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Binnie Media Names Michael Czarnecki Director of Brand Operations. Radio programming pro Michael Czarnecki is named director of brand operations for Binnie Media, owner and operator of 15 signals in New Hampshire and Maine. Czarnecki joins the company from iHeartMedia where he most recently served as program director of WONK-FM (WWDC-HD2) Washington DC. Before that, Czarnecki was program director for iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston. At Binnie Media, Czarnecki will work alongside Binnie Media VP of programming Heath Cole, who says, “In his new role, Michael will work closely with our marketing, promotions, news/talk, and music initiatives in all formats. We are very excited to have Michael joining us on the programming leadership team.” Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati adds, “Michael’s skillset and energy combine to make him the perfect addition at Binnie Media.” Czarnecki, who began his radio career at WGIR in Manchester, New Hampshire, comments, “I am thrilled to be joining the Binnie media team. This is a return home for me, it’s full circle. Special thanks to Massimo Rosati and Heath Cole for making this incredible opportunity possible.”
SuperTalk Mississippi Unveils ‘SuperTalk Mississippi Outdoors with Ricky Mathews.’ The new weekly program “SuperTalk Outdoors with Ricky Mathews” will air on Mondays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm across the 12-station SuperTalk Mississippi network. Mathews is the former publisher of the Times-Picayune, NOLA.com, Mobile Press-Register, and the Sun-Herald. He retired in 2016 as president of Advance Southeast before joining SuperTalk Mississippi Media as the host of “Coast Vue” in January of 2020. He says, “Enjoying the outdoors is a big part of our Mississippi heritage. It’s part of our DNA in this state. Hunting or fishing or just simply soaking up the endless number of other outdoor recreational activities is at the core of this great state. I’m thrilled to be the host of this new show.” SuperTalk Mississippi Media owner Steve Davenport states, “Ricky has been a compass for our company and always seeks to forge a path toward improving our great state. He understands the importance of Mississippi’s outdoors, one of our greatest resources. I am confident that he will use this opportunity to engage and educate the public and will work to lead the conversation in this state about Mississippi’s outdoors.”
2021 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists in this year’s Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 149 radio/audio spots and campaigns made it to the finals of this year’s 30th anniversary awards. The Radio Advertising Bureau notes that this year marks the first time all categories were open to all languages. The submissions were created by advertising agencies, brands, production companies, radio stations and digital companies. The 2021 finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers from categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, nonprofits, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. Robin Fitzgerald is chief creative officer at BBDO Atlanta and chief judge for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards. She says, “This year’s Radio Mercury Awards is celebrating the work that came through in 2021 and acknowledging the awards’ 30-year history. It was great to hear the amazing work, and I can’t wait to celebrate the winners in November.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Every year, the Radio Mercury Awards shines a light on the best of the best in radio creative, and this year is no different. This year’s finalists showcase a wonderful range of audio work that leverages the medium and delivers for the advertiser.” The Radio Mercury Awards winners will be presented at 6:00 pm ET on November 17 during a virtual ceremony. See more at www.radiomercuryawards.com.
Cumulus Media Creates Audio Active Group. The company calls the new division “an audio media and creative advisory group for marketers and agencies.” The Audio Active Group is being led by Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer of CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One and that this is the “natural evolution from a sponsor-focused research and insights group to a true comprehensive marketing advisory. The company says the Audio Active Group partners with clients to measure the impact of the entire audio campaign (not just the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One investment), specializing in the following areas: 1) Audio creative best practices: Advising on the development and testing of sonic logos and advertising creative; offering recommendations on how to optimize and enhance current creative; advising on how to deploy new creative strategies to meet campaign objectives; 2) Media planning: Providing recommendations on daypart mix, flighting, weight levels, podcast genres, and AM/FM radio programming formats to meet campaign objectives, based on audience analytics; 3) Strategic allocation within audio: Advising on the right mix of ad-supported audio platforms; and 4) Measurement of the entire audio investment: Advising on the right approach for brands to measure campaign effectiveness, including brand lift, sales effect, and search and site attribution. Cumulus EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One Suzanne Grimes states, “One-third of brands in audio today are new to the medium. As major brands discover audio, they have lots of questions about audio creative strategy, media planning, and campaign measurement, and we have a deep understanding of what audio campaigns can accomplish. Under Pierre’s deft leadership, we are the only company that measures the impact of the entire audio investment and uses our trove of creative-testing and campaign-effectiveness data to help guide clients’ media investments and creative strategy.”
Cumulus Media Wichita Falls Offices Burglarized Overnight. According to a report from Texomashomepage.com, the offices and studios of Cumulus Media on Call Field Road in Wichita Falls, Texas were burglarized sometime early this morning (9/28). The story notes that the Wichita Falls Police Department responded to a call from a Cumulus employee who arrived early this morning to find the building had been “burglarized and ransacked.” Authorities say “there is extensive damage to the office areas of Cumulus Media and Henderson Appraisals.” Additionally, a station vehicle was stolen from the parking lot.
COVID-19, Biden’s Infrastructure and Spending Plans, Debt Ceiling Issue, Afghanistan Withdrawal Hearing, Border Crisis, Trump Georgia Rally, Chips and Labor Shortage, and R. Kelly Conviction Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; this week’s debates on President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; the battle over the U.S. debt ceiling and a possible government shutdown; today’s congressional testimony from Pentagon brass about the withdrawal from Afghanistan; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Georgia and his role in the GOP; the global silicon chip shortage, supply chain woes, and the labor shortage; and singer R. Kelly is convicted of sex trafficking charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pioneering Radio Programmer Christine Cooper Spindel Dies at 97. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the obituary of former WDIA, Memphis programmer Christine Cooper Spindel, who passed away in Urbana, Illinois last week at the age of 97. As her daughter Carol Spindel states, Christine Cooper Spindel was a pioneer both as a female program director at WDIA in 1948 and for hiring an all-Black programming staff. Spindel appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS documentary, “The Blues,” to talk about her role in hiring the Black DJ staff that included legendary bluesman B.B. King. Memphis music historian Robert Gordon is quoted in Bob Mehr’s story saying, “Instead of caving in to the racist pressures all around her, she persisted, and we as a city — and also we as blues lovers — all benefitted. Chris Spindel is evidence of how ordinary citizens have the power to change the world.” The story goes on to say, “In 1948, WDIA was still a small struggling outlet, when [co-owner Bert] Ferguson, Spindel and the station’s production head Don Kern decided to take a risk and hire Nat D. Williams, a Black high school history and social studies teacher, to host an afternoon program directed at Memphis’ large Black radio audience. ‘It was an unprecedented thing to do. Although Black people were accepted as entertainers… to put a Black man on the air was actually to empower Black people. They could speak in their own right,’ recalled Spindel. ‘I heard this phrase a lot and I deplore the phrase, “We must keep these people in their place” and their place was not in front of a microphone. It was to be subservient to the white community. But we tried to change that.’”
Monday Memo: “And While I Have You…” Even music stations can harness the power of talk radio, if enterprising local hosts use social media to “make the audience the show.” When you’re out-and-about – news people covering, for instance, the city council meeting – or hosts and DJs on the midway at the county fair – use that thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call “a phone” to gather vox populi. Ask them…something else. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says this is a great way to make your hard work count twice and he outlines an on-air and digital sponsorship opportunity. Read it here.
Pending Business: Winners or Champions?. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that a lot of radio sellers consider themselves “winners,” but it’s the “champions” who realize the most success year in and year out. What’s the difference? Lapa says, “Winners will focus on outperforming a competitor. In sales it simply means you will strive to be #1. How you get there – your sales skills, planning, organization, product knowledge, and daily motivation are all part of winning that #1 competitive ranking. Champions focus on setting a standard so high their focus is different. It isn’t just about outperforming the competitor. It’s about performing at a level so high only they know they can achieve.” Read six things he’s learned from champions here.
Bloomberg Black Business Beat Launches on 20 Affiliate Stations. The new specialty feature “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” from Bloomberg Radio and Key Networks is launching on 20 radio affiliates. In June, Key Networks and Bloomberg Radio announced that it had entered into an agreement with Superadio Networks, LLC, to make the “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” available to its affiliates across the U.S. Stations airing the program include: WLIB-FM, New York; WJBR-FM, Philadelphia; KDYA-AM, San Francisco; WNZN-FM, Cleveland; WRSV-FM, Raleigh; WABB-AM, Greenville, SC; WGRI-AM, Cincinnati; WCGL-AM and WWZR-FM in Jacksonville; as well as WBXB-FM and WJZU-AM in Norfolk, VA. The “Bloomberg Black Business Beat” is hosted by Renita Young, and is a daily look at the intersection of culture and commerce affecting Black American audiences. Topics range from the latest trends in Black-owned businesses and profiles of Black entrepreneurs, to a continuing look at diversity in the workplace and an inside look at the business of entertainment. Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Once again, the leader in business and financial news has created top-notch content with the ‘Bloomberg Black Business Beat.’ We are proud to present timely, topical content of interest to the Black community and advertisers looking to reach this important audience.”
Kelly Lynch to Leave WGY-AM/FM, Albany for Opportunity Outside of Radio. After a career of more than a decade with iHeartMedia’s WGY-AM/FM, Albany in which she co-hosted the morning show with Chuck Custer, and more recently Doug Goudie, Kelly Lynch will exit the station after the September 3 program for an opportunity outside of radio. The station says that during her time there, she helped raise millions of dollars for the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center and for many Capital District children’s charities through WGY’s Christmas Wish Program. Lynch says, “I would like to thank WGY and iHeartMedia for allowing me to be a part of the tremendously important work we have done over the last 11 years. I have enjoyed having a front row seat to the biggest news stories of the last decade, and it has been an immense privilege to share these stories with our listeners. I have also had the honor of working alongside the most talented people in our industry and treasure the lasting friendships I have formed along the way.”
Larry Elder Holds Rally for Campaign to Recall Gavin Newsom. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder at a rally at Will Rogers State Beach on Saturday (7/31). Elder is one of dozens appearing on the ballot for the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder addressed several hundred supporters in opposition to Governor Newsom, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon, and local City Council member Mike Bonin.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “Erick Erickson Show” announces the program has added five new affiliate stations to its roster. The “Erick Erickson Show” airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET from Cox Media Group’s flagship news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta. Now carrying the program are CMG O&Os WDBO-AM, Orlando; WOKV-FM, Jacksonville; KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; and WGAU-AM, Athens, Georgia…..SiriusXM is announcing a new program that will debut this fall called “Let’s Go!,” a weekly show starring NFL legends Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald. The one-hour show will feature back-to-back, in-depth conversations with Brady and Fitzgerald, conducted by Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Jim Gray. Gray has been interviewing both Brady and Fitzgerald since they came into the league, and for more than a decade when the three were together for the pregame and halftime of the NFL “Monday Night Football” broadcast. This year, their conversations will be in a longer format and will premiere exclusively on SiriusXM. The show will air Mondays at 6:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel during the NFL season…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro is celebrating his accolades from Rhode Island Monthly’s 2021 annual reader’s poll in which he was honored with “Best Local News Site/Blog” and “Best Social Media” for his Twitter feed. In 2020, DePetro was named “Best Talk Radio Host.” DePetro, posing below with his recent honors, says, “Last year I was voted top radio talk show and this year I am pleased we extended to win in other platforms like my website and social media. Being recognized with radio awards is very gratifying but I am very pleased how we have extended my brand into other platforms like Facebook Live and Twitter because you have to be where the news is.”
Starnes Media Group Syndicating ‘Mid-South Gardening’ Program. Memphis-based Starnes Media Group is putting the “Mid-South Gardening” program into national syndication. Starnes Media Group says that the three-hour weekend program that airs live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am ET Saturdays is a caller-driven program hosted by master gardeners Jim Crowder, Vador Vance, and Ken Mabry. The show has been on the air in Memphis for more than 20 years. The program is available via XDS.
COVID-19 Delta Variant/Mask Policies, Trump Election Denial-GOP Influence, Infrastructure Bill, January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Urban Crime Spike, and the Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising cases of Delta variant COVID-19 in many places and the resurgence of mask guidelines; former President Donald Trump’s continuing insistence in the “stolen” election mantra and his influence over the Republican Party; the $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill; the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack; the issue of critical race theory and protests against local school administrations; the dramatic rise in gun-related crime in America’s urban centers; and the Tokyo Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Say “talk radio” to someone not in the business, and they conjure a caricature: Soreheads reciting catch-phrases, now seeking to dampen the patriotic zeal they themselves cheerlead in such an unqualified way for four years.
Undaunted by polls demonstrating widespread optimism as the American comeback unfolds – and TSL erosion – their daily doom-N-gloom show still accounts for most of the format’s source material.
By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Three words that could set the tone for what could be a thankless, time-consuming exchange. 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. Perhaps you sell for a locally owned and operated station that doesn’t subscribe or a privately held owner who simply isn’t of the mindset to subscribe to a ratings service.
Meadowlark Media and DraftKings Ink Big Deal for Content Distribution. The Miami Herald has the story about the new $40 million deal that Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN chief John Skipper and former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard – and DraftKings have entered into. According to the Herald, DraftKings is getting into the content distribution business and by June or early July will be responsible for getting Meadowlark’s flagship program “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” onto radio, television, podcast platforms, and social media. It will also serve as title sponsor. The paper reports that Meadowlark negotiated with several other companies including SiriusXM, NBC’s Peacock and iHeartMedia. Le Batard told the Herald that didn’t want fans to have to climb a paywall for his show. “We didn’t want to do that to our listeners. The thing that I chose was freedom. Every time I’ve negotiated anywhere was for freedom, not money. This allows Meadowlark to be profitable from the start and have total freedom to do what we want. We can go forward and appear everywhere. We can make partnerships anywhere we want. We don’t have any corporate overlord. Our partner is our sponsor and what they are sponsoring is our freedom. The media landscape is changing very rapidly, and this shows how much power and value individuals can exert in breaking free from the corporate machine.” By summertime, Le Batard’s show – currently only available in podcast form – will be found in video formant on YouTube, Twitch, and DraftKings’ own nascent channel. The Herald adds that “the partnership will include DraftKings commissioning content projects and original programming that Meadowlark will develop and produce, including sports documentaries, as DraftKings broadens its sports entertainment footprint.”
Alpha Media Files Opposition to Larry Wilson’s Petition to Deny with FCC. As Alpha Media works to emerge from bankruptcy – approval for which it has received from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern Division of Virginia – it also needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission. But minority interest holders Larry Wilson and Paul Stone filed Petitions to Deny with the FCC, claiming that Alpha has failed to comply with FCC regulations regarding licensing of some of its stations and that the matter requires further review of foreign ownership interests, respectively. Alpha recently filed its opposition to the Petitions to Deny. In that filing’s summary, it says, “In short, when one peels away the bombast of Wilson’s Petition, it is clear that Wilson is inappropriately using the agency as a platform for rehashing his differences with certain members of the Company’s Board of Directors and management, and vainly attempting to shoehorn assessment of his personal grievances into the Commission’s processes under the guise of spurious claims that Alpha is unfit to hold its broadcast licenses. Moreover, his assertions are false. For Stone’s part, he simply criticizes the FCC’s well-established policy of promoting companies’ ability to promptly emerge from bankruptcy where further regulatory review of foreign ownership interests is required, a policy that is grounded in public interest considerations and comity with the bankruptcy laws. Neither Wilson nor Stone has standing as a party-in-interest. Any claims they had as holders of minority interests in Alpha pertaining to the Plan or to Alpha’s governance could and should have been presented to the Bankruptcy Court or the Delaware courts. While they inexplicably chose not to avail themselves of these alternative forums, they cannot now seek redress before the Commission. It has been black-letter law that the FCC does not adjudicate private contractual matters for far longer than the ‘more than 40 years’ that Wilson’s counsel has been ‘practic[ing] before the Commission,’ and the FCC has no reason to do so here.”
Westwood One Announces Executive Promotions. Three Westwood One staffers are promoted to new positions within the syndicator and sales firm’s programming and operations divisions. Twenty-eight-year Westwood One employee Susan Stephens is promoted to SVP and general manager, Westwood One programming. In this expanded role, Stephens will work to optimize programming and content opportunities and collaborations between news, talk, music, and entertainment. Tim Seymour rises to SVP, head of operations in which the 20-year WWO staffer assumes responsibility for the operations, partner relations, affiliate & sales operations, traffic & continuity, and research operations teams. Becky Bennett is elevated to VP, partner relations. Stephens and Seymour both report to Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes. Bennett will report to Seymour. Grimes says, “We have an enviable depth of talent within Westwood One with the unique experience to lead us forward. It is a privilege and a pleasure to announce these well-deserved promotions that will position us to succeed in 2021 and beyond.”
Edison’s Annual ‘Moms and Media’ Study Unveiled May 6. The results of the annual “Moms and Media” study from Edison Research will be revealed at a webinar being presented next Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Edison says, “This year’s ‘Moms and Media’ study provides insight on media usage, social media habits, and current outlook on tech by U.S. moms. Findings incorporate data from The Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, as well as data from Edison Research’s new ongoing syndicated measurement of social media, The Social Habit. The 2021 report features data trends on devices, media engagement, and technology usage of U.S. moms. Highlights from this year’s study include: smart speaker ownership, podcast adoption, online audio listening, and social media engagement. In addition, the report will showcase brand new research centered on social media usage by U.S. moms and their children. You can register for the webinar here.
Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Harry Hamm Sentenced in Child Porn Case. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that former longtime KMOX, St. Louis air personality Harry Hamm was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. The 79-year-old former entertainment editor for the radio station admitted that FBI investigators found child porn on two of his cell phones and his laptop. Hamm is also facing charges of second-degree statutory sodomy, incest and possession of child pornography in St. Louis County. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges. The Post-Dispatch story says the St. Louis County charges stem from allegations of sexual contact with a 16-year-old. Hamm began his career with the station in 1975.
TALKERS News Notes. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway is bringing two of the Navy SEALS who were on the mission that killed al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden to Des Moines for a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation that provides service dogs for combat-wounded veterans. Rob O’Neill – the SEAL who fired the shots that killed Bin Laden – and SEAL dog handler Will Chesney will take part in the June 18 event…..ABC News Radio is providing coverage of President Joe Biden’s address this evening and will begin with a one-hour special, “The Biden Presidency: The First 100 Days,” looking back at the start of the Biden administration. The program will air live on the radio network from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET anchored by correspondent Aaron Katersky. ABC News Radio will also provide live anchored coverage of President Biden’s speech, with reporting and analysis from ABC News’ team of correspondents and experts…..Public radio outlet WPLN, Nashville announces it has hired Caroline Eggers as the newsroom’s first environmental reporter. She starts her new position in June and will cover environmental issues with a focus on equity for WPLN News as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms across the U.S. to report on under-covered topics and communities. She comments, “WPLN News delivers essential stories with incredible intellect and empathy. I can’t wait to reflect these values while investigating Nashville’s climate action plan, air quality and infrastructure challenges.”
COVID-19, Biden’s 100 Days Address to Congress/$1.8 Trillion American Families Plan, Andrew Brown, Jr Protests/Police Violence, 2020 Census-House Seats, Critical Race Theory Controversy, John Kerry Iran Allegation, and Southern Border Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). The CDC’s new directives on mask wearing, the rollout of vaccines, and the high rate of cases in places like India and Brazil; this evening’s 100-day address to Congress by President Joe Biden and his $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; the protests of the police shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. and other cases of police violence; the results of the 2020 census and its impact on U.S. Rep seats; the controversy over “critical race theory” and its use in public schools curricula; the allegation that then-Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Israeli air strikes with Iran’s foreign minister; and the overwhelming number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.