Operation Fisher House Radiothon, topping last year’s amount by $25,000. Cumulus Media says WMAL’s listeners have donated nearly $8 million dollars over the last 19 years to support the efforts of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing to families of injured military members who are undergoing treatment. Group homes at Bethesda, Walter Reed, the VA, Dover AFB, and more than 60 locations across the country provide a comfortable place for loved ones to live while remaining close to their injured family members. Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “WMAL’s partnership over the last 19 years has been incredible. Their generous audience has given nearly $8 million, having a tremendous impact on military and veteran families. We are forever grateful.” WMAL program director and Cumulus VP/news/talk Bill Hess says, “The stories are compelling and inspiring, and the response from our WMAL listeners demonstrates the strong relationship between our talent and listeners. It’s the perfect start to the holiday season.”

Podtrac Ranks PodcastOne Among Top Podcast Publishers. According to a ranking by Podtrac, LiveOne’s PodcastOne is named to the list of Top Podcast Publishers. PodcastOne notes that Podtrac “provides the podcast industry’s only ranking of top publishers based on unique audience counts.” PodcastOne enters the listings ranked #12 as one of only two independent podcasting publishers in the Top 15. PodcastOne says its ranking “comes on the heels of the successes and strengths of tentpole podcasts ‘Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe,’ ‘The Jordan Harbinger Show,’ ‘LADYGANG’ and ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ as well as acquisitions of top performing programs such as ‘Baby Mamas No Drama,’ ‘True Crime All the Time Unsolved,’ and ‘This Is MONSTERS,’ which all saw significant audience growth since joining PodcastOne.” PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Being recognized by Podtrac with inclusion on the Top Publishers list is a testament to the hard work of the PodcastOne team both behind the mic and behind the scenes. We’re on track to post even bigger numbers in 2022 with a goal in mind to crack the Top 10 list.”

BBC’s Dylan Haskins Named to New York Festivals Radio Awards Advisory Board. The New York Festivals Radio Awards announces that BBC’s Dylan Haskins is appointed to the NYF Radio Awards Advisory Board. Haskins serves as commissioning executive for podcasts for BBC Sounds & BBC Radio 5 Live. He’s the 14th member of the prestigious New York Festivals Radio Awards Advisory Board, a brain trust of executives comprised of some of the radio industry’s most respected content creators and broadcast leaders from around the globe. These thought-leaders generously provide NYF’s Radio Awards with ongoing knowledge of emerging trends, critical industry insights, and a global perspective. Haskins says, “It’s a great honor to be asked to join the Advisory Board of the New York Festivals Radio Awards and to have the opportunity to help shape and advise the awards during such an exciting period of evolution in audio creativity, innovation, investment and audience habits. As a commissioner for a public service broadcaster, it’s also a time of challenge and competition from new commercial players but, in my experience, this is leading us all to be more ambitious, to go bigger on what makes us distinctive and to experiment and collaborate more where there are shared aims. All of this means radio and podcasts have never been better and a competition like the New York Festivals helps recognize this.” 2022 will be the 12th year New York Festivals has partnered with the annual NAB Show. This strategic partnership provides all attendees to the April 26, 2022, Storyteller’s Gala access to the multi-day NAB event. NAB is the ultimate marketplace for people passionate about media, entertainment, and technology. All Entries in the 2022 competition will be judged online by NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury of 200-plus producers, directors, writers, and other creative media professionals from around the globe. Award-winning entries will be showcased on the Radio Awards winners gallery. You can see the 2021 winner’s gallery here. Meanwhile, the deadline to enter the 2022 Radio Awards competition is February 9, 2022. See information about the competition and enter here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former longtime WGN, Chicago personality Nick Digilio is launching two new podcasts. In mid-January, the twice-weekly show “The Nick D Podcast” will debut. It will be a roundup of entertainment and pop culture, including reviews of movies, music, TV and books. His first guest will be Rich “Svengoolie” Koz. Digilio will then launch, “That Show Hasn’t Been Funny In Years: An SNL Podcast,” obviously focusing on the history of “Saturday Night Live” over its 47-year run. Both podcasts are produced by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network…..Red Apple Media is rolling out a national syndication initiative for its personalities heard on WABC, New York. The company has produced a series of video promos for the hosts and you can see them here……Westwood One is presenting play-by-play of one of college football’s oldest and most-storied rivalries, the ArmyNavy game, presented by USAA and taking place tomorrow (12/11) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 2:00 pm ET. The game is being called by John Sadak and Ross Tucker with Tina Cervasio handling sideline reporting duties and Jason Horowitz hosting the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows…..Audacy announces the launch of “Tapped Out,” a new MMA and boxing-focused show on BetQL Network. The show is co-hosted by Brendan Tobin, morning show host on WAXY, Miami “790 AM The Ticket” and Sean Levine, host on KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.” The show airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET…..SiriusXM and Pandora are teaming up with Audible to create “Chapter and Verse,” a new programming series that will blend conversations with some of the world’s top authors and the music and artists that inspire them. Listeners will hear directly from authors Nicholas Sparks, Wendy Walker, and Jonathan Maberry as they talk about their latest literary project and the unique, essential role that music plays in their work. Pandora VP of original digital content programming Bill Crandall says, “This new series brings our listeners more of what they love the most – great music and the personal, one-of-a-kind stories from some of the best storytellers around. We’re looking forward to hearing from some of the most popular writers and sharing their journeys and voices with our audiences.”

COVID-19 Variants, Vaccines, Mandates & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 6-10. The COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccine mandates and the politics surrounding the pandemic combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the supply chain backup, the labor shortage, inflation, and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill, followed by the January 6 investigation and Donald Trump’s influence on GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

| December 9, 2021

Talk Show Host Michael Berry is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. KTRH, Houston/independently syndicated radio talk show host Michael Berry is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Berry is heard live twice daily on Houston’s talk radio powerhouse KTRH. The first show airs between 8:00 am and 11:00 am and then he comes back between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. But, wait, that’s not all. An additional 25 formidable stations carry one or the other or both of these shows on an independent network that has grown out of his recognition as a break-out talent with a growing following of fans. This network stretches from upstate New York to Portland to Louisiana to Pensacola to Baton Rouge, Nashville, New Orleans, New Mexico and Alabama, with eight stations in Texas. Berry, the son of a maintenance worker for a chemical plant, is an attorney with two law degrees and an interesting history in politics. He began his often-controversial talk radio career in 2005 while still Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Houston. He’s married to the former Secretary of State of Texas, who is from India (and also a lawyer). They are parents of two adopted sons from Ethiopia – now teenagers. TALKERS research places him at number 15 on its most-listened-to radio talk show hosts list with a weekly audience of some 5 million people. He’s also ranked number 9 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. Harrison and Berry engage in a fascinating conversation about a number of topics including the impact of the COVID era on the psyche of American workers, the application of the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows” to today’s news/talk discussion, the differences between live radio and podcasting, Berry’s evolution from “yeller” to storyteller, and the syndrome of conservative talk show hosts often being unjustly accused of being proponents of racism and hate. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Faces Unionization of Podcast Network. After a majority of iHeartPodcast Network staffers signed union cards to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East, the Guild is calling on iHeartMedia to voluntarily recognize the union. According to a press release from the WGAE, “The approximately 125-member iHeartPodcast Network Bargaining Committee includes producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts based in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York CIty. The iHeartPodcast Network includes hit series like ‘Stuff You Should Know,’ ‘Fake Doctors, Real Friends,’ ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast,’ ‘Disgraceland,’ ‘Chelsea Handler: Life will be the Death of Me,’ ‘Noble Blood’ and ‘Committed,’ among many others.” In its “Why We’re Organizing” letter to iHM management, the organizing committee writes, in part: “We, the podcast producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of iHeartMedia, are thrilled to announce that we are unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. Months of discussion with our colleagues have clarified some things: First, we love the community we have created at iHeart. We work shoulder to shoulder with some of the most creative minds in the business, who have come to feel more like family. We are devoted and passionate storytellers who take pride in our ability to provide our listeners with entertaining, thought-provoking audio content and, most importantly, companionship. However, during difficult times, we are reminded that while the iHeart Digital Audio Group prides itself on its relative autonomy and ability to adapt to the shifting needs of the marketplace—much like a start-up—we work under the capacity constraints of a legacy broadcast conglomerate. Essentially, we have been encouraged to embrace the dynamism of start-up culture without any of the associated benefits. Throughout the unprecedented challenges of the last two years, we managed to seamlessly transition to remote work; our adaptability helped the company not just sustain but thrive during a period of economic uncertainty and social unrest. During team calls, town halls, and official email communications from leadership, we are frequently reminded of the financial gains that we helped make possible. Bob Pittman, CEO and chairman of iHeartMedia, reported during last month’s quarterly earnings call that Digital Audio revenue increased by 77 % compared to 2020. Our division’s significant growth was “driven primarily by continuing increases in demand for digital advertising and the continued growth of podcasting,” where revenue is up 184 % compared to 2020. Unfortunately, those gains have not reached the creators working round-the-clock to keep our audience of more than 30 million monthly listeners actively engaged. With hundreds of shows across all categories and genres, many of us are doing the work of multiple employees, and the huge volume of content we are responsible for is not met with equitable compensation. Furthermore, we lack transparency in workplace decision making, meaningful initiatives toward diversity and inclusion, fairness in managerial relationships, and clarity in divisions of labor. While we are proud to be an essential part of iHeartMedia’s success over the past few years, we are keenly aware of significant internal pay disparities between similarly positioned individuals within the company. And across the board, iHeartMedia’s overall compensation and benefits standards are wholly insufficient when compared to the greater podcast and scripted audio market. Due to these working conditions, the creators of iHeart’s podcasts have banded together in order to help determine the best path forward so that iHeart can remain competitive, retain existing talent, and attract new voices to the network, all while creating a more equitable, transparent, and democratic workplace.” Staffers are seeking: Appropriate compensation and benefits, accountability mechanisms regarding diversity and inclusion efforts, manageable workloads and appropriate staffing for shows, clear paths for advancement and standardized job descriptions, and job security. There’s been no official word from iHeartMedia yet.

Audacy Unveils Sports Betting Intensive ‘95.7 The Fan’ in Rochester. Rochester sports talk outlet WROC-AM adds FM translator W239BF to its broadcast and Audacy adjusts the programming to go sports betting intensive as “95.7 The Fan.” The station is using programming from the BetQL Network, CBS Sports Radio and keeps the local Buffalo Bills program “One Bills Live” in early afternoons as well as “The Sports Bar with Danger and Battaglia” (hosted by Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia) in PM drive. The station also continues to air as simulcasts of sister station WCMF’s flagship play-by-play coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. Audacy Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “In line with our company’s expansive position as leaders in sports audio, we’re delighted to enhance our sports content offering through the launch of ‘The Fan Rochester.’ Powered by widely recognizable BetQL and CBS Sports Radio programming, this station will give our local listeners more premier content from some of our brightest talent.”

KFI, Los Angeles Announces Record-Breaking 11th Annual Pastathon. Some of the staff of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI are pictured above at a remote broadcast for this year’s 11th annual KFI Pastathon that raised a record-breaking $933,502 and 115,324 pounds of pasta and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club, the local charity that provides more than 25,000 nutritious meals every week to children in need in Southern California. With the help of listeners, local businesses and the continued partnership with Barilla, this year’s event set a new fundraising record. Since 2010, KFI listeners have raised more than $4.5 million and over 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for children in need in the community. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “The KFI PastaThon is a full-station effort, and the biggest heroes are our listeners and partners. Every year, we reach new highs and that means more meals to feed more kids in Southern California. On behalf of the entire KFI team we thank the community for the remarkable generosity.”

Fargo’s ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ Radio Show Visits FOX Square in NYC. Pictured above are listeners to the “What’s on Your Mind?” show that airs on North Dakota stations KFYR, Bismarck; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga; and KLTC, Dickinson as they watch show host Scott Hennen (right) and FOX News Radio star Jimmy Failla (left) do a weather hit with FOX NewsJanice Dean (center). The group also was able to meet “FOX & Friends” co-star and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade and see the remnants of the now-famous burned Christmas tree.

Podcast Download Fall 2021: Big Three Expand Their Share. The just-released Fall 2021 edition of the Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download report focuses on how consumers access podcasts, what they want from a listening app, and attitudes and usage of the “big three” podcast publishers: Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and Spotify. As part of the study, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 media agencies and marketers and found: 71% say they have discussed the potential of advertising in podcasts; An all-time high of 53% are likely to consider advertising in the next six months, up from 46% last year and 18% in 2015; Another all-time high of 44% indicate they are likely to actually advertise in podcasts in the next six months, up from 37% last year and 10% in 2015; and 45% report they are currently advertising in podcasts, an increase of three times from 2015 and a nine-point growth over 2020. In another aspect of the report, MARU/Matchbox conducted an in-depth study of 600 weekly podcast listeners in October 2021. In the MARU study, weekly podcast listeners were provided a list of podcast listening platforms and asked how often they listened to each. Since 2019, frequent Spotify use jumped from 30% to 36%. With podcasts showcased right in their app, Spotify has helped lure more music streamers into podcasting. Versus two years ago, YouTube is stable (33% to 34%) while Apple Podcasts dropped (from 38% to 27%). Frequent use of Google’s apps (Google Play/Google Podcasts) dropped from 19% in 2019 to 16% in 2021. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Gallagher used the torching of the FOX News Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan to spur his Salem Radio Network listeners to action for the network’s annual Angel Tree campaign that helps children of prisoners through the non-profit Prison Fellowship. Gallagher told his listeners, “Let’s show everyone that there’s more good than evil in America.” As a result, yesterday (12/8) more than 1,000 children of prisoners were sponsored and will be blessed with personalized Christmas gifts plus a note from their incarcerated mom or dad. Gallagher added, “We proved that a positive message can overcome any negative news when we all pull together.”…..The Carey Brothers are ending their media efforts after 35 years. Morris and James Carey announce they will wrap their radio program after the December 25 edition and the final “Tip of the Day” feature will air nationally on December 31. The Carey Brothers did their first radio show on January 2, 1987 at KCBS-AM, San Francisco. The program went national in 1992 and at its peak aired on more than 300 affiliate stations.

COVID-19 Omicron Variant/Rising Case Numbers/Mandate Repeal, Russia Threatens Ukraine, Biden’s Summit for Democracy, Evergrande Defaults, Violent Crime Spike, January 6 Investigation, Social Media/Instagram Testimony, and Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The Omicron coronavirus variant, the rising case numbers in numerous U.S. states, and the Senate’s passing a repeal of Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Russia’s continuing military build-up at the Ukraine border; Russia and China criticize Joe Biden’s virtual Summit for Democracy taking place today and tomorrow; Chinese real estate giant Evergrande defaults causing concern of global investors; the violent crime spike in numerous American cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump loyalists’ refusal to cooperate; Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testifies at a Senate hearing on social media and teen safety; and the prosecution rests its case in the trial of Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

| March 3, 2021

January PPM Data – Most Significant Shifts. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian wraps his Ratings Takeaways from Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 PPM survey, noting, “January sweeps are notorious for producing massive fluctuations, as radio listening habits quickly shakeout following the cessation of wall-to-wall Christmas music by any market station (or stations). Muddying the waters in Nielsen Audio’s January 2021 ratings period (January 7 – February 3) was the continuation of a global pandemic; a uniquely-contested presidential election; and the aftermath of the January 6 domestic terrorism attack on the U.S. Capitol. In radio – and life – very few things lately have been transpiring ‘as usual.’” See his tally of the stations making the most significant ratings shifts here.

WDAY-AM, Fargo to Launch New Local Late Morning Show. The program, “The Coffee Club,” will be hosted by Paul Bougie (right) and Janae White (left) and will air from 8:30 am to 11:00 am on news/talk WDAY-AM/K226CL, effective March 22. WDAY is owned by Forum Communications but is being operated by Flag Family Media – owner of WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” and KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota “AM 1090 The Flag.” The new show will fill the slot that’s been occupied by a simulcast of the WZFG-based “What’s On Your Mind?” show hosted by Flag Family Media principal Scott Hennen and Todd Mitchell.

‘104.5 The Zone’ Nashville Names Buck Reising Midday Host. Sports journalist Buck Reising joins Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” as host of the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show, effective today (3/3). Reising – a frequent guest on “The Zone” – is a journalist with A to Z Sports and also hosts the podcasts “615 Sessions” and “A to Z Sports Primetime.” In addition to the new weekday show, Reising will be adding original podcasts, and will continue hosting the aforementioned podcasts, with more collaboration between WGFX and A to Z Sports likely. WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “Buck Reising is everything you want in a talent in 2021. He has demonstrated with A to Z Sports an unmatched ability to connect with a diverse audience in the digital space. I look forward to that continuing, along with Buck’s new role on The Zone’s on-air lineup, making him the ultimate dual threat in Nashville sports!” Reising says, “I’m incredibly excited to start this new opportunity with ‘104.5 The Zone.’ I don’t love anything the way I love this city and the people in it. The content will be different, diverse, and occupy every possible media space.”

ASU and Former Student Radio Station Manager Settle ‘Free Speech’ Case. According to a report at AZCentral, Arizona State University and student Rae’Lee Klein have reached a settlement in her First Amendment suit against the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and school interim dean Kristin Gilger. Klein was suspended from her position as manager of the student-run radio station Blaze Radio after a fellow student complained about a tweet Klein sent in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August that read: “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” The radio board voted to remove her from her manager position but offered her other job alternatives. Klein sued for $500,000 was eventually settled for $7,040. Klein, who is still a student at the school, tells AZCentral she’s happy the parties have come to agreement. Attorney David Bodney, who represented the school, says the case was not about Klein’s First Amendment rights. “We never attempted to restrict her speech. Indeed, she spoke freely throughout this controversy. Rather, it was her conduct after the tweet, which demonstrated her inability to lead the station, that ultimately led to her removal.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Total Traffic & Weather Network extends its partnership with road-facing camera network Vizzion to give TTWN broadcast partners access to Vizzion’s nationwide aggregated traffic camera network, including imagery and live-feeds, for use in traffic and weather reports. Under this extended partnership, Vizzion’s camera feeds will also continue to be available as part of TTWN’s traffic presentation systems providing broadcasters with visual confirmation of traffic information and adding color to on-air traffic reports…..Veteran film producer Jonathan Glickman’s Glickmania Media and iHeartMedia, announce a joint venture that will include a two-year podcast co-production deal, focusing on a slate of original music-driven podcasts across many genres. As part of the deal, Glickmania and iHeartMedia will aim to release a minimum of two new podcasts per year together. The collaboration will kick off with this summer’s “Unsung” series, which will be created in partnership with Story Pirates, creators of the number one podcast for kids. Additional co-produced titles will include the horror-musical “Diane’s Inferno” starring Maya Hawke and Yungblud, written and directed by Lisa Duva with original music overseen by executive producer Zach Dawes; “Lost You On The Dance Floor,” a murder mystery set against the rise and fall of the disco phenomenon, penned by renowned music journalist Matt Diehl; and from Jonathan Ezra and Robbie Roth comes the musical drama/journalism series, “Ballad Of An Outlaw,” which considers would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr.’s integration back into society…..SiriusXM announces that “The Bonfire,” co-hosted by comedians Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder returns to the Faction Talk channel weeknights from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. SiriusXM will also produce “The Bonfire” podcast.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Texas and Mississippi End Mandates, Stimulus Bill Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, SCOTUS Voting Rights Case, Tanden Nomination Pulled, Dr. Seuss Books Retired, and Biden Sanctions Russia Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/2). The falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the governors of Texas and Mississippi end mask mandates and occupancy restrictions; the debate in the Senate over the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments over Arizona’s voting rights case; the White House withdraws the nomination of Neera Tanden for budget director; Dr. Seuss Enterprises agrees to cease publishing six books that contain racist imagery; and the Biden administration puts sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

| November 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Down 22%. The earnings report from iHeartMedia for the third quarter of 2020 shows the media company in a slightly better situation than some of its similar-sized competitors as revenue was $744 million, a decrease of 22% over the same period in 2019. (Cumulus Media and Entercom were both down 30% and Beasley was down 25%.) iHeartMedia says that its third quarter revenue was up “53% sequentially, moving from down 47% [year-over-year] in Q2 to down 22% [year-over-year] in Q3. The company adds that October revenue increased 2%, benefitting from significant political advertising and digital revenue increased 17% [year-over-year]. Breaking the report down by segment, broadcast revenue declined 29% from $573 million in Q3 2019 to $404 million this year but increased 66% quarter-over-quarter. Networks revenue declined 26% from $160 million to $119 million but increased 24% quarter-over-quarter. Digital revenue increased 17%, from $97 million to $113 million, led by a 74% increase in podcasting revenue. iHeartMedia posted a loss of $32 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the net income of $12 million in Q3 of 2019.

iHM’s Pittman: Podcasting Already Profitable for Us. During yesterday’s investors conference call, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman explained the success of its podcasting segment. He said, “Podcasting continues to be our strongest performing business line, reflecting the fact that we built iHeart into the number one commercial podcast publisher in America, with 252 million downloads a month as of September, which is up 71% year-over-year. In Q3, as measured by Podtrac, we were number one in downloads each month. Our audience continues to be more than twice the size of the next largest commercial podcaster. And we extend that our lead over all other ranked podcasters. Let me share with you our model. We partner with the best content creators in the world – some of whom are our very own radio talent – distribute their content to the largest audience possible without a paywall, and use the unparalleled scale of our broadcast radio business as a built-in marketing machine to drive engagement with our podcast shows. We feel this is an important part of our secret sauce. It’s how we continue to build hit podcast after hit podcast, and how we continue to grow our leadership position. According to Podtrac’s latest data, not only are we number one overall, but we currently have the most shows featured across all categories, and we have ranked shows featured in all 19 possible categories, the most among all publishers. Let me be clear, podcasting is already a profitable business for us, and has an EBITDA margin that is higher than the overall company margin. Our podcast business is advertiser supported, it’s not subscription based, and it’s not behind a paywall, which enables our creators to share their passion with the widest audience possible, as we distribute their podcast not only on the iHeartRadio app, but across as many other distribution platforms as possible.”

Entercom Closes on $32 Million Acquisition of QL Gaming Group. According to a press release, Entercom Communications’ acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group will give Entercom “unrivaled data, analytics, and insight-driven content to Entercom’s best-in-class sports broadcast stations, influential podcasts, and RADIO.COM.” The QLGG technology portfolio includes sports betting data and analytical capabilities (BetQL), daily fantasy sports (RotoQL), simulation-based sports outcome predictions and game forecasting (AccuScore), and comprehensive analytical coverage of the ATP and WTA Tours (TennisInsight.com), each with respective subscriber base and licensing opportunities. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “As the sports betting marketplace continues to grow exponentially, the acquisition of QL Gaming Group is a perfect fit for our unrivaled sports audio platform. Integrating QL’s analytics and content with our sports brands enables us to deliver unparalleled experiences for sports fans. The acquisition builds on our track record of digital growth and further enhances our direct-to-consumer technology portfolio with data and analytics capabilities, while also adding an innovative new subscription offering to our platform.” Justin Park, QLGG co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead the business reporting to Entercom president of sports Mike Dee and Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley. Entercom adds that in 2021, under the company’s first full year of ownership, QL Gaming Group is expected to generate approximately $12 million in revenue with an EBITDA margin in the high 20s.

Flag Family Media Partners with Forum Communications to Operate WDAY-AM, Fargo. A deal between Flag Family Media and Forum Communications will give the former “an extensive role in WDAY-AM’s day-to-day operations and provides an eventual path to ownership.” Flag Family Media owns news/talk outlets WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota “AM 1090 The Flag.” Both of Flag Family Media’s principals – Steve Hallstrom and Scott Hennen – have worked at WDAY-AM in the past. Forum president and CEO Bill Marcil, Jr says, “This partnership allows us to focus our attention on our in-depth TV, digital, and print news operations while still sustaining a strong local radio presence in the region. We know Flag Family Media will honor the legacy of WDAY-AM and are looking forward to seeing how they transform our region’s radio experience.” Scott Hennen adds, “This is an extremely significant day for our company, and we look forward to learning from, and working with, some great professionals at WDAY Radio. Steve and I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and bring some energy and creativity to this legendary radio station.”

WOR, New York’s Michael Riedel Publishes New Broadway Book. WOR, New York morning drive co-host Michael Riedel has released his second book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 2020), that chronicles “a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers. In this book, Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on. Riedel, who co-hosts the WOR morning show with Len Berman, says, “I’m a newspaper guy who’s become a radio guy. It’s been my great pleasure to host the morning show with Len Berman on WOR for nearly three years. Len spent his life in sports. I spent mine on Broadway. We certainly talk a lot about politics and current events, but variety is the spice of life, so sports and Broadway are always in the mix. Broadway’s going through a tough time right now, but my book, recounts a better time – the 1990s. I have no doubt that Broadway will be back one day, and Len and I will be there to cheer it on.”

TALKERS News Notes. As eyes and ears shift to Georgia for the January 5 runoff elections to decide that state’s two U.S. Senate races, Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher’s syndicated late morning talk show will “parachute into Georgia in December” as he launches a “Save The Senate” initiative. Gallagher will use Salem’s WGKA-AM, Atlanta “AM920 The ANSWER” as his December base to follow what promises to be the most expensive runoff election in U.S. history. Gallagher says, “This pair of runoff elections in Georgia will be enormously consequential for America. I’m eager to originate my show from the studios of ‘AM 920 The ANSWER’ in Atlanta for a number of days in December, highlighting the dramatic differences between the Republicans and the Democrats in the race. It is all-hands-on-deck for Georgia!”…..The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Public Radio’s WVXU-FM had to shut down its operations after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the station is without much local content until further notice. It posted to its website: “Our programming is being provided through a national feed with limited local information. We apologize for this inconvenience and are doing everything possible to maintain the service you expect. We will return to normal operations as quickly as it is safe to do so.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 2020 Masters Tournament with exclusive hole-by-hole coverage beginning Thursday (11/12) through Sunday (11/15). The 84th Masters Tournament from Augusta National Golf Club is being played in November for the first time…..San Francisco public news/talk personality Michael Krasny is retiring from his position with KQED-FM where he’s been host of the late morning “Forum” program for almost 30 years. His last program will be on February 15, 2021. He says, “I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of Forum. I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.”

Biden Transition Process/Trump Refuses to Concede, Barr Orders ‘Irregularities’ Investigations, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Pfizer Vaccine, SCOTUS Obamacare Case, Trump Fires Esper, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). President-Elect Joe Biden proceeds with the transition process while President Trump refuses to concede the election; Attorney General Bill Barr orders Justice Department election crimes office to investigate voter “irregularities”; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for fall and winter cases; Pfizer announces its COVID vaccine is 90% effective; the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on the Affordable Care Act; President Trump fires Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appoints Christopher Miller acting secretary; and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio on-air pro Brooke Taylor is named midday host at iHeartMedia’s WSIX-FM, Nashville “The BIG 98.” Taylor was most recently with the company’s Chicago country station “BIG 95.5” until that station’s recent flip to a rock format. Taylor will continue to host the night show for iHeartMedia Denver’s “107.7 The Bull” and broadcast on several iHeartCountry stations across the country. She says, “When I set out to work in country music, one of the first things I prayed for was to be in Nashville one day, and the fact that this is becoming a reality is honestly a dream come true. I can’t wait to join an already incredible team at ‘The BIG 98’ and to represent the iHeartCountry brand.”…..Alpha Media Lincoln names Joe Dobbins, a.k.a. JDub, content director for CHR KFRX. JDub comes to Lincoln from Alpha’s CHR WDJX, Louisville where he was content director and afternoon show host. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “Joe is an outstanding programmer with outstanding vision. He is the perfect leader for our staff and for the brand of a great heritage CHR like KFRX.”…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” announces that its fourth annual #Change4Change broadcast will feature a day of giving to help listeners in need. Traditionally a radiothon, this year’s event will grant wishes to listeners experiencing hardship. #Change4Change will broadcast on Thursday, November 19, 2020 on hip hop WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” and across more than 77 affiliates of “The Breakfast Club.”…..WXKB, Fort Myers “B103.9FM” morning personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones, in conjunction with ABC 7, raising awareness and support for Home Base Southwest Florida Veteran and Family Care on Veterans Day (11/11). Jones also hosts Beasley Media Group’s “Bravery Network,” a weekend program dedicated to shining a light on important issues and services available for veterans and their families. He says, “I am very excited about this partnership. Being able to use the power of radio and television to help raise awareness and money for the veterans of Southwest Florida. I am planning some ‘star’-studded guest for the day that will not only make show informative but very entertaining as well.”…..The CHR evening show “Party LiveLine!” partners with Sun Broadcast Group effective immediately. The program was created by John Garabedian and his hosted by Mason Kelter. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “Broadcasters are worried about the loss of TSL among 18-34-year-olds, who spend extraordinary amounts of time with streaming services on their mobile devices. Add to this the negative effects which RIFs and voicetracking have had on the ratings of Top 40 stations, and until now there were no good alternatives. That’s why we are so excited to be offering this breakthrough Top 40 night show which is 100% live and interactive.”