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Pending Business: Future Sales

| July 6, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The caption on the screen during a CNBC report read, “The Future is Audio.” The CNBC anchors were breaking down the recent audio integrations on Facebook. Last week another large radio group blended traditional programming and digital content into one executive position.

Agree or disagree with combining is not for us to debate here. As a talk radio seller or sales manager, the real task is to get a better understanding of what’s ahead. The good news in this upcoming convergence is you should be well positioned to sell into a reboot of the talk radio/audio sales landscape. Think about the different ways the talk radio/audio audience engages with the content your on-air talent is creating. Let’s start with the distribution platforms:

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

| June 16, 2021

Where Have All the Sales Reps Gone? That’s the question radio sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr asks in a column published in TALKERS today. Carr notes that during her tenure selling at WRKO, Boston, the in-person training sessions and sales meetings were invaluable to sellers, as was the intense competition among the sales staff. “We had a lot of fun, but it was a serious sales atmosphere. With so many people working from home [now], I fear that this environment of training, support, jealousy and rage may be gone forever. How motivated are you really when you don’t know what your colleagues/competitors are doing? Those meetings with managers were inspirational and we had constant training.” Read her column here.

WTMJ, Milwaukee Morning Host Gene Mueller to Retire. Longtime Milwaukee radio personality Gene Mueller is retiring from the radio business after more than 40 years on the air. Mueller is currently host of “Wisconsin’s Morning News” on Good Karma Brands’ “Newsradio 620 WTMJ.” He’ll continue to host the morning program through February of 2022. Mueller recently told listeners, “As hard as it may be for some to believe, the thrill of getting up at 1:45 am each weekday morning has finally worn off after 44 years. I hear there’s this thing called ‘sunrise’ that I’d really like to witness in person on a regular basis as I live in a world where there are no deadlines and every day feels like Saturday. I’ve been blessed with fantastic opportunities over the course of my career, not the least of which was the one I had the past 14 years to host ‘Wisconsin’s Morning News,’ accompanied by so many talented teammates and such supportive management.” Good Karma VP and market manager Steve Wexler comments, “Gene has informed and entertained generations of listeners. He is beloved by so many people in our community because of the authentic, personal connection he’s made with them over the air and in person. We can’t thank him enough for his years of early wake-ups, his commitment to our stations and our community, and of course his sense of humor.” Mueller is expected to continue his work with select advertising partners on WTMJ and contribute occasional content to the station after he leaves the morning show.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Signs Contract Extension with iHeartMedia. WTKS-FM, Orlando “Real Radio 104.1” morning host Russ Rollins and iHeartMedia agreed to a multi-year contract extension for the leader of the ensemble show titled “Monsters in the Morning.” Rollins says, “I am so very happy and proud of the show we have now. The program has always made a lot of changes and now is very enjoyable for me. I truly love this company and the cast members that make me look good every day. The overwhelming talent of Angel, Carlos, Ryan, Angelique, Savannahand D-Strong keeps me excited to keep broadcasting here at iHeartRadio. I am ‘Real Radio’ for life!” iHeartMedia Orlando SVP of programming Rick Everett says, “I’m excited for the next chapter of the ‘Monsters in the Morning’ on ‘Real Radio 104.1.’  I’ve been amazed over the last 24 years that I’ve worked with Russ and watched him reinvent the ‘Monsters’ brand and see the show continue to perform as one of the top morning shows in Central Florida.”

TALKERS 2021 Was a Success! The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, took place this past Friday (6/11) on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event was a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV spoke during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. Due to strict regulations adhering to COVID-19 protocols, attendance was limited to a sellout crowd of 175 people which was reached about a week prior to the event. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We were delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – and be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra was equipped to provide. The convention achieved its goal to boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” TALKERS will be posting extensive coverage of the event in the days to come including video documentation recorded under the direction of Art Vuolo covering every speech, presentation and panel discussion. Stay tuned for details.

Pictured above taking part on the “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Bruce Avery, general manager, WRHU Radio; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Walter Sterling, talk host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Gary Krantz, CEO Krantz Media Group; Chris Oliviero, SVP/market manager, Audacy New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Dr. Ira Nash, SVP/executive director, Northwell Health Physicians Partners, who introduced the panel. (Not pictured is panel moderator Michael Harrison)

Pictured above taking part on the “Maintaining Integrity in Times of Political and Cultural Change” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on June 11 are (from l-r): Rich Zeoli, talk host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Juliet Huddy, talk host, WABC, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk host, Genesis Communications Network; Lisa Wexler, talk host WICC, Bridgeport, CT/Connecticut Probate Judge; Larry Young, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; Dr. Lisa Mozer, talk host, WSIC, Statesville, NC; and Lee Harris, morning drive news anchor, WINS, New York.

Mark Chernoff to Guest Host Saturday Show on WCBS-FM, New York. Longtime Audacy programming executive – PD and brand manager for sports talk WFAN and CBS Sports Radio – Mark Chernoff is leaving the company after June 30. Before he goes, however, he’ll get a chance to spin records once again on Audacy’s classic hits WCBS-FM this Saturday night (6/19) from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Although he’s associated with WFAN, Chenoff began in radio playing records while a student at Rutgers University. He says, “I’ve always had a love for classic rock, oldies, classic hits – any kind of rock and roll – and having been a DJ for many years, I thought it would be a lot of fun as my days wind down at WFAN to get the opportunity to be a music jock one more time on our extremely successful classic hits station. WCBS-FM is a station I’ve long admired and respected through the years, having had an array of great jocks and program directors and played a lot of great music throughout all of their formats.” During his time with the company, Chernoff was responsible for programming the former WNEW-FM and the former “K-Rock.” Chernoff adds, “I’ve always been in these two worlds of music and sports, but for me, it’s getting back to my roots, where my first passion in radio was on the music end. Things developed nicely into 28 great years at WFAN, but I’ve always loved being on the music end. Having my roots as a DJ from 1976 until even into 1993, I thought a fun way to end my days with the company would be to go back to my roots and play some rock and roll records.”

Salem Unveils Salem Influencer Network. The sales division of Salem Media Group – Salem Media Representatives – announces the formation of the Salem Influencer Network, a new entity focused on connecting brands with the fans of leading Christian social media influencers. The company says the Salem Influencer Network “is a powerful vehicle to help clients reach the 18-34 young adult generation who are establishing their brand loyalties that will likely continue for decades.” Salem Media Representatives SVP Mike Reed states, “For years, Salem Media Representatives has been helping our advertising clients reach Christian and politically conservative consumers through multi-media advertising campaigns. A frequent request for our clients is to bring them more influencers. Over the last few years, we’ve been meeting the leading Christian YouTubers and Instagrammers who told us they needed representation they could trust to present them to major brands. We decided we needed to get into this world, and www.SalemInfluencers.com was born.” The company says that influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing areas in the advertising world. In 2020, influencers and paid content took the biggest share of digital ad budgets (20%) according to Sarah Bolton, Advertiser Perceptions VP/business intelligence. According to Business Inside Intelligence based on Mediakix data, by 2022, brands are expected to spend $15 billion in influencer marketing. Brands such as CVS, Felix Gray, Kroger, Steve Madden, Bose, Prison Fellowship and World Vision have already tapped into various Salem Influencer Network influencers.

Biden-Putin Summit/Russian War Games, COVID-19, Soaring Housing Market, Cryptocurrency, Juneteenth Holiday, Kamala Harris Latin America Trip, and Western Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Today’s summit between President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Russian Navy’s war games taking place near Hawaii; the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and speculation about the Wuhan Lab origin of the coronavirus; the hot housing market and concerns about a bubble reminiscent of 2008; the up and down value of the world’s cryptocurrency; the U.S. Senate makes June 19 – Juneteenth – a federal holiday; criticism of Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the intense heat affecting much of the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 24, 2021

| May 24, 2021

Monday Memo: Boozy Bartenders. After interviewing local direct retail talk radio advertisers, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that programmers’ personal politics – “daily doom-N-gloom” – are at-odds-with listeners’ mindset, “upbeat as America re-opens.” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Next. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says, “The days of passive audio engagement are rapidly ending. The days of appointment radio are waning as the listening consumer is in greater control of audio decisions.” For the news/talk seller this can be great news if sales management guides them properly. See his column here.

COVID-19 Vaccines & Stats, Wuhan Lab Outbreak Report, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire/Attacks on Jews, Critical Race Theory, Belarus Plane ‘High-Jacking,’ Anti-Abortion Laws, and Cryptocurrency Slump Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns about vaccine hesitancy; a report indicating several staffers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became infected with COVID in fall of 2019; President Joe Biden scales back his infrastructure plan to $1.7 trillion to woo Republicans; the cease-fire between the IDF and Hamas and increasing incidents of attacks on Jews in the U.S.; increased reports of parents fighting their school districts over the teaching of “critical race theory”; Belarus comes under pressure after forcing a Ryanair flight to return so it could arrest a journalist critical of President Alexander Lukashenko; the anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and last week’s cryptocurrency slump were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

‘Voelker and Bahl’ New Afternoon Show at Sports Talk WTMM, Albany. Air talent changes are taking place at Townsquare Media’s Albany sports talk outlet WTMM “104.5 The Team.” Effective June 1, former UAlbany associate athletic director of external affairs Charlie Voelker – who also hosts WTMM’s “Sunday Sports Buzz” – is joining Dan Bahl as co-host of the new “Voelker and Bahl” afternoon drive show. Voelker takes over for Jeff Levack who is leaving his full-time role with the station to become head of media relations for Tech East Fire and Water Restoration. He’ll remain with WTMM for special on-air and online projects. About joining the station full time, Voelker says, “I am extremely excited to entertain Capital Region sports fans on ‘The Team’ every afternoon. It is an amazing opportunity to join Dan talking sports and all that implies! I want to congratulate my friend Levack on his new opportunity and I’ll fill those shoes proudly.” WTMM brand manager Dan Bahl adds, “I have loved working with Jeff both on and off-air. I am very excited to have Charlie join me on the afternoon show and look forward to us providing local sports fans with entertaining content on-air and online.”

iHeartMedia Sells Tampa Studio Facility for $3.8 Million. According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, iHeartMedia has agreed to sell its Gandy Boulevard facility in Tampa to LBA LVF VII XII Company LLC for $3.8 million. The studios house news/talk WFLA and numerous music-formatted stations. iHeartMedia has made no announcements about its plans for relocating the radio stations and it’s not clear when the deal closes.

WNXX-FM, Baton Rouge Host Charles Hanagriff Leaves Full-Time Role. The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that Charles Hanagriff is leaving his full-time sports talk host gig with Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk WNXX-FM, Baton Rouge. Hanagriff is exiting the midday host role to take a position with Match Point. He will continue to serve with the station in a part-time sitting in with Jimmy Ott on his evening “Gametime” program and will anchor the LSU football post-game show during football season.

WFAS-AM, White Plains Goes All-Digital Today. Today (5/24) is the day that Cumulus Media’s talk outlet WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York transitions to broadcasting solely in a digital format. Cumulus received permission from the FCC to make the change last month. That came in the wake of the FCC’s October 2020 ruling that allows AM radio stations to operate using all-digital broadcast signals. As of today, only radios equipped with HD radio technology will be able to receive and play the station programming. Cumulus says, “The HD Radio signal offers improved sound quality and clear reception to an expanded listening area. The new digital signal now reaches beyond Westchester County, NY and into large portions of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan), the north shore of Long Island, northern New Jersey, and Fairfield County, CT. Listeners can access AM1230Digital’s signal through an HD Radio receiver, available in most newer car models, or by streaming either online, with a mobile app, or with a smart speaker.”

Binnie Media Radiothon Raises $200K for Veterans Charity. Pictured above (center) is “Good Morning NH” host Jack Heath on May 19, the day of Binnie Media’s 7th Annual “Make 12 Hours Count” Radiothon that benefitted Easter Seals NH Military & Veterans Services and Veterans Count. With Heath are (from l-r): Trooper Chris Elphick of the NH Major Crime Unit, Navy Seal Dave Rogers (retired), Heath, Trooper First Class Joshua Beauchemin, and Lieutenant Sean Haggerty. The radiothon raised more than $200,000 this year. It was simulcast across Binnie Media’s “Pulse of NH” stations WTPL-FM, WTSN-FM, and WEMJ-FM, and received support from the company’s music stations. Over the past seven years, the radiothon has raised more than $1.1 million.

Michael Harrison “Animal Tour” Enters Fourth Week.  “I Know You’re Real” is a Hit on YouTube with over 31,000 Views. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison is entering the fourth week of his virtual “Animal Tour” – a series of talk media interviews on radio, TV, and in print in support of his new music album with the historic rock band Gunhill RoadWhat Year Is This! and the animal welfare anthem, “I Know You’re Real.” This past week, Harrison has appeared on Doug Stephan’s “DJV” morning show as well as his “American Family Farmer” and “Your Hidden Powers” programs. He also appeared on Kevin McCullough’s “Radio Night LIVE” syndicated show and John Batchelor’s “CBS Eye on the World” podcast.  To listen to the conversation between Batchelor and Harrison, please click here. Harrison has already appeared on the Jim Bohannon Show (Westwood One), the Harry Hurley Show (WPG, Atlantic City), “Sterling on Sunday” with Walter Sterling and “The Big Picture” with Holland Cooke on RT America. To view the music video version of “I Know You’re Real (spoken version)” featuring Harrison reciting the lyrics he wrote, please click here. Harrison will continue the tour into the summer. To book him on a talk show, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.

Pending Business: Next

| May 24, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ready for the next round of re-discovering audio? I hope so, because it’s arrived and ready for your sales talent. Or, are you still stuck selling 60- or 30-second packages? Wake up, smell the coffee, and read on.

Last week Amazon and Group M opened the door to a next level opportunity for audio. You know where this all winds up, right?

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Monday, May 3, 2021

| May 3, 2021

Monday Memo: Meet Meg. While syndicated shows compete to fill former Rush Limbaugh hours, some stations are reverting to local hosts. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke introduces you to “a radio newcomer who quickly clicked.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The Long and Winding Road. The seller who needs to provide metrics in a highly accountable media landscape and has no “numbers” to show could be at a competitive disadvantage. But sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa offers strategy for selling news/talk radio when your station doesn’t subscribe to a ratings service. Read it here.

Cardle and Woolley Join KJCE, Austin for Mornings. Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk 1370AM” announces the addition of the “Cardle and Woolley” morning news and talk program to its program schedule in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Jim Cardle (left) is publisher of the online political newsletter TexasInsider.org and has more than 30 years of connections and experience across the political spectrum, from his years on Capitol Hill and the George H.W. Bush administration, to years of working with elected officials from across the state. Lynn Woolley (right) brings more than 30 years of talk radio experience from markets across Texas, including more than 24 years as host of the syndicated “The Lynn Woolley Show,” heard in several Texas markets. He’s also worked as a radio news anchor in Dallas and Austin, a political writer for The Dallas Morning News and The Epoch Times and has worked on the ad agency side of the business in his native Temple and across much of Central Texas. Audacy Austin SVP and market manager Bob Mackay says, “We are excited to provide Austin and central Texas with a new local outlet to join the conversation on issues and concerns people have that affect our area. The combination of Jim’s and Lynn’s opinions and perspectives will be informative and entertaining as we aim to serve the community.”

Cumulus Media Bids Adieu to WTOD-FM, Toledo; Moves ‘The Ticket’ to WQQO-HD2. With Saturday’s closing on Cumulus Media’s sale of Toledo radio station WTOD-FM to Delmarva Educational, Cumulus announces that the sports talk format “The Ticket ESPN” moves to WQQO-HD2. Cumulus Toledo/Monroe VP and market manager Dana DiModica says, “We are sad to see a station like WTOD leave our cluster but are excited to move forward with the change on 100.7 to ESPN sports and to still carry our alternative rock format, now on 94.5’s HD signal. We were fortunate enough to keep all our employees, and that is always our ultimate goal while carrying great programming for our loyal listeners in Northwest Ohio.” “The Ticket ESPN” is home to Cleveland Browns pre-game and post-game shows, Bowling Green State University sports and Central Catholic sports.

iHeartMedia Dayton to Move to New Offices in Dayton Arcade. WDTN-TV, Dayton is reporting that iHeartMedia’s Dayton stations will move into the historic Dayton Arcade in downtown Dayton with the move-in date expected sometime in late September. The iHeartMedia Dayton cluster includes sports talk WONE-AM “980 FOX Sports,” WIZE “Black Information Network, and six music brands. Market president Dave Litteral says, “We are thrilled to be part of the transformation of this historic landmark and bring our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the innovation Space and Arts Centers in the Arcade will cement our commitment to the Downtown Dayton Business District. It’s really the perfect location for iHeartMedia Dayton.”

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend program, “Cindy Stumpo is Tough as Nails,” launches its fourth season on iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM, Boston. Cindy Stumpo hosts the program that airs Saturday nights at 8:00 pm with her daughter Samantha. iHeartMedia says that on the program, “Cindy unpacks the world of construction, real estate, renovations, design and more with help of expert guests. Cindy is known for her raw and uncensored perspective on everything about being a woman who has been successful in the male dominated construction and development industry. Almost nothing is off limits: panic attacks, menopause, abuse, domestic violence, we never know what’s next. Cindy’s social media presence is unstoppable with over 75,000 followers on Instagram and videos on her YouTube Channel regularly garnering 100,000-plus views. Cindy has shown that she is a multimedia force.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s IBA webinar series continues this week with “The FCC EEO Rules and How to Survive Them,” taking place Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Veteran telecom lawyer Gregg Skall will put owners and managers on the path to successful license renewal and FCC EEO audit survival, without FCC fines and sanctions. Most importantly, this one webinar will provide full credit for stations by training management on compliance with FCC EEO requirements. The webinar is for member stations only. See information about joining the IBA here…..This month is the fourth annual Maryland Podcast Month. Founded in 2018, Maryland Podcast Month brings together podcasts of all stripes to “cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.” Maryland Podcast Month is non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced conduct, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows. Founder Brian Griffiths says, “Maryland Podcast Month is all about shining a light on locally produced content. In this time of social distancing, there is no better way to connect to others and connect to our community and topics of interest than through podcasting. Maryland podcasters are still producing great content, and they deserve a bigger spotlight.” For the first time, Maryland Podcast Month is sponsoring the Maryland Podcast Awards. Winners will be announced on Wednesday (5/5).

Michael Harrison Embarks Upon Talk Media “Animal Tour.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has begun a series of talk media interviews on radio, TV, and in print in support of his new music album with the historic rock band Gunhill Road, What Year Is This! and the animal welfare anthem, “I Know You’re Real.” This past week, Harrison has appeared on the Jim Bohannon Show (Westwood One), the Harry Hurley Show (WPG, Atlantic City), “Sterling on Sunday” with Walter Sterling and “The Big Picture” with Holland Cooke on RT America (pictured above). Harrison and Cooke discussed animal welfare as well as the state of media and journalism in the digital era. To view the segment that ran this Friday evening (4/30) please click here. To view the music video version of “I Know You’re Real (spoken version)” featuring Harrison reciting the lyrics he wrote, please click here. Harrison will continue the tour into the spring. To book him on a talk show, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Announces Non-Profit Status. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. organization announces that it has officially achieved designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. The volunteer organization, formerly known as the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group, consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills. The benefits of this IRS structure include additional sponsorship options that will aid in expanding MIW’s reach, enhance mentoring opportunities and magnify MIW’s mission of strengthening radio’s next generation of female leadership. The MIWs have dedicated the past 20 years to this vision. Since its inception, the organization has published an annual Gender Analysis Study that tracks percentages of women placed in senior management roles. Additionally, MIW presents educational panels and networking opportunities at radio broadcasting conferences and collaborates with other industry groups aligned with furthering women’s careers in radio. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Today’s announcement is the culmination of one of MIW’s most ambitious long-range goals. It could not have been done without the leadership of our board treasurer, Valerie Blackburn, and the pro bono work of Foster Garvey PC, we are indebted to them both. We are equally grateful to so many who volunteered their time and expertise to MIW, from the very beginning of the MIW Group in 2000, to those in subsequent years whose participation ensured the continuation of our organization. Each of these women, and men, along with our generous and loyal corporate sponsors, represents a unique and important brick in the MIW foundation.”

COVID-19, Border Crisis/Deadly San Diego Boat Accident, Biden’s ‘American Families Plan,’ Texas Special Congressional Election, Severe Weather in the South, and the NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the skyrocketing death toll in India; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the deadly boat accident near San Diego allegedly involving smuggling; President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; two Republicans will face a runoff after beating the Democrat in the special election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District; severe weather in the South hits Tupelo, Mississippi and threatens more of the region today; and the 2021 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.