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Monday, June 14, 2021

| June 14, 2021

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.

FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio‘s Brian Kilmeade delivers the keynote address at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

Key Networks nationally syndicated commentator Bill O’Reilly (right) is interviewed by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison (left) at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11.

McVay Media Consulting president Mike McVay (right) moderates the “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ’20s” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Joe Thomas, program director/morning host, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA; Greg Stocker, WPHT, Philadelphia APD, executive producer for the Rich Zeoli show; Michael Czarnecki, program director WONK-FM, Washington, DC and the iHeartPodcast Channel; Josh Leng, CEO, Talk Media Network; Dave LaBrozzi, SVP of programming, Red Apple Media; and Phil Boyce, SVP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group, operations VP, New York region.

Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon (right) moderates the “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in a Noisy Digital World” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Christine Travaglini, president Katz Radio Group/RAB; Marc Beaven, general manager, WCBM, Baltimore; Paul Gleiser, president/owner KTBB, Tyler, TX; Kathy Carr, president, Howie Carr Radio Network; Erik Hellum, COO, Townsquare Media/RAB; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner/morning host, WGDJ, Albany, NY.

WRHU Radio operations director John T. Mullen (right) moderates the “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base” panel at TALKERS 2021 at Hofstra University on Friday, June 11. Panelists were (from l-r): Derek Hunter, talk host WCBM, Baltimore; Martha Zoller, talk host WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Sid Rosenberg, morning co-host, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield,  MA “Rock 102”; Brett Winterble, talk host, WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and Dr. Asa Andrew, talk host, Asa Rx.

Monday Memo: Dear Old Dad. There’s still time to make a fuss on his special day; and in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke suggests a couple vintage radio hits worth dusting off, “regardless of your format.” Read the column here.

Biden’s European Trip/G7, Putin Summit, COVID-19, Minneapolis Protest Death, Harris Latin America Trip Criticism/Immigration Reform, Trevor Reed Case, Soaring Urban Crime, and Bennett Replaces Netanyahu Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. President Joe Biden’s European trip, the meeting of G7 leaders; Biden’s summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday; the fast-falling rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and speculation about the origin of the coronavirus; one person is killed as a car rams into protestors in Minneapolis; criticism of Vice President Kamala Harris’ Latin America trip and the subject of immigration reform; the case of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed who’s been detained in Russia for two years; the soaring rates of urban crime in America’s large cities; and Naftali Bennett succeeds in ousting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERSmagazine.

Pending Business: Demand vs Frequency. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “As you engage advertisers during this sales tailwind, what happens when rates and rotations are not even close to 2020 or Q1 of 2021? Does the sales banter go straight to demand? It happened to me. Your internal high-five is your advertiser flashing red light for high rates! Oops, you moved right to the easy part – demand is up so rates are up. Your advertiser should be compassionate, understanding that you made it through to the other side of the pandemic. Are your advertisers really saluting your demand curve? No.” Read more here.

Jim Fox Named Operations Manager for Cumulus Media Kansas City. Radio programming pro Jim Fox is named operations manager for CUMULUS MEDIA’s Kansas City cluster that includes news/talk KCMO-AM/K279BI and six music brands. Fox joins CUMULUS Kansas City following a 17-year career with Audacy, where he was vice president, programming, for the company’s four Dallas stations. CUMULUS Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker says, “Record-high ratings delivery as the #1 cluster in KC is the result of our incredible programming talent delivering the highest level of audience engagement. Jim Fox is among the best programming minds in the business. His expertise growing strong brands that deliver results for our client partners is the ideal addition to our team in Kansas City.” Fox comments, “I’m extremely excited and fortunate to be joining this incredible team with an already proven track record of success. So many people who I respect helped to make this move possible. I’m energized by the idea of working closely with Donna Baker, Doug Hamand, Brian Philips, and the very impressive and talented staff in Kansas City.”

Dave Symonds Joins Summit Media Richmond as Director of Programming and Operations. The new director of programming and operations at SummitMedia, LLC’s Richmond cluster that includes WURV-HD2 “ESPN Richmond” and four music brands is Dave Symonds. The company says, “Symonds brings a solid track record of progressive leadership in multi-station, multiformat programming, management, and brand development, including start-ups and well-established stations and shows. He has been consistently successful in differentiating brands, communicating format values and achieving ratings successes.” Symonds adds, “After meeting with the Summit Richmond team, I was quickly swept up by their strength and creativity, as well as the opportunities and potential of these stations. I already respected market manager Bob Willoughby when we were competed a few years back. Now, I’m excited to partner with him. Plus, it’s Richmond. I’m thrilled!”

Zimmer Marketing Market Manager Chad Elliot Dies Unexpectedly at 47. The Joplin, Missouri station group of Zimmer Marketing reports the unexpected passing of its market manager, Chad Carroz, a.k.a. Chad Elliot, who died at his home on Saturday at the age of 47. Elliot was the longtime host of the “KZRG Morning NewsWatch” program on the news/talk station. He held that position for over a decade before moving into a full-time role in sales and management. Company owner James Zimmer says, “Chad will be missed by all who knew and loved him. He was part of our family for over 25 years. His passion for radio guided him from being a part-time air talent to market manager of Zimmer Marketing in Joplin. We will hold Chad forever in our hearts and look forward to seeing him in eternal life with Christ.” Elliot leaves behind his wife Monica – also a member of the Zimmer team – and the couple’s daughter, Mattie.  In announcing her husband’s death via Facebook, Monica wrote, “Chad had two passions. Zimmer Radio and his dogs. He lived, breathed, and bled Zimmer. He wanted nothing more than to help local businesses succeed and grow. He fought for those success stories. I was given a rare gift to work alongside my husband almost seven years ago. At first, I thought it wouldn’t work. How can a couple be together 24/7? It had its challenges, but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it for anything! 8-5 he was in charge. 5-8 I was in charge. It worked.” Details on funeral arrangements are pending.

Audacy Adds Two Shows to BetQL Network. The BetQL Network is adding two new weekday programs to its lineup. Audacy announces that as part of its multiplatform partnership with BetMGM, the network will launch “The Daily Tip,” featuring Michael Jenkins and Chelsea Messinger, and “BetMGM Tonight,” starring Ryan Horvat and Quinton Mayo, beginning June 21. The “BetQL Network,” is heard on KEZW-AM, Denver “The Bet 1430AM”; KCBS-HD2, Los Angeles; and WCFS-HD2, Chicago “The Bet 105.9.”  Audacy president of sports Mike Dee says, “We are ecstatic to announce the next phase of our planned expansion of the ‘BetQL Network.’ Our partnership with BetMGM – who is co-developing these shows alongside our sports programming team led by Matt Volk [vice president of sports] – enables us to create this new content that will both entertain and inform our audience around daily sports betting activity. We aspire for the ‘BetQL Network’ to become the go-to destination for the sports betting community and we’ll continue to announce new content to this dynamic platform over the next few months.”

Two Researchers Promoted at Paragon Strategies. Two Paragon Media Strategies longtime researchers are being promoted. Sara Schueller rises to vice president/research and Simone Lowin is promoted to research services director. Paragon CEO Mike Henry notes, “Sara Schueller and Simone Lowin have been part of the Paragon backbone for two decades.  During that time, Paragon has produced hundreds of research projects for our media and entertainment clients. Every one of those projects was guided by these incredible women who exhibit the highest capacity for integrity and professionalism. We’re incredibly fortunate to have them as part of the Paragon family.”

Pending Business: Demand vs Frequency

| June 14, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The old saying on Madison Avenue was, “If you can’t sell it, sing it!”

Think about all those jingles you can sing from memory. How many really have a lyric line about a value component for a product or service? Truth is those wonderful jingle composers and singers really do have impact. Part of the secret sauce is repetition and no medium is better at repetition than radio. So why do today’s sellers fall short when it comes to pitching one of radio’s fundamental strengths? It’s Covid’s fault!

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Pending Business: Survey Says…

| June 7, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ads are ok!

Our friends at NPR just released a research piece by Edison. If you haven’t read the study, you should take the time. The study identifies six categories of listeners that are reminiscent of similar research pieces I’ve seen over the years.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

| June 1, 2021

Audacy and Radio America Reach Deal to Syndicate ‘The Dana Show’ to 11 Stations in Multi-Platform Deal. As had been rumored a couple of weeks ago, Audacy and Radio America have agreed to a new, multi-platform deal that will put “The Dana Show,” starring Dana Loesch, on 11 Audacy news/talk stations. In addition to the affiliate clearances, Audacy will become the exclusive audio streaming provider for “The Dana Show” and Loesch will collaborate with Audacy on the development and production of her first-ever, original on-demand podcast. “The Dana Show” will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart previously held by the late Rush Limbaugh on: KMBZ-AM, Kansas City; KXNT-AM, Las Vegas; WRVA-AM/WTVR-HD2, Richmond; KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, Florida; and WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The show will also re-air during various times on WPHT-AM, Philadelphia; KJCE-AM, Austin; WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KFTK-FM, St. Louis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford. Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Radio America and welcome Dana Loesch to our broadcast and digital platform. Dana is a leading conservative voice and influencer and both her daily live show and future original podcast are terrific additions to our best-in-class news and talk offerings.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “During this pivotal moment in talk radio, the partnership with Audacy and Dana’s show is exciting because it represents our shared vision on radio’s future for the news/talk format. Audacy’s leading digital platform is also the perfect fit for Dana’s growing digital audience. We look forward to working closely with Audacy’s content team, led by Jeff Sottolano, to make ‘The Dana Show’ a key element on each of their hugely successful Audacy news/talk stations.” Dana Loesch says of the new deal, “I look forward to working with the great team at Audacy. Their digital platform is a great fit for my streaming and podcast audience and their top-rated radio stations are a phenomenal addition to my loyal radio fan base.”

Pending Business: New Talent, New Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges sellers face when a longtime talk talent leaves your station and you are pitching a new program. “This round will be different as many stations try and replace a proven ratings winner with new talent, never before tested in the time period in your market. An audience that has been built up over years may start dial surfing with a newfound curiosity. What happens if audience levels wobble through the short term as your competitor pushes the emergency stop button?” Read his advice here.

Shelby Cassesse to Host Weekend Show on ‘98.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. A piece by Joshua Axelrod in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh news anchor Shelby Cassesse who is launching a Sunday morning sports talk show on Audacy’s sister KDKA-FM “98.7 The Fan.” Cassesse will be the first (and only) woman to host a sports talk show on KDKA-FM who was not a contest winner. Her new show will air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am on Sundays on a scattered schedule that is expected to become an every-other-Sunday program. She tells the paper, “When the opportunity was presented to me, it was an instant, ‘Well, yeah, of course I’m going to do this!’ It’s one of the greatest professional opportunities I’ve been given. It’s something I never anticipated doing in my career because I always saw myself as a reporter. It’s truly incredible, and I’m beyond thrilled to be doing it. It’s definitely not lost on me that few women have had this opportunity, especially here in Pittsburgh. I don’t want that to be what people see me as. I’m happy to take on that title, and I’m glad to celebrate it, too, because it needs to be celebrated.”

Saga’s WTAX, Springfield, Illinois Getting New FM Frequency. According to a story in the State Journal-Register, Saga Communications’ news/talk WTAX-AM is getting a full market FM signal as the company will move the station’s programming from FM translator W228DL at 93.5 to the 93.9 frequency occupied by classic hits WQQL-FM. The company has requested a call letter change with the FCC and WQQL will become WTAX-FM. The classic hits format will continue on the 93.5 frequency as “Rewind 93.5” but the station feeding W228DL is not revealed in the story.

Sports Talk ‘ESPN Southwest Florida’ Moves to AM Band. As a result of the growing Hispanic population in Southwest Florida, Beasley Media Group moves the “Playa” adult Hispanic format from WRXK-HD2/W251AL to the 99.3 FM frequency. That bumps the sports format “ESPN Southwest Florida” from 99.3 to WBCN-AM and two FM translators at 101.5 and 104.3.

NPR Brings A Martinez Aboard “Morning Edition.” The NPR program “Morning Edition” is adding A Martínez to its talent on the AM drive news magazine, effective July 6. Martínez has been serving with KPCC-FM, Pasadena and he takes over for David Greene who left the program in 2020. Martínez – who will be based at NPR West in Culver City, California – will join Steve Inskeep, Noel King, and Rachel Martin on the syndicated program that airs on 835 stations. NPR VP of news programming Sarah Gilbert says, “He brings a remarkable record of journalism and empathy that allows him to truly connect with audiences and stories. He brings intelligence, a sense of humor and a deep curiosity that will fit right in with the show’s commitment to telling distinctive stories that make a difference to our understanding of the world.”

WYPR, Baltimore to Acquire WTMD, Towson. Public radio station WYPR, Baltimore “Your Public Radio” is acquiring WTMD, Towson, Maryland from Towson University. According to a report at The Current, WYPR is an “independent community licensee and a top-ranking news/talk station in the market airing local, national and international radio content. WYPR excels in local programming and journalism through outstanding shows like ‘Midday,’ ‘On the Record’ and ‘Out of the Blocks’ as well as its award-winning newsroom.” The station also feeds signals in Frederick, Maryland (WYFP-FM) and Ocean City, Maryland (WYPO-FM). WTMD has been a triple A-formatted station since 2002.

COVID-19/Wuhan Lab Theory, Memorial Day, Miami Concert Shooting, Tulsa Massacre Anniversary, Meat Company Hack, Infrastructure Plan, January 6 Commission, Osaka Withdraws from French Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and growing acceptance of the possibility the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Virology lab; the Memorial Day holiday and honoring those who made the “ultimate sacrifice”; the shooting at a Miami concert venue the killed 2 and wounded dozens of others; the 100th anniversary of Tulsa “Black Wall Street” massacre; the hack of JBS’ U.S. and Australian meat plants; the GOP’s counter-offer to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; Senate Republicans kill the January 6 Commission; and Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open after refusing to take part in press conferences were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: New Talent, New Rules

| June 1, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The race to replace Rush in syndication is shaping up and new names are filling the time period.

How’s your sales strategy working?

Every market situation will have it’s own nuance, but there will be universal strategies that need to be in place as you roll out. This round will be different as many stations try and replace a proven ratings winner with new talent, never before tested in the time period in your market. An audience that has been built up over years may start dial surfing with a newfound curiosity. What happens if audience levels wobble through the short term as your competitor pushes the emergency stop button?

Read More